Global Code of Conduct
Bertelsmann published the first Bertelsmann Code of Conduct in 2008 as a binding guideline for law-abiding and responsible conduct within the company. It applies for all Bertelsmann employees around the world. In 2013, a revised edition of the Code was published. In the words of CEO Thomas Rabe, the Code of Conduct underscores Bertelsmann's "commitment to full compliance with all relevant laws and regulations" and defines the standards "for responsible behavior toward our business partners and to the public, as well as toward one another."
Our Code of Conduct
The Bertelsmann Code of Conduct follows international standards. It is based on ethical principles, legal requirements and Bertelsmann’s own corporate rules and regulations. At the same time, the Code of Conduct is grounded in the Bertelsmann Essentials, which convey our goals and basic values. Besides its 20 principles for responsible behavior, the Code of Conduct also provides a decision-making guide and informs about the company’s “speak-up mechanisms,” which are available to employees or third parties to address questions about the Code of Conduct.
Speak-up – Contacts for the Code of Conduct
At Bertelsmann, employees, business partners and other third parties will always find an open door if they need advice, wish to discuss concerns about potential misconduct, or to provide suggestions for improving compliance procedures. In particular, these points of contact include the Ethics & Compliance department at Bertelsmann, the online system www.reportconcerns.com, and external ombudspersons appointed by Bertelsmann.
To familiarize our employees worldwide with the Code of Conduct, the Ethics & Compliance Department has developed an interactive training program in 12 languages, which has been implemented since 2009. This tutorial outlines the 20 principles of the Code and illustrates how employees can seek advice or effectively and securely raise concerns about potential violations of the Code. Refresher trainings for all employees are offered at regular intervals, both online and in classroom settings.