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“Corporate compliance” is a subject our staff encounter more and more often when they meet up with customers, business partners or politicians. Practically every contract and tender now has a clause stipulating that corporate compliance guidelines must reflect – at the very least – minimum international standards and that these must be adhered to at all times. Nowadays, a company’s success depends very much on whether it is prepared to voluntarily commit itself to such standards. What exactly is corporate compliance, however, and what must each member of staff do to let their customers and business partners know that REMONDIS is not just a competent partner but also a company that operates an ethical, moral and responsible business?
Corporate Compliance effectively describes the ability of a company to adhere to a set of rules, no matter whether they are specific regulations, codes of conduct or guidelines. This compliance, however, goes far beyond simply sticking to statutory regulations. In other words: it is not enough for a company to be operated in a legally correct manner, it must also be run in accordance with fundamental moral and ethical principles – promoting equal opportunities and fair competition and preventing corruption and child labour at all its businesses, both on its home market and abroad. Senior management is responsible for the actions of its staff and, in the worst case scenario, is at personal risk of prosecution. If an individual employee acts improperly, this might not only have serious legal consequences for the person in question but also for the company as a whole and its senior management team. REMONDIS has, therefore, been promoting maximum levels of transparency for many years now.
”Nowadays, the success of a company very much depends on whether it is prepared to adhere to corporate compliance regulations.“
Thomas Conzendorf, REMONDIS Board Member
Mandatory compliance regulations were introduced into the company at a time when such decisions were very much the exception rather than the norm. There is a good reason for doing this: according to a study published by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the total damage caused by compliance violations in Germany lay at around 6 billion euros in 2007 alone.
The necessity of a company to comply with statutory regulations is not just a matter of moral duty, it is also set out in black and white. In Germany, Sections 9, 30 and 130 of the ‘Ordnungswidrigkeitengesetz’ or ‘OWiG’ for short (Administrative Offences Act) stipulate that a company and its senior management are responsible for ensuring that its staff do not act illegally. Should an employee overstep legal boundaries, then both the senior management team and the company itself, as the legal entity, may be prosecuted alongside the actual member of staff, if it can be proven that they failed to introduce the necessary organisational and supervisory measures. If, for example, a company employee is guilty of corruption, then the company may not only find itself facing a civil action in the courts brought about by the party disadvantaged by the employee’s actions. The company or the company management team may also be prosecuted for violating the ‘OWiG’ if they failed to meet their organisational and supervisory duties. Numerous other statutory regulations set out the various duties and obligations of a company, not least when it comes to preventing violations of competition law. Sections 91 and 93 of the ‘AktG’ (German Stock Corporation Act) and Section 43 of the ‘GmbHG’ (German Limited Liability Companies Act) are further examples of how a company must ensure rules and regulations are adhered to if it wishes to avoid legal proceedings.
In order to ensure that such conflicts and damage to the company are avoided in the first place, REMONDIS has set up its own Corporate Compliance department which is being led by Dr Ernst-Joachim Grosche. REMONDIS’ aim is not simply to make sure it sticks to the rules. It is looking to protect its good reputation, its employees and the company itself against sanctions. By creating a compliance team, customers and employees now have a place they can turn to to prevent potential violations. The compliance team can be reached by phone, email and a special hotline. They will, therefore, be helping to make sure business processes remain compliant and sustainable – working for the future.
Anyone with a question about corporate compliance can now contact Dr Ernst-Joachim Grosche, Chief Compliance Officer, and Zhanna Barysiuk, Assistant Chief Compliance Officer