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Major international battle against corruption

For the first time ever, an international standard to combat corruption has been introduced. The standard gives Danish businesses a competitive advantage and may be the ticket to more orders from customers who want suppliers whose affairs are in order.
Corruption constitutes a significant barrier to trade across national borders. The new anti-corruption standard sets up a global agreement on how businesses should protect themselves against corruption.

Publiceret: 03.11.2016
Af Laura Flader mail

A trillion dollars.

That is how much the World Bank estimates is spent on bribery and corruption every year across the world. Now, for the first time, NGOs, businesses, government authorities and advisors from all over the world have produced a common anti-corruption standard.  
ISO 37001 is the name of the new international standard that contains a number of measures and controls. Businesses throughout the world, irrespective of their size and location, can attain this anti-corruption certification if the business meets all the requirements which include defining an anti-corruption policy, training employees in anti-corruption and investigating any cases of bribery and corruption.

“The standard is a big step that sets a common direction for the global fight against corruption. For Danish businesses and Danish conditions, this may seem insignificant, but in an international context rules like these are very much needed,” says Christine Jøker Lohmann, senior consultant at the Confederation of Danish Industry.  

Competitive advantage for Danish businesses

Whether the world’s businesses choose to adhere to the new international standard is entirely voluntary, but according to Christine Jøker Lohmann the standard is something that is worth working towards because international customers make ever more stringent demands.

“This international standard generates global agreement on how businesses should insure themselves against corruption. More and more customers want their suppliers to live up to anti-corruption, human rights and environmental standards. That is why the standard is interesting for businesses to align themselves with and show that they are on top of their procedures,” she says.

Denmark is one of the world’s least corrupt countries, and that is something Danish businesses should use to their advantage.

“The fact that we are known for our lack of corruption gives Denmark and Danish businesses a competitive edge, but it should not lull us into a false sense of security. Probably only a limited number of Danish companies will choose to become certified. But the standard can be used as a guideline for what needs to be put in place. The certification may become a ticket for subcontractors to large international companies that want to ensure that they sign contracts with businesses whose procedures are in order,” says Christine Jøker Lohmann.

See also: Humann Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals

People speaking the same language

One company that is enthusiastic about the new anti-corruption standard is Hempel, a paint supplier headquartered in Lyngby near Copenhagen. The company employs about 6,000 people working in 80 different countries.

“This is big news and we are very pleased about it. Now we will all be speaking the same language when it comes to anti-corruption,” says Hempel’s Compliance and Corporate Responsibility Director Thomas Markus Etter who is chairman of the Danish working group that helped to develop and validate the ISO 37001 standard.

The company wants to use the standard to develop and validate its anti-corruption programme further and use it as a benchmark against which to measure its internal standards.

“In the long run, the standard will become very important in terms of our partners when we need to show our customers what we ourselves are doing to combat corruption and also to explain to our suppliers what we expect of them,” says Thomas Markus Etter.

The Confederation of Danish Industry and Kromann Reumert will be hosting an event on the ISO 37001 standard on 7 December 2016.

Kromann Reumert and the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) invite you to a discussion on how the standard can be used either for certification or as an internal benchmarking tool.

See the program and sign up here
Now we will all be speaking the same language when it comes to anti-corruption.
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PUBLISHED: 11/3/2016 LAST MODIFIED: 4/29/2017