Compliance, in the sense of implementing measures to ensure adherence to the law, to statutory requirements and to internal company policies, is a key duty for everyone at GEA. Each board member, director and employee has a duty to ensure that no breaches of compliance are being committed within their area of responsibility. The GEA Compliance Organisation provides support for this purpose. GEA has in addition introduced various measures to ensure that Compliance is adopted and adhered to Group wide.
GEA is committed to responsible and sustainable management. Against this backdrop, integrity and lawful conduct are of the highest priority. GEA values an open corporate culture, and encourages its employees, business partners, shareholders, other stakeholders and external parties, to swiftly report serious infringements of laws or internal guidelines, and any compliance risks.
GEA's Whistleblower System offers employees and external parties a secure reporting system, which can be used for reporting infringements. Whistleblower System is not a general complaints platform, and it contains only selected reporting categories that cover particular risks for or to the company, its employees and all other stakeholders. These include corruption, fraud and embezzlement, money laundering, antitrust and competition law infringements, export control legislation, data protection, and accounting standards. GEA also considers itself responsible, as the employer, in cases of infringements of the GEA Code of Corporate Responsibility. These cases constitute an independent reporting category.
Whistleblower System is available in nine languages and is accessible from any Internet-enabled PC. The IT system is provided by an external supplier, and guarantees security for the informant.
Only a limited number of members of the GEA Compliance, Internal Audit and Human Resources departments are able to access reports within their areas of competence. Reports received are dealt with in the strictest confidence to protect the informant and the accused. If the informant wishes, reports may be submitted anonymously to the extent that this is permitted in their country.
GEA attaches great importance to the protection of informants from any negative consequences that may occur as a result of their report. As false accusations can have serious consequences for those affected, informants are encouraged to use Whistleblower System responsibly. Knowingly submitting a false report or other abuses of the system may result in penalties under labour or criminal law.
Further information and access to the GEA Whistleblower System can be found here. (Link directs to an external page and will open in a new tab or window)
GEA maintains a comprehensive compliance management system with a particular focus on human rights, anti-corruption and combating money laundering, avoidance of conflicts of interest, avoidance of antitrust and competition law risks, compliance with public procurement regulations and dealings with third parties.
On the basis of the annual risk assessment in the above-mentioned areas, the measures of the compliance management system are reviewed and continuously developed in line with the risks. The main regulations and measures are summarised in the GEA Compliance Handbook, which applies worldwide in all GEA subsidiaries and is supplemented by further group and local guidelines.
The compliance management system is complemented by further measures, e.g. regarding compliance culture, compliance targets and compliance communication. In addition, GEA Internal Audit or external auditors regularly audit the compliance management system and its individual components.
GEA’s Code of Conduct describes the values, principles and modes of action that guide the entrepreneurial conduct of GEA. The GEA Code of Conduct reflects the goal to safeguard compliance with law throughout GEA and to create a work environment that distinguishes itself in terms of integrity, respect, and fair and responsible conduct. It is applicable worldwide to all employees, board members and directors of the GEA.
GEA Compliance Handbook “Integrity & Fair Competition” gives an overview of crucial GEA Compliance policies and helps GEA employees to implement them. It includes GEA Code of Conduct, GEA Integrity Policy, GEA Third Party Policy and GEA Competition Policy. The latter operating policies are effective in all subsidiaries of GEA Group and contain binding rules of conduct for all employees of the GEA Group in certain legal situations. All mandatory approval and reporting requirements must be fulfilled by all GEA employees via audit-proof internal Compliance tools.
GEA Social Contribution Policy contains general requirements as well as requirements for different types of social contributions. Social contributions must never be provided to political parties, politicians or organisations associated with such. GEA employees must request internal approval for all social contributions above certain thresholds.
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