Step 4 Examples: Define business principles and policies

Issues that are typically covered in a company’s business principles and policies are

Business integrity

Alcan (Aluminium and specialty packaging, Canada), Worldwide Code of Employee and Business Conduct

Conflict of Interest

It is essential that we remain free of, or disclose, commitments and relationships that involve, or could involve, a conflict of interest with Alcan.

A conflict of interest can exist if you have a direct or indirect personal interest in a decision being made where that decision should be made objectively, free from bias and in the best interests of Alcan. It is important that even the appearance of a conflict of interest be avoided.

Alcan Worldwide Code of Employee and Business Conduct

Rio Tinto (minerals & metals, UK), The way we work: statement of business practice

“Bribery, in all its forms, is prohibited. We neither promise, offer nor accept bribes or anything which could be taken for one, either directly or indirectly.
We only make payments for legitimate business services and at rates that reflects their market value. We work with business partners, representative agents and intermediaries after making them aware of Rio Tinto’s policy and being satisfied that they will not make unauthorised payments indirectly on the Group’s behalf.
We disclose any material transaction or relationship that could reasonably be expected to give rise to a conflict of interest but strive to avoid them. Gifts and entertainment are only offered or accepted for conventional social and business purposes and then only at a level appropriate to local circumstances.”

Rio Tinto's statement of business practice


Business partners

Aracruz (paper, Brazil), Code of conduct

The Fibria Code of Conduct is an important instrument for organizational alignment, which establishes ethical standards and rules of behavior for the company's employees with regard to their relations with internal and external publics.

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Nestlé (food, Switzerland), Corporate Business Principles

“Nestlé aims to deal with reputable suppliers who are willing to apply Nestlé quality standards. Supplier relationships are benchmarked and evaluated with the objective of striving for continuous improvement in the areas of quality, service etc. As a relationship between a supplier and Nestlé strengthens and progresses, it may evolve into one of preferred supplier status.”

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Starbucks, Supplier’s Code of Conduct

“Starbucks is committed to treating all individuals with respect and dignity, and protecting the environment. As part of Starbucks corporate social responsibility, we believe these principles should be reflected throughout our supply chain, and embraced by Starbucks suppliers. This was the motivation for creating Starbucks Supplier Code of Conduct. The Code was introduced in September 2003. Suppliers are required to have an officer or owner of the company sign an acknowledgement that they agree to comply with our Code and standards. New suppliers are required to comply as a condition of doing business with Starbucks.”

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Community relations

ING (financial services, The Netherlands), Business Principles

“Good relations with local communities are fundamental to ING’s long-term success. Our community relations are based on mutual trust, respect and active partnership. We demonstrate our commitment by making donations, sponsoring and supporting numerous social activities. All ING employees are encouraged to play a positive role in community activities.”

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Durham University (Education, United Kingdom, Community relations

“The University takes considerable care to try to encourage responsible behaviour in our students, to minimise the disruption caused to the local community and to curb binge drinking. These include the introduction of a minimum pricing policy on alcoholic drinks in its own bars, a security patrol to deal with issues when they arise and penalties for students who are proven to have acted in an anti-social manner. Our Code of Conduct for Livers Out is circulated to all livers out. Copies of this leaflet are also circulated to local residents' associations for distribution to houses within their wards”

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Old Mutual (Financial Services, United Kingdom) Community and Government relationship

We will take into account the concerns of the wider community including both national and local interests. We seek to serve the community by providing our services efficiently and profitably, and by providing good employment opportunities and conditions.
We will support communities in which we operate. Charitable donations and educational and cultural contributions will be made within a policy set and reviewed by the Trustees of the Group's independent charitable foundations.

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Procter & Gamble (domestic products, United States), Values and Code of Conduct

“We believe in competing fairly because we all benefit from fair, free and open markets. We compete strictly on the merits of our products and services and make no attempts to restrain or limit trade. Specifically,

  • We never discuss such matters as prices, pricing strategies, product or marketing plans, or terms of sale with competitors. Should a prohibited subject come up during the course of a trade association or other meeting, we must leave the meeting and inform our leadership or legal counsel.
  • We do not enter into agreements with our competitors concerning prices, production volumes, customers or sales territories.
  • We do not link purchase of one product to another or compel suppliers to buy from us to retain their P&G business.
  • We do not disparage the products or services of a competitor.
  • We collect competitive information through proper public or other lawful channels but do not use information that was obtained illegally or improperly by others, including through misrepresentation, invasion of property or privacy, or coercion. based on their own quality and performance and our reputation as a company, rather than by false or deceptive statements or comparisons.”
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Woolworths Group (Retail/ Entertainment, UK)

“The aim of all Group companies is to compete vigorously in the marketplace. Collusion with competitors is prohibited. Such behaviour may contravene competition laws and have serious consequences for the Group. All Group companies will comply with the laws governing free and fair competition.

