What is the UNIC Certification?

The UNIC Certification attests that the UNIC Member has designed and implemented a risk-based policy and procedure to prevent corruption and other related risks that respond to its own specificities (e.g., industry, structure, size, etc.) as well as to the applicable guidance as reflected in the UNIC Questionnaire and the UNIC Assessment Methodology.

Being voluntary, the UNIC Certification grants an exclusive right to use the UNIC Logo and Name for labelling purpose. It is awarded upon the positive opinion of the independent expert about the compliance and business integrity level based on a decision of the UNIC Executive Committee.

How is the UNIC Standard determined? Is the same approach applied to all UNIC Members?

The UNIC has developed the UNIC Standard (as reflected in the UNIC Questionnaire) mainly based on ISO 37001:2016 Standard.

The way the UNIC Standard is applied in companies may vary depending on the companies’ specificities (e.g., size, structure, etc.). A compliance program, which is effective in one company, may be completely ineffective in another. In this regard, the UNIC Assessment Methodology takes into account that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” compliance program, and assesses how the UNIC Standard is met via different criteria (e.g., information, training, tools/processes, control, reporting, transparency and accountability, etc.).

How can I find out that compliance and business integrity level of my company is reasonably high for the UNIC Certification?

Though there is no such thing as a "one size fits all" compliance system, a reasonably high level of compliance and business integrity must meet certain criteria.

Criteria, which have been developed to cover all major international guidelines and recommendations, are reflected in the UNIC Questionnaire and further elaborated in the UNIC Assessment Methodology.

The UNIC Member applying for the UNIC Certification must be able to answer ‘yes’ to all of the questions from the Questionnaire. At the same time, answering ‘no’ or ‘not applicable’ to any of the questions does not necessarily represent the failure to gain the reasonably high level but rather an opportunity for improvement.

What is important to note, the UNIC Secretariat helps the UNIC Member. The UNIC Members whose compliance and business integrity level is not deemed sufficient by the UNIC Secretariat to undergo the UNIC Certification will receive high-level recommendations on how to improve its level for resubmission.

What information becomes publicly available following the UNIC Certification?

The UNIC Members having obtained a certificate are entitled to post the UNIC Logo on their website, use it for marketing and labelling purposes.

The UNIC will not communicate on the Certification that is ongoing or that has been denied. Companies having failed to obtain the Certification are encouraged to improve their compliance and integrity level via participating in UNIC educational workshops and seeking advice from the invited expert.

How much does the UNIC Certification cost?

The cost of the UNIC Certification varies according to the type of the UNIC Member (i.e., based on the size of an entity’s turnover) and number of ‘man/days’ needed to complete it. The pricing and payment are handled directly with the independent expert. To request a rough estimate of the cost of the UNIC Certification, please feel free to contact us.

How long does the UNIC Certification last?

The length of UNIC Certification can vary depending on the size of the UNIC Member assessed and on whether or not the independent expert identifies non-compliant issues. If no major non-compliant issues are identified, the UNIC Certification can be completed between two and six months. At the same time, the assessment itself could last from one week for the assessment of a small entity and approximately two months for the assessment of large companies.

Major non-compliant issues identified by the independent expert do not necessarily result in the UNIC Certification refusal. These issues could be immediately communicated to the company along with recommendations on how to address them. The company might be accorded up to period to remediate the issues. Minor non-compliant issues do not delay the UNIC Certification process nor prevent a certificate from being awarded.

Does the UNIC Certification attest that a company has not / will not commit bribery?

The UNIC Certification in no way guarantee that an act of corruption has not been or shall never be committed. It attests to the fact that the UNIC Member has identified its specific corruption risk and implemented a compliance program to effectively address it. The UNIC Certification is not forensic.

Does the UNIC Certification offer a competitive advantage? What is the added value of the UNIC Certification once an assessment has been performed?

Conformance to the requirements of the Questionnaire and implementing recommendations from the UNIC Assessment Methodology can provide UNIC Members with a tangible demonstration of a company’s commitment to good compliance and business integrity practices. As a result, when entering a new market or starting a new business relationship, a new partner may have some assurance that the company takes compliance seriously. The UNIC Certification has the potential to be a differentiator that boosts confidence and leads to new business.

The UNIC Certification includes the benefits of external verification because it integrates a thorough, on-site assessment of compliance and business integrity level.

How can stakeholders be sure that the UNIC Certification is not just another form of "whitewashing"? How can one rely on the adequacy of the UNIC Certification?

Unlike other certifications, the UNIC Certification requires a thorough, on-site assessment of the design and effective implementation of compliance policies and programs. The assessment includes documentation and interviews provided by the company, but also documentation and interviews requested by the independent expert. Compliance and business integrity level must first be deemed sufficient by the independent expert, then by the UNIC Executive Committee. Companies wishing to use the UNIC Certification as cosmetic "window-dressing" will simply fail to obtain the UNIC Certification.

Is the UNIC Certification process itself "certified"?

Assessment of compliance and business integrity level is conducted only by the independent experts shortlisted by the UNIC based on their qualifications and experience in compliance. Therefore, the UNIC Members shall seek the UNIC Certification from the shortlisted experts of known integrity and reputation. The pool of recognized certifiers is determined by the UNIC Executive Committee on a competitive basis.

Is there a mechanism to avoid situations of conflict of interest within the UNIC Certification? How can one be sure that a bribe was not paid to "secure an award"?

In elaborating the UNIC Certification process and the UNIC Assessment Methodology, the UNIC has done its utmost to avoid any conflict of interest. For instance, the assessments are conducted by the independent experts through separate contracts and invoicing with the companies requesting the UNIC Certification; the assessments are invoiced whether the certificate is awarded or denied by the UNIC. The UNIC Executive Committee is entirely independent in making the decision on the UNIC Certification. At the same time, UNIC Executive Committee does not have discretionary power on the awarding or denying of certificates and any bribes made to secure an award would be entirely ineffective. The independent expert is never involved in deciding on the award of UNIC certificates, as the UNIC Executive Committee is never involved into the assessment.