Today's complex business environment demands that we firmly embed integrity in our daily business practices. Integrity means that we always work to the highest professional and ethical standards and establish trust by being open, honest and responsible. Integrity is a fulfilment of our high standards of responsibility to the client, shareholders, business partners and employees, the public, and to governments and the laws and culture of the countries in which we operate.
The Arcadis General Business Principles (AGBP) further define our interpretation of business ethics. The AGBP set guidance for our business decisions and actions throughout the world at all levels and apply equally to company actions and to individual behavior of all our employees in conducting Arcadis’ business.
The Corporate Compliance Committee is composed of General Counsel & Company Secretary, Chief People Officer (member of the Executive Leadership Team) as well as the Chief Compliance Officer. At Regional level the Compliance function is composed of a Compliance Officer and a Compliance Committee. Each Compliance Committee includes the Compliance Officer as well as Legal and Human Resource/People expertise.
Specific Anti-Corruption Standards (SACS) provide specific guidelines related to gifts, hospitality and payments to third parties. Arcadis has embedded its commitment to the UN Global Compact principle on anti-corruption by referencing the SACS into the Arcadis General Business Principles (AGBP). Targeted anti-corruption training sessions by leadership members and by Compliance Officers were held in various regions throughout the year.
Dealing with dilemmas
The AGBP cannot anticipate the array of dilemmas we may face in our day-to-day operations. An active policy in this area means recognizing dilemmas and taking responsibility for resolving them. We encourage employees to discuss business dilemmas with each other and with their management, to make integrity an integral part of our culture.
Value for customers
We are a reliable partner for our clients and aim to deliver our services without jeopardizing stakeholder interests. We offer services under terms that do not compromise our independent professional judgment and aim to create optimal value for clients. We are transparent with clients about conflicts of interest that could emerge during the execution of our services.
Responsible employment practices
Our people are key to our success and we respect human and labor rights so that our people may work in a safe, healthy, professional and supportive environment. We encourage engagement and support personal development through comprehensive policies and initiatives.
Every Arcadis employee has an equal opportunity for personal recognition, advancement, career development and compensation, regardless of background or beliefs. The same policy applies to recruitment. No form of discrimination or harassment is tolerated.
Monitoring and accountability
We require all our people to sign off on and comply with the AGBP. In addition, every other year Arcadis employees complete online training aimed at increasing awareness of our AGBP and values. This training specifically addresses issues like corruption, collusion, bribery and other risks to which our employees may be exposed. It was most recently rolled out in October 2018. In 2019, a total of 97% of all employees passed the AGBP training or the Anti-Corruption Training Module. The next round of integrity training for all our employees will be organized in 2020.
Arcadis monitors compliance with the AGBP in all operating companies on a quarterly basis. Management of operating companies certifies compliance through an annual Document of Representation. Arcadis will not hold employees accountable for any loss of business resulting from compliance with the AGBP.
Arcadis has a reporting procedure which includes an anonymous global Integrity Phone Line managed by a third party for the event people are uncomfortable reporting in the line or to Compliance. Reporting tools are available to our employees 24 hours/7 days a week. Reports of potential or suspected misconduct can be made in native languages.
In 2019, a number of 77 alleged breaches or near misses of the Arcadis General Business Principles was reported to the Arcadis Corporate Compliance Committee, all of which were investigated or advised upon (2018: 77).
24 referrals from before 2019 were also still under investigation during the year. Inappropriate behavior (employment-related) was the category with most reported issues. Violation of the AGBP may lead to sanctions, up to and including discharge. Company-wide we had seven dismissals on grounds related to breaches of the General Business Principles.