First ever international benchmark for good governance

Purpose and sustainability at the heart of ISO 37000.

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Clare  Naden
By Clare Naden
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Business
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We are living in rapidly changing and challenging times and, more than ever, governing bodies are being called upon to ensure their organizations act with purpose, sustainability and society in mind. Good governance not only builds trust, it improves business performance and contributes to social and environmental integrity. Just published, ISO 37000, Governance of organizations, provides organizations and their governing bodies with the tools they need to govern well, enabling them to perform effectively while behaving ethically and responsibly. 

Developed by experts and trusted voices from a wide range of organizations in over 70 countries around the world, ISO 37000 provides a single, globally accepted reference for all kinds of organizations, regardless of size, type or location.

Good governance not only fosters an environment of trust, transparency and accountability, it also helps align an organization’s purpose with the interests of society, building strong stakeholder relationships while effectively managing and maintaining its resources. In this way, good governance lays the foundation for the long-term success of organizations and ensures they contribute to the protection and restoration of social, economic and natural environmental systems.

Dr Victoria Hurth, Co-Convenor of the ISO group of experts that developed the standard, said that effective, state-of-the-art organizational governance goes beyond pursuing self-interest and complying with legal obligations.

“It is about sensing and anticipating what might happen and driving performance towards a clearly defined and socially relevant purpose,” she said.

“We are fast entering a new governance paradigm where stakeholders are demanding highly effective governance to drive and assure genuinely sustainable long-term value. ISO 37000 is the first ever global consensus standard on governance that is applicable for all organizations in all countries. It therefore can serve as the blueprint for governing bodies to navigate complexity so that a high-performing, socially relevant purpose can be achieved in a sustainable, ethical and responsible way,” she said.

ISO 37000 defines good governance as a human-based system by which an organization is directed, overseen and held accountable for achieving its defined purpose in an ethical and responsible manner. The standard clarifies the distinct but integrated roles that governing bodies and management play in an organization and establishes a common language, principles and practices that apply across all organizations in all jurisdictions.

Dr Axel Kravatzky, who is also Co-Convenor of the expert group, added: “The remit of many governing bodies is ever expanding and increasingly complex. ISO 37000, however, will help them to navigate and fulfil this through an integrated governance framework and system which empowers all governing groups and organization actors.”

ISO 37000 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 309, Governance of organizations, whose secretariat is held by BSI, the ISO national standards body for the UK.

The standard can be purchased from your national ISO member or the ISO Store.

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