CODE OF CONDUCT

 

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, acknowledge our corporate responsibility. Driven by our awareness of the social, environmental and economic aspects of the entire value chain, we face the challenges of an increasingly connected and global economy. 

Our CODE OF CONDUCT is guided by the internationally recognised principles for the protection of human and labour rights as expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO core labour standards, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. In addition, our CODE OF CONDUCT is based on relevant international environmental protection agreements. With this commitment, we support the goal of enforcing and improving human rights and labour, social and environmental standards in economic value-added processes.

1. FUNDAMENTAL UNDERSTANDING OF SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE CORPORATE MANAGEMENT 

Compliance with the law and regulations

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, comply with the law and regulations in each country we do business in. We make sure – especially in countries with weak internal structures – to adhere to the principles of our current CODE OF CONDUCT in our own actions, and encourage our business partners to do the same. If existing national regulations conflict with our CODE, or the local situation makes it impossible to fully comply with our responsibility for respecting human rights, we will find ways to nevertheless adhere to the principles of internationally recognised human rights and the contents of this CODE OF CONDUCT.

Contribution to society

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, consider ourselves to be a part of the society in which we do business. Through our business operations, we contribute to the society’s welfare, advancement and sustainable development. We take into consideration the direct and indirect effects of our business activities on society and the environment, and strive to bring them into an appropriate balance of interests in economic, social and environmental terms. We respect and accept the various legal, societal, cultural and social backgrounds of the countries into which our value chain extends, and recognise their structures, customs and traditions. Should these conflict with the principles laid out in this CODE OF CONDUCT, we will communicate with our business partners and work towards understanding and acceptance.

Ethical management and integrity

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, pursue legal business practices in compliance with fair competition, industrial property rights of third parties, as well as antitrust and competition legislation. We reject all forms of corruption and bribery and promote principles of responsible corporate governance such as transparency, accountability, responsibility, honesty and integrity. Business partners are to be treated fairly. Contracts shall be adhered to as long as the general conditions do not fundamentally change. General ethical values and principles must be respected, especially those for human dignity and internationally recognised human rights.

Corruption

When dealing with business partners (customers, suppliers) and government institutions, the interests of the company BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH and the private interests of our employees are strictly separated from both sides. Negotiations and (purchase) decisions are made independently from irrelevant considerations and personal interests. The applicable criminal corruption laws shall be observed. Among other things, the following must be noted:
Crimes in connection with public officials:
The granting of personal benefits (in particular those of monetary nature such as payments and loans, including the granting of smaller gifts over a longer period of time) by BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH and our employees to public officials (such as civil servants or employees in public service or government) with the goal of obtaining advantages for BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, oneself or a third party is not allowed.
Crimes in business dealings:
Monetary benefits in return for preferential treatment in the course of business may not be offered, promised, granted or approved. Likewise, personal benefits of value may neither be demanded nor accepted when dealing with business partners. BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH requires all employees not to make any promises regarding any such benefits. BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH management and staff may not offer, promise, request, grant or accept gifts, payments, invitations or services made with the intention of influencing a business relationship in an improper way, or in which the risk of jeopardising the professional independence of a business partner exists. This is generally not the case for gifts and invitations that are within the bounds of customary hospitality, custom and courtesy.
BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH has drafted a policy on giving and accepting gifts, invitations and events. The policy names a contact person who can be contacted if employees of BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH find themselves in a conflict of interest, or if they are uncertain whether a conflict of interest exists or could arise.

Conduct towards competitors (competition law)
BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH observes fair competition. Therefore, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH complies with valid laws that protect and promote competition, in particular the applicable antitrust laws and other laws governing competition. When dealing with competitors, these rules specifically prohibit agreements and other activities that affect prices or conditions, allocate sales areas or customers, or hinder free and open competition in an improper way. Furthermore, these rules prohibit agreements between customers and suppliers that would restrict customers in their freedom to autonomously determine their pricing and other reselling conditions (determination of price and conditions). In view of the fact that the distinction between prohibited cartels and permissible cooperation can be problematic, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH has designated a contact person that all employees can contact when in doubt.

2. RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

The protection of human rights is an obligation in the nations in which we do business. To support the obligation of a nation to enforce human rights in its territory, we, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, respect human rights. We avoid violating the human rights of others through our activities and will resolutely address harmful human rights implications.

In order to fulfil our responsibility to respect human rights, due diligence is required with regard to the risk of serious human rights implications and the nature and context of doing business. Due diligence includes procedures for identifying, avoiding, mitigating and, where appropriate, redressing potential adverse effects on human rights, and extends to these adverse human rights implications that we ourselves cause or contribute to or that arise as a result of our business dealings with our business activities, products or services.

3. LABOUR LAW AND CONDITIONS 

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, respect the core labour standards of the International Labour Organization and create a safe and humane work environment.

Freedom of association and collective bargaining

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, respect the rights of the employer and workers to form organisations, without prior authorisation and by their own choice, which aim to promote and protect the interests of workers or the employer, to join such organisations and to freely choose their representatives. We respect the right of workers and employers to engage in collective bargaining on pay and working conditions. Workers may not be discriminated against in terms of their employment because of their membership in labour organisations. In countries where the principles of freedom of association and collective bargaining are not respected or where the exercise of these rights is restricted or prohibited, we encourage our contractors to allow their employees to freely choose their own representatives with whom employees can enter into dialogue on employment issues. We respect the right of workers to make complaints without resulting in any discrimination whatsoever. These complaints will be treated in a way suitable to the situation.

Ban on forced labour

We do not accept business activity based on forced or compulsory labour, debt bondage or servitude. This includes any kind of work or service that is required of a person under the threat of punishment and for which they have not volunteered. Our contractors are required to provide proof at any time.

Ban on child labour and the protection of young workers 

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, are committed to the elimination of child labour. We respect the minimum legal age for employment or work which, according to the terms of the International Labour Organization, shall not be lower than the age when compulsory education ends, and not lower than 15 years. During the recruitment process, appropriate age-assessment mechanisms must prevent child labour. If child labour is detected, we will initiate the necessary remedial and social reintegration measures that focus on the child’s well-being and protection. We accept youths from the age of 16 only when the nature or circumstances of the work they do does not endanger their life, health or morals, and if they receive appropriate subject-specific instruction or vocational training in the relevant topic. Our contractors are required to provide proof at any time.

Ban on discrimination in employment and work 

We refrain from any form of discrimination, exclusion or preference based on ethnicity, race, sex, religion, political views, national origin or social background, and that abolishes or affects the equality of opportunities or treatment in employment or work. Furthermore, we follow the principle of equal pay for equal work for male and female workers. Our contractors are required to provide proof at any time.

Working hours

As long as applicable national laws or applicable collective agreements do not stipulate a lower maximum working time, the regular working hours shall not exceed 48 hours per week plus a maximum of 12 overtime hours per week. Overtime must be compensated according to legal or collective agreement regulations and must remain an exception. We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, grant employees the right to take breaks every working day and observe the relevant legal public holidays. After six consecutive working days, a day off shall be granted. Our contractors are required to provide proof at any time.

Wages

Wages shall not fall below national or collectively applicable minimum wages. We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, note that, in countries with no collective or statutory pay scales, wages for regular full-time work must be sufficient to meet the basic needs of workers. At the same time, we know that BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH alone cannot secure an existence that corresponds to human dignity, but that state supplementary benefits and other social protection measures are necessary where applicable. Wages are not withheld and are paid regularly in a form suitable for the employee. Wage deductions are only allowed in the legal or collective agreement framework, and must be shown. Employees are to be regularly informed about the composition of their pay. Our contractors are required to provide proof at any time.

Employment relations

The rules of national labour law must be observed. Employees must be supplied with intelligible information about significant working conditions, including working hours, remuneration, and payment and billing arrangements. Our contractors are required to provide proof at any time. BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH protects the right of employees to terminate their employment relationship in compliance with the respective applicable notice period. We also strive to promote employees’ professional qualifications.

