Is this our responsibility?

Manning agencies, security firms, yards and dry docks are just some of the high-priority suppliers in Maersk’s new global series of supplier workshops, under the umbrella of responsible procurement.

Manning agencies that recruit rig personnel are an example of suppliers that have a long-term business relationship with business units such as Maersk Drilling, and which are of high priority from a Responsible Procurement perspective.

From pens and paper clips to personnel on board an oil rig, the Maersk Group draws on the services of more than 110,000 suppliers. But how does a Group of Maersk’s size ensure that suppliers live up to the Group’s high ethical standards, personal safety standards and labour conditions?

Maersk Procurement is currently on a global road show, conducting a series of responsible procurement workshops. By the end of the year, between 50 and 100 suppliers will have participated in the workshops – one of which is manning agency Faststream Recruitment, which offers recruitment services to clients worldwide within the oil, gas and maritime services industry.

Challenges are global

“Almost all our major clients are serious about responsible business practices, but Maersk certainly seems at the forefront of ensuring this is acted upon,” says Simon Clements, Group Commercial Director of Faststream, who was representing one of the manning agencies present at the recent Supplier Development Programme workshop.

“The main challenge we face is that the oil, gas and maritime industry is so ‘global’ that we are working with candidates of all nationalities in almost all locations around the world. This stresses the need to understand and adhere to local legislation on issues such as employment rights, taxation and immigration, to name a few,” says Clements, adding that he left the workshop committed to working with Maersk on continuous development and alignment.

Focus on the conditions of subcontractors

Manning agencies that recruit personnel to service and maintain rigs are an example of high-priority suppliers. Maersk Drilling seeks to prevent and mitigate human rights risks in recruitment and agency employment, such as discrimination, unfair labour conditions and involuntary labour. Examples of other ‘high priority’ suppliers include security firms, terminals, yards and dry docks.

“Responsible Procurement has become an important part of how we establish new supply chain operations in high growth markets, and the main challenge is how to monitor the enforcement of good work and employment conditions for the subcontractors and create an awareness of this,” says Nikolaj Jacob Jessen-Klixbull, Head of Global Supply Chain Operations, Group Procurement Drilling.

He concludes: “As we continue to work with new suppliers and countries, we also become wiser on how and where to spend our time and energy to get the most value out of our cooperation with suppliers, showing them the benefits and opportunities of complying with our due diligence and Responsible Procurement programme.”

Simon Clements, Group Commercial Director of Faststream Recruitmernt, one of the suppliers who have participated in the Supplier Development Programme.

What the audits say

  •  In 2013, 14 audits of some of the Group’s strategic and highest Responsible Procurement priority suppliers were conducted by external, independent auditors.
  • The audit findings reveal that issues pertaining to labour and human rights constitute the most critical improvement areas for the suppliers audited.
  • One example is workers not having sufficient time off. Another is employers withholding personal documents such as passports of foreign workers as a condition for employment. Both are in clear violation of the rights of freedom of movement and freely chosen employment.

What is the Maersk third-party code of conduct?

  • Maersk is committed to working with its partners to promote responsible practices in general and throughout its supply chain around the world. The aspiration is to ensure that all partners acknowledge Maersk's values and share a commitment to conduct business in an ethical, legal and socially responsible manner.
  • The Maersk Code applies to entities such as suppliers, contractors and joint venture partners which the Group does business with. With Maersk Group as a LEAD member of the United Nations Global Compact, the Code is also aligned with the UN Global Compact Principles of Conduct and other internationally recognised standards and guidance.
  • A total of 2,800 suppliers have signed up to the Responsible Procurement programme since 2011.

The Supplier Development Programme ensures that suppliers' practices are fully aligned with Maersk's Third-Party Code of Conduct. A workshop being conducted for suppliers in Cameroon.

100 suppliers will participate
By the end of year, between 50 and 100 suppliers will participate in Responsible Procurement workshops worldwide. For Maersk, the main purpose of the programme is to ensure that suppliers' practices are fully aligned with the Group's Third-Party Code of Conduct. This Code sets the framework for socially and environmentally responsible business practices for our suppliers.

“We start out by showing examples of how businesses can, perhaps unknowingly, have a negative impact on workers and/or the local environment and ask a simple question – Is this our responsibility?”, says Anna Gaarde from Maersk Group Procurement.

“The question sets the scene for discussing where companies can unwillingly create or be involved in creating a negative impact on the societies where they operate, and why it is important to take a proactive approach in mitigating potential negative impact.”