Integration of Ethics and Compliance into the Bertling Business

How do you install an effective culture throughout an organisation? This is a challenge that faces every business. Organisations are continuously striving to integrate cultures that will improve some aspect of its business operations; whether it is a health and safety culture, a cost saving culture, a service quality culture or an ethics and compliance culture.

Many outcomes of disaster or incident investigations serve as a warning that it is not possible to effectively introduce multiple cultures into an organisation. In any company, there is only one culture – its business culture. This business culture is the outcome of all the influences exerted on the organisation and its staff. 

Integrating ethics and compliance into a company’s business culture is the most effective way of ensuring that business operations are compliant wherever they operate in the world. Achieving this, however, is the real challenge.

Since 2013, Bertling has been continuously working at integrating its ethics and compliance policy into its business culture. The latest revision of its ISO 9001 2015 integrated management system and the introduction of Critical High Risk Support Procedures (CHRSP’s) to specifically address critical risks such as bribery and corruption have been the outcome of these efforts.

Enterprise risk approach

The integrated management system has been revised to follow an enterprise risk approach. Business processes and activities were assessed for any bribery and corruption risks, with subsequent procedures put in place to manage these threats. At the same time, bribery and corruption risks were considered in the context of other business challenges to understand the impact that these had on each other so that they could be considered when implementing mitigations. Although challenging, this is the best way of ensuring that managing one risk does not have a destructive impact on managing another.

Within this system, the management of the critical risks of bribery and corruption is overseen through the ethics and compliance critical high risk support procedure (CHRSP B_L-QHSSE-0022), which has been imbedded into the company’s revised ISO 9001 integrated management system.     

Integration into the business culture

As well as introducing the CHRPS into the integrated management system, the core business and operational processes were also evaluated and revised to meet the more stringent requirements of the new ISO 9001 2015 standard. Using a bottom-up approach, all core business processes were broken down into their discrete operational elements, with their risks evaluated and mitigated.

The new ISO 9001 Standard has a greater emphasis on risk based thinking, senior management engagement, business relevance and continual improvement. These changes fit perfectly with Bertling’s need to oversee and enhance its business culture’s integration of ethics and compliance. Consequently, the core business processes were revised to ensure that they met the new standards. Bertling’s improved integrated management system has recently undergone its ISO 9001 2015 transition audit.

Certifying your business culture

Following a transition audit of the revised integrated management system in July, Bertling Logistics Aberdeen Ltd was certified with the new ISO 9001 2015 standard, where ethics and compliance (along with other high risks) are now integrated into the core business processes. Oversight, review and improvement processes are also built in as part of the integrated management system.

It has taken several years to get everything into place and there are still improvements to be made, but we believe that this revised management system of continuous improvement process – together with external oversight through ISO and 3rd party specialist compliance audits – will bring substantial progress. The improvements bring the company closer to ensuring that ethics and compliance are not only imbedded into Bertling’s business culture, but are also established within a framework that will enable it to further develop and improve.