calendar 28.06. 2016

Value-based action

As an international company, sustainable management guided by values and principles is of crucial importance for transparent and responsible action. The fact that our Sustainability Council has become international helps us to anchor ista's CR management worldwide and to communicate the relevance of this subject to all sites.

Living values

International agreements such as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention against Corruption and the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Declaration of Principles are important cornerstones for us and point the way for company-wide principles and commitments. In everyday life, we also have our company values – the Shared Values – which support cooperation in a spirit of fairness and partnership both among colleagues and with external partners.

Our actions are guided by …

regulations

Regulations, for example on gifts and gratuities (Germany) as well as money laundering and the funding of terrorism (international).

Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct contains important principles such as those on avoiding conflicts of interest and rejecting corruption and bribery. The Code is binding on all employees and is available in printed form and on the intranet.

Company values

Five values which give employees guidance in daily working life – Keeping Commitments, Encouraging Empowerment, Taking Responsibility, Promoting Trust and Building Partnerships.

Global Compact of the United Nations

We support and promote human rights, working standards, environmental protection and the fight against corruption.

Corporate Internal Audit and Compliance is responsible for monitoring compliance with the guidelines, regulations and commitments as part of its regular audit activities and is the central point of contact for employees. In 2015, all employees in Germany were informed about the compliance requirements in a separate communication. In some countries selected on the basis of risk, employees were personally trained on the Code of Conduct, and a central monitoring team was set up for areas which appeared to be particularly at risk from corruption.

In the reporting year, the Federal Cartel Office launched a sector inquiry in the entire billing industry, which is to provide information on the current market situation and competition intensity in this branch of industry. There were no investigations by the Federal Cartel Office that were specifically aimed at ista.

Three questions to Günther Meggeneder

Günther Meggeneder is the Senior Vice President Corporate Internal Audit and Compliance and responsible for auditing processes in all 24 ista markets. The subject of sustainability, in particular compliance with governance and human rights codes, plays an important role. INSIDEista asked him three short questions about this.

Sustainability in the company – how does that work?

Sustainability management always requires a holistic approach. I believe this approach rests on two pillars. On the one hand, the subject of sustainability must be strategically anchored in the company and supported centrally by the management. Only then are the employees also sensitised to this topic and do they keep an eye on sustainability in their daily work. The second pillar is operational implementation. Certain rules are necessary for this at an international company like ista. Generally applicable codes, such as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the OECD guidelines or the UN Global Compact principles, are therefore a very important framework for us for the operational implementation of sustainability.

In your experience, where are the greatest stumbling blocks?

In everyday business you are often faced with a decision between achieving fast, short-term business success or reaching long-term objectives. In such a situation, we must be particularly aware of our responsibility and decide what is important for a future-oriented management. With regard to compliance management, an international business model is particularly challenging: after all, 24 different markets with different cultures and values are under the ista umbrella. In our international audits, we always examine and critically review whether all the guidelines and regulations – in particular the Code of Conduct and the rules of procedure – are known and being implemented. By the way, the Code of Conduct is the only document at ista which is available in all languages – this underlines its importance and also creates a sense of duty among the employees.

If you had one wish, what would you like to see with regard to sustainability at ista?

Regardless of how much a company commits itself to sustainability, achieves targets and sets new goals, supports initiatives and constantly reviews its strategy, there is always room for improvement. I want to see us at ista continuing to recognise this potential and constantly developing as we have done so far. In compliance management, we work to ensure that it becomes virtually second nature to consider compliance aspects. We have already seen a change in recent years. Our employees are asking us more questions, which means that they see us as partners.

Involving the supply chain

We place high demands not only on our business sites worldwide but also on our suppliers. Suppliers with sales of EUR 50,000 and over must commit to satisfying the requirements of our Supplier Code. It is based on the OECD principles of responsible corporate governance and on the ILO core conventions.

In order to support sustainable production at suppliers’, the Quality Management and Direct Procurement departments check compliance with the Code in regular supplier audits. An engineering office in Thailand also assists our local Asian suppliers. Resident engineers provide our two main Asian suppliers with support and quality assurance. See here the description of our supply chain.

Internationally positioned

In order to further professionalise ista’s sustainability management, we decided to reorganise sustainability coordination at the beginning of 2016: the new Sustainability Council is headed by the environment consultant and comprises the international sustainability delegates from the countries. At the same time, we have established a new Sustainability Steering Committee to discuss important topics at head office level and provide strategic guidelines. Taking the council work as a basis and headed by Corporate Communications, the Steering Committee prepares decision papers for the management.

This enables us to improve our understanding of country-specific sustainability requirements. Thanks to these new appointments, we are also automatically introducing the subject of sustainability into the operations side of our business and ensuring that the subject is better anchored in the markets.

Sustainability coordination at ista

 

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Stakeholder engagement G4-24 G4-25 G4-26 G4-27

In addition to systematically engaging important stakeholders during the materiality analysis, we are in constant dialogue with employees, customers, politicians, NGOs and the media. Employees of the individual ista national organisations use the dialogue format “inside talk” and digital formats on the intranet to keep in regular contact with the management.

One important channel for exchanging views with our customers is direct contact with our sales employees. In Germany, we focused particularly on energy data management and smoke alarm device services in the reporting period. We also reach customers, politicians and society at international events – in 2015, the Climate Expo COP21 in Paris was an important platform for discussing trends and developments and presenting products and services.

Overview of stakeholder communications G4-24, G4-26, G4-27 

Stakeholder  Communication examples
External
Customers Customer events, customer advisory council, customer satisfaction survey, customer newsletter, website, online portal, personal customer care and support, online magazine INSIDEista, newsroom, social media
Associations, NGOs, organisations Memberships, association work
Politicians Discussions with political parties, interviews
Owners Monthly reporting and consultation meetings
Press Press meetings, press releases, online magazine INSIDEista, newsroom
Suppliers Regular consultation meetings, supplier audits
Students, scientists University cooperations
Internal
Employees Staff appraisal interviews, employee survey, information events, management blog, management dialogue formats, online magazine INSIDEista, newsletter, intranet


Picture credit: grasundsterne