Workplace health and safety

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, are obliged, taking into account national requirements, to take appropriate measures to ensure health and safety in the workplace in order to avoid accidents at work and to protect the health of our employees. Valid local health, occupational health, work safety and building and fire safety regulations are complied with to minimise the risk of accidents and work-related illnesses. Workers are provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) where necessary and appropriate. In situations of immediate danger, employees have the right and the duty to leave their work station immediately and without permission. People in need, such as young workers, young mothers and pregnant women, and people with disabilities shall receive special protection. Our contractors are required to provide proof at any time.

Humane treatment

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, treat our employees with dignity and respect. We refrain from any form of mistreatment, abuse, harassment or intimidation, as well as unlawful penalties against employees. Disciplinary action is recorded in writing and in a form understandable to the employee. Our contractors are required to provide proof at any time.

4. ENVIRONMENT

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, comply with the applicable laws, regulations and administrative practices for the protection of people and the environment of the countries in which we do business. We generally conduct our business in a way that contributes to the overall goal of sustainable development. To this end, we set up a system tailored to our company that allows us to review our operational activities for harmful environmental effects and, in accordance with existing regional laws and regulations, to take all necessary and appropriate measures to reduce human and environmental burdens, avoid environmental damage and remedy it to the best of our ability. We strive for the constant and long-term improvement of our environmental results by promoting the introduction of suitable technologies and production processes that allow for the efficient use of natural resources and energy, as well as the lowering of emissions. We aim for an evaluation of the chemicals used by our suppliers and try to select them from an environmental, occupational safety and consumer protection point of view, and to completely avoid or replace particularly harmful chemicals. The proper disposal of waste and the possible reuse of substances in the circular economy are important, as long as this is possible because of local conditions. Our contractors are required to provide proof and to cooperate at any time.

5. CONSUMER INTERESTS

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, take appropriate steps to guarantee the quality of the products we offer. This includes not only the function and design, but also safety, environmental impact and fairness. We develop our products and our range accordingly. As part of ongoing improvements, we always focus on the growing use of sustainably manufactured materials. We ensure that our products meet all legal regulations in regard to consumer health and safety and that they are harmless to health and safety in regard to their respective purpose. BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH takes into account the consumer interests in informational and distribution activities by applying fair business, marketing and advertising practices, and promoting consumer education. Our contractors are required to provide proof at any time.

6. PROTECTION OF ANIMALS AND SPECIES

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, in our entrepreneurial activities observe the principles of animal welfare on keeping and using animals in the appropriate manner. We recognise the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and conduct our business activities accordingly. Our contractors are required to provide proof at any time.

7. TRADE SECRETS AND DATA PRIVACY

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, oblige our staff and contractors to observe trade and company secrets. Confidential information and documents shall not be given to third parties without authorisation, or made accessible in any way, unless authorisation has been given to do so or the information is publicly available. We observe the valid laws regarding all relevant points of data protection.

8. COMMUNICATION

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, communicate the content of this CODE OF CONDUCT to employees, contract partners and, if necessary, to third parties. It must be clear to contract partners that compliance with the CODE OF CONDUCT is fundamentally ensured. Our contractors are required to provide proof of this at any time. However, the transfer of business and trade secrets or any information relating to competition or other information worthy of protection is excluded for legal reasons.

9. IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

We, BENBARTON HOFMANN GMBH, respect this CODE OF CONDUCT in our own business dealings. We encourage our business partners to apply our CODE OF CONDUCT accordingly. We assist our business partners to design their supply chain in a way in which human and employee rights are respected, and working conditions are continuously improved. In the interest of good corporate governance, we incorporate the principles of responsible corporate governance named in our CODE OF CONDUCT into our strategic and operational management systems.

Gerhard Hofmann
Executive Manager
Kleinostheim, Januar 2016


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