Ethisphere Institute honors Saltchuk companies and the culture of ethics that unites them
By Emily Reiter – this article first appeared in June’s Beyond the Numbers, a publication produced by Saltchuk Internal Consulting
Saltchuk is proud that a strong culture of ethics throughout its family of companies lead the Ethisphere Institute to name it a 2014 World’s Most Ethical Company®.
Ethisphere, an independent center of research promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance, is in its eighth year of the WME program. Over the last eight years, thousands of applications have been submitted and hundreds are put through an in-depth review each year. This year’s 144 honorees represent 41 industries and include21 first-time honorees, including Saltchuk.
Saltchuk is honored to join familiar names such as Gap, Ford Motor Co., UPS, Intel, Hasbro, Weyerhaeuser, Holland America, and Starbucks. It is one of just three transportation and logistics companies honored in 2014.
The extensive application required information to be collected from all Saltchuk companies. Applications were evaluated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (25%); reputation, leadership and innovation (20%); governance (10%); corporate citizenship and responsibility (25%); and culture of ethics (20%).
“The entire community of World’s Most Ethical Companies believes that customers, employees, investors and regulators place a high premium on trust, and that ethics and good governance are key in earning it,” said Ethisphere’s Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Erblich. “Saltchuk joins an exclusive community committed to driving performance through leading business practices. We congratulate everyone at Saltchuk for this extraordinary achievement.”
Saltchuk’s decision to apply for WME was heavily influenced by TOTE General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer Michael Holt, who had experience with the program while at NYK Group Americas (NGA). Once the decision to apply had been embraced by senior management throughout the Saltchuk family of companies, the application process was largely driven by Holt, TOTE Compliance Manager Evie Wentink, and Saltchuk General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer John Hoerster, with support throughout the organization.
“The World’s Most Ethical Companies designation is an important and clear message throughout our companies and industries that we hold ourselves to the highest standards possible,” said Holt. “We know how critical it is to the entire organization that we never waiver from those standards.”
Holt is more familiar than most with the repercussions of a rogue employee who strays from the company’s values, as he has been engaged in resolving litigation resulting from anti-trust activities at Sea Star Line more than six years ago.
While the illegal activity was isolated to a small group of people within one subsidiary, shock waves reverberated throughout the organization.
“We choose to not to be defined by that incident,” said Hoerster. “Sometimes it takes a traumatic event to solidify and propel an organization forward. We choose to be known for what we are doing to make sure something like that never happens again.”
One thing Saltchuk has done is refocus efforts to ensure that its culture of ethics is communicated clearly throughout all its companies. The Saltchuk Code of Ethical Business Conduct is not a revolutionary document, it is a reinforcement of the values the organization has held over time. The Code was designed to make clear what an employee should do if they are ever placed in a compromising situation or suspect activity that is not consistent with Saltchuk’s values.
“While it may say Saltchuk’s name on the award, the employees of all Saltchuk companies deserve the real honors,” said Hoerster. “Ethics is a personal commitment; we are very proud that our people and companies have been honored for their hard work, and for living our values each and every day.”
Saltchuk plans to apply for WME honors again in 2015. Each year, the leadership team will receive a “scorecard” that provides insight into how the Saltchuk family of companies performed against others who desire to be named a
World’s Most Ethical Company. The process of self-evaluation is expected to drive continuous improvement throughout the organization.
“A strong culture of ethics is something that takes continuous commitment and effort,” said Hoerster. “We know that the long-term success of Saltchuk relies on all our employees and companies committing to always do the right thing by our people, customers and communities.”
The full list of the 2014 World’s Most Ethical Companies can be found here.
About the Ethisphere Institute
The Ethisphere® Institute is an independent center of research, best practices and thought leadership that promotes best practices in corporate ethics and governance and enables organizations to improve compliance, mitigate risk, and enhance relationships with employees, business partners, investors and the broad regulatory community. Ethisphere evaluates and benchmarks compliance and governance programs, honors superior achievement through its World’s Most Ethical Companies® recognition program and publishes Ethisphere Magazine. Ethisphere is also the leading provider of independent verification of corporate ethics and compliance programs that include: Ethics Inside® Certification, Compliance Leader Verification™ and Anti-Corruption Program Verification™. More information about Ethisphere can be found at: www.ethisphere.com.