Code of conduct in business operations
"Business is conducted between people." This maxim has guided our actions for generations. It expresses our special appreciation for our business partners and our fair dealings with each other. This business principle is based on reliability, respect and integrity.
LEVACO Chemicals GmbH is highly esteemed by its business partners, not for its products or economic success alone, but above all because we are trusted. This trust will form the basis for our success in future as well; maintaining it is our obligation.
Each LEVACO employee influences the image of LEVACO Chemicals GmbH through his or her professional and even private actions. Through ill-considered behaviour that is against the rules by a single employee, trust can be dented for the long term and the reputation of the entire Group can be damaged.
The preservation of the virtuousness of all LEVACO employees, the anchoring of our canon of values and the protection of the company and its staff is the objective of the code of conduct of LEVACO Chemicals GmbH outlined below.
Infringements against applicable law or ethical principles are subject to severe punishments today more than ever and can have far-reaching effects for LEVACO Chemicals GmbH:
- Fines, penalties;
- Damage claims;
- Damage to image;
- Discontinuation of business relationships;
- Exclusion from orders;
- Blackmail, and others.
An aim of the LEVACO code of conduct is to ensure that all employees are familiar with and comply with our values, the relevant legal norms, regulations and internal guidelines. Guidelines are thus defined, within which we conduct our business seriously and reliably. Any failure to comply with these guidelines on the part of a contractual partner or a competitor in no event justifies any of our staff deviating from these business principles.
The principles are also guides. In cases of doubt, they are to move one to scrutinise one’s own actions and, if appropriate, to acquire additional advice. Better to ask one more time than to take on an incalculable risk recklessly!
It is the responsibility of each individual LEVACO employee to take the code of conduct to heart. Particular responsibility is placed on the managers: on the one hand as role models, on the other hand as those responsible for the vigorous implementation of the LEVACO code of conduct in their respective companies and as first points of contact for the staff.
Sustained corporate success is not a matter of course. It results not from competitive products or efficient processes alone; rather, it depends to a significant degree on the people who create the success. Therefore, this is all the more important: "Business is conducted between people – fairly and respectfully"
Leverkusen, 31 October 2014
LEVACO Chemicals GmbH
Board of Management
Code of conduct
- Guiding company principles
- Granting of advantages
- Dealings with third parties
- Acceptance of gifts and invitations
- Conflicts of interest
- Protection of company & business secrets, industrial property rights and data
- Payments to advisers, consultants or other persons
- Competition law
- Foreign trade law
- Environmental law
- No discrimination
- Orderly file management and financial reporting
1. Guiding company principles
The following guiding company principles describe the desired ethically correct behaviour in all business situations in accordance with applicable law and relevant internal guidelines. All LEVACO employees bear responsibility for compliance with the guiding company principles.
LEVACO undertakes to provide its employees with the necessary information, to train and support them appropriately and thus to enable them to comply with these guidelines.
Definition: Bribery is a form of corruption and can be committed against decision makers in authorities or private companies. Bribery is aimed at inducing an illegal (official) action (e.g. the issue of an approval to which no right exists).
LEVACO’s standpoint: LEVACO rejects all types of bribery! Bribery undermines the reputation and corporate integrity of LEVACO Chemicals GmbH. It constitutes a criminal offence and could lead to damages proceedings against the LEVACO staff or the corresponding company.
Payments of LEVACO Chemicals GmbH to official representatives: Monetary or material assets may not be given – either directly or indirectly via third parties – to persons occupying a public office or with political influence! The same applies to institutions in which it is known that these persons have a strong interest. The only exceptions are situations in harmony with the applicable laws. This prohibition applies to the same extent to the use of private funds or physical resources and to any participation in direct or indirect payments made, for example, but not only, by advisers, consultants, suppliers or other third parties.
3. Granting of advantages
Definition: Acquisition of an advantage, especially from official representatives, through the inducement of a legal (official) action (e.g. acceleration of an approval process). The granting of the advantage must not lead to an advantage for the person granting the advantage that is in conflict with the applicable laws.
Standpoint of LEVACO Chemicals GmbH: The granting of an advantage to a person occupying a public office is possible only in a few exceptional cases and within narrow boundaries: the advantage is not prohibited within the framework of the applicable national laws; it is moderate and in line with the usual local conventions; it is recorded correctly and the payment took place in the country in which the services are rendered.
Evaluation of national laws: Some national laws strictly prohibit the issue and acceptance of advantages to or by persons occupying public offices.
On the other hand, in some regions of the world it is the custom to reciprocate and to reward certain services with a tip. While the payment of bribes is prohibited, such payments may be permitted under the condition that they take place on a modest and moderate scale.
4. Dealings with third parties
Principles: LEVACO Chemicals GmbH pursues long-term, partnership-based relationships with its business partners. Therefore, the principles of quality, performance, moderateness and usual competitive prices apply to all business processes of LEVACO Chemicals GmbH in which third parties are involved.
Neither LEVACO Chemicals GmbH nor a representative may offer or grant business partners or their representatives any form of illegal price reductions or other impermissible payments, gifts or conveniences directly or indirectly or request such from them.
