It is vital to the ZEISS reputation that the business partners, customers, public authorities, the general public, as well as competitors, have confidence in the responsible, law-abiding and ethical behavior of all ZEISS employees. ZEISS considers integrity and compliance to be fundamental conditions for growth and success.
The ZEISS Policy describes the understanding of ZEISS on the following core topics:
Compliance is an essential component that guides all of our business-related actions and behavior.
In 2007 ZEISS adopted a Code of Conduct that defines the company's fundamental principles of ethical behavior and is intended to guide the actions of the company's management and its employees in all their business-related activities.
The ZEISS Code of Conduct not only has an internal impact, but is also the basis for cooperation with business partners. ZEISS expects that all business partners, such as suppliers and distributors, behave as stipulated in the ZEISS Code of Conduct.
The ZEISS Compliance Management System defines how to organize compliance, specifies the processes and directives intended to ensure compliance with legal stipulations, as well as how internal rules should be observed.
In its organization of compliance, ZEISS follows both a centralized and a decentralized approach. At the Carl Zeiss AG level, directives and training materials are created that apply worldwide and can be fine-tuned to suit particular local requirements. Training sessions and the investigation of alleged breaches of compliance are carried out at subsidiary level – if necessary with the aid of experts from Corporate Compliance.
At ZEISS, the compliance process is broken down into four phases: Prevent, Detect, Respond and Correct.
- prevent compliance incidents through training of employees
- mixture of face-to-face-events and modern learning formats
- mandatory basic course in compliance/ZEISS Code of Conduct for ZEISS employees
- early detection of misconduct
- all employees are called upon to report compliance issues
- appropriate reaction to individuals engaging in misconduct
- systematic and uniform approach has top priority
- show possible organizational and process-related shortcomings through analysis
- achieve continuous improvement
In summary, these four phases can prevent systemic compliance infringements and correct, and as necessary, punish misconduct. ZEISS understands "Zero Tolerance" as an obligation to stop all instances of misconduct detected and, as required, establish or adjust processes to eliminate the possibility of their recurrence.
All levels of the Management have a special obligation to implement the ZEISS Code of Conduct. In order to guarantee compliance with legal stipulations, Management must consistently exercise its function as a role model and communicate the contents of the Code of Conduct to the company's employees.
The ZEISS Code of Conduct is limited to the formulation of fundamental behavior-related requirements for business activities; in sensitive and legally regulated areas, it refers to further directives. This is why there are specific directives for all of the topics covered by the ZEISS Code of Conduct.
ZEISS places particular emphasis on the subject of "fair competition" and understands this to mean the fight against corruption and the formation of illegal cartels.