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For STADA, good corporate governance means that the focus is not only on the achievement of goals, but also on the way in which these goals are achieved. For this reason, the principles of transparent, responsible and value-oriented corporate governance determine STADA’s actions at all levels.
As an internationally-active Group, STADA is subject to a wide range of legal framework conditions. In addition to legal requirements and regulations, the regulatory framework in which the Company operates encompasses the pro- visions of its Internal Control and Risk Management System, the STADA Code of Conduct and corporate policies on specific topics derived from it.
Relevant topics for STADA’s material assessment:
- Corporate governance
- Corporate culture and values
- Ethical and compliant behavior
- Respect for human rights
- Data privacy and security
STADA Code of Conduct
STADA’s Code of Conduct and corporate policies not only serve the Company itself, but also its employees in particular as guidance for proper behavior when confronting legal or ethical challenges in their daily work. They also help to prevent corrupt behavior, among other things. The Code of Conduct contains binding behavioral guidelines on topics such as anti-corruption, fair competition, social aspects regarding tolerance and respect as well as dealing with the media. In order to familiarize employees with the content of the Code of Conduct, they are instructed by a compliance officer through an interactive e-learning including practical examples. Special guidelines also exist for cooperation with members of the medical care profession and serve as a behavioral measure for appropriately dealing with, thus preventing any sort of misconduct.
In 2020, the focus was on, among other things, ensuring that the special challenges posed by “Compliance during Corona” were met. This included, among other things, the data protection assessment of issues relating to working from home or new security measures such as Corona testing. A further focus was on compliance-related post-merger integration, for example of Walmark, a leading Eastern European consumer health-care company. In addition, a global (virtual) compliance conference was held, further strengthening the exchange within the global Compliance Organization. To support this, additional regional compliance functions were also created and compliance expertise within the company was further expanded and consolidated. A global “Sales and Marketing” policy and an update on the global archiving policy were implemented to further strengthen the Compliance Management System. A detailed review of the Compliance Management System is set for financial year 2021 in order to make additional local adjustments as part of “Best Practice Sharing” and to further strengthen the global Compliance Management System.
In order to ensure compliance with applicable law and internal rules, STADA implemented a comprehensive Compliance Management System comprising the main areas of anti-corruption, competition law, export control, money laundering and data protection.
Its key component is the Corporate Compliance Office, which acts as an independent and objective advisor. The function is to protect the Company from damage to its financial position and reputation, to safeguard STADA’s management and employees from personal liability and to prevent the occurrence of competitive dis-advantages. It pursues internal and external indications, clarifies issues while taking into account the principle of proportionality, issues recommendations on the optimization of intra-Group processes and regularly conducts exchanges of information with other corporate departments, particularly with Internal Auditing and Risk Management. Additionally, an Ombudsman is available to employees as well as business partners and other third parties as a neutral and independent contact person for reporting suspicious cases. The Ombudsman’s task is to receive confidential information and, with the consent of the information provider or anonymously, to forward it to the Compliance Office. A decision is then made on how to proceed in each individual case.
There are separate compliance departments that manage the topic locally in a decentralized manner and act as contact persons on site. They support the Corporate Compliance Office and maintain an intensive dialog with it.
Through a regular review of the existing Compliance Management System, it is continuously optimized and the international exchange among compliance officers is intensified. In financial year 2017, an expanded reporting system from the subsidiaries to the Compliance Office was set up which is developed on an ongoing basis. As part of this system, disclosures from subsidiaries regarding individual compliance topics are collected and evaluated in order to, in turn, derive new optimization measures from them. There is also a regular exchange with Internal Audit, where risks and further optimization measures are discussed.
Corporate culture and values
STADA’s set of shared values enables its team to achieve ambitious goals together and expand future success. Each and everyone at STADA apply four corporate values – Integrity, Entrepreneurship, Agility and One STADA in everyday business and private life. These values are the essence of STADA’s corporate culture!
All news that is published by STADA in the area of internal communication is based on these values. In addition to these basic rules for the Code of Conduct, the STADA Vision and the so-called STADA Purpose form the basis for all information communicated internally and externally. 2020 was particularly challenging for internal communication, not least because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was important that the roughly 12,500 employees were kept comprehensively up-to-date during the lock-down phases. This presented the department with new challenges. Additional measures such as CEO video messages, special editions of the employee magazine “One STADA News” or the distribution of packages with products such as mouth-nose protection and vitamin C to all employees worldwide were just a few of the measures that were implemented.
In addition, around 1,000 new employees were welcomed following the acquisitions of Walmark and the Takeda portfolio. Their integration was accompanied by a range of measures. Local employee meetings, for example, were held to welcome the new employees. In the case of Walmark, events were held at the same time in eight different countries and with a Global SEC member present to help the new teams made up of local STADA and former Walmark employees grow together.
In the second and third quarters, particular attention was paid to an internal growth initiative targeted primarily at promoting entrepreneurship as a corporate value and motivating employees to develop business cases and drive them forward. To this end, in addition to a virtual global leadership meeting, key topics were set for the intranet and the employee magazine.
With respect to the Covid-19 pandemic, safety and health as well as employee appreciation were top priorities in communication efforts. The CEO and local managing directors, for example, provided regular, high-level information on current developments and resulting safety measures. In the intranet, all country sites had their own Corona Information Centers, where a range of information was bundled. Appreciation for the exceptional performance, especially of the teams in production, lab- oratories and logistics, also played an important role. In a special issue of the employee magazine, SEC members and colleagues from the home office thanked them for their efforts with short personal messages. A video that was included on external channels such as the website and LinkedIn in addition to internal channels, showed those employees who worked in the production facilities all the time. This underscored their tremendous commitment to STADA’s most important mission during this extraordinary time: #KeepSupplyingMedicines.
Even though face-to-face meetings were not possible due to the Corona situation, there were numerous virtual meetings offering the possibility to interact with each other and not only to maintain but also to promote personal exchanges. At the end of July, for example, a virtual global employee meeting was held for the first time during which the CEO also answered questions via live chat. The various departments, including Global Communications and HR, also organized virtual meetings to inform the teams in the countries about strategic and thematic priorities.
Respect for human rights
The Company goal of achieving economic success in line with ethical responsibility, is also mirrored in STADA’s Code of Conduct, which provides guidance to employees particularly for proper behavior when facing legal or ethical challenges. It includes, for example, behavioral guidelines for dealing with each other and with third parties as well as rules regarding tolerance, respect and discrimination. In addition, the Code of Conduct explicitly states that STADA markets and sells its products in accordance with all relevant rules and regulations and prohibits the use of forced or exploitative child labor in any form whatsoever.
Contracts negotiated since financial year 2016 pursuant to the Corporate Policies and which have been negotiated in connection with the production of finished goods include additional clauses on the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility within the scope of which STADA and its suppliers are increasingly obligated to comply with the ten principles of the UN Global Compact. This is associated with an obligation to, among other things, support and respect the protection of international human rights and ensure that neither party is complicit in any violations of human rights and commits to the removal of all forms of compulsory labor and to the elimination of child labor. Within the context of an increasingly sustainable cooperation with STADA suppliers, measures were looked at in the reporting year to determine the extent to which extent compliance with basic environmental and social standards can be improved and, if necessary, monitored. This was followed by potential evaluation approaches such as self-disclosures (e.g. in the form of questionnaires) and audits. Accordingly, the objective in the current financial year is to integrate an option for auditing suppliers on the subject of Corporate Social Responsibility in the contractual clauses for suppliers.