Wärtsilä has defined its objectives for internal control according to the international COSO framework. Wärtsilä defines internal control as a process implemented by Wärtsilä's Board of Directors, the Management, the Boards of Directors of Group companies, and other personnel, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives.
Internal control covers all the policies, processes, procedures and organisational structures within Wärtsilä that help the management, and ultimately the Board, to ensure that Wärtsilä is achieving its objectives, that the business conduct is ethical and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, that the company's assets, including its brand, are safeguarded, and that its financial reporting is correct. Internal control is not a separate process or set of activities but is embedded in Wärtsilä's operations.
The system of internal control operates at all levels of Wärtsilä. Wärtsilä maintains and develops its internal control system with the ultimate aim of improving its business performance and, at the same time, complying with laws and regulations in countries where it operates.
The Board of Management is responsible for developing and implementing Wärtsilä's management system, continuously improving its performance and ensuring that it operates effectively. The Wärtsilä management system covers all global processes and management procedures within Wärtsilä related to fulfilling customer requirements. The proper functioning of the management systems below ensures, for their part, the attainment of Wärtsilä's internal control objectives.
Planning and target setting, an integral part of performance management in Wärtsilä, is a regular management activity and not part of Wärtsilä's internal control system. The establishment of objectives, however, is an important pre-requisite for internal control. Through the performance management process, financial and non-financial targets are set for Wärtsilä annually at the Group level. These Group level targets are then translated into targets for the Businesses, Group companies, and eventually for individuals.
The achievement of the annual targets is monitored through monthly management reporting. The performance of the Businesses and the achievement of the annual targets are reviewed on a monthly basis in the respective Management team meetings. The performance relating to the targets set by the Group and the different Businesses are reviewed on a monthly basis by the Board of Management. The respective management teams and the Board of Management also address the reliability of Wärtsilä's financial reporting.
Wärtsilä's financial reporting is carried out in a harmonised way in all major Group companies, using a single instance ERP system and a common chart of accounts. The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are applied throughout the entire Group. Wärtsilä's finance and control process is essential for the functioning of internal control. Adequate controls in the financial management and accounting processes are needed to ensure the reliability of financial reporting.
The Board of Directors regularly assesses the adequacy and effectiveness of Wärtsilä's internal controls and risk management. It is also responsible for ensuring that the internal control of accounting and financial administration is arranged appropriately. The Audit Committee of Wärtsilä’s Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing the financial reporting process. The Group Business Control function, together with the Business Control functions in the Business areas, are responsible for notifying relevant levels of management regarding deviations from plans, analysing the underlying reasons and suggesting corrective actions. These functions support the Businesses in decision-making and analyses to ensure the attainment of financial targets. They maintain and develop the company's performance management processes, so that the management at different levels of the organisation is able to receive timely, reliable, and adequate information regarding the achievement of the organisation's objectives. In addition, they are responsible for developing the financial reporting processes and respective controls.
Legal and compliance management practices and processes occupy a central role in Wärtsilä's system of internal control. Wärtsilä's policy is to act in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations in all countries where it operates.
Legal and compliance management acts predominantly in a proactive manner. Legal Affairs supports the President & CEO and the businesses in analysing and making decisions on matters involving contract policy, risk management, and regulatory considerations. Other key activities are to lead compliance management, and to strengthen and ensure the culture of appropriate conduct and behaviour, both internally and in external business transactions. Compliance management is based on the Code of Conduct and relevant group level policies and directives. Company-wide control mechanisms and processes are a part of the overall internal control system.
Human resource management practices and processes play an active role in Wärtsilä's internal control system. Wärtsilä's main human resource management processes with respect to internal control are compensation and benefits, HR development, recruitment and resourcing management, individual performance management, as well as processes for collecting employee feedback. The HR function is responsible for maintaining and developing Wärtsilä's people related processes to enable effective internal control, also at the individual level.
The quality of Wärtsilä's solutions, and thus quality management, is a top priority for Wärtsilä. Compliance with Wärtsilä's Quality Management System ISO 9001:2000 is compulsory throughout the Group, and compliance with the system is rigorously monitored.
Wärtsilä is strongly committed to sustainability. Wärtsilä's purpose and values, together with a solid financial performance, form the basis for sustainable development within Wärtsilä. Wärtsilä applies global guiding principles, such as the Quality, Environmental, Health & Safety policy (QEHS policy) and the Code of Conduct, which, together with the company's values, ensure a harmonised way of working towards sustainable development. In addition to the aforementioned, the Corporate Manual includes other policies and directives, a description of the company's operating procedures, responsibilities, and the management system structure.
Wärtsilä's Board of Management has overall responsibility for sustainability performance. The Board of Management approves the guiding principles and reviews the content on a regular basis. The Board of Management defines sustainability targets and monitors performance against these set targets. Performance is reviewed in connection with management reviews at Wärtsilä's both Board of Management and Business Management Team levels.
The Board of Directors reviews major sustainability issues on an annual basis. In addition, the Board of Management identifies major critical concerns and, when necessary, communicates such concerns to the Board of Directors.
Wärtsilä's sustainability function is responsible for providing the necessary information to management, identifying development needs, as well as for coordinating sustainability programmes and preparing instructions. The function cooperates closely with the Businesses and the support functions, such as Human Resources, Legal Affairs, Compliance and Quality. It also collects and consolidates sustainability data from the subsidiaries.
