The global nature of our industry involves working together across countries and with different cultures. Adding to this complexity is the legal framework in which international companies operate. Over the past years anti-corruption legislation has tightened and the introduction of the UK Bribery Act from 2010 marked a watershed as it added facilitation payments and failure to prevent as offences. The legal responsibility of a company extends through the supply chain and to third parties. Thus as an international company you need to know your third party and supply chain risks and work to reduce them. Simultaneously there is also stronger enforcement and sanctions, not just in USA and Europe but also in Asia. China is enforcing its anti-corruption law in an ongoing anti-graft campaign targeting ‘tigers and flies’ – large and small bribes.
Grieg Star and Grieg Philippines recently gathered more than 70 suppliers to a half-day seminar on strengthening integrity in business relations. Grieg Philippines is a manning agency operating in Manila, with its principal Grieg Star, a fully integrated shipping company based in Norway. “As part of an international company, we need to consider the outside world and not the Philippine perspective,” stated General Manager of Grieg Philippines Capt. Dennis Desabille.
Understanding the various legal requirements we face today is key. We need to reflect on our business practices and ask ourselves; is this right? Is it legal? Could my gift be perceived as a bribe? Would I be trying to influence a public official to speed up the handling of my application if I give him/her a gift? Or is it merely a way to build friendship?
Atty. Jose M. Layug Jr., Senior Partner of Puno and Puno, provided the legal framework for compliance in the Philippines and also narrated his experiences as Undersecretary of the Department of Energy, where he discharged the functions of his office with integrity. He shunned gifts that are not customary and ensured efficient handling of matters pending before his office. He also encouraged the private sector to approach government officials in a forthright manner without any promise of any reward or financial returns as a key measure to avoid corruption.
Grieg Star and Grieg Philippines have a supplier code of conduct that is being used in the pre-qualification of suppliers. In addition to anti-corruption, gift and hospitality, the code also covers human rights, environment, sanctions and other compliance issues relevant to the companies. In collaboration with suppliers the companies want to collaborate with their suppliers on improving standards.
“By engaging you all here today we are creating ripples on water. If you go back to your companies and continue to reflect on how we can strengthen integrity as individuals and in your company and supply chain – that will be a good start!” stated Marit Trodal, Corporate Responsibility Manager in Grieg Star.