Integrity Doing business the right way

ABB has zero-tolerance for violations of the law or the ABB Code of Conduct

ABB trainees listening attentively (photo)

To help ensure we reliably create long-term sustainable value for all ABB stakeholders, we have established five value pairs that serve as the backbone of our business.

The “Safety & Integrity” value pair is the bedrock of our organization. It affirms that we do not conduct business in a way that puts people at risk or involves unethical practices. Everyone who works for or with ABB must meet our integrity standards. These standards, which are made clear in our ABB Code of Conduct and our Supplier Code of Conduct, are underpinned by a robust set of internal policies and instructions.

Case study 2018 Anti-Bribery Management System and Integrity Awareness Assessment

Reveal case study

During 2018, Ethisphere conducted a review and analysis of ABB’s anti-corruption and anti-bribery programs and practices (“Anti-Bribery Management System” or “ABMS”).

Ethisphere’s assessment process utilizes the recently released ISO 37001:2016 standard and entails a comprehensive review and evaluation of ABB’s existing anti-bribery management systems, corporate governance systems and practices. It also includes a survey sent to a statistically significant cross sample of ABB employees with bribery and corruption risk exposure. Of the 74,415 employees who were asked to participate in Q1 2018, 56.8 percent submitted fully completed surveys to Ethisphere.

Ethisphere utilized both quantitative and qualitative measures to review ABB’s program to manage anti-bribery efforts, and they compared the results to applicable regulatory guidance, the ISO standard and Ethisphere’s dataset of peer company practices. The review team was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the anti-bribery management systems and the caliber of the people in place at ABB. As a result, ABB was awarded with Ethisphere’s Anti-Bribery Management System Verification designation.

Ethisphere specifically complemented ABB’s team for building “a high-quality program globally that is practical, efficient and capable of scale” and for ABB’s efforts “to build a culture where all employees understand the ‘why’ behind the company’s approach to a given area.”

Close case study

In 2018, we started “Integrity Starts with You,” a new training course on the ABB Code of Conduct. Launched during Q1 2018, the course achieved a completion rate of 98 percent. In addition to our integrity e-learning curriculum, during Q2 2018 we provided our employees with a training course on global data protection; at the end of 2018 this course had achieved a completion rate of 96 percent. Both courses were rolled out to nearly 98,000 employees, and we are pleased by the high completion rates that were achieved. Due to long-term absences, organizational changes and timing issues, among other reasons, it is not possible to achieve a completion rate of 100 percent.

Integrity training has always been a key metric for us, as we consider raising awareness of integrity risks to be a vital preventative measure. In addition to our efforts to prevent ethical lapses, our detection and resolution mechanisms remain fundamental pillars of our integrity program.

ABB’s commitment to high integrity standards is demonstrated by its comprehensive employee training and impactful communications

Jermyn Brooks – Transparency International
ABB Stakeholder Panel

ABB’s integrity program continues to be recognized externally for its excellence. In 2018, we retained our Ethisphere Compliance Leader Verification seal of recognition for the sixth consecutive year, and we received an Ethisphere Anti-Bribery Management Systems Verification seal of recognition.

Multiple channels are available to all ABB employees to report integrity concerns, including a web-based reporting system and a business ethics telephone hotline run by a third party, available at all hours in over 180 languages. Every reported concern is treated confidentially. An ethics hotline for our stakeholders is also available. All reports received are reviewed and appropriately investigated; exposures are mitigated, and disciplinary actions are taken as applicable and appropriate, including termination of employment. ABB enforces a strict, zero-tolerance policy for violations of the law or the ABB Code of Conduct.

ABB employee with protective glasses smiling (photo)

We work to create an environment free of harassment. Harassment – be it face-to-face, written, electronic or verbal – is not tolerated. We seek to make all employees feel welcome and comfortable at ABB; to achieve this, we are constantly working to ensure that our employees, their coworkers and anyone who has business dealings with ABB are not harassed. There appears to have been an increase in willingness to report harassment in 2018, likely due in part to increased public awareness of the topic.

There is a clear dedication to integrity across the business and strong interest in further efforts to develop the integrity program, which is fully supported by senior management and the Board of Directors. We strive to maintain an environment where employees comply with both the letter and the spirit of our integrity rules. As befits a pioneering technology leader, ABB is committed to deploying data analytics and other advanced tools to help us become smarter about how and where we focus our integrity initiatives. Such measures will help us improve ABB’s integrity program on an ongoing basis as our business grows and changes.

In 2018, the company did not face any significant fines or sanctions for non-compliance with laws and regulations. For further information, please refer to the Commitments and Contingencies note in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements contained in the ABB Group Annual Report.