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Standards and policies

To guide our employees and prevent integrity concerns, ABB has designed a set of directives that will maintain our position as a world-class company with zero tolerance for illegal or unethical behaviour.

The group directives provide specific guidelines for the practical application of the ABB Code of Conduct into our day-to-day activities. With a strong set of internal controls and a clear picture of what is expected of our ABB community, we strive to create a culture of integrity reflected in our behavior.

A strong set of internal controls

The group directives provide specific guidelines for the practical application of the ABB Code of Conduct into our day-to-day activities. With a strong set of internal controls and a clear picture of what is expected of our ABB community, we strive to create a culture of integrity reflected in our behavior.

Our group directives reinforce the following areas:

  • Bribery and corruption is prohibited in all business dealings, whether with public officials or private sector business partners. As a rule, facilitation payments are not permitted.
  • Substance-based due diligence is mandatory prior to the appointment of ABB representatives, such as third party local agents and exclusive distributors. Centralized and transparent approval processes with appropriate controls over performance, is mandatory prior to any remuneration payments.
  • Political and charitable contributions are subject to detailed internal policy and controls
  • The gifts, entertainment and expenses policy defines thresholds, approval processes and their documentation, with additional controls for public officials.
  • Agreements with subcontractors and consortium partners are aligned with ABB’s commitment to integrity in the performance of the contract, including commitments not to violate anti-bribery laws. Suppliers must also maintain integrity standards which are satisfactory to ABB and agree to the ABB Supplier Code of Conduct.
  • Compliance due diligence is mandatory for any acquisition target or joint venture. Thorough integration strategies are implemented.
Our success as a company is based on the quality and reliability of our products and services. To protect our reputation, our customers and stakeholders can trust us to only give or receive legitimate and reasonable business gifts and entertainment.

Our group directive on gifts, entertainment and expenses covers both giving and receiving. As a company, we respect global thresholds and approval processes, taking into consideration local standards in the various regions in which we do business.

We also recognize that other companies and customers often have their own code of conduct to abide by, and we are committed to never putting anyone in a position to violate their commitments. Our controlled and transparent approval process for gifts, entertainment and expenses, serves to support our employees so that they can feel confident they are not crossing the line.

Furthermore, additional controls have been developed for public officials. Employees of government owned or controlled companies are subject to these heightened standards.
In order to determine whether gifts, entertainment or expenses are appropriate, each employee should consider the following criteria;

  • Made for the right reason: the gift and entertainment should be given as an act of appreciation, friendship or hospitality;
  • No obligation: the gift, entertainment or reimbursement of expense does not place the recipient under any obligation;
  • No expectations: expectations are not created in the giver or an associate of the giver or have a higher importance attached to it by the giver than the recipient would place on such a transaction;
  • Made openly: if made secretly then the purpose will be suspect;
  • No misuse of expenses: payment or reimbursement of expenses shall not be misused to hide inappropriate gifts or entertainment;
  • Appropriate: the nature of the gift, entertainment or expense is appropriate and is in line with both general business practice as well as local cultural and ethical standards;
  • Legality: it conforms to the laws of the country where it is made and any other applicable laws;
  • Conforms to the recipient's rules: the gift, entertainment or reimbursement of expenses meets the rules or code of conduct of the company or organization where the receiving person is employed; and
  • Infrequent: such giving or receiving is not a regular happening between the giver and the recipient.
Expecting the utmost integrity from ABB representatives, such as agents, is paramount to our company.

Special care is required when selecting ABB representatives, such as third party local agents and exclusive distributors, to ensure that they follow ABB rules and commit to working with the highest level of integrity. All appointments are subject to robust, structured approval processes and remuneration guidelines are predefined.
ABB uses standard agreements that include anti-bribery provisions, audit rights, and rights to terminate agreements for violations of the ABB Code of Conduct. An electronic database is used to support the appointment process and associated due diligence of agents. It also provides instruction for proper controls during execution of their activities and an approval process for remuneration payments. All ABB representatives receive anti-bribery training prior to being appointed.

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