Obtaining the ISO 37001:2016 standard certification is another step in ČEZ’s efforts to contribute to an ethical and transparent business environment. It is the culmination of several years of gradually building a comprehensive compliance management system, based on zero tolerance of any form of corrupt behaviour, whether direct or through a third party. ČEZ began preparing to obtain the international accreditation more than three years ago, and the certification process itself took approximately a year and a half.
“The internationally recognised certificate, based on the principles of the world’s best practice, is a guarantee for investors, suppliers, and customers, that we want to be as transparent and trustworthy as possible. Furthermore, it is a key aspect in ESG assessment of a company’s management. This is no one-off matter, but a long-term process in which we must annually prove to auditors our compliance with all of the conditions, and look for ways to improve further,” said Management Board member Michaela Chaloupková.
The certificate was granted to ČEZ, a. s., by the German branch of the consulting firm KPMG, specifically for the activities of its Procurement and Compliance Departments. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) first published the 37001 for anti-corruption management systems in October 2016. Large European energy companies that have undergone certification include Iberdrola, ENGIE, Enel, and Endesa.
Corporate governance and ESG
Factors that cannot be measured in monetary terms play an increasingly important role in investors’ decisions as to where to invest. In the same way that companies are assessed on the international level based on established financial indicators, similarly, criteria for non-financial assessment are being established. These have come to be known as ESG, which stands for Environmental (how a company protects the environment, whether it uses natural resources, water, or energy economically, how it reduces waste and emissions), Social (how a company treats its employees, customers, suppliers, and the communities in which it does business), and Governance (the quality of a company’s operations and management, its internal processes and controls, protection of stakeholder group rights, and regular comprehensive reporting). Whereas, by obtaining the ISO 37001 certificate, ČEZ Group enhances primarily Governance, in the sphere of Environment, it focuses primarily on decarbonization. It has signed up for, for example, the SBTi commitment and their Business Ambition for 1.5° initiative. Only two companies from the Czech Republic have done so.