Frequently asked questions (FAQ) Integrity
Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the ABB Code of Conduct. The full text of the Code of Conduct is available on the ABB Code of Conduct mobile app or on the ABB website. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of ABB's integrity officers.
The purpose and scope of the Code
ABB’s success depends on the trust of employees, customers, shareholders and the communities it serves. To maintain that trust, we have implemented company-wide standards of conduct that go beyond technical issues of compliance and call for overall personal integrity and individual accountability. The Code of Conduct provides practical guidance on these standards, primarily to our workforce, but it also informs our suppliers, business partners and other stakeholders how we conduct business worldwide.
The Code of Conduct is based on 5 simple and straightforward integrity principles. These principles guide our behavior in how we do business within ABB with colleagues and externally with customers and business partners, such as suppliers or channel partners. The principles relate to the various integrity focus areas regarding sustainability, health & safety and human rights. They also focus on the protection of ABB’s assets and reputation and ask all employees to speak up and report suspected violations of the Code promptly to the Group Legal and Integrity function.
The Code of Conduct covers every common category of business ethics and integrity, including gifts and entertainment, charitable contributions, insider trading, money laundering, the environment, health and safety, fair employment, privacy, human rights and others. All employees are required to familiarize themselves with the Code and to adhere to it.
Applicability of the Code of Conduct to employees and other stakeholders
We expect all of our employees to read, acknowledge and follow the ABB Code of Conduct. Failure to follow the Code will result in disciplinary action and may lead to termination of employment with ABB. Additionally, we expect ABB third parties, consultants, contractors and temporary workers to follow the Code in connection with their work for our company. Failure to do so may result in termination of their business relationship with ABB.
ABB has published a separate Supplier Code of Conduct (SCoC) that all of our suppliers are expected to understand and follow. The ABB SCoC is integrated into our day-to-day operations and is a fundamental part of our supplier qualification, development, and evaluation requirements. Suppliers may also find the ABB Code of Conduct useful in understanding how ABB conducts business.
Raising a concern about potential violations of the Code of Conduct
All employees, contractors, suppliers, customers and other ABB stakeholders are strongly encouraged to report promptly any concerns related to the Code of Conduct. By reporting concerns promptly, ABB can investigate and take any needed corrective actions early, before the matter becomes more serious or causes harm to the company or others. ABB is appreciative of those who raise concerns early and thereby help the company live up to the high standards of ethics in our Code of Conduct.
Any suspected violations of the Code of Conduct may be reported, including but not limited to:
- ethics and compliance issues, fraud, misconduct, corruption, financial issues, conflicts of interest, violations of insider trading or antitrust regulations, theft, embezzlement;
- employee relations and human resources issues, such as harassment, discrimination and other improper workplace conduct;
- loss prevention and asset protection;
- workplace violence and alcohol or drug abuse; or,
- environment, health and safety issues, such as occupational health and safety violations
If you become aware of possible violations of the code, laws or regulations you can raise you concern through the “Reach us” section on the mobile app or the EthicsPoint portal on the ABB website (external & internal). Another option would be to write to the ABB Chief Integrity Officer at ABB Ltd, Affolternstrasse 44, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland or call us on the Ethics Hotline number at +41 43 317 3366.
Each of these methods provides a high level of confidentiality and in the end all reports are collected into one and the same central reporting system.
ABB will take reasonable steps to ensure confidentiality throughout the process so people who raise concerns should not fear that their identity or the concern will be improperly disclosed or abused. During the course of an investigation however, the special investigator will need to ask questions regarding the nature of the concern with those who are knowledgeable about the matter. ABB may also be legally required to disclose certain information in the event it receives a compulsory government or court-issued requests. In addition, ABB may decide to make a voluntary disclosure to law enforcement authorities of an investigation. In such cases ABB will abide by its Corporate Binding Rules and GDPR legislation to protect your privacy.
Yes, you may raise a concern anonymously through the “Reach us” section on the mobile app or the EthicsPoint portal on the ABB website (external & internal). Another option would be to write to the ABB Chief Integrity Officer at ABB Ltd, Affolternstrasse 44, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland or call us on the Ethics Hotline number at +41 43 317 3366.
ABB will not condone or tolerate retaliation or any other adverse employment action against a person or company based on having either raised a concern in good faith or cooperated truthfully and completely in any investigation relating to a concern. Please report any suspected retaliation using the channels identified above. Employees who have been found after investigation to have engaged in retaliatory action will be severely disciplined, up to and including termination of employment.
