Group Management tasked the Corporate Sustainability Office with implementing the sustainability strategy. It is implemented and anchored locally by the line organization. A particular degree of responsibility lies with the general managers, target market managers, and operations managers, who drive the development and implementation of local action plans.

The existing network of local and regional product sustainability and safety, health and environment (SHE) officers supports the local Sika companies in ideation, planning, and implementation of higher-level regional measures. Through the “More Value – Less Impact” communication campaign, it informed all internal stakeholders about the new sustainability strategy and included them in planning and implementing respective measures. These activities were extended and intensified in 2015. 

Standards and compliance

In 2013 Sika introduced a strict Code of Conduct under which local line organizations are required to confirm implementation. The senior management teams at the individual subsidiaries are mandated to enforce compliance with the Code of Conduct and with all relevant laws and standards. If Sika employees have doubts or questions about matters relating to the content of the Sika Code of Conduct or the company values and principles, they are required to contact their line manager, the Group Compliance Officer, Corporate Legal, or Corporate HR. Sika has also set up a central help desk.

The introduction and compliance by the General Managers and their management teams was reviewed at the end of 2015 for all Sika companies, and conformity verified in a reporting system.  

Values and principles

The Code of Conduct states, among other things, that Sika under no circumstances tolerates any form of corruption or human rights infringements. Absolutely no leeway is allowed in respect of any breaches of these values. Integrity, ethical, and principled conduct, and adherence to the law are the foundation on which Sika’s impeccable reputation is built. This is what customers and all other stakeholders – most notably, the Sika staff and shareholders – have rightly come to expect.

During 2015, the adoption in all Sika’s companies of a localized Gift & Entertainment Policy was completed. This policy, which integrates and reinforces the principles of the Code of Conduct, provides employees with a clear and detailed framework on how to give and accept gifts and entertainment in their daily business and defines – for each company/country – different levels of authority depending on the gift value.  Forming the core of Sika’s corporate culture, these values and principles relate to the following aspects: Customer First, Courage for Innovation, Sustainability & Integrity, Empowerment & Respect, and Manage for Results.

These internal standards summarize the key principles of the Sika management style, which is based on mutual trust, personal responsibility, and full transparency at all levels. Group Management had created the post of Corporate Compliance Officer in 2014. During the year under review, compliance processes were streamlined and Sika strengthened its Compliance organization by appointing four part-time Regional Compliance Officers (RCO) who have a functional reporting line to the Group Compliance Officer in compliance-related matters.

To preserve Sika’s strong compliance culture and ensure that the Code of Conduct’s principles are understood and adhered to by all employees, Sika has developed an animated e-learning program on the Code of Conduct that is used in addition to regular class training events. This training program and a new web-based reporting platform, the Sika TrustLine, will be available in more than 20 languages throughout the organization as part of an awareness-raising campaign on Compliance. The Sika TrustLine is an externally hosted reporting channel where Sika’s employees may raise legitimate complaints regarding serious misconduct and/or breaches of Sika’s Code of Conduct in a safe and confidential environment, if reporting to other more immediate existing resources, like line management or other specialists, is not feasible or adequate.

As part of the roll-out of the Sika TrustLine, an ad hoc policy (“Sika Trust Policy”) will be made available to Sika’s employees in order to provide clear rules and appropriate training on rights and obligations with regard to internal misconduct reporting. A defined reporting procedure and an effective organization-wide communication campaign on the use of the Sika TrustLine will help to preserve and foster Sika’s strong culture of trust, integrity, and transparency.

Sika TrustLine

To preserve Sika’s strong compliance culture and ensure that the Code of Conduct’s principles are understood and adhered to by all employees, besides regular class training events, Sika has developed an animated e-learning program on the Code of Conduct. This training program and a new web-based reporting platform, the Sika TrustLine, will be available in more than 20 languages throughout the organization as part of an awareness raising campaign on Compliance.

The Sika TrustLine is an externally hosted reporting channel where Sika’s employees may raise legitimate complaints regarding serious misconduct and/or breaches of Sika’s Code of Conduct in a safe and confidential environment, when reporting to other more immediate existing resources, like line management or other specialists, is not feasible or adequate. As part of the roll-out of the Sika TrustLine, an ad hoc policy (“Sika Trust Policy”) will be made available to Sika’s employees in order to provide clear rules and appropriate training on rights and obligations with regard to internal misconduct reporting.

A defined reporting procedure and an e-ectiveorganization-wide communication campaign on the use ofthe Sika TrustLine will help to preserve and foster Sika’s strong culture of trust, integrity and transparency.  

Supplier Code of Conduct

Sika also assumes responsibilities for the supply chain. In 2015, the Group made the Supplier Code of Conduct that it introduced in 2013 binding on all new suppliers. It is also phasing it in for existing suppliers. Sika thereby ensures that suppliers are informed of Sika’s ethical, environmental, and social expectations and guidelines and that they carry out their processes in compliance with the Sika sustainability criteria.

Sika had defined a new group-wide process the previous year that maps out the main sustainability principles (economic, social, and ecological) for supplier qualification and evaluation. The multi-stage supplier evaluation process has three central elements: It requires all suppliers to sign the Supplier Code of Conduct and to complete a self-report questionnaire. In unclear cases, the Purchasing department will follow up with sustainability audits before concluding a supply contract.

Sika implemented this new process globally in 2015, initially focusing on high-risk geographic regions and industries.A platform was created during the year under review for transparently recording and storing documentation generated during supplier qualification. The system enables buyers to inspect suppliers’ qualifications and improve them in their countries as necessary.

Inspections and audits

Inspections and audits are core elements of Sika’s comprehensive management system. They provide management at Group, regional, and local company level with a regular, independent assessment as to whether all activities comply with official requirements as well as with Sika’s own internal guidelines, principles, and risk management specifications. The inspections and audits thereby ensure the effectiveness of the relevant processes and controls at Sika.

The auditing process is centrally organized and is overseen by the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. Group Management is regularly informed about the planning of inspections and their results. In all, Sika conducted 89 audits of corporate functions in the reporting year and implemented associated improvements wherever necessary. The audits covered all aspects of Sika’s global business activities: quality, environment, safety, health, risk, technology, compliance, IT security, suppliers, and products.

To ensure that suppliers also meet the official requirements and labor standards, Sika calls on them to perform self-assessments and conducts supplier audits itself. In the year under review, all new suppliers were already assessed according to the new vendor evaluation process. To improve supplier qualification, Sika began training sales teams in planning and performing partner audits themselves during the year under review. Most of these inspections are overseen by safety, quality, or technology experts. This makes it possible to work on improvements together with the suppliers, including improvements in sustainability.

As a supplier to major customers – particularly from the automotive and industrial sectors – Sika is itself often subject to external audits. These audits are designed to ensure compliance with international labor standards and prescribed quality, environment, safety, and health criteria.  

Involvement of stakeholders

The goal of sustainable development requires the involvement of every participant along the entire value chain and the identification of shared topic areas of significance to all those involved. During the year under review, Sika repeated the materiality analysis originally carried out during the development of the sustainability strategy in 2013.

As part of the review, an online tool was used to survey the most important internal and external stakeholder groups to determine which sustainability issues they considered most important and review whether relevant changes had taken place since 2013. The numerous responses indicated no change in the importance of the various topics and confirmed the path that Sika has taken.