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Fostering compliance through company culture


How does one create and maintain an ethical culture? Camilla Orko, Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer, offers key insights into what compliance means to Cargotec and how the organisation has made it a part of its culture.


The two main keywords that capture the spirit of Cargotec’s compliance work are integrity and transparency. Most important of all, the value of integrity—the quality of upholding strong moral principles—has become part of Cargotec’s culture through strong management commitment.

 “If you think about the integrity culture of Cargotec, it very much starts from the top,” says Camilla Orko, Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at Cargotec. “All the way from the board to the Cargotec and Business Areas leadership teams, and most importantly from our CEO, who has set a very clear tone in terms of expectations. It sets the direction and pace for the entire organisation.”

Ensuring clarity through the Code of Conduct and the Compliance Programme

At the same time, the tone from the top is not enough by itself to ensure that employees do the right thing. A Code of Conduct, a set of principles that every employee is expected to follow, as well as a Compliance Programme to support it, are must-haves to ensure that we foster and maintain a culture of integrity.

Cargotec’s compliance programme incorporates risk assessment, controls and processes, monitoring, training, communication, investigations, and remediation where necessary.

“We operate in a world full of risks and opportunities and we want to give our people a compass to navigate their day-to-day ethical challenges. Our Code of Conduct sets the basis for ethical behaviour and guides our people on how to do business in an ethical manner with integrity and make it part of their daily business.”

Creating engagement through transparency

Alongside a culture of ethical integrity, promoting transparency and openness within the business and around the Compliance Programme itself is a good way to engage employees. It not only allows people to know what to expect from Cargotec, but also gives confidence to speak up if they have or see any issues.

Over the course of 2020, Cargotec ran a series of Q&A sessions with leaders and employees where everyone could talk about a wide range of compliance topics. Those sessions were broadcast throughout the company for all to see.

“It’s not about ending up in the gallery of shame if you have issues or concerns about compliance in your company. What matters is that you identify and can raise them openly so the company can take steps to remediate wrongdoing or correct a process or a control. That’s a key aspect of maintaining and building upon our culture of integrity, and it also makes Cargotec a better company."

Clearer understanding of third parties for better decision-making 

Cargotec also launched an improved process this year aimed at ensuring that our third-party business partners follow the same ethical standards as we do at Cargotec. Cargotec works together with business partners throughout its supply chain and this can sometimes expose the company to heightened compliance risk. The new process helps to create transparency and control within our third-party relationships and helps us to make better, safer business decisions with reliable and reputable business partners.

“When you have third parties acting on your behalf, you’re exposed to a different kind of risk than you would be if you did things on your own. It’s more difficult to control. Third parties are also often from areas of the world that can be inherently riskier. That’s why this is an area where we want to make sure that we have the right controls and understanding in place.”

Continuous learning for a strong integrity culture

Integral to Cargotec’s compliance culture are continuous improvement and the ability to learn from incidents that occur. Effective ethics and compliance work is an ongoing process. In particular, the work on controls for third parties is a key focus area for the company and continues to be the subject of continuous improvement going forward.

“When you find things that go wrong—and there will always be things that go wrong—the most important thing to do is to be open and to learn from them. This goes towards building an ethical and sustainable company that is attractive to customers, employees and other stakeholders. And that’s good business.”

Ethics and compliance support Cargotec’s sustainability work

In May 2020, Cargotec committed to becoming a 1.5°C company to help combat climate change. More recently, the company has been measuring and reducing its carbon footprint to increase its sustainability with a positive impact on the environment. There are, however, more ways of being sustainable than through environmental factors alone.

“Setting and following high ethical standards and acting with integrity are at the core of great sustainable companies. The way we behave with our colleagues, business partners and other stakeholders lays the foundation for a great business both in the short and long term. On an individual level, ethical behaviour encompasses acting with integrity, honesty and respect. That also includes caring for the environment. Environmental sustainability is being seen increasingly as an ethical issue. After all, it has become increasingly recognised over the past 20 years that unethical behaviour, including corruption, is a scourge that squanders precious public resources, blights societies and drives poverty, all of which contribute to environmental destruction. That is why we see our commitment to ethical integrity as going hand in hand with our environmental commitments.”

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