Code of Conduct

Introduction

The work of the German Design Council Foundation and its member companies (hereinafter referred to as the “Foundation”) is characterised by integrity.  This applies to cooperation between employees and between individual members, external business partners, suppliers and public sector contacts.

This approach governs how the Foundation conducts its activities and stems from the Foundation’s own high ethical standards as well as relevant legal requirements.

The Foundation's* employees shape the style and image of the Foundation in the public sphere. Honesty, sincerity and fairness are the hallmarks of our staff and the entire Foundation. Although the Foundation is committed to ongoing development and growth, it is not just concerned with outcomes – it is also interested in how these outcomes are achieved. Outcomes are not accepted if they are achieved through unlawful or unfair means.

* This guideline is designed to prevent all forms of corruption. It aims to prevent the abuse of an employee’s role – irrespective of whether the employee offers or accepts benefits. Corruption causes significant harm to the economy and society as a whole, and therefore cannot be regarded as a necessary evil. Corruption undermines citizens’ trust in the integrity and effectiveness of the economy and leads to considerable losses for businesses and the economy as a whole.

This compliance guideline contains binding rules which apply equally to all of the Foundation’s employees. It  places us under an obligation of acting accordingly and refraining from everything that is in conflict with the following rules.

Basic principles

Legal compliance

Compliance with the law is the Foundation’s overriding principle. Employees must comply with the legal regulations of the jurisdiction in which they conduct their activities (Germany, Europe, China). Violations of the law must be avoided under all circumstances. The same applies to all applicable internal regulations issued by the Foundation and/or stipulated in employment contracts. Employees who fail to comply with these regulations will be subject to disciplinary action for violating their contractual obligations – irrespective of any sanctions provided for by law.

Respect, integrity and honesty

All employees are expected to respect the personal dignity, privacy and personal rights of others. Discrimination and exclusion on the basis of gender, nationality, culture, religion and skin colour will not be accepted. The Foundation and its employees are reliable partners and only make promises that can be met. This applies to internal cooperation as well as to conduct towards external partners.

Interaction with third parties

Competition law

Any agreements between companies which restrict competition are strictly prohibited. The Foundation is therefore committed, without reservation, to fair competition and in particular to strict compliance with antitrust law. Any semblance of anti-competitive conduct by any employee must be avoided.  All employees are obliged to comply with the rules of fair competition.  Misconduct by third parties must be reported to the Legal Department.

Offering benefits

Employees may not – directly or indirectly - offer or grant any form of benefits whatsoever to others in connection with their work. Care must be taken to ensure that this regulation also applies to partners in their work for the Foundation.  Benefits to third parties are strictly prohibited. Invitations to appropriate business meals may be issued.

Accepting benefits

Employees may not use their position within the Foundation to demand, accept, obtain or be promised benefits in connection with their work.  Accepting gifts is strictly prohibited unless the value of the gift does not exceed the equivalent of EUR 40.00.

If a gift exceeds the permitted value and cannot be refused due to the nature of the business relationship, it must be declared to the senior management team or the Legal Department on every occasion. The gift may be accepted subject to written approval.

Invitations to appropriate business meals may be accepted. The appropriateness of such meals should be determined conservatively; if in doubt, the senior management team or the Legal Department should be consulted.

Avoidance of conflicts of interest

Foundation employees are required to make decisions in the best interests of the Foundation.  Employees may not be influenced by personal or family considerations which may consciously or unconsciously compromise their judgement of what is in the best interests of the Foundation.

A conflict of interests arises when an employee has a personal or family interest of a financial or other nature in another company/organisation which may be able to derive benefits from decisions that the employee makes in his/her role. For this reason, all employees must comply with the following regulations:

-       Any personal or family interest that may exist in connection with the performance of official duties must be reported to the employee’s line manager.  There must be no unfair discrimination for or against suppliers during competition for contracts.

-      Employees must not engage companieswith which they have business dealings to undertake private tasks if this may result in the employee deriving benefits from such tasks.  

All employees are required to observe and comply with the aforementioned principles and practices.  In all cases of doubt, the senior management team or the Legal Department should be informed.