Dealings with customers and suppliers: The following special principles apply towards our customers and suppliers:
- The granting of gifts is permitted exclusively within the framework of the applicable laws and business conventions. They must not bring the recipient into an invidious situation in that he or she, for example, violates compliance guidelines of his or her own company. Here, this question could always be helpful: "How would the supervisor of the recipient or a competitor react if he/she/they gained knowledge of the payment?" Of course, promotional gifts of DS are not affected by this regulation.
- Entertainment of customers or suppliers is to take place in accordance with the usual business conventions and only if it is not in conflict with the regulations detailed here. The place, the type of entertainment and the amount spent must be reasonable and moderate and must be documented in accordance with the LEVACO specifications for expense accounts.
5. Acceptance of gifts and invitations
Employees may not request gifts, invitations or other personal advantages of any type from third parties who are currently or potentially associated with LEVACO Chemicals GmbH.
Gifts: Employees may accept gifts if they have not requested them and the following requirements are complied with:
- The unrequested gifts are granted within the framework of the usual rules of politeness and are part of the common business practices.
- The value of the gift raises no expectations with respect to any obligation on the recipient’s part.
Entertainment: Employees may accept entertainment invitations under compliance with the following requirements:
- The entertainment invitations take place irregularly and within the framework of the usual business processes.
- The expenses are moderate in amount and the event takes place in an environment that is sensible and appropriate with a view to the LEVACO employees and the business cause.
6. Conflicts of interest
Avoid situations that could lead to a conflict between your personal interests and the interests of LEVACO Chemicals GmbH!
A particular conflict of interest exists if a LEVACO employee takes advantage of his or her position to acquire a personal advantage or if the private interests of the employee contradict those of LEVACO Chemicals GmbH and lead to conflicts of loyalty.
If a conflict of interests should emerge between the private interests and the interests of LEVACO Chemicals GmbH, the employee concerned must inform his or her supervisor immediately in order that a suitable solution can be found.
7. Protection of company & business secrets, industrial property rights and data
LEVACO Chemicals GmbH’s own as well as external company and business secrets (especially including: recipes, formulas, etc., i.e. all circumstances that are not publicly accessible) may not be passed on to third parties or made public. Likewise, LEVACO’s own or external industrial property rights (especially including: patents and trademarks) are to be respected.
For the topic of data protection, the corresponding LEVACO Chemicals GmbH guideline and the work contract agreements are referred to.
8. Payments to advisers, consultants or other persons
When advisers, consultants, experts or other persons offer their services to LEVACO Chemicals GmbH, the following principles are generally to be followed:
- Any agreement must be within the framework of the applicable laws.
- In all agreements, the corresponding roles and areas of responsibility and especially the fee basis must be clearly established.
- The amount of the fee must be in line with the usual fees for such activities.
- Payments to persons outside the company must take place in the country in which the agreed services are rendered, unless this is not possible for important reasons.
- Agreements (orders, contracts, etc.) are to be signed by at least two persons with right of representation for LEVACO Chemicals GmbH (4-eyes principle).
- All agreements must be reviewed at regular intervals in order to ensure that they are still up-to-date and appropriate to the activities.
9. Competition law
LEVACO Chemicals GmbH is committed to fair competition; illegal deals and agreements of any type are not tolerated.
10. Foreign trade law
LEVACO Chemicals GmbH respects all national and international customs laws as well as foreign trade, anti-terror and embargo provisions.
11. Environmental law
LEVACO Chemicals GmbH is conscious of its responsibility to protect the environment as well as the health and safety of people and operates under these premises.
12. No discrimination
The LEVACO staff are the foundation of the company’s success. Appreciation is expressed in fair, respectful and trusting dealings with each other. Discrimination or harassment is not tolerated.
13. Orderly file management and financial reporting
LEVACO Chemicals GmbH documents all business processes adequately within the framework of an internal control system and ensures the complete and correct recording of accounting-related information by means of appropriate checks.
Should you be unsure whether your behaviour corresponds to the corporate integrity of LEVACO Chemicals GmbH, the following questions may offer orientation:
- Can I tell my supervisor, my colleagues, my family or my friends about my actions with a good conscience?
- Would it be acceptable for LEVACO Chemicals GmbH or for me if my decision is made public?
- Is my decision one that corresponds to LEVACO Chemicals GmbH?
- Is my decision morally and legally irreprehensible?
If these questions can be answered with a “Yes”, you are on the safe side! If you are unsure, speak to your supervisor.
LEVACO Chemicals GmbH offers its staff use of the necessary sources of information, as well as advice, in order to avoid legal and regulatory infringements.
Each supervisor must organise his or her area in such a way that compliance with the rules of this code of conduct, the company-internal rules as well as the legal provisions is ensured.
All employees are obligated to communicate violations of the code of conduct to their supervisor without delay.
These guidelines apply to all LEVACO Chemicals GmbH employees and enter into force with immediate effect.
Leverkusen, 31 October 2014
LEVACO Chemicals GmbH
Board of Management