Wherever we operate, our subsidiaries respect the local cultures and traditions while also transmitting the Group’s values through their actions and local commitment. In line with our Principles of Action, we are committed to complying with all laws and regulations in force, and in particular the rules of fair trade and we do not tolerate corruption in any form. Our behavior and actions are driven by the principles of integrity and transparency.
The Group’s ethics program is built to help employees develop their activities with integrity and transparency in compliance with the rules of conduct. It is based on the following pillars.
an Ethics Committee, composed of Air Liquide’s various global functions (Human Resources, Legal, Group Control, Sustainable Development Departments, etc.) and Operation representatives validates the program’s guidelines and priority actions and may, if necessary, make post-deviation sanction recommendations;
the Group Control Department, which is responsible for Ethics, reports directly to one of the Group’s Executive Vice Presidents;
an Ethics Officer is responsible for providing advice and support to entities in the implementation of the Ethical program and in the treatment of fraud and deviations. This Officer also suggests improvements to the Ethical program by integrating strategic challenges, best practices, regulatory developments and annual action plans. He relies on a network of more than 50 ethics correspondents present in each of the Group’s geographic regions and business lines.
An e-learning module exists on the employee Code of Conduct which sets out the Group’s ethics approach and presents key concepts through case scenarios. This module is mandatory and must be followed by all employees each year.
The Group has a formal whistle-blowing system in all its entities, whereby employees can confidentially alert an independent external service provider of any deviations from the Code of Conduct of their entity. Employees can file this alert in their own language by telephone or through the provider’s dedicated website. The Group guarantees that any employee who reports something in good faith will not be sanctioned or any retaliatory measures will be taken. It is also reiterated in the Code of Conduct.
This system is an alternative solution to the usual process for reporting incidents within the entities: through managers and the Human Resources teams. It helps to accelerate the processing of reports received, and thus to minimize their potential impact on individuals and the organization.
In 2019, Ethicall received around 300 reports, over 70% of which were connected to HR issues.1/4 of reports have given rise to corrective actions or sanctions.