Wärtsilä has clearly defined responsibilities, which are supported by necessary instructions and training. This training covers, for example, the Code of Conduct, anti-corruption, as well as environmental and occupational health and safety issues. Wärtsilä monitors its sustainability performance by utilising the information provided by various sustainability tools and activities, such as internal audits and compliance processes.
Internal control within Wärtsilä is designed to support the company in achieving its targets. The risks related to the achievement of targets need to be identified and evaluated in order for them to be managed. Thus, the identification and assessment of risks is a pre-requisite for internal control within Wärtsilä. Wärtsilä's internal control mechanisms and procedures provide the management assurance that risk management actions are carried out as planned.
Wärtsilä has defined and implemented entity level and process level control activities, as well as information system controls. Control activities at different levels are needed to directly mitigate risks at the respective levels. Wärtsilä's risk management processes consist of Group-wide risk assessment and management processes, as well as project-specific risk assessment and project risk management. The Group-wide risk assessment process results in the creation of action plans for the identified and prioritised risks.
Each Business reports its main risks to Wärtsilä's Board of Management, which reviews the execution of the defined risk management action plans on a regular basis. Wärtsilä's Board of Directors is responsible for defining the Group's overall level of risk tolerance, and for ensuring that Wärtsilä has adequate tools and resources for managing risks. The Board reviews the risk profile regularly. The President & CEO, with the assistance of the Board of Management, is responsible for organising and ensuring risk management in Wärtsilä's operations. The Business management is responsible for defining action plans for managing the most important risks.
Wärtsilä's most important strategic, operational, and financial risks can be found in the Risks and risk management section.
Information management plays a key role in Wärtsilä's internal control system. Information systems are critical for effective internal control as many of the control activities are programmed controls.
The foundation of Wärtsilä's internal control system lies on the company’s values: Energy, Excellence and Excitement. Wärtsilä's values are reflected in its day-to-day relations with its suppliers, customers, and investors, as well as in internal guidelines, policies, manuals, processes, and practices. The control environment sets the tone for internal control within Wärtsilä and influences the control awareness of its people. It provides discipline and structure for all the other components of internal control. The elements of Wärtsilä's control environment are included in the corporate culture; the integrity, ethical values and competence of Wärtsilä's personnel; as well as in the attention and direction provided to the personnel by the Board of Directors of Wärtsilä. Wärtsilä's values and control environment provide Wärtsilä's Board of Directors and Management the basis for reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of the objectives of internal control. The President & CEO and the Board of Management define Wärtsilä's values and ethical principles, which are reflected in the Code of Conduct, and set an example for the corporate culture, which together create the basis for the control environment. They, together with the Business management, are responsible for communicating Wärtsilä's values to the organisation.
The controls embedded in Wärtsilä's business processes play a key role in ensuring effective internal control within the company. Controls in the business processes help ensure the achievement of all the objectives of internal control within Wärtsilä, especially those related to the efficiency of operations and safeguarding the company's profitability and reputation. The Business management is responsible for ensuring that, within its area of responsibility, the defined Group level processes and controls are implemented and complied with. Where no Group level processes and controls exist, the Business management is responsible for ensuring that efficient Business level processes with adequate controls have been defined and implemented.
Guidelines and manuals
The components of Wärtsilä's internal control system, including for example corporate governance, the management system, the performance management process, as well as business and other processes, are described in various guidelines and manuals. The essential Group level policies and guidelines are compiled in Wärtsilä's Corporate Manual. Wärtsilä's Group level Accounting Manual contains instructions and guidance on accounting and financial reporting to be applied in all Wärtsilä Group companies. The manual supports the achievement of objectives related to the reliability of Wärtsilä's financial reporting. Wärtsilä's Group level policies, and any changes to them, shall be approved by a member of the Board of Management. In addition to the Group level guidelines and manuals, the Businesses have issued related guidelines and instructions for their own, specific purposes. The Business level guidelines and manuals are aligned with, and do not contradict, the Group level guidelines and manuals.
Information and communication
An effective internal control system needs sufficient, timely and reliable information to enable the management to assess the achievement of the company's objectives. Both financial and non-financial information is needed, relating to both internal and external events and activities. Employees can provide feedback to management and communicate suspected misconduct via a whistle blower channel that secures anonymous reporting, or directly to the Compliance, Legal Affairs, or Internal Audit function. All external communications are carried out in accordance with the Group Communications Policy.
Monitoring is a process that assesses the quality of Wärtsilä's system of internal control and its performance over time. Monitoring within Wärtsilä is performed both on an ongoing basis, and through separate evaluations that include internal, external, and quality audits.
The Business management is responsible for ensuring that all relevant laws and regulations are complied with in their respective responsibility areas. Wärtsilä's management, in turn, performs monitoring as part of its regular supervisory activities. The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors assesses and assures the adequacy and effectiveness of Wärtsilä's internal controls and risk management.
The Internal Audit function assists the Audit Committee in assessing and assuring the adequacy and effectiveness of Wärtsilä's internal controls and risk management by performing regular audits of Group legal entities, businesses, and support functions in accordance with its annual plan. Wärtsilä's external auditor and other assurance providers, such as quality auditors, conduct evaluations of Wärtsilä's internal controls. The Group Finance & Control function oversees the financial reporting processes and controls to ensure that they are being followed. It also monitors the correctness of all external and internal financial reporting. The Legal and Compliance function monitors adherence to the compliance policies of the Group. The external auditors verify the correctness of the external annual financial reports.