26 Sep 2012
First bite made in ‘elephant sandwich’ Code of Ethics
The first, substantial steps have been made towards the creation of the International Superyacht Society's (ISS) code of ethics, which is set to instigate greater diligence within superyacht industry practices in order to promote market growth.
ISS president Ken Hickling, tasked with developing three of the code’s four component parts and, who following the project's birth at GSF 2011 likened the project to an ‘elephant sandwhich’ to be taken ‘one bite at a time’, has now reported progress. The first bites, it seems, have been made, with steps taken towards this important new behavioural blueprint.
“The way to combat corruption or damaging behaviour is by giving a statement of what we want rather than what we don’t want,” said Hickling.
Although the ISS started off by “identifying 17 different ways you can behave questionably,” the association wanted to focus the actual code on the positive as a driving force in good business practice.
Four healthy principles: Integrity, Honesty, Trust and Professionalism were therefore established and will form the backbone of a complete ‘checklist’ of behaviours and practices. Each sector of the superyacht industry, from brokerage to the supply chain and construction, will eventually have their own documents, with each underpinned by these common four principles.
As Hickling put it in its practical context: “If someone runs a transaction and feels aggrieved they can run down a list and say, 'did we do all these things?' The documents will be simple and straightforward.”
The subject certainly provoked many aggrieved comments at GSF 2011 (a sign in itself of the wider misery in the industry and its, perhaps, clouded outward perception), but again, in approaching the creation of the code, the emphasis was on the positive.
The ISS asked:“Number one, what we want; what do we want as a result of the code?” The simple goal and conclusion of this was “to work in a superyacht industry that is respected and [that we are] proud to be a part of,” said Hickling.
At present implementation is a way off but the industry can be assured that, “there are a dozen different ways to give it teeth. The important point is that you need to know what it is that you are going to enforce as the first step in the process.”
With this achieved, the second bite in the elephant sandwich will be drafting the content of the code - no small feat. The ISS will have to consider the myriad ways in which good behaviour practically manifests itself, and what the visible yardsticks are that can distinguish a good business from one with less integrity or less professionalism.
The results – establishing a superyacht industry that is respected – will be worth it.
“We have the potential to grow because only 10 per cent of our target market want to own superyachts,” said Hickling. “But one of the things that is holding people back is that they think they are going to get ripped off, because they fear this isn’t an honest industry. That’s why the code of ethics is important. It’s addressing a central problem."
Ken Hickling President of the ISS will be presenting on on the development of the Code of Ethics at the Global Superyacht Forum on Tuesday 13 November.
ISS Profile | ISS Website
Global Superyacht Forum Website
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