Corruption can lead to a distortion of competition, under- mining legal business activity, maintaining poverty and oppression and it exposes the company to risk and loss of reputation. All forms of corruption are unacceptable in Beerenberg.
Corruption takes many forms. If an employee tries to influence someone in the performance of their duties by giving or offering them an unlawful or improper benefit, for example, this is bribery. It could also be trading in influence if an employee, via a third party, gives or offers someone an unlawful or improper benefit to influence a business relationship.
The ban on corruption applies to both the person giving or offering the unlawful benefit and the person asking for, receiving or accepting it. The prohibition applies in the private and the public sectors, and both in Norway and abroad.
An unlawful or improper benefit may, for example, consist of cash, objects, discounts, coverage of travel or accommodation expenses, participation in events or services etc.
In principle Beerenberg is liable for corrupt acts committed by the company’s employees. In addition, Beerenberg can be held liable for corrupt acts committed by third parties who have made contracts with Beerenberg, and in other cases where Beerenberg can benefit from corrupt acts committed by third parties. Beerenberg shall therefore work actively to reduce the risk of corruption in the company’s operations, and will in all contractual relations commit third parties to accede to the same rules and procedures that apply to Beerenberg as regards corruption.
Facilitation payments are payments designed to accelerate or secure delivery of services or products to which one may have a lawful claim. This may take the form of payments demanded from the employee to get goods more quickly through customs, to get more quickly through passport control and so forth. Such payments are, as a rule, illegal under Norwegian legislation. Beerenberg does not accept such payments, except in cases where there may be a danger to the employee’s or others’ life or health, or if the employee finds the situation threatening. All such payments shall be reported to Beerenberg’s CFO, with an explanation of why the sum was paid. It shall be posted in Beerenberg’s accounts as “facilitation payment” and the amount shall be refunded to the employee.
Gifts and entertaining
Employees shall not under any circumstances request personal benefits from business connections. Gifts, entertainment, events and other benefits shall be carefully assessed in relation to the specific situation and other circumstances. Each employee must assess whether the benefit is such that it will affect own or others’ objectivity, independence or integrity.
Employees may not give or receive gifts, with the exception of small token gifts whose value does not exceed about NOK 200, preferably promotional items. If it is clear that refusal to accept a gift of higher value will be considered impolite, however, the employee may accept the gift, but must report the matter immediately to his/her immediate superior or compliance officer, and the gift must be handed over to him/her.
If the employee is aware that the business connection has a lower value limit than Beerenberg, gifts of a value higher than that which applies in the recipient’s organisation should not be exchanged.
Cash is unacceptable irrespective of the amount or circumstances.
Personal discounts may not be received as a result of Beerenberg’s business connections. Exceptions apply for discounts approved by Beerenberg.
If it is clearly business-related, the employee may participate in social gatherings and receive refreshments, provided that the cost is within the range of what is reasonable. In this connection Beerenberg shall itself pay travel, accommodation and other expenses for the employee.
In the same way, employees who act on behalf of Beerenberg, may not offer or pay for hospitality in conflict with the above-mentioned principles.
The employee must exhibit a high degree of caution about offering gifts or entertainment to, or receiving them from, representatives of enterprises with which Beerenberg is in a negotiation and tendering phase, and prior to other important decisions.
The employee must exhibit a high degree of caution about any offers of gifts or entertainment vis-à-vis public servants, and in such cases written approval shall always be obtained in advance from senior management. The employee must display similar caution about accepting gifts or entertainment from public servants.
Expenses in connection with gifts and entertainment shall be treated in accordance with the relevant accounting and tax legislation.
Use of intermediaries
All agreements between Beerenberg and an agent, consultant, lobbyist and others acting as an intermediary between Beerenberg and a third party shall be in writing and describe the real relationship between the parties. There must be correspondence between agreed remuneration and the described service that is delivered.
The contract must contain a requirement that the intermediary complies with Beerenberg’s ethical guidelines. The guidelines shall be reviewed with the intermediary before the contract is signed, with a particular focus on the ban on corruption. The contract shall specify that Beerenberg shall have full right of inspection of what the intermediary does on the company’s behalf, including the right to audit the intermediary, and that Beerenberg is entitled to cancel the agreement if corruption is uncovered.
Beerenberg may only make use of lobbyists to influence decisions in the public or private sector if the lobbyist informs the person whom Beerenberg wishes to influence that he or she is representing Beerenberg. The contract with the lobbyist must contain a clause obliging the lobbyist to communicate this information.
Obligatory background check of integrity
Before a contract is made with a new third party, an Integrity Due Diligence check shall always be carried out of that business partner with regard to economic and reputational risk to Beerenberg. A contract shall only be made when the business partner satisfies Beerenberg’s requirements for Integrity Due Diligence.
The Integrity Due Diligence requirement applies in relation to all third parties, including partners, suppliers, consultants, agents etc.