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Highest Ethics standards

Respecting human rights

Bekaert is firmly committed to complying with national legislations and collective labor agreements. Bekaert adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the treaties and recommendations of the International Labor Organization.

We are committed to respecting the rights and dignity of each employee. We promote equal opportunity and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of age, race, nationality, social or ethnic descent, gender, physical disability, sexual preference, religion, political preference, or union membership. We recognize and appreciate the cultural identity of our teams in all the countries in which we operate and do business.

The recruitment, remuneration, application of employment conditions, training, promotion and career development of our employees are based on professional qualifications only.

(GRI 102-12)

Code of Conduct

CoC

The Bekaert Code of Conduct describes how we put our three Bekaert values – integrity, trust and irrepressibility - into practice and which leadership behaviors we expect from every Bekaert employee. Our Code of Conduct covers, among others, key areas regarding human rights, child labor and forced labor, and anti-bribery and corruption policy and principles.  

(GRI 205-2 GRI 408-1 GRI 409-1)

Our hiring policy states that every new employee receives a copy of our Code of Conduct and every year, all salaried professionals and managers worldwide are required to read the Bekaert Code of Conduct, to pass a test on business ethics cases, and to renew their commitment to the principles of the Code via Bekaert’s online global learning platform.

(GRI 102-16)

In 2020, we further extended the annual commitment process by rolling out a mandatory training session that reminds employees of the principles to follow when confronted with ethical choices. 100% of the managers and 100% of the salaried professionals renewed their commitment to the Code of Conduct in 2020 and it is our goal to maintain full annual commitment results. 

We planned to train all operators on the principles of the Code of Conduct worldwide by the end of 2020. The isolation procedures imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic prevented us, however, from achieving our goal. We did manage to train the vast majority of our blue collar workforce in 2020 and intend to reach our goal by the end of 2021.

Particular training programs on the Code of Conduct and on anti-corruption and anti-bribery policies are also provided to functional groups (e.g., the purchasing function). In addition, the Group Internal Audit department regularly audits adherence to the respective policies and procedures, and recommends corrective actions where necessary. All policies are available to personnel on the Bekaert Intranet.

(GRI 205-2)

Speak up

Speak up poster

Our Code of Conduct also contains the procedures to raise an integrity concern. Employees have the choice between talking to their supervisor, HR manager or the Internal Audit manager, sending an email to integrity@bekaert.com or reporting it via our website where it can also be done anonymously. 

All concerns and complaints are handled confidentially and Bekaert takes the necessary measures to protect employees against any form of retaliation. This information, including the follow-up process, is regulated through a formal procedure that follows the European Union’s Directive for the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law (or ‘Whistleblower Protection Directive’). 

We want to encourage all our employees to ‘Speak Up’ when having factual or suspected integrity concerns and questions. At the end of 2020, we started preparing a global ‘Speak Up’ campaign that was launched early 2021 in all our sites. The campaign materials are available in all relevant languages. 

(GRI 406-1)

Information Security

An important aspect of our Code of Conduct, especially with many of the teams working remotely, is Information Security: securing our company’s and customers’ people, data, and assets. Our employees are our strongest link, and the most effective protection is their awareness of potential cyber threats and the latest Information Security risks. That is why we have taken multiple actions in 2020 to increase awareness for and general knowledge about Information Security: 

  • We have introduced the Information Security Rules. They explain the actions we can take to defend against cybercriminals and ensure that our information remains protected. We always need to operate wisely and remain vigilant while surfing and sharing information on the web. 
  • In October 2020, we had our first Information Security Week. External experts hosted demo and awareness sessions to the general Bekaert audience, with more detailed training programs for specific teams such as IT and Engineering. We intend to turn this into an annually recurring event. 
  • We executed simulated phishing exercises to raise security awareness.
  • All employees must be aware of the potential dangers and need to know what to do to reduce these risks. In the online Information Security Awareness course, employees learned the fundamentals of information security and safe computing habits, and how to react to threats in a secure way. 100% of the managers and salaried professionals completed the Information Security Awareness training in 2020.

IT Security 450W

With respect to privacy protection of personnel related data, Bekaert has implemented all necessary measures, policies, procedures and processes in order to be General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant.