During April, I was honoured to be invited by the Lithuanian Ministry of Justice to address an audience of Lithuanian private sector companies in relation to the new International Standard in Bribery Risk Management – ISO 37001.
In the 26 years since independence the country has come a long way and is a full member of NATO, the EU and the Eurozone. Lithuania now seeks membership of the OECD and must fulfil a number of pre-admittance requirements.
One such requirement is to adopt and ratify the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. It is noteworthy that Lithuania had already adopted the Convention before applying for OECD membership.
I was joined on two panels by other guest speakers from the private and public sectors along with civil society representatives, law enforcement and the OECD itself.
Issues discussed included reconciling data protection laws with whistleblowing expectations within ISO 37001; resisting demands for bribes and creating an ethical organisational culture. Overall the adoption of the OECD convention by Lithuanian private business seemed welcome, particularly as the country’s exporters re-align their primary markets away from the East and North towards the South and West.
For me there were three important ‘take away’ messages from the event. These messages reinforce my own anecdotal experience in providing anti-corruption services globally:
- There is now a greater understanding of the damage caused by corruption
- There is an increasing trend in anti-bribery law enforcement internationally
- There is a growing belief by companies that they do not have to bribe to do business
Lithuania seems to have fully embraced the principles behind clean international business.