The ethical principles of our company:
- Respect the law
- Observe local customs
- Take care of safety and health
- Protect the environment
- Respect fundamental human rights
- Apply sound business practices
- Deal responsibly with governments and political regimes
- Choose respectable business partners
- Observe responsible labour policies
- Serve vital community interests
- Maintain full accountability
SF&DS describes its rules of conduct, the ethical principles that form the basis for the business conduct of all units of the company and all its employees. In its efforts to achieve quality in every respect, SF&DS focuses not only on its business commitments but also on its responsibilities towards the community at large.
SF&DS wishes to be clear about its strategy and the direction it follows in implementing it, but also about standards and values. Due partly to the fact that these business standards and values have been made more explicit and stringent, SF&DS regards it as important to summarize its rules of business conduct in a way that is clear, easy to understand and as concise as possible.
The rules of conduct have been defined as clearly as possible, so that the responsibility for their observation can be shared by each individual employee of SF&DS. Despite the clear formulation, situations will undoubtedly arise within the dynamics of everyday business for which the rules described here do not give the appropriate answer, or in which they leave room for interpretation. In these situations, two things should be borne in mind:
- If for whatever reason the literal observation of the rules does not offer a solution, the spirit of the rules and the interests of the company should be the primary considerations in the choice of the action to be taken.
- If there is any doubt about how to act or behave, it is absolutely essential before taking any action to first discuss the relevant issues with colleagues from higher SF&DS management.
In this way, SF&DS - in the interests of customers, shareholders, suppliers and employees – will remain, as it is now, a company that always acts with care and integrity.
Board of Management, SF&DS, Amsterdam, June 2011
1 Respect the law· In SF&DS countries and in the markets served.· If these laws clash (at home and abroad) or if they are at odds with the Rules of Conduct or Company Values of SF&DS, seek higher management counsel.· Provide for adequate legal advice.Do not interpret or circumvent any clear and undisputed law.· Do not interpret or circumvent any clear and undisputed law. 2 Observe local customs · In all SF&DS countries and all markets served.· Be aware of religious, political, societal and ethnic/cultural customs not fitting Western standards.· If any local custom clashes with home law or the Rules of Conduct or established Company Values of SF&DS, seek higher management counsel.· When residing in a country for half a year or more, learn the local language. 3 Take care of safety and health · Of customer personnel, of SF&DS personnel and of the public as exposed to SF&DS products, services and manufacturing.· Observe adequate safety procedures and health care rules at all times.· Steer away from toxic and dangerous materials and processes, test products and constructions before releasing them.· Provide for sound insurance of SF&DS personnel and for customers, consumers or public liability claims. 4 Protect the environment · Do not add to air, water or earth pollution by any measures which are within your area of competence.· Be aware of, and communicate to customers and users of SF&DS products and equipment, potential dangers to the environment caused by irresponsible use of such. · Observe local environmental standards or internationally accepted standards, whichever are higher. 5 Respect fundamental human rights · Do not employ child labour or prisoner labour.· Protect local employees for possible human rights abuses. Provide adequate legal support whenever necessary.· It is not the duty of SF&DS to play a crusading role in countries with questionable human rights records, but do not tolerate such abuses within sphere of influence of SF&DS as far as is within your power. 6 Apply sound business practices · Do not solicit or suggest, seek or offer, accept or pay any form of bribe, material or in any other way.· Make sure all of disbursements of SF&DS, direct or indirect, now or later, concerning a customer’s order, benefit that customer only, and no one else, except legitimate intermediaries. Do not enter into so-called political contributions in connection with contracts.· When in doubt concerning the legitimacy of a proposed disbursement or a material favour to be extended to an individual customer executive or a third party designated by him, seek counsel with higher management of SF&DS.· Keep records, and report such, of all expenditures made in view of securing an order.· For those who extend contracts on behalf of SF&DS, for buying, procuring, or products being made or constructed, the same rules hold in reverse.· Make sure that joint venture partners, subcontractors, agents and representatives maintain the same rules of conduct. 7 Deal responsibly with governments and political regimes · Observe all laws, rules and regulations put out by a legitimate body of government, recognized by the international community of nations. When dealing with a change of regime, other than by democratic means, act prudently and put the interest of personnel of SF&DS and customers first.· Do not get involved in local politics, financially or otherwise.· If political contributions are sought, not in combination with any specific order, make sure that such contributions are usual in business circles, are modest in size, and preferably politically balanced.· Do not get involved in political contributions in connection with a specific order.· If any serious doubt about the true nature of a politically inspired donation or contribution occurs, seek higher management counsel.· Keep solid records of any politically related payments, so that they can be substantiated and duly accounted for, should the need arise. 8 Choose respectable business partners · This holds for principals, customers, suppliers, subcontractors, agents, representatives and joint venture partners.· “Respectable” meaning: Healthy financial track record, sound business practices, management with a clean legal record and a code of ethics not differing substantially from that of SF&DS.· Check credentials of any new substantial business partner.· Put all major contracts, agreements and understandings in writing. Communicate these to the headquarter of SF&DS, so that continuity can be guaranteed.· If and when a business partner willingly violates the law or a substantial rule of conduct, as observed by SF&DS and its key customers, freeze the relationship and seek higher management counsel as to termination. 9 Observe responsible labour policies · Do not employ personnel that cannot act out of its own free will (notably children and people deprived of their personal freedom).· Pay adequate wages, by local standards, and for executive positions approaching Dutch standards, if these are higher.· Do not discriminate remuneration by sex, race or religious denomination for positions of equal importance.· Let your labour force, lower and middle management reflect the composition of the local population as much as possible. 10 Serve vital community interests · Pay local taxes in good time.· Cultivate a friendly and helpful relationship with the local community.· Support local initiatives, such as community chests, charity drives, sport and culture events, with your reasonable means as a local employer.· Stay out of local politics.· Observe strict safety, health and environment protection rules in your local plant. 11 Maintain full accountability · Maintain sound and updated records - administrative, financial, operational and business-wise.· Write down all vital procedures governing your administration, operations and business transactions, and always keep a copy of this set of procedures available.· Give free access and full support to the controllers of SF&DS and CPA’s, both for regular reporting and spot audits.· If fiscal reporting differs from internal (company) reporting, maintain a clear record of the nature, size, time span and causes of such differences.· If reported costs and expenditures for any given client or order differ from actually disbursed costs and expenditures, a clear record should be kept of the nature, size, time span and causes of such differences.· Of that which cannot be officially reported in writing, for instance in case of political turbulence, calamity or liability, inform responsible higher management in a full and open way.· Always maintain open lines of communication with the SF&DS network and with your customers.