ISO publishes international benchmark for good governance

A new international standard for good governance has been published. ISO 37000 aims to provide organisations and their governing bodies with the tools to perform effectively while acting ethically and responsibly.

Developed by experts from a wide range of organisations in over 70 countries around the world, ISO 37000 is intended to provide a single, globally accepted reference for all kinds of organisations, regardless of size, type or location.

Good governance not only fosters an environment of trust, transparency and accountability, it also aims to help align an organisation’s purpose with the interests of society, building strong stakeholder relationships while effectively managing and maintaining its resources. Dr Victoria Hurth, co-convenor of the ISO group of experts that developed the standard, said that effective, state-of-the-art organisational 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.”

“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 organisations 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.”

ISO 37000 defines good governance as a human-based system by which an organisation 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 organisation and establishes a common language, principles and practices that apply across all organisations 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 organisation actors.”

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

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