The Code of Conduct outlines the Volvo Group's principles for conducting business in an appropriate, responsible and transparent manner. The Code of Conduct is mandatory and describes what can be expected from the Volvo Group and its employees. As a global company, our behavior in one part of the world affects our reputation in another, it is therefore important to have a common standard of behavior.
Sound business ethics act as a guiding principle
Responsible business practices have always been a guiding principle for the Volvo Group. We enjoy an invaluable reputation for corporate trustworthiness all over the world. This is a result of consistency when it comes to doing business with integrity and complying with laws and regulations. Volvo Group believes that success in business depends on building and maintaining the trust of customers, shareholders, employees, governments and the general public.
Policy documents in the Volvo Group
The Code of Conduct outlines the Volvo Group’s principles and minimum standard for conducting business in an appropriate, responsible and transparent manner. It establishes the principles we apply in relation to employees, business partners and other stakeholders. It was introduced in 2003, and is based on the United Nations’ Global Compact initiative. The policy applies to all employees within the Volvo Group and the members of the Board of Directors.
In addition to the Code of Conduct we have several other policies related to CSR issues, such as:
- Environmental Policy
- Anti-Corruption Compliance Policy
- Workplace Safety, Health and Wellbeing Policy.
Responsible business practices have always been the guiding principle for the Volvo Group.
The scope of the Volvo Group’s Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct addresses issues including:
- Responsible business practices
- Environmental care
- Human rights
- Workplace practices.
We prefer to work with business partners who share our values. We therefore encourage our business partners to adopt the principles or apply standards of business conduct consistent with the principles in our Code of Conduct, e.g. support the respect for human rights, report on environmental performance, and provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees.
Managers are responsible
The Volvo Group's managers are responsible for communicating and demonstrating the content and spirit of the Code.
A web-based training, based on the principles in our Code of Conduct, of ethical dilemmas is available to support managers. This training helps our employees and managers to reflect on their own attitudes and behavior in different situations. The training provides immediate feedback.
The training is also available as a workshop with open discussions. The training is available in twelve languages, including French, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Japanese.
The first version of the Code of Conduct training was launched in 2005. All employees were asked to undergo the training. In 2010 an updated version was launched and since then all white-collar employees shall take the training every third year. In 2011, 9,023 employees took part in the training.
Our web-based training helps our employees and managers to reflect on their own attitudes and behavior in different situations.
The Whistleblower procedure
The Volvo Group has a Whistleblower procedure that states that all employees within the Volvo Group are expected and encouraged to report suspected infringements of the law and internal policies to their immediate superior. In the event that a reported incident is not taken seriously, or if an employee does not feel comfortable reporting the matter to his or her superior, the employee can report the matter to the Head of Corporate Audit in accordance with the Whistleblower procedure.
Reports in accordance with the procedure may be submitted anonymously, to the extent permitted by law. In accordance with our Code of Conduct, we will not tolerate retaliation against a person for making good-faith complaints of improper behaviour.
All incidents are investigated
Suspected irregularities always lead to investigation. The consequences or sanctions relate to the gravity of the action. It may vary from a warning to demotion, dismissal and/or filing a police report.
Incidents reported in 2011
In total, 30 cases were reported in 2011 under the Whistleblower procedure. 16 of these were dismissed following investigation, as there were no grounds for the allegation. In 12 cases we found grounds for the allegations and proceeded with appropriate actions. Two of these cases are still under investigation.
Two cases were dealt with as potential corruption cases in 2011. These were investigated and reported to the Audit Committee. One case is still under investigation.
Reviewing the Code of Conduct
As a result of the group-wide CSR strategy project we initiated in 2011, the Code of Conduct is currently under review to ensure that it remains relevant and aligned with our business model. The content is based on our stakeholders' expectations and internationally recognized recommendations such as the United Nations’ Global Compact and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The international standard for social responsibility, ISO 26000, and the European Union’s strategy for CSR serves as inspiration in the process of revising the Code of Conduct.