Business ethics

Ethical leadership and business conduct

Good corporate governance is essentially about effective and responsible leadership. This is characterised by the ethical values of responsibility, accountability, fairness and transparency. The typical aspects of corporate governance, such as the role and responsibilities of the board and directors individually, internal audit, risk management and stakeholder engagement rest on a foundation of ethical values.

To this extent, Blue Label’s ethical standards are encapsulated in its ethics statement, which provides a template for ethical reasoning as a guide to all employees in their dealings with both internal and external stakeholders. The ethics statement is applicable to employees across the Group, as well as to customers, business partners, suppliers and other stakeholders. Each is requested to uphold the ethical reasoning of the statement, thereby enabling us to live our values.

The purpose of the ethics statement is to:

emphasise the Group’s commitment to ethics and compliance with laws and regulations,
set out basic standards of ethical and legal behaviour,
provide reporting mechanisms for known or suspected ethical or legal violations, and
help prevent and detect wrongdoing.

From an ethical perspective Blue Label reiterates its stance on the following matters:

fraudulent, corrupt or illegal practices are not tolerated. Bribes or any other illicit payments including facilitations will neither be paid nor received;
the Group does not participate in any illegal anti-competitive activity. Employees cannot authorise or participate in any illegal conduct or action that purports to restrict competition; and
the Group is non-political. It does not allow its assets and services to be used in any way which favours any particular political grouping.

Employees are expected to demonstrate ethical business practices. All new staff members undergo an induction programme that includes training on the above “code of business conduct”, including the function of the ethics hotline, such as what should be reported and how to report unethical behaviour via this channel. The ethics hotline is outsourced to KPMG Ethics Line, a division of KPMG, and has been certified by EthicsSA as fulfilling the External Whistle-blowing Hotline Service Provider Standard EO1.1.1. This standard is a best practice set of guidelines or norms for the professional and ethical conduct of external whistle-blowing hotline service providers operating their own centres or facilities.

All incidents reported during the year under review were human resource-related matters and were resolved by the Group Human Resources Manager.

Blow the whistle on fraud, corruption and unethical behaviour!

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