Responsible business conduct

Western Bulk views responsible business conduct practices, including environmental and social standards, as key to reducing the impact of marine activities. Western Bulk is committed to promoting responsible and sustainable practices as global, corporate citizen and within our sphere of influence as ship operators.

Responsible business conduct

Adhering to high standards in Responsible Business Conduct (“RBC”) within the Group’s businesses has positive impacts on results and makes Western Bulk competitively stronger in a sector where customers are increasingly driven by such factors when choosing their business partners.

Western Bulk’s Code of Conduct and related internal policies establish clear expectations for all parts of the Group’s business with regard to good corporate conduct and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The Code of Conduct includes requirements and clearly communicates the Group’s expectations related to dealing with third parties and matters of integrity. 

Western Bulk has a compliance program that is aimed at addressing the risks relevant to the Group’s business. This program has explicit and visible support from senior management to emphasise the important role of compliance for the Group. 

Western Bulk has a whistle-blower policy and reporting channel. Employees are expected and encouraged to report matters that may not comply with the principles set forth in the Code of Conduct or other policies. 

Western Bulk has a Counterpart Risk team that evaluates new and existing third parties against several commercial and RBC-related risk criteria. This process is risk based and the extent of the vetting process therefore varies with the special risk of each trade, including e.g. the industry or region. The Group uses external databases and sources to improve the quality of the findings related to each third party. 

Western Bulk employees have a strong awareness of RBC related issues, and in particular related to the handling of corruption and sanctions risks. The importance of this area has been highlighted by a top-down promotion of RBC and compliance matters from the CEO and the senior management team. 

The Western Bulk group’s commitments in the RBC sphere are:

Human Rights

Western Bulk shall support, respect and commit to the principles set out in UN’s Universal declaration on Human Rights and ensure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

Labour Rights

Non-Discrimination

Western Bulk’s policies prohibit unlawful discrimination on grounds of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, labour union affiliation, social or ethnic origin. 

Western Bulk treats all persons with dignity and respect. All employees support a work environment free from discrimination.

Compensation

Wages paid to employees and hired labour are considered fair and meet any national legal standards on minimum wage. Working hours are not excessive and as a minimum complies with applicable local laws or agreements.

Labour standards

Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining and agreements are respected in all operations of the Group.

Safe working environment

All employees are provided with a safe and healthy work environment.

Seafarers

Owners of tonnage chartered by the Group are required to maintain standards for seafarers meeting at least those set by international standards and conventions. 

Environment

Western Bulk supports industry initiatives aimed at making shipping more sustainable, reducing the environmental impact of maritime activities and furthering the IMO 2030 and 2050 emission reduction targets. 

Western Bulk is continuously working to optimize operations in the fleet to minimize running costs and optimize fuel efficiency which in turn can help reduce overall emissions from the Group’s activities. 

Competition

Western Bulk operates in a highly competitive industry. The Group competes in a fair and ethical manner in relation to competitors as well as to customers and suppliers. Western Bulk will under no circumstances cause or be part of any breach of general or special competition regulations or any other behaviour that is in breach of applicable competition (anti-trust) legislation.

Taxation

Western Bulk Chartering AS is domiciled in Norway and controls legal and operational entities in Norway, Singapore, the United States of America, Chile, Sweden and Morocco. Western Bulk complies with tax laws, regulations and filing requirements in the jurisdictions where the Group is located. Western Bulk follows the arm’s length principle and complies with the recommendations set out in the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for internal transactions between group companies.

For further details about Western Bulk’s taxation, please also refer to the explanatory notes in the Group’s financial statements.

Anti Corruption

Western Bulk conducts its business with integrity. All activities within the Group are done in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The Code of Conduct prohibits engagement in corrupt or illegal practices directly or indirectly.

Western Bulk continues to participate in the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (www.maritime-acn.org). Established in 2011, MACN is an industry group of over 130 industry participants including ship owners and operators, cargo owners and service providers working towards a vision of a maritime industry free of corruption. As part of MACN, Western Bulk supports the efforts of collective industry action to improve the compliance environment and integrity in the sector. 

In 2020 Western Bulk completed TRACE certification for Western Bulk Carriers AS and Western Bulk Lte Ltd. TRACE certification means that the companies have completed a comprehensive and internationally recognised due diligence process administered by TRACE, the world’s leading anti-bribery standard setting organization. The successful completion of TRACE certification demonstrates a commitment to commercial transparency.

Western Bulk participates in MACN and Trace