It is prohibited to attempt to restrict competition by:

  • inducing a customer or competitor to breach a contract with a third party;
  • obtaining unauthorised access to confidential information;
  • securing an unfair competitive advantage;
  • operating illegal price fixing agreements; or
  • undertaking activities which could damage the Group’s reputation”

NEC Group (Innovation, Japan)

  1. WE will conduct fair commercial transactions with all business partners based on the principle of free competition and in compliance with anti-trust,competition, and fair trade laws and all other applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
  2. WE will not undertake any action that inhibits free and fair competition, including collusion and cartel formation, nor will WE participate in meetingsor in exchanges of information that may limit free competition or engage in any activity that may be construed as doing so.
  3. WE will always keep relations with customers, business partners, and competitors open and fair. In addition, WE will carry out all commercial transactions with integrity by adhering to social ethics.

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Alcatel (telecommunications, France), Statement on Business Practices

"The company has undertaken significant effort to develop and implement a comprehensive compliance management structure across the organization to support and further integrate ethics and compliance into business operations."

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Nestlé (food, Switzerland), Nestlé Corporate Business Principles

“Nestlé is committed to the application of these principles in all countries, and wherever they are not in conflict with relevant local legislation where it operates. Nestlé compliance with its Corporate Business Principles is regularly monitored by its internal auditors on the basis of clear auditing instructions, which are certified by the external auditing firm KPMG. Findings and recommendations are reported to the Nestlé S.A. Board of Directors.”

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Consumer relations

MTR Corporation (underground transportation, Hong Kong), Code of Conduct

“The Company aims to be the most customer-orientated urban railway in the world through listening to and understanding the needs of customers, and providing the required services in a cost-effective manner. The Company keeps the customers informed of the truth about the Company’s capabilities and shall avoid misrepresentation, exaggeration and overstatement.
The Company accepts its social responsibility of improving its service so as to promote the quality of life of human beings.
Directors and employees shall try their best, in consultation with the Corporate Relations Department to handle enquiries and complaints from customers to provide excellent customer service.”

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Telenor (telecommunications, Norway), Social responsibility code of conduct

“Customers shall be met with insight, respect and understanding. You shall always try to fulfil the needs of the customer in the best possible manner, within the guidelines for corporate ethics that apply to the business. Customer’s personal information shall be protected in accordance with the relevant laws on protection of personal data.”

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Shell (oil & energy, UK/Netherlands), Shell General Business Principles

“To respect the human rights of our employees and to provide them with good and safe working conditions, and competitive terms and conditions of employment.
To promote the development and best use of the talents of our employees; to create an inclusive work environment where every employee has an equal opportunity to develop his or her skills and talents.
To encourage the involvement of employees in the planning and direction of their work; to provide them with channels to report concerns.
We recognise that commercial success depends on the full commitment of all employees.”

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Switcher (clothing, Switzerland), Code of Conduct

SWITCHER SA agrees to implement the labour standards (based on the conventions of the International Labour Organisation ILO and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.) in its factories and agrees to put sufficient and effective efforts into ensuring that this code is followed by its contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and licensees.

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Environment/ Health and Safety

PepsiCo (beverages, United States), Worldwide Code of Conduct

“PepsiCo is committed to providing safe and healthy work environments at its facilities for all its employees, clients, visitors, contractors and vendors. It is our policy to provide employees with a drug-free workplace.
In order to create an environment free from threats, violence and intimidation, PepsiCo is committed to a policy of zero tolerance for violence.
We are dedicated to designing, constructing, maintaining and operating facilities that protect our people and physical resources. It is our policy to comply with all applicable health and safety laws and regulations, provide and require the use of adequate protective equipment and measures, and insist that all work be done in a safe and responsible manner.
It is the responsibility of each employee to follow all company policies and procedures related to workplace health and safety.”
PepsiCo is committed to being an environmentally responsible corporate citizen. We are committed to minimizing the impact of our businesses on the environment with methods that are socially responsible, scientifically based and economically sound. We encourage conservation, recycling and energy use programs that promote clean air and water and reduce landfill wastes.

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Mattel (toys, United States), Mattel's Global Manufacturing Principles

“Mattel is committed to minimizing our impact on the environment as well as to protecting the health and safety of our employees and the communities in which we operate. We have developed worldwide Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) standards intended to support responsible management of the environment and the health and safety of our employees, customers and neighbors. Mattel is also committed to implementing policies and procedures that help to ensure our operations are conducted in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and standards
As part of this commitment, Mattel will:
Integrate environmental, health, and safety standards into our business operations in order to reduce risks, minimize impacts and work toward an incident-free workplace; continually improve our environmental, health and safety performance throughout the product life cycle in order to eliminate pollution to the environment; engage in dialogue with our employees, customers, and the public to address their environmental, health, and safety concerns relating to our operations and products; and assess environmental, health and safety performance with regularly scheduled audits of our operation”

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Sabic (chemicals, Saudi Arabia), safety, health and environment

