The Maersk Principles of Conduct in place
A clear and explicit reference to human rights is among the new features in the revised business principles which were put in place earlier this year for all 115,000 A.P. Moller - Maersk employees, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to Maersk.
Together with policies and programmes, the new "Maersk Principles of Conduct" are designed to help business units and employees make the right choices in their daily engagement with colleagues, customers, suppliers, investors and the community.
The point is: Good behaviour is good business. "The premise for any business is to make a profit for its shareholders, and we believe that high business standards play a significant role in ensuring our continued growth and success," says Group CEO Nils Smedegaard Andersen.
One of the primary additions to the principles is an explicit mention of human rights: "We respect human rights and endeavour to ensure that we do not contribute to human rights violations." This was implicit before.
Implementing the Principles of Conduct may not necessarily be easy. Responsible business behaviour, for example, should be promoted to Maersk's "sphere of influence," which includes in excess of 80,000 suppliers.
This will be spelled out in a Third Party Code of Conduct, currently being worked on in Group Procurement.
"We will require our suppliers to conform to the Third Party Code of Conduct. It sets out the standards and behaviour we require of our suppliers to improve conditions for workers and environmental conditions at supplier's premises," says Casper Christensen, Senior Director at Group Procurement.
What if the supplier is not in compliance?
"The Code cannot be enforced. With the Code, we express our expectation, and if a supplier is in breach, we will still do business with that company, but engage in a corrective action process designed to improve working conditions so they reach an acceptable level. In some cases, we may have to terminate the relationship, but that will always be a last resort," says Christensen.
For Damco, a third party logistics provider, the "sphere of influence" could be tens of thousands of suppliers and customers.
"In a period when we all have to focus on cost reduction, responsible procurement, for example, will be a challenge. But I am sure we will meet expectations and create new opportunities for us and our business partners," says Antoine Minot, Damco's global HSSE and CSR manager.