It's good to see Carnival building out its ethics and compliance team. Given the cruise company's recent history, these new hires certainly have their work cut out for them.
Carnival Corp. announced Tuesday several new roles for its ethics and compliance team. The move comes as scrutiny around the cruise industry’s environmental record grows, and as the company prepares to enter year three of a five-year court-mandated environmental compliance plan.
Three new positions — including roles addressing ethics and compliance, environmental compliance, and health and safety — will sit under Peter Anderson, chief ethics and compliance officer, who was hired in August. There were additionally several internal promotions to roles which will also focus on compliance.
The move comes after some rough headlines and ongoing legal trouble for Carnival. In 2017, the cruise company was fined $40 million for environmental crimes. In June of this year, the company was fined a further $20 million for violations of the probation agreement for those crimes. The executive committee was compelled to appear in court to plead guilty, and the creation of the chief compliance officer role was a term of the company’s settlement agreement.
Last month, Anderson told Skift that he believes the company is in the midst of creating a holistic shift which he hopes will affect the company’s leadership as well as create bottom-up culture of speaking up. The goal of these new hires is to help Carnival meet or exceed all legal and statutory requirements, the company said.
“This new team underscores our commitment to ethics, compliance, the environment and health, safety and security,” Anderson said in a statement. “We are in the process of developing a world-class, enduring culture of compliance among every one of our 150,000 employees. Compliance and ethics is at the heart of everything we do.”
Of course, actions will speak louder than words. Carnival is due back in court on Dec. 19 at a hearing the company has requested to further outline its compliance efforts. At the last status hearing, in early October, Judge Patricia Seitz said that the cruise line needed to take more concrete actions in response to the “persistent significant violations” recorded by the court appointed monitor.
The judge has asked company to specifically address several items at the December hearing, per court documents. These include how company leadership is communicating the importance of environmental compliance to its staff and how it intends to prevent past violations including the discharge of of plastics, food waste, and oily waste into the ocean as well as the “inaccurate completion and maintenance of training records.”
In October, Skift reported on the cruise industry’s response to new air pollution limit that will go into effect in January. Like much of the cruise industry, Carnival has opted to use exhaust gas cleaning systems — or “scrubbers” — to meet the new standard, a move many environmental groups object to. In a report made public in April, the court appointed monitor found more than 30 incidents related to the scrubber technology, among many other violations.
All of which is to say: Carnival’s new compliance-focused employees have their work cut out for them.
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Photo credit: Holland America's MS Koningsdam in Venice Carnival Corp.