The Wilhelmsen group has made a bold statement by being the first traditional shipping company to join the Norwegian chapter of Transparency International.
“THIS IS NOT ABOUT joining an organisation to get a logo, but rather forming an active cooperation with Transparency International,” explains Morten Torkildsen, Wilhelmsen group compliance manager.
“We need to get all Wilhelmsen employees on board with the notion that corruption, facilitation payments and bribery damage our industry and prevents business from improving and developing.
By joining Transparency International we send a strong signal that fighting corruption is high on the Wilhelmsen agenda in terms of building the right company culture.”
“Our membership gives us the opportunity to draw on Transparency International’s expertise and experience with corruption in various parts of the world on how to best deal with the training needed and the challenges our personnel will face.”
Changing the game in Suez
Wilhelmsen is challenging the notion that you can never pass through the Suez Canal without making facilitation payments.
Of the 34 journeys made through the canal in 2015 by Wilhelmsen vessels, 32 vessels made no facilitation payments whatsoever. “There is a generational and cultural shift along the Suez canal,” explains Morten Torkildsen, Wilhelmsen group compliance manager. “Our seafarers now feel empowered to refuse to make facilitation payments, and they know we will back them up in the event of any problems. There is still some work to do, but our hard work is making a difference.”
Facilitation payments are a small payment made to secure a routine governmental action to which one is legally entitled. These payments, typically packets of cigarettes in the Suez area, have been a big challenge within the shipping sector in some parts of the world.
Introducing transparency international
TO MARK THE MEMBERSHIP, Guro Slettemark, General Secretary of Transparency International Norway, met with Thomas Wilhelmsen. She spoke to WW World about her organisation and her impressions of the Wilhelmsen group.
WELCOME NEW MEMBER
“It’s wonderful to meet with young leaders with a proactive attitude. It’s easy to tell when someone is speaking with genuine passion, so it’s obvious that Thomas is very concerned about beating corruption. Within Wilhelmsen there is a good anticorruption program in place. The results from the Suez canal are very promising, but there is no cause for rest. As we see all the time, corruption will find new forms.”
“We learn a lot from our large corporate members as they are the ones with the boots on the ground, and in return we can offer a substantial global network of resources and advice.”
“In the past, our work was more about lobbying for better laws on a national and international basis. Those laws are largely in place, so our focus now turns to people at the grassroots. In Norway like many other countries, talking about corruption is considered taboo. People think that corruption is about brown envelopes, but it takes so many forms.”
WORKING WITH YOUTH
“We believe long-term success is only possible by targeting young people today. We are partnering with more universities and educational programs to try to get anti-corruption teaching into the curriculum wherever possible.” “Last year, the International Student Festival in Trondheim (ISFiT) had anticorruption high on the agenda. We worked together with the festival board for a long time and it was great to see how interested the students are in these important issues. It gives us great hope for the future.”
For more information about Transparency International, see www. transparency.org.
WSM certified by TRACE
WILHELMSEN SHIP MANAGEMENT has completed a comprehensive due diligence process administered by TRACE, the world’s leading anti-bribery standard setting organisation. President of Wilhelmsen Ship Management, Carl Schou, said: “We have zero tolerance towards bribery and corruption and being TRACE Certified simply affirms our commitment to transparency in all our work processes and services. We are proud to be part of international efforts to tackle corruption in the shipping industry.”
Certification by TRACE signifies completion of internationally accepted due diligence procedures that are strict and forthcoming during the review process. Wilhelmsen Ship Management promises commercial transparency to valued business partners, industry regulators and multinational companies.