Stories of our impact

Oh baby, it’s a wild world

A pharmaceutical company inadvertently sends a pathogen that can be weaponised to an unknown end user. A media company transfers specialised encryption to a foreign country, unaware of its potential use as a tool in a terror attack. A manufacturer that produces electronic components for mobile phones discovers its products have been used in an explosive device.

These are the types of activities governed by global export controls and sanctions laws – a sample of the risks our clients seek to avoid every day as they engage in global commerce. Our global export controls and sanctions team is working with organisations to help reduce the global illegal arms trade, prevent the unauthorised military application of civilian technologies, and restrict access to funds for terrorist organisations. But what does this mean in practice?

Making the world a little safer

Doing business safely while not standing in the way of legitimate opportunities is key. We advise our clients to help them identify commercial technologies capable of underpinning illegitimate military applications, and transactions that might divert their technologies from an innocuous end use to terrorist practices. We also support our military clients as they seek to build airtight order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes that are safe from exploitation.

An example is how we supported a global pharmaceutical company in establishing protocols to ensure that viruses sent overseas were protected from being diverted and used as weapons of mass destruction. Our team assessed the items being exported and their potential to be used in biological weapons, and helped to implement processes to efficiently evaluate and screen end countries and customers to mitigate the risk of diversion. This allowed the company to reduce risk, but still work to the short lead times often associated with compassionate donations of vaccines and antibodies to potentially sensitive countries.

The team behind it all

Our global export controls and sanctions team is not only helping in a small way to make the world a safer place, it is also a strong advocate for women in leadership. Ninety per cent of the team is female, and they’ve successfully embraced agile working to balance personal and professional obligations. From team members based in various locations to parents who spend several days a week working remotely, they’re proud to be a role model to clients, showing that diversity and agility can result in a market-leading team that contributes to the greater good.