Integrity within Vattenfall

We are defined by our actions. This is how we do it.  

"Compliance with high integrity standards, in particular by preventing corruption and anti-competitive practices is vital for Vattenfall. Be aware that Vattenfall takes a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption. Integrity within Vattenfall means that Vattenfall employees take ownership and personal responsibility for doing the right thing by acting in line with the ethical standards of the company."
Magnus Hall, CEO

The aim of the integrity work at Vattenfall is to preserve the integrity and to protect the reputation of the Vattenfall Group. In order to achieve this, an organisational framework for the integrity work in Vattenfall is established.

Non-compliant behaviour is simply not an option! It is a responsibility for all Vattenfall employees, particularly for all managers who must lead by example, that we always maintain a high level of integrity in everything we do.

Vattenfall is committed to conducting its business in a fair and responsible manner. Tailor-made trainings, e-learning tools and Q&A's have been developed to reach this target. It is important for Vattenfall to ensure that its employees have sufficient knowledge about applicable rules and regulations as well as Vattenfall's approach to integrity.

Read more about Vattenfall's integrity organisation

Vattenfall's Code of Conduct

Vattenfall's internal Code of Conduct builds upon eight principles in the areas of

  • Health and safety
  • People 
  • Customers and suppliers
  • Business ethics
  • Communication
  • Information Security
  • Company Resources, and
  • Environment

The eight principles set the benchmark for ethical standards. These principles are a compass for every action and decision, be it large or small.

The Code of Conduct clarifies the standards of behaviour that are expected of all of us within Vattenfall. We understand that it is up to each and every one of us to protect Vattenfall and its reputation by conducting our activities in accordance with our Code of Conduct.

The Code of Conduct applies to all employees in Vattenfall and to all companies consolidated in the Vattenfall Group. The Code of Conduct also applies to temporary staff (contractors, consultants etc), who have been hired to work for Vattenfall via employment agencies, via outsourcing of activities or otherwise.

The Code of Conduct is supplemented by policies and detailed instructions that provide further guidance. These policies and instructions can be found in the Vattenfall Management System (VMS).

Any employee who is unsure of how to act in any specific situation, are encouraged to discuss the situation with their manager or the Integrity organisation.

Making the Code clear and visible

Information about the Code of Conduct is provided on Vattenfall's intranet in all of the company's languages, through articles in Vattenfall's employee news magazine, and in connection with new hiring and training. These measures have contributed to employees' familiarisation with the Code of Conduct.

Through an e-learning training, employees will get acquainted with Vattenfall's most important values and standards. It is composed of a number of dilemmas and describes real life situations where the Code of Conduct principles comes into play. By completing the training, employees get a better understanding of what Vattenfall expects from them and what they can expect from Vattenfall.

Leading by example

It is the responsibility of management to lead by example and to ensure that the people in their team understand our Core Values – Safety, Performance, Cooperation – and the eight principles of the Code of Conduct. Managers are expected to take opportunities to discuss the Code and create a work environment where employees feel comfortable to raise concerns.

The Code drives the culture – the Integrity Survey

Vattenfall has developed an integrity survey to get a better view of the awareness level of Integrity within the Group. The survey also helps to collect valuable data about the outcome of integrity activities during the year, which are all based on the principles in the Code of Conduct. This is one example of how the Code drives the culture.

Several hundred managers complete the Vattenfall Integrity Survey on a yearly basis. Based on the responses to the survey and various interviews, a number of actions are initiated. Examples of recent actions are:

  • Additional trainings have been arranged to support the managers in their daily work. These trainings include the Vattenfall Integrity Programme (VIP), which is mandatory for an identified target group within the company.
  • A presentation package, including five real life examples of Integrity relevant situations. The purpose of this package is to provide hands-on examples around integrity and Vattenfall's Code of Conduct, as requested by the line organisation. The package could be used for discussions in management teams (or a relevant group of employees).
  • Q&A documents connected to the Code of Conduct. One of them provides more information on conflict of interest situations that may arise in the course of work for Vattenfall. It gives guidance on what kind of actions that needs to be taken in case of an actual or potential conflict of interest.
  • Monetary caps for the acceptance of gifts and entertainment have been introduced, based on a request from the business people.

Fair means of competition

Vattenfall shall only use fair means of competition. As it is truly beneficial from a business perspective, Vattenfall shall not only comply with the competition rules but also act according to high business standards and expectations from customers and the public.

A key measure to raise awareness around competition matters within Vattenfall is competition law training, which is included in the Vattenfall Integrity Programme (VIP). VIP is mandatory for higher managers and other identified staff. As there is an inherent risk from a competition law perspective when competitors meet, all Vattenfall employees who have extensive contacts with competitors must also attend VIP every three years.

Further, all Vattenfall units shall annually list all trade associations or equivalent groups where competitors meet, after making an assessment on whether it is appropriate from a competition law perspective for Vattenfall to participate.

Obligation to check and report

Vattenfall has implemented a group-wide instruction on competition issues.

All relevant units within Vattenfall have an obligation to annually check and report compliance with the competition instruction to Vattenfall's Integrity organisation.

Apart from following up on all identified competition law related risks and other input that is received from the business, the Integrity organisation reports material findings to Vattenfall's Executive Group Management and Board of Directors.

