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.
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 Joker 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 Joker 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 Joker Lohmann.