Whistleblowing, an important and natural part of the new Anti-bribery ISO standard

Whistleblowing and the new ISO standard
Interview with Håkan Sundström, member of the Swedish working committee for the future ISO 37001, Anti-bribery management systems. By Karin Henriksson, Co-fonder of WhistleB

The chapter “Raising concern” covers issues on whistleblowing in the proposal for the new ISO standard for Anti-bribery. According to Mr. Sundström, there has been few contradictory views when writing this chapter. “Whistleblowing is an important and natural part of a professional compliance program, and the many experts that have been involved in the development of the new standard agree on that.” says Mr. Sundström.

Anonymous reporting is a criteria that is included in the new standard for corporate whistleblowing, even though some EU countries do not allow anonymous whistleblowing. It is vital as approximately 60 % of all whistleblowing reports origin from anonymous whistleblowers. When the standard contradicts from national law, the company should always follow the law.

According to the new standard the whistleblower should be allowed to report on an attempted, suspected or actual bribery. This sometimes means that the level of evidence is not very thorough. “But what is important is that the report is made in good faith”, says Mr. Sundström. There are no shortcuts for promoting ethical behaviour. It is done by leading by example and having the ethical guidelines well implemented for every single employee.

ISO 37001 – Anti-bribery management systems
Bribery is one of the world’s most destructive and challenging issues. With over US$ 1 trillion paid in bribes each year according to the OECD, the consequences are catastrophic, reducing quality of life, increasing poverty and eroding public trust.

Yet despite efforts on national and international levels to tackle bribery, it remains a significant issue. Recognizing this, ISO is currently developing a new standard to help organisations fight bribery and promote an ethical business culture.

Before April this year the Standardisation institutes in all the countries that have been involved in developing the new standard have to give their positions. The new standard can be adapted before the end of 2016.

Whistleblowing ISO 37001

Håkan Sundström, member of the Swedish working committee for the future ISO 37001, Anti-bribery management systems.


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