Compliance is an integral element of the corporate culture at DB Group. The compliance management system is based on national and international legal requirements and established standards, such as the Institute of Public Auditors in Germany PS 980 auditing standard. DB Group also applies the directive of the Federal Government on corruption prevention in the German Federal administration.
The compliance management system aims to ensure that compliance risks are identified quickly and that appropriate countermeasures are implemented. We continuously monitor the effectiveness of our compliance management system and make any necessary adjustments. Compliance is a key area of internal control system monitoring. Intra-Group auditors therefore review the compliance management systems within DB Group as part of the internal control system audits under the Accounting Law Modernization Act (Bilanzrechtsmodernisierungsgesetz; BilMoG).
DB Group compliance management is typified by a combination of centralized and decentralized units at the operational and organizational levels. Group management focuses its compliance work on centralized governance activities in particular, while business units exercise greater operating responsibility. In the year under review, various events took place, such as the Compliance Network Meeting, that aimed to share the experiences of centralized and decentralized compliance officers.
Our compliance activities in DB Group focus on preventing corruption and corporate crime in the form of fraud and embezzlement, as well as consistently combating it.
Specific compliance instruments have been developed to protect the company, employees and executives. This includes binding directives, risk and process analyses, special communication measures and consulting.
Binding directives provide the framework that is anchored in continuous communication and training at DB Group. Revised directives on export checks, sanctions, embargoes and risk minimization came into effect in the year under review.
Compliance risk analyses are part of DB Group risk management and are conducted by the business units and service units. A Group-wide survey to evaluate compliance risks is conducted in accordance with governance requirements stipulated by Group management. The compulsory framework concept includes minimum requirements for planning, conducting, reporting and follow-up.
A compact compliance annual report once again provided the Group’s Management Board with information on compliance risks related to DB Group’s business activities. The report separately sets out the risk exposure of DB Group business units, service units and Group management functions and highlights existing risk-reducing factors and countermeasures.
To achieve our compliance goals in the long term, we are continually optimizing our instruments and are digitalizing our prevention and analysis activities.
External audit of the compliance management system
An auditing and consulting company conducted an independent Group-wide review of the DB Group compliance management system regarding corruption and corporate crimes in terms of fraud and embezzlement. The first audit was conducted at the Group management level in accordance with audit standard IDW PS 980 and an unqualified opinion was issued upon completion. The subsequent audits conducted within the business units were also in line with ISO 19600 requirements and resulted in unqualified opinions which were then issued during the year under review.
Business partner compliance
Successful long-term business operations require the careful selection of business partners and suppliers who must then be informed of the DB Group values and commit to collaboration based on shared values. DB Group has developed different formats to increase awareness among its business partners and incorporate sustainable business practices more firmly in the supply chain. The core topics in this respect are integrity, legal standards and ethical issues. In addition to corruption prevention, this also includes anti-trust compliance and human rights. Compliance e-learning for business partners is accessible at no cost online and provides information about integrity, binding legal standards and ethical matters. DB Group also offers a special compliance dialog program for its medium-sized business partners to discuss mutual understanding of compliance and how it is organized.
Integrity and human rights training programs
There are four different e-learning courses available for our employees and executives to take: “DB Code of Conduct”, two special e-learning courses on anti-corruption issues (“DB Corruption Prevention” and “DB Refresher Course on Corruption Prevention”) and a course that addresses trade compliance (export control laws, sanctions lists, etc.). E-learning on the DB Code of Conduct includes the topics of integrity (anti-corruption) and human rights. Executives are required to complete e-learning. In selected companies and divisions, participation in e-learning is also mandatory for all other employees due to risk. DB employees have free access to e-learning in several languages.
As in previous years, Group-wide on-site training was also conducted during the year under review.
Training sessions for executives and employees
Risk-based selection of participants, especially from typical risk areas (for example sales and distribution, procurement, construction supervision).
Increased training activities in business units dealing with freight transport, logistics and infrastructure were among the main reasons why the number of participants increased. In the previous year, the heads of Compliance, Audit and Legal began a series of dialogs on increasing awareness of compliance risks among top management executives. These discussions continued in the year under review.
Whistle-blowing management in DB Group
In DB Group, the Works Council Agreement “Whistle-blowing management” and the “Group speaker committee agreement” (Konzernsprecherausschussvereinbarung) govern how to handle whistle-blowing tip-offs that are received. The processes implemented protect whistle-blowers. Clearly defined requirements regarding the rigor and relevance of whistle-blowing tip-offs serve to take account of the interests of the persons concerned.
There are various ways of submitting a whistle-blowing tip-off, such as the electronic whistle-blower system. The system was made available in seven more languages and so can now be used in 22 languages. All business units use the electronic whistle-blower system. In the year under review, the whistle-blowing management team expanded to include more criminal law expertise. Three trusted lawyers, who are legally bound to secrecy, and an ombudswoman can also be contacted regarding such matters.
Corruption reporting and mitigation measures
Our central whistle-blowing management received and examined allegations of corruption in the double-digit range in the year under review. Remedial actions were introduced whenever they were necessary.
Compliance with anti-trust laws and preventing anti-trust damages
On-site training courses ensure that executives and employees are kept aware of anti-trust law. The formats of the training courses are individually tailored to the requirements of the business units and the central units. The target group includes all executives and employees who are in contact with competitors or have other roles that are critical with regard to competition. The compliance, audit and legal heads also took up the issue under the awareness campaign. The training courses are supplemented, in particular, by regulations specific to business units and close cooperation with (anti-trust) legal experts.
Anti-trust damage prevention measures are an important component of anti-trust compliance. To this end, DB Group introduced a comprehensive anti-trust damage prevention system in 2014. An important part of the system is to use contractual conditions in markets where anti-trust violations are most likely, which oblige suppliers to introduce or maintain anti-trust compliance programs.
Responsibility to society
Protecting and promoting human rights are of the utmost importance to us. DB Groupʼs regulations reflect these high standards, in particular by applying the DB Code of Conduct and the DB Code of Conduct for Business Partners. Our particular areas of focus include fair labor conditions, respect for workers’ rights, anti-discrimination measures and the prohibition of any and all forms of child or forced labor. We report on forced labor in accordance with the guidelines of the UK Modern Slavery Act.
We have implemented suitable measures for the application of our own standards and we will continue to develop them. A fundamental distinction is made between measures effective within DB Group and measures effective in the supply chain.
Measures within DB Group
The core of our approach to human rights is identifying relevant risks with respect to our business models and human rights-related country risks.
“Social minimum standards” are applicable to our DB Schenker business unit which operates globally and is therefore exposed to greater geographical risks. This policy specifies the DB Code of Conduct and is based beyond legal requirements on the principles and recommendations of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the UN Global Compact. Compliance with social minimum standards is regularly audited on site by intra-Group auditors at selected locations as part of an annual audit process.
DB Group also provides a range of instruments for increasing awareness of human rights and reporting suspected human rights violations. Examples of these instruments include the DB Code of Conduct e-learning course and central whistle-blowing management. Central whistle-blowing management and the three lawyers are also available at all times, even to non Group persons. Reports can also be submitted via the electronic whistle-blower system. DB Group employees and executives in particular can personally contact the ombudswoman regarding human rights. A follow-up process is in place to examine alleged violations of human rights.
The topic of human rights is also an integral part of DB Groupʼs stakeholder dialogs. In addition, DB Group is involved in the German UN Global Compact network and in econsense working groups.