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A culture of compliance and integrity

With the shipping industry contributing to 90% of the world’s global trade, it is connected to all industries in some way or form. A big challenge in the industry is the prevalence of corruption, and this is no exception during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a shipping company we are often challenged with corrupt behaviour in areas where our vessels trade. We take a firm stand against corruption and work on several arenas to abolish corruption, bribery and facilitation payments. Corruption has a negative impact on economic development, hurts the fabric of society and is inherently wrong.

Anti-corruption commitment

Maria Hempel, Chief Compliance Officer states,

We believe it is important for the shipping industry to come together and work proactively against corruption. As a global industry, we have the power to make a change and it is our responsibility to take this opportunity.

In 2012, Höegh Autoliners, Maersk Line and other shipowners decided to start working together to really make a difference against corruption in the shipping industry and the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) was created. The MACN is working towards its vision of a maritime industry free of corruption that enables fair trade to the benefit of society and therefore for all.

Maria explains, “The MACN network was designed with the idea of “strength in numbers”. When members establish strong relationships with each other, they feel more empowered to act against corruption, and can speak out, as they have support from those inside the network. Through collective action, MACN members collaborate with local authorities to develop solutions that are both beneficial to all and realistic to implement.”

Protection for whistleblowers uncovering corruption

A tool in our work against corruption and facilitations payments, Höegh Autoliners has a Whistleblower system.

Maria explains, “To encourages openness and transparency throughout the Company we have a Whistleblower system, where employees can report on malpractices on corruption, facilitations payments and other wrongdoings through a third-party portal. This gives the person who is reporting the possibility for complete anonymity and ensures that we have a structured process around cases reported.”

The Whistleblower system is part of Höegh Autoliners’ work to ensure that we comply with all applicable anti-corruption rules and regulations.

Maria says,

We want to achieve a maritime community without corruption. But we need everyone’s help to make this possible.

Integrity is integrated into our culture and behaviour

As a patron of the UN Global Compact Action platform and as a responsible business partner, we are committed to conduct our business with utmost regard to ethical business principles and act in line with applicable laws, ethical, environmental and community norms. We have integrated this into our behaviour and culture and uphold our employees to high ethical standards reflected in our Anti-Corruption Policy and Code of Conduct.

We believe that through continuous learning, we can prevent corruption in our business activities. As such, we have created, developed and implemented learning programmes for all Höegh Autoliners’ employees and agents that summarises the laws, policies and procedures to which everyone working for us must adhere.

Maria highlights, “Integrity is the most important trait in a leader and it has a massive impact on a company culture. To support this, we perform “Integrity Day” workshops in our global offices; to shed light on some of the ethical dilemmas we can all encounter in our daily lives and discuss how we can overcome these, while keeping our integrity intact.”

For the crew, we have developed and distributed a ‘Say NO to corruption’ – leaflet to our vessels as well as signs relating to our Anti-Corruption Policy, as a reminder of our strong stance against corruption.

Continuous engagement

Höegh Autoliners operate in many geographical areas were corruption is still a major problem.

Maria concludes,

Even though we see many improvements in regards to facilitation payments globally, our efforts have to continue if we are to have a corruption free industry. The aim is to stop the demands. Working with MACN, provides a meaningful forum for engagement. Members can share best practices, raise awareness of industry challenges, and collectively develop solutions for tackling bribes, facilitation payments and other forms of corruption.