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Corporate Governance and Compliance
As an internationally-active Group, STADA is subject to a wide range of legal framework conditions. Adherence to these conditions forms the foundation of responsible, sustainable and successful corporate governance – because unlawful behavior or even the appearance of a breach of the law can damage the reputation and market position of the Company in a lasting manner and cause significant financial loss. For this reason, the principles of transparent, responsible and value-oriented corporate governance determine the actions of STADA’s Executive and Supervisory Boards. Furthermore, in addition to legal requirements and further regulations, the regulatory framework in which the Company operates encompasses the provisions of its Internal Control and Risk Management System, the STADA Code of Conduct and corporate policies on specific topics derived from it.
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, for example, in the context of an interactive e-learning seminar 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, for instance, gifts, invitations and similar items, thus preventing any sort of misconduct.
In financial year 2019, internal communication measures regarding compliance issues and the values of STADA were further expanded and stepped up at a global and local level, e.g. through regular newsletters and intranet contributions. In addition, in the reporting year, a number of global policies, such as the anti-bribery and antitrust policy, were approved or updated to further strengthen the Compliance Management System.
For financial year 2020, among other things, a further intensification of cooperation and the exchange of ideas and information within the global compliance organization is planned, for example with a global meeting.
In order to ensure compliance with applicable law, STADA implemented a comprehensive Compliance Management System comprising the main areas of anti-corruption, competition law, export control, money laundering and data protection. A key component of the Compliance Management System at STADA is the Corporate Compliance Office, which acts as an independent and objective advisor. Its 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 disadvantages. 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 Ombudsmann. is available to employees as well as business partners and other third parties as a neutral and independent contact person for reporting suspicious cases. His 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 will then be 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 between 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. This reporting was also developed further in financial year 2019. At the same time, an assessment and systematic review of the situation at individual locations regarding their positioning within the area of compliance – for example using so-called “Readiness Assessments” or audits in the Compliance department take place on an ongoing basis with the goal of gradually strengthening the Group-wide compliance organization. Following implementation of the German Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in financial year 2018, the focus in 2019 was especially on a review of the implementation of this regulation in addition to general compliance reviews.
Internal Control and Risk Management System
Further, STADA’s Internal Control and Risk Management System, which is designed to ensure the responsible handling of risks, represents the basis for responsible corporate governance. It puts the Executive Board in a position to recognize Group-wide risks and market tendencies so that it can immediately react to relevant changes in the risk profile. In this regard, all departments are connected to the Risk Management System, thus allowing for comprehensive risk monitoring, including the monitoring of potential risks from non-financial areas. The Internal Control and Risk Management System is subject to the annual audit, as well as to audits by Internal Auditing at regular intervals. The Internal Auditing department also supports the Executive Board as an independent body outside of daily business operations by evaluating Group-wide internal procedures and processes from an objective perspective and with the necessary distance. The goal is to optimize business processes, reduced costs, realize efficiency increases and to achieve internally determined goals by way of improved internal controls (see “Opportunities and Risk Report – Internal Control and Risk Management System for the Group accounting process [report in accordance with Sections 289 , 315  HGB]”).