Value to society

Ethics and compliance

Why it matters

As a business based on knowledge and technical expertise, trust and integrity are essential for attracting and retaining customers. Building trust in our services, skills and behaviour across the Group is a critical business goal and is clearly reflected in our vision to be ‘a trusted voice to tackle global transformations’. We do this by strictly adhering to our Code of Conduct and consistently maintaining high standards of business and personal conduct.

Our Code of Conduct provides the framework for what we consider ethical, responsible and sustainable behaviour. It applies to everyone involved in DNV’s business, and along with our purpose, vision and values, provides the foundation of our business ambition and all activities. Our approach is not simply to impose a set of rules, but to deliver a compliance programme that raises awareness by explaining the background and practical implications of ethical behaviour and compliance.

Progress in 2020

In 2020, we focused on maintaining high awareness levels for ethics and compliance across the Group. Training included web-based and virtual classroom sessions on business integrity and personal data protection. We made further improvements to our risk-based approach for handling personal data and our Code of Conduct was reviewed and revised to ensure it aligns with today’s expectations.

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Case study

New DNV Code of Conduct

We reviewed our Code of Conduct in 2020 to better reflect our new vision and values. As a starting point, we benchmarked our existing Code against DNV’s business needs and the approaches taken by our competitors and other large companies.

The revision has restructured the contents, modernized the language and clearly describes DNV’s expectations, emphasizing an adult-to-adult relationship between DNV and our employees.

The Code of Conduct no longer differentiates between business and personal behaviour, but explains expectations for behaviour and responsibilities, business conduct, how we safeguard our assets and show respect. The web version will receive a fresh layout and enhanced functionality.

The Code will be published in the beginning of Q2 2021, including a digital version for internal use with interactive elements, such as surveys, quizzes and nano-trainings to increase understanding and awareness among employees.

Looking ahead

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We observed a decreased number of labour-related cases in 2020, possibly due to the COVID-19 situation and remote working. The number of financial misconduct cases remained steady, although an increase is possible as economic crime tends to increase during and in the wake of a crisis.

Cases concerning breaches of data protection have increased over the years and remained high in 2020, which can be attributed to increased awareness, e.g. through new training measures (see page 58).

The use of our ethical helpline increased, possibly due to remote working and fewer opportunities to discuss cases with managers. We also recorded a number of unsubstantiated allegations which were handled by human resources.

An ongoing case concerns a former employee of DNV who was arrested in Norway and charged with espionage and corruption. The case is being handled by public prosecution in Norway and DNV is assisting with the investigation as required.