At Beckers, we are guided by the moral compass of a responsible company. That’s why we conduct our day-to-day business according to key ethical principles that are defined in our Code of Conduct.
Based on our materiality assessment we developed three different streams in which we categorized ➜ our material topics. Moreover, due to a major review of the assessment in 2022, we have identified two new topics as material. In Value Governance we take responsibility for our business activities and ensure our moral compass is applied in all our business decisions. Furthermore, ➜ Human and Children’s Rights are anchored at the core of our business. Both material topics are summarized under Governance.
We aim for the highest standards of corporate governance and have made a commitment via ➜ our Code of Conduct to be a good corporate citizen and to value transparency in all our business relationships. Our company has a strong moral compass that is embodied in the actions of our people.
Compliance with ➜ our Code of Conduct, laws and other commitments is continuously monitored by the management of the Group. The Chief Financial Officer holds the dual role of Compliance Officer and oversees compliance on a global level. All policies and commitments mentioned here are signed by Beckers Executive Committee and validated by the Beckers Board of Directors. They are updated on a regular basis, displayed on all sites centrally and made available to all employees digitally.
Building a common culture of high business ethics standards in a global organization with a strong local presence in different markets and cultures is a challenge. We aim to implement our business ethics throughout our entire value chain – including partners and customers. Within our global business setting, we operate in complex markets that hold high risks for corruption and labor and human rights violations.
However, we think that our strong governance system based on our purpose and values makes us more resilient. As a family-owned company, we make long-term decisions that are purpose-driven, and our stable ownership and strong values make us an attractive employer. We hold each other accountable for our commitment to abide by our Code of Conduct, and we also monitor our subcontractors and suppliers to make sure they are performing to the same standards to which we hold ourselves. We condemn and prohibit any activities that go against our values such as bribery and corruption, anti-competitive behavior and violations against human, especially children’s rights. We encourage fair discussion of issues and concerns through several whistleblowing channels, investigate the cases reported and take appropriate action when our own ethical performance – and the ethical performance of our business partners – comes into question. There were no significant instances of non-compliance with laws and regulations and no fines were paid during the reporting period. For further information on how we manage human rights click here.
A fundamental part of our values and our Code of Conduct is the ➜ UN Global Compact. By signing the Global Compact, we take responsibility in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption, and make an even stronger commitment to taking action and reporting on our progress. We are an active ➜ UN Global Compact participant and this report serves as Communication on Progress.
Our employees receive regular training and education on governance topics. All employees have to sign the code of conduct and validate that they have read it when they join. This commitment is renewed on a regular basis. Trainings include our Code of Conduct, fraud, operating a diverse and respectful workplace, competition law, information security and data privacy. A Code of Conduct online training is offered for all employees in relevant positions. First level employees and their supervisors are excluded at the moment. A training that is more relevant for their factory floor responsibilities is planned. The share of employees trained in human rights policies or procedures was 37 percent in 2022.
At Beckers, we are obligated to zero tolerance for bribery and corruption. Accordingly, no one may – directly or indirectly – demand, accept, offer or give any kind of bribe, kickback, unethical or unlawful benefit to employees, other representatives or associates of Beckers Group, its companies or any third party. To ensure our zero tolerance, our legal department assesses our risk annually. As part of the process, we check whether the sites have solid reporting to capture offers or receipts of a bribe and a process to prevent the concealing or disguising one kind of expense as another. We did not have any legal actions for corruption and bribery in 2022.
At Beckers, we respect and support fair and free competition. Consequently, all companies within our Group compete vigorously but honestly for business and uphold the highest standards of business ethics. We respect anti-trust and fair competition laws that prohibit certain actions that unfairly and dishonestly harm competitors. Throughout our business dealings, we act in accordance with fair business, marketing and advertising practices. To ensure that all employees act in compliance with our anti-competitive behavior guidelines, we have translated our Competition Compliance Policy to all relevant languages.
There were no legal actions for anti-competitive conduct, antitrust or monopoly practices in 2022.
We support an open and fair discussion of issues and concerns and encourage our stakeholders to report on any incidents of non-compliance or suspected non-compliance with our Code of Conduct. We have several established whistleblowing channels to protect the anonymity of those reporting.
A total of 13 cases from all types of incidents — excluding health and safety — were reported in 2022. Nine of these cases were reported through our whistleblowing channels. All have been handled according to procedure. Only three remained subject to remedial action plans at the end of 2022.
Our Intranet features its own section for policies. We’ve improved and facilitated central access to these policies with the introduction of the new Intranet in 2022. Now all policies, rules and process guidelines can be found in one place. As part of our policy lifecycle management, we revise these policies on a regular basis.
Across all company levels – from executives and managers to line employees – and towards all stakeholders we follow fundamental business principles and high business ethics standards according to ➜ our Code of Conduct. Our Code of Conduct provides a detailed set of principles that bring our values to life and applies equally to all co-workers and directors. Thereby, all our operations and as well as subcontractors and suppliers must adhere to the same key internationally accepted ethical principles like the ➜ United Nations Global Compact, the ➜ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the ➜ Children's Rights and Business Principles and the ➜ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Due to our strong governance, we contribute to the achievement of the ➜ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) decent work and economic growth (SDG 8) as well as responsible consumption and production (SDG 12).
For further information on the SDGs click here.