“At SABIC we devote a substantial part of our energies to protecting the environment.
As a responsible corporation, we have an obligation to manage our resources so as to protect the environments in which we do business. This includes building and engineering our plants to minimize their environmental impact, enforcing stringent pollution-control measures and manufacturing environmentally friendly goods.
We are always looking for new ways to become a cleaner and greener organization and to protect the air, water and soil surrounding our operations.
We operate in the petrochemical, chemical, fertilizer and metal industry sectors, and we recognize that our activities and products could possibly affect the environment. We are proactive in taking all reasonable measures to reduce these effects
In new projects, we try to anticipate future environmental regulations, so we’re always up to date. We hold regular environmental audits on all our operations in order to monitor and minimize our ecological impact. We strive to balance economic and environmental considerations, working closely with government agencies, international organizations, our suppliers, contractors and employees to implement our environmental policies and spread good practice”

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Sappi (fine paper, South Africa), environmental management

"Managing and mitigating the environmental impact that arises from our operations is our commitment to the planet we all share. This means reducing our emissions, conserving water and energy and decreasing waste—all while simultaneously protecting and safeguarding biodiversity and procuring raw materials, including wood, from trusted and sustainable sources."

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Reliance (chemicals, India), Our commitments

“RIL provides state of the art medical care to all its employees through occupational health centers located at various sites. These occupational health centers also focus on preventive medicine by conducting pre-employment and periodic medical checkups of all employees besides carrying out specialized studies and audits including biological monitoring and health risk assessments”

“In order to give a high importance to the Health, Safety and Environmental issues in the company, the Director’s Committee on HSE regularly monitors the status of Safety performance, practices and systems at the various sites in comparison with the International Standards and Best Practices and provides necessary directions to the group.”

“The focus and objectives for sustainable development and business growth at RIL is the Group’s dedication towards a clean environment, at the workplace and the surroundings, in line with the organizational development”

Click here for Reliance’s Health, Safety and Environment Policy


Human rights

BP (oil & energy, United Kingdom), human rights

“We also recognize that our operations can bring about major changes to societies and communities. Particularly (but not exclusively) in developing countries, these changes can have significant impacts – both positive and negative – on peoples’ lives.
Many of these potential impacts are related to human rights. Indeed, many of the rights and freedoms identified in the UDHR are relevant to and supported by BP, in our role as a major employer, investor, and energy provider.

To support our analysis and management of human rights issues, we categorize them into three broad headings: employees, communities, and security.“

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Kansai Electric Power (Energy, Japan), human rights Kansai Electric Power (Energy, Japan), human rights

“As a company, we are aware of our social responsibilities, and we are endeavoring to resolve discrimination problems, starting with traditional caste discrimination, by deepening every employee's accurate understanding and awareness of human rights, building respect for these rights and creating positive workplace environments. In addition, we are striving actively to create a corporate culture that does not tolerate discrimination and to contribute to the realization of a society that is free from discrimination. We are also endeavoring to understand the international consensus and standards regarding respect for human rights, and making thorough efforts to eradicate forced labor and child labor, as well as prevent sexual harassment and discrimination toward HIV carriers in workplaces."

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Product/service quality

Podravka (food & beverages, Croatia), Quality Policy

“All our products and work processes are founded on the principles of quality management. Customer and consumer satisfaction is our primary philosophy and orientation. We pledge to satisfy the demands of our customers and consumers, and to continually improve the quality of our products and work processes.”

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Packages Limited (packaging, Pakistan), Quality policy

“We at Packages Limited are committed to producing quality products which conform to our customers’ requirements and strengthen our position as a quality-managed company. Our pledge is to provide the market with the best quality products at competitive prices through a customer-driven and service-oriented, dynamic management team. To meet this obligation, the company will continue updating skills of its employees by training, acquisition of new technology, and regular re-evaluation of its quality control and assurance systems. Appropriate resources of the company will be directed towards achieving the quality goals through employee’s participation.”

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Political activities

DuPont (chemicals, United States), Business Conduct Guide

“Employees may not make any contribution of Company funds, property or services to any political party or committee or to any candidate for or holder of any office of any government. This policy does not preclude, where lawful, (a) the operation of a political action committee, (b) company contributions to support or oppose public referenda or similar ballot issues, or (c) political contributions which have been reviewed in advance by members of corporate management charged with responsibility in this area.

No direct or indirect pressure in any form is to be directed toward employees to make any political contribution or participate in the support of a political party or the political candidacy of any individual.”

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Cadbury Schwepps (Alimentation, United Kingdom), Political contributions/ Government relations

“We and our subsidiaries will not make political contributions unless they have been approved by the board of directors and, in certain circumstances, shareowners. Political contributions include cash contributions and benefits in kind, and in some cases may include donations, gifts and or sponsorships. If there is any question as to what constitutes a political contribution you should ask the advice of the group secretary or legal department.

We support dialogue between business and government authorities at local, national and international levels to promote and implement relevant legislation, regulations and agreements, protecting the rights of all stakeholders while safeguarding a healthy and competitive business environment.”

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