Conducting business with integrity

Corruption has dire global consequences, trapping millions in poverty and misery, while breeding social, economic and political unrest. Corruption is both a cause of poverty, and a barrier to overcoming it. The Volvo Group does not accept corruption in any part of its business. This basic rule strengthens our brand and helps us contribute to fair market competition – allowing the best products and brands to prosper.

Sound business practices are economically profitable

Not accepting corruption in any part of our business may sound simple. However, being a global company that operates in more than 190 different countries with many cultures and norms means that it is a demanding challenge.

From a short-term perspective, following our principles could have an adverse impact on some business opportunities. But in the long term, sound business practices are economically profitable since we make business more efficient and establish our reputation as a reliable and trustworthy partner conducting business with integrity.

In the long term, sound business practices are economically profitable since we make business more efficient and establish our reputation as a trustworthy partner.

Code of Conduct a guide for anti-corruption

Our work with anti-corruption is guided by the following principles contained in our Code of Conduct, which applies to all employees and the Board of Directors:

  • Regarding legal compliance: “In every country in which we operate, the Volvo Group shall abide by the laws and regulations of that country. In situations where the law does not give guidance, the Group applies its own corporate values and standards. In cases of conflict between mandatory law and principles contained in this code, the law shall prevail.”
  • Regarding relationships with business partners: “The Volvo Group shall not offer customers, potential customers, governments, agencies of governments, or any representatives of such entities, any rewards or benefits in violations of either applicable law or reasonable and generally accepted business practice.”

The Volvo Group shall also take reasonable steps to prevent its business partners from taking part in practices that violate the principles in the Code of Conduct.

Anti-Corruption Compliance Policy and Program

The Volvo Group has an Anti-Corruption Compliance Policy that has been adopted by the Audit Committee. In addition to the policy we have steering documents and a hand-book that in combination with the policy constitutes our Anti-Corruption Compliance Program.

The Anti-Corruption Compliance Program consists of a number of actions aimed at preventing the Volvo Group or any of its business partners from participating in corrupt activities. The program fundamentally consists of three parts:

  • Preventing corruption
  • Detecting corruption
  • Responding to corruption.
Corruption is defined as "directly or indirectly offer, promise, accept or solicit anything of value or an advantage as an inducement for an action which is illegal or a breach of trust in the conduct of the Volvo Group’s business".

Oversight and reporting of anti-corruption

The Audit Committee, a function of the Volvo Group Board of Directors, has issued the Anti-Corruption Compliance Policy and monitors compliance.

The Chief Compliance Officer is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the program, leading and participating in training and audits and leading investigations into alleged non-compliance. The Chief Compliance Officer reports to the Audit Committee on current incidents and investigations three times a year.

In addition, annual reports are submitted to the Audit Committee on activities in the Anti-Corruption Program. Regular reports are also made to Group management.

Each business area has also appointed persons who are responsible for anti-corruption issues.

Contribute to reducing corruption

In some parts of the world, corruption may be seen as an accepted part of doing business. It is therefore a challenging task to conduct business in the same way in all our markets.

Our overall aim is to contribute to reducing corruption and promoting healthy competition in the world. We therefore need to communicate our views on how to run a business in a correct and fair way.

It is essential that our employees in all parts of the world understand the purpose of the policies and how to interpret them in everyday business.

Our overall aim is to contribute to reducing corruption and promoting healthy competition.

Employees are trained online and on-site

All white-collar employees participate in e-learning relating to the Code of Conduct and anti-corruption every three years. On-site training for selected groups is conducted every year.

It is crucial to communicate both the advantages of doing business in the right way as well as the potential consequences of non-compliance. Personal meetings and discussions are important for creating awareness. In the past year and in years to come thousands of employees have received and will receive on-site training through the Chief Compliance Officer or other members of the compliance network. In 2011, 9,023 employees received training on the Code of Conduct and 10,107 employees were trained in anti-corruption. Training on the Competition Law Compliance Program will begin to take place in 2012.