Annual Report 2023

Combating corruption and bribery

Audit with limited assurance

A company can only achieve sustainable success if it behaves in a responsible and legally compliant manner. With this in mind, compliance with legal requirements and internal company guidelines is a key part of HHLA’s corporate governance policy. Corporate governance declaration

HHLA strives to achieve this prime objective by establishing, coordinating and constantly enhancing its Group-wide compliance management system (CMS). It has also set itself the goal of identifying key compliance risks, assessing them on an ongoing basis, and minimising them by implementing suitable measures and processes. Furthermore, the CMS aims to raise awareness among HHLA Group employees regarding the need to comply with both the legal requirements relevant to their work and internal guidelines. By doing so, it sets out to foster an appropriate level of risk awareness within the workforce with a view to preventing compliance violations.

The functions of HHLA’s CMS are carried out centrally by a Group Compliance Officer, who reports to the Executive Board member responsible for compliance – currently the Human Resources Officer or Labour Director – and the Supervisory Board’s Audit Committee, as well as decentrally by local compliance contact partners and officers, who report to the Group Compliance Officer.

HHLA’s CMS centres on a Code of Conduct that goes beyond the statutory requirements by formulating overriding principles on relevant topics for compliance, such as fair conduct in the competitive environment and dealing with conflicts of interest or sensitive corporate information. The HHLA Code of Conduct is available online at

Preventing corruption is another key issue addressed in the Code of Conduct. In the course of its activities, HHLA is constantly in contact with business partners and officials at different levels – especially in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia. The aim of the in-depth anti-corruption guidelines is to help employees assess situations with potential corruption implications in their day-to-day work in order to effectively prevent corrupt behaviour and the associated consequences for both employees and the company. The anti-corruption guidelines provide staff with the necessary knowledge about granting or accepting benefits to or from business partners and officials. Practical examples are used by way of illustration.

The Code of Conduct obliges employees to pass on any information they may have about misconduct at the company. Third parties can also report suspected violations to the compliance hotline (whistle-blower hotline). All information received is treated confidentially and callers can choose to remain anonymous. Moreover, the anti-corruption guidelines state that staff must seek advice or report violations if they have any doubts or suspicions.

Training courses and internal corporate media constantly provide employees with information on important aspects of the Code of Conduct and associated issues, such as corruption prevention and how they are expected to behave in accordance with the anti-corruption guidelines. During the reporting period, online training in anti-corruption topics was provided to employees in regular contact with business partners and officials. An awareness campaign was launched during the reporting period to raise employee awareness of the issue of drugs being illegally imported via seaports. HHLA works closely with the investigative authorities to help prevent and solve crime.

The number of incidents is constantly documented and monitored as part of the CMS using an internal reporting system. This enables the company to adjust its risk assessment or add more risk scenarios should there be an increase, for example, and to introduce appropriate measures, such as more communication and adapting processes in its internal control system.

The responsibility of each individual to comply with the provisions laid down by regulators, professional associations and the government, both within the company itself and in dealings with contractual partners, is also described in HHLA’s in-house purchasing guidelines, in combination with HHLA’s externally applicable purchasing guidelines. The focus here is on analysing and evaluating relationships with suppliers in terms of their reliability, quality, innovativeness, cost structures, economic stability, occupational safety, sustainability and compliance. Selecting suppliers on the basis of these criteria also helps to prevent corruption. Procurement and supplier management

HHLA continues to use a Supplier Code of Conduct. This is enshrined in the purchasing guidelines. The Supplier Code of Conduct also includes anti-corruption regulations.

HHLA’s IT-based business partner screening system also plays a part in preventing corruption by facilitating a risk-based assessment of HHLA’s business partners, e.g. with regard to compliant behaviour in their international business dealings. Procurement and supplier management

The CMS – and in particular the area of anti-corruption – was audited and its effectiveness confirmed most recently in 2020/2021 by PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, Düsseldorf, in accordance with IDW PS 980 and taking into account the requirements of ISO 19600.

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