When raising a concern, please provide the best and most detailed information you have relating to the facts that form the basis of your concern that the Code of Conduct was violated, including, for example, the facts pertaining to what happened, when it happened, who was involved, what organizations were involved (including any external parties, if applicable), how it happened and whether you were provided any explanation of what happened. You are also encouraged to submit or identify any documents, such as emails, reports, SMS messages, or other material that may be relevant to your concern. In summary, please include in the concern any information that could assist the ABB Integrity team in its investigation of the matter. A concern that does not include enough detail or information will impair or prevent a thorough investigation.
ABB strongly encourages employees to raise concerns about suspected violations of the Code of Conduct. This means that you do not have to have complete information about a suspected violation, nor do you have to have personal knowledge of all the facts relating to a potential violation. Instead, you should have a reasonable basis for believing, in good faith, that a violation may have occurred. A good faith belief is grounded on your honest perception of events and facts, and not on any other motivations such as spite, retribution, pay-back, discrimination, or other improper motivations or impulses. If you are still unsure as to whether you have grounds to report an integrity concern, please contact your manager or your local legal and integrity team to discuss the matter.
ABB seeks to build a culture in which employees feel comfortable raising concerns so that the company can address and take early and decisive action on potential issues relating to the Code of Conduct that could cause harm to the company, its employees and other stakeholders. ABB encourages its employees to report promptly any suspected violation of the Code of Conduct. Although the number of concerns raised each year varies, the company will generally receive and investigate hundreds of concerns each year.
The investigation process
All concerns are submitted to the Office of Special Investigations, a function of the Integrity team which is tasked with investigating integrity concerns. The Integrity team reports to the Chief Integrity Officer at ABB headquarters in Zurich.
The Code of Conduct requires all ABB employees to cooperate truthfully and completely when asked to participate in an integrity investigation. The investigator will arrange a convenient time to conduct an interview with you to discuss and ask about the concern, and you should provide your full cooperation. The investigations are confidential, and you should not discuss the request for or the content of the interview with anyone, even your manager. If anyone asks you about the interview, you should refer such person to the investigator. Do not delete any documents, including electronic records such as emails, collaborative workspaces, text messages, photos, or other material during the pendency of the investigation. The investigator may ask you to provide certain documents, and you should cooperate in such a request.
The Office of Special Investigations will collect all relevant facts and oversee the management of any integrity concerns submitted to the ABB Integrity team. Depending on the results of the investigation, an internal disciplinary committee will apply the Human Resources Disciplinary Action Protocol to determine the consequences of the matter. In addition, the Office of Special Investigations will work with the appropriate business and function to determine whether any further corrective actions, such as process improvements or additional controls, are necessary to prevent a recurrence of the violation.
The Code of Conduct Mobile App
ABB decided to launch the Code of Conduct mobile application to provide ABB employees as well as external stakeholders with quick and easy access to the Code of Conduct and its related functionalities.
The application design allows users to navigate easily through the Code of Conduct focus areas, take short integrity trainings, seek help when encountering an integrity issue and report an integrity concern to the ABB ethics hotline – always at hand in an interactive and user-friendly way.
The security of the app has been a primary concern. The application development followed ABB’s high security standards to protect it from vulnerabilities or attacks.
Yes, ABB employees and external stakeholders may report an integrity concern using the app. All available reporting options are listed in the ‘Reach us’ section in the bottom navigation bar of the app.
You can report concerns anonymously through both the global phone number (+ 41 43 317 33 66) and the EthicsPoint portal.
As stated on the EthicsPoint portal: “This system does not generate or maintain any internal connection logs with IP addresses, so no information linking your PC to this system is available. NAVEX Global is contractually committed not to pursue a reporter’s identity.”
For more details regarding the reporting security and confidentiality, please visit the FAQ section available on the EthicsPoint portal.
The app is publicly available, which means anyone using an iOS (13.0 and up) or Android (8.1 and up) mobile phone can download the app from an application store.
Currently, the app gives the opportunity to take selected integrity trainings, in the form of short videos. The list of the trainings available in the app will be expanded.
For the time being, all employees and external stakeholders working with ABB are strongly encouraged to download the application because it gives the user an opportunity to easily access the guidance in the Code of Conduct and the ability to refer to its content at any time. Even if you do not download the application, you are still required to be knowledgeable about and abide by the Code of Conduct – it is the ABB Way of doing business.
You may contact your Country Integrity Officer or ABB Group Legal and Integrity:
- by regular post: ABB Chief Integrity Officer, ABB Ltd., Affolternstrasse 44, CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland
- via the EthicsPoint portal on the ABB website (internal & external) or via the “Reach us” section of the mobile app.