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Customer risk review

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Why is this material?

With a vision of having global impact for a safe and sustainable future DNV GL is working with customers worldwide to improve their sustainability performance, and thereby making them safer, smarter and greener. 

Working with certain types of controversial companies from controversial sectors may imply a risk to a company like DNV GL, even though the entity with which we work is considered legal. Hence, DNV GL will monitor sustainability-related risks in our customer basis on a continuous basis.

Project & Activities 

In 2014, a project group was established to start assessing DNV GL’s downstream value chain responsibility and to consider to what extent the company faces unacceptable sustainability related risks associated with any customer groups. The group comprised representatives from several functions, including Finance & Legal, Group Sustainability, Research & Innovation as well as representatives from business areas. 

The project was established specifically because of a concerns raised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with regards to DNV GL’s commercial relations with companies in the tobacco industry. WHO has a policy to avoid relationships with enterprises whose activities are incompatible with the work of WHO, such as tobacco and arms industries (WHO Guidelines on Working with the Private Sector). This policy may have consequences for DNV GL’s healthcare business.  

The project group reviewed international standards and policies, including the UN Global Compact guidelines on the tobacco industry and the Norwegian Pension Fund Abroad policy. It also reviewed our current contracts with the industry and found some contracts of a limited nature in DNV GL Business Assurance. A total of 68 certificates were issues to tobacco companies in 2014.  

Because of requirements from accreditation bodies not to discriminate sectors that are legal, excluding tobacco companies from DNV GLs customer portfolio is impossible. However, DNV GL will not actively seek business in the tobacco industry.  The issue was raised during the Corporate Sustainability Board meeting in November 2014, and the Board concluded that DNV GL will continue working with companies from this sector. DNV GL will on an ongoing basis review dilemmas from business units related to potentially unsuitable customers.

Reporting on Performance

Our ambition
What we said we would do
Where we are today
What we plan to do next
Our ambition
To positively influence the sustainability performance of our partners in our value chain, and thereby to help spread responsible business practices around the world.
What we said we would do
To establish a project to review the extent to which DNV GL faces unacceptable sustainability risks associated with our customers. 
Where we are today
Project recommendations were presented to the Sustainability Board in November 2014, and the decision was to not actively seek business in the tobacco industry. 
What we plan to do next
No immediate plans.