Ethical leadership and business conduct

Good corporate governance is essentially about effective and responsible leadership. It 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.

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.

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.

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 Whistleblowing 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 whistleblowing hotline service providers operating their own centres or facilities.

A number of incidents were reported during the year. All incidents were human resource-related and were resolved by the Group Head of Human Resources and the relevant line managers, in terms of the Group’s various policies and procedures.