NSAI setting the corporate governance agenda
-SEAI first organisation in Ireland to be SWiFT 3000 certified-
Wednesday, April 20, 2011: The collaboration between National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) and the Institute of Directors in Ireland (IoD) took a significant step today with Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) becoming the first organisation in Ireland, to be certified to the SWiFT 3000: Code of Practice for Corporate Governance Assessment in Ireland ¹.
SWiFT 3000’s primary objective is to provide organisations of all sizes and types with a standard framework of assessment of compliance with relevant corporate governance codes. More than a dozen key professional bodies engaged in the promotion of best corporate governance practice participated in its development through an NSAI consultative committee, including the public and private sectorsand corporate governance experts from academia. It specifies the requirements for the Corporate Governance Assessment (including board effectiveness) in companies and involves an independent external assessor reviewing a company’s compliance with their corporate governance codes and obligations.
Mr. John Perry T.D., Minister for Small Business, stated, “Good corporate governance is about transparency, accountability, fairness, responsibility and disclosure. It has never been more relevant as collectively we begin the process of rebuilding Ireland’s reputation with our country’s neighbours, the markets, potential investors and consumers. NSAI are not just ‘talking the talk’, with SWiFT 3000 they are leading the corporate governance agenda and re-affirming stakeholder confidence in Ireland. The certification of SEAI is the first in Ireland and Europe and shows that Ireland is prepared to lead the corporate governance agenda, not follow it. SEAI are a role model to other organisations and I urge them to follow SEAI’s lead regarding their corporate governance culture.”
Speaking at today’s announcement, Ann Riordan, Chairperson, NSAI and president of IoD said, “We are all too aware of the corporate governance failures in Ireland; they have impacted heavily on Ireland both at home and abroad. Our reputation has been tarnished with investors, consumers and governments alike. Now more than ever our political and business leaders need to support each other to ensure that the message of Ireland being open for and ready for business is delivered both at home and abroad. Organisations that undertake the independent assessment of their corporate governance will send clear signals to their shareholders, investors and to the international community that they are operating to best practice.”
Since the launch of the SWiFT 3000 Code last year, the first group of technical assessors have been independently qualified to undertake the assessment process. Organisations which meet the specifications of the Code will be awarded the SWiFT 3000 Certification by an independent accredited certification body.
Professor Owen Lewis, CEO, SEAI, said, “This certification is a testament to the governance culture developed by the SEAI Board and the hard work and dedication of the team at SEAI in implementing the process. I would strongly encourage other board members, company secretaries and business owners to implement SWiFT 3000 as an essential element in their overall strategy. The award of SWiFT 3000 certification to SEAI will assure our stakeholders that we have the right structures, behaviours and practices in place and help us to continuously improve upon our corporate governance standards.”
Concluded Ann Riordan, “There has been significant and widespread industry and stakeholder support for SWiFT 3000, including from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Corporate Governance Association of Ireland, Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association, the Institute of Public Administration (IPA), Standards in Public Office Commission, as well as companies and organisations across both the public and private sector. The code is more demanding than a tick box approach as we have decided that in the area of corporate governance we do not want to simply match best practice internationally but wish to set a culture for higher standards. We do not want to be a follower but a leader on corporate governance."
For further information, please contact:
Peter O’Reilly, NSAI, Corporate Services, 01 807 3800
Robert Marshall, Corporate Reputations, 01 6618915, 0876478542, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronan Roche, Corporate Reputations, 01 6618915, 0860460326, email@example.com
Note to Editors:
¹The Code is the output of the NSAI SWiFT process (Specification Written in Fast Track) which commenced development of the code in October 2009.More than a dozen key people from the IOD, NSAI, academia, corporate governance experts, the public and private sector, the Financial Regulators office and The Office of Public Enforcement participated.
Copies of SWiFT 3000: 2010 Code of Practice for Corporate Governance Assessment in Ireland can be accessed free of charge by contacting NSAI at 01-807-3800 or alternatively at www.nsai.ie or www.standards.ie.
About NSAI: NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) is Ireland’s official standards and measurement body and the state agency vested with the responsibility to manage the policy instruments of Standards, Metrology and Conformity Assessment, (in the form of Certification and Agrément) on behalf of the Department of Enterprise, Jobs, and Innovation. These instruments form the basis of our basic trade infrastructure which enables people confidently to go about many aspects of their daily businesses and lives. Their work entails serving industry and protecting consumer interests through the setting of standards and issuing of certification in the quality and safety of goods and services. For over 50 years, the National Standards Authority of Ireland has been supporting enterprise, trade, consumers and government through the effective provision of services of the highest quality.