Zero tolerance regarding bribery and bribe takings

Vattenfall is committed to conducting its business in a fair and responsible manner. As the energy sector is exposed to the risk of corrupt business practices, we emphasise good business ethics, training and other preventive measures.

Further, the Swedish State's owner policy clearly states that its companies shall set a good example when it comes to anti-corruption and business ethics. This also implies that Vattenfall shall work to foster compliance with the international guidelines that exist within these areas.

Vattenfall employees must take extra caution and clearly act within the limits of the law when handling benefits to and from business contacts and in relation to public officials.

In the course of doing business with Vattenfall, we expect from our suppliers and business partners that they too act in full compliance with the applicable bribery rules in every country where they do business. This is set out in the Vattenfall Code of Conduct for Suppliers, which is based on the United Nations' Global Compact.

The Zero tolerance policy

Since many years, Vattenfall has a zero-tolerance policy against bribes and other forms of corruption. This is laid down in the Vattenfall Code of Conduct and in Vattenfall's internal instruction on prevention of bribery and corruption.

The zero tolerance is also included in the guidelines of the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI), where Vattenfall is a member. PACI is an initiative, launched by the World Economic Forum, set up to contribute to a competitive, transparent, accountable and ethical business society. Many of the world's large corporations are members that follow the PACI rules and the rules are therefore seen as a good reference point. All PACI signatories have committed to a zero tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption, and to establish an internal anti-corruption programme.

Further rules on bribery and corruption prevention

Vattenfall has monetary caps for the acceptance of gifts and entertainment respectively, which is based on a request from the business. Such caps have been implemented in order to make it easier for the employees to follow the rules, which is another example of how the daily use of the Code of Conduct has led to improved internal instructions.

Furthermore, Vattenfall has implemented a group-wide instruction on bribery and corruption prevention. A Q&A document is also available, giving guidance as to the correct application of the instruction. Also, through an e-learning training, employees get acquainted with the most important rules.

Conflicts of interest

We expect our employees to act in Vattenfall's best interest and to avoid conflicts of interest that could compromise the employee's credibility within Vattenfall or external parties' confidence in Vattenfall.

Therefore, all employees must avoid such investment, involvement and secondary employment in companies that are customers, suppliers or other business partners of Vattenfall, which may lead to a conflict of loyalty with Vattenfall.

General rules on conflicts of interest are found in the Code of Conduct. A Q&A on conflicts of interest is available. It provides hands-on guidance on what to do if an employee finds himself/herself in an actual or potential conflict of interest situation.

Education

Vattenfall Integrity Programme

The Group wide face to face training is called the Vattenfall Integrity Programme (VIP) and in particular covers

  • anti-trust/competition
  • anti-bribery and anti-corruption
  • conflicts of interest; and 
  • inside information.

The training includes information on the eight principles in the Code of Conduct and the merits of the Vattenfall whistleblowing function. It is communicated continuously.

The aim of the VIP is to raise the level of awareness, to ensure that Vattenfall's employees understand the integrity standards Vattenfall expects of them and to ensure a common compliance culture.

Participation in VIP is mandatory once every three years for higher managers and for certain other employees, especially those with extensive competitor contacts.

During the face-to-face training a lot of questions are raised by the participants about Integrity in general and there is room to discuss daily work situations in depth. Further guidance is offered when needed. Questions and dilemmas form a basis to improve the training and to develop the guidance in relation to the Code of Conduct.

In 2015, some 1 000 people within Vattenfall were trained through VIP.

Read more about Vattenfall's integrity organisation

E-learning

E-learning is available both as preparation for the VIP face-to-face session and for employees who do not have to follow the full VIP. There are three e-learning tools in the integrity area:

  • Competition law, as preparation for the VIP face-to-face session.
  • Anti-bribery and anti-corruption. This is a complement to the VIP. It is mandatory for higher managers and for some other employees, especially those with extensive competitor contacts and those working in certain departments.
  • The Code of Conduct training tool. This is composed of a number of dilemmas and describes real life situations where the Code of Conduct comes into play.

In case of concerns

Vattenfall has internal reporting procedures for employees who want to raise concerns regarding any violation of the law or of integrity standards that apply in the company.

Vattenfall has also set up a Group-wide whistleblowing function with nationally appointed external ombudsmen (attorneys) to whom employees, who prefer not to report internally, consultants and suppliers can turn to, to report suspected, serious improprieties.

More information about whistleblowing

Reported incidents and cases are always evaluated and may lead to improvements within the company.

Prevention of risks

It is of great importance to Vattenfall to protect the company, employees, suppliers, customers, the environment and society as a whole against serious irregularities that might be conducted by Vattenfall or Vattenfall's employees (including temporary staff).

If serious irregularities can be found at an early stage, Vattenfall has a better possibility to prevent risks and limit the damage to the benefit not only of Vattenfall but also of its employees and other stakeholders.

We are defined by our actions. If you ever think of that one of our colleagues, or Vattenfall as a whole, is failing up to live up to our high standards of Integrity, please speak up. Vattenfall is a company where any such concern will be taken seriously.

Last updated: 2016-04-27 12:07