Wal-Mart aiming for ISO certification on ethics and compliance systems

It is likely to be the first U.S. company to receive the anti-corruption compliance certificate from the world certification body

Wal-Mart is considering getting certified under a new international program that is designed to help companies defend themselves against stray cases of poor business practices or corruption.

Wal-Mart aims to be the first U.S. company to be certified under the ‘anti-corruption’ compliance certification program developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), said Jay Jorgensen, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president and global chief ethics and compliance officer.

“We have begun looking for a company that would certify us,” said Jorgensen.

The ISO is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards.

Jorgensen went on to add, that Wal-Mart is interested in seeing the program being widely adopted in the country so that U.S. companies can then defend themselves if something goes wrong.

He also shared a recent development in which federal agencies have contacted Wal-Mart about this compliance program.

“Over the past couple of months … some of the federal agencies have reached out to say ‘hey do you have any feedback for us, anything we are doing is unreasonable?,'” said Jorgensen.

Wal-Mart has not only given its feedback but is also continuing to do so and is being very open to collaborating with state regulators on this compliance program.

As for typical compliance issues Wal-Mart has to face on a day-to-day basis, Jorgensen cited an example of how a broken baby shampoo bottle in California is treated as hazardous waste, and retailers have to dispose them off through an incinerator.

“We would love it if California would say ‘hey we would like some feedback,” said Jorgensen.

From 2013 Wal-Mart has spent more than $141 million globally on ethics and compliance systems, said Jorgensen.

Wal-Mart has now created its own licensing teams that monitor 56,000+ licenses and permits that Wal-Mart needs to comply with globally using a centralized licensing system which not only boosts transparency but also minimizes errors.

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