Integrity as the Foundation of Success
Acting with integrity and in compliance with the rules are of key importance for the success and resilience of our Group. This is why we have made integrity and compliance a key element of our NEW AUTO Group strategy and chosen them as one of six focus topics of our sustainability program. Our objective is to act as a role model in this area and thus deepen the trust of existing and future employees, customers, shareholders and partners. We have set out the ethical basis of our actions in our Code of Conduct and in the Group Essentials.
The aim is to gear our rules, processes and corporate culture to enabling every employee to act with integrity and in compliance with the rules at all times. At the same time, we want to ensure that integrity and compliance permanently have the same strategic and operational priority as, for example, sales revenue, profit, product quality or employer attractiveness.
Holistic approach to Integrity and Compliance
Integrity and compliance (I&C) should form the core of our business activities, including in our transformation from a vehicle manufacturer to a provider of sustainable mobility. We set binding standards for this in all areas.
For example, every proposed resolution submitted to the Group Board of Management must demonstrate that it is in line with integrity and compliance requirements and state which relevant risks the targeted resolution includes and how the risks can be reduced. This I&C statement is also binding for decisions of the boards of management of the individual Group brands and companies and for bodies to which the board of management in question has delegated decision-making powers. The I&C statement is thus anchored in the proposed resolutions of the Group’s and the brands’ top bodies.
Together4Integrity: Umbrella for Integrity and Compliance
We are implementing the Together4Integrity (T4I) program to anchor integrity and compliance measures across the Group. It combines the vast majority of the Group’s integrity and compliance activities under a single umbrella, applying uniform, robust process and implementation standards. The program not only establishes a worldwide integrity and compliance management system for all Group and brand companies but also advances one of the most extensive change and cultural programs in the history of the Volkswagen Group.
T4I Bundles the Activities in Eleven Key Initiatives
T4I will be rolled out in the Volkswagen Group by 2022 and implemented by 2025. The Integrity and Legal Affairs function of the Board of Management has responsibility for it. Under the T4I umbrella, uniform Group standards are defined for a total of 16 departments, including not only integrity management and compliance but also risk management, human resources, procurement and production. T4I is rolling out these standards in the form of more than 100 packages of measures and monitoring their implementation as part of effectiveness assurance.
The packages of measures are grouped in 11 key initiatives.
The T4I Program’s Implementation Status
For each key initiative, including associated measures, there is a responsible department at Group level. This department determines the design of the measures from the perspective of content and advises the brands and companies during implementation. A consistent, structured plan supports uniform implementation. By 2025, T4I will be implemented in around 850 Group companies.
The T4I toolbox forms the basis for the implementation of the key initiatives that have not already been implemented through their own organization structures and management systems – for example, the compliance management system. The toolbox contains all the specific deliverables that each Group or brand company needs to achieve within agreed timing and milestone planning.
Culture Change: Inspire and motivate
T4I not only aims to strengthen uniform corporate governance on integrity and compliance across the Group, the program also wants to further develop the culture of integrity. T4I is intended to inspire and motivate employees and strengthen their own incentive to act with integrity in all situations. Communication plays a key role here. This is how our senior executives regularly spell out in their “Tones from the top” format how important integrity and compliance are for both the company and every single employee.
Volkswagen’s corporate culture is founded on the seven Group Essentials. They define how we want to work together and thus supplement the Code of Conduct. The Group Essentials also form the frame of reference for the role model program, in which managers are to be equipped to set an example of an open discussion culture and contribute to allowing questions, risks or conflicting targets to be discussed without fear of sanctions.
As part of T4I, we want to inspire and motivate employees, particularly through launch events and perception workshops. These events form part of every local T4I implementation strategy. They involve representatively selected employees and managers across hierarchies as players in the change process. This should increase awareness of each individual’s valuable contribution. There is also an opportunity to ask questions, name problems and discuss solutions. The events focus on the everyday practice of integrity and compliance, in relation to employee perception.