General Business Principles
The Philips General Business Principles (GBP) govern Philips’ business decisions and actions throughout the world, applying equally to corporate actions and the behavior of individual employees. They incorporate the fundamental principles within Philips for doing business.
The GBP are available in most of the local languages and are an integral part of the labor contracts in virtually all countries where Philips has business activities. Responsibility for compliance with the principles rests primarily with the management of each business. Every country organization and each main production site has a compliance officer. Confirmation of compliance with the GBP is an integral part of the annual Statement on Business Controls that has to be issued by the management of each business unit. The GBP incorporate a whistleblower policy, standardized complaint reporting and a formal escalation procedure. The whistleblower policy is intended to supplement more specific local grievance or complaint procedures. If employees wish to raise an issue for which there is a more specific procedure or grievance channel available, they are free to use this, e.g. use the applicable human resources procedures for employment issues. However, in case of concerns of suspected violations of applicable laws or regulations employees are urged to always report these to either their GBP Compliance Officer or the Philips Ethics Line.
The global implementation of the Philips Ethics hotline seeks to ensure that alleged violations are registered and dealt with consistently within one company-wide system.
To drive the practical deployment of the GBP, a set of directives has been published, which are applicable to all employees. There are also separate directives which apply to specific categories of employees, e.g. the Supply Management Code of Ethics and Financial Code of Ethics. Details can be found at www.philips.com/gbp.
In 2013, we introduced a mandatory sign-off on GBP for all executives.
Business Integrity Survey
In June 2013, a business integrity survey has been rolled out to all employees in eight most relevant languages to get their input on the effectiveness of our GBP program. The survey provides input on a number of aspects that are recognized to influence responsible business conduct. The insights that were derived from this survey were used to further enhance the effectiveness of the current compliance activities as well as the compliance road map.
The overall conclusion that could be drawn from the survey is that the Philips culture provides a sound basis to build upon, and that leaders are well positioned to manage integrity even more actively so as to support an environment in which employees feel comfortable to discuss or report potential issues and dilemmas.
The business integrity survey provided the kickoff of a global GBP communications campaign, culminating in a global event called the ‘GBP dialogue week’ held in October 2013, in which managers were invited to hold sessions with their teams to discuss GBP in relation to their function or business. In their feedback, participating managers indicated they experienced this week as very meaningful and worth repeating.
The mandatory web-based GBP training, which is designed to reinforce awareness of the need for compliance with the GBP, is available in 23 languages. Every quarter, all new hires get an invitation to take this training in their local language. In addition, targeted audiences have been invited to take a web-based training on specific topics, including anti-bribery, antitrust, privacy and export controls.