• Business Practices

General Business Principles

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 fulfillment 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 Compliance function resides since 2017 with the Enterprise Risk Management function. The Corporate Compliance Committee is composed of the Staff Directors of Legal, Human Resources, and Enterprise Risk Management, as well as the Chief Compliance Officer. Both at Regional level and at the Global Excellence Centers, 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 Resources expertise.

Anti-Corruption, Specific Anti-Corruption Standards (SACS)

SACS provides 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 and by Compliance Officers were held in various regions throughout the year.

Anti-Competitive Behavior

We support the principles of free enterprise and fair competition and observe applicable regulations. Building on pre-existing regional guidance, in 2017, we introduced global guidance on competition law and developed related training and awareness material to be further embedded in the business in 2018.

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 the key to our success and we respect their human and labor rights so that they 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 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 two years Arcadis employees complete online compliance training aimed at increasing awareness of our AGBP and values. This training specifically addresses issues like corruption, bribery, and other risks to which our employees may be exposed. In 2017, 97% of all employees passed the AGBP training and test (2016: 94%). The next round of compliance training for all our employees will be organized in 2018.

Arcadis monitors compliance with the AGBP in all regions on a quarterly basis. Regional management 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.

Integrity Line

Arcadis has a whistle-blower procedure which includes an anonymous global Integrity Phone Line. This tool is available 24 hours/7 days a week to our employees. Reports of suspected misconduct can be made in native languages.

In 2017, a number of 76 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 (2016: 99). 24 referrals from before 2017 were also still under investigation during the year. Inappropriate behavior (employmentrelated) was the category with the most referrals. Violation of the AGBP may lead to sanctions, up to and including discharge. Company-wide, we had five dismissals on grounds related to breaches of the General Business Principles.