Social commitment and compliance
Implenia acknowledges its social responsibilities. The company is committed to ethical principles and has a Code of Conduct to ensure that employees comply with these. It is also involved in social projects well beyond its own business activities.
Code of Conduct
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Implenia has set out its underlying values as a responsible corporation in its Code of Conduct . These values are: excellence, collaboration, agility, integrity and sustainability. The Code governs the way employees behave towards each other and towards business partners, authorities and the environment. It also describes the responsibilities of Implenia’s business partners.
The Code of Conduct forms an integral component of Implenia’s employment contracts and is binding on all staff. All new employees complete an e-learning course or face-to-face training on it. More than 700 new employees completed the e-learning course in 2022, while longstanding employees also receive regular internal training. The Code of Conduct is an integral part of the agreements concluded between Implenia and its business partners.
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Implenia has a Country Compliance Officer in each country, who is the first point of contact for legal and regulatory compliance issues. Additionally, employees can also go to the Compliance Officer if they suspect or actually witness malpractice. They can also report observations directly to the central compliance department.
Furthermore, each country – except Germany – has a Data Protection Coordinator who deals with data protection issues. In Germany a Data Protection Officer appointed in accordance with national regulations performs the tasks assigned to them by law.
The Group’s Chief Compliance Officer is German Grüninger, who also has responsibility for these areas on the Implenia Executive Committee. He is supported by the Head of Compliance & Data Protection, who is responsible for implementation.
Implenia encourages anyone who notices a possible violation of the Code of Conduct, other internal policies or legal regulations to report the suspected misconduct. Various channels are available for this purpose, including an anonymous online reporting form. The company guarantees that whistleblowers will be protected, and that each incident will be investigated comprehensively and neutrally.
If suspicions are confirmed by the initial investigation, the relevant Country Compliance Officer or Head Compliance will conduct an in-depth investigation in consultation with the Chief Compliance Officer. Results are documented and serve as a basis for decision-making by the responsible body.
Across the Group in 2022, 38 compliance cases were reported and appropriate measures taken. For example, six cases of discrimination were reported, one resulting in a dismissal and two in a written warning to the perpetrator.
In number of reported cases by incident type
In all its activities Implenia complies with the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the ILO’s international labour standards. The company recognises these in full and places them at the heart of its own governance structures and guidelines.
The following human rights topics are particularly relevant to the construction industry and to Implenia as a major employer:
- Gender equality
- The right to work and adequate remuneration
- Right to establishment of unions
- The right to social security
- Protection of families, pregnant women, mothers and children
- Right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing
- Right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
In European markets, human rights form the basis of national legislation, which means, of course, that they are a core part of Implenia’s operational standards and procedures.
However, before reaching the country where they are finally used, many building materials and products go through global manufacturing processes and supply chains. Implenia makes considerable efforts when buying materials to ensure they are not the product of human rights violations such as child labour, life and health-threatening working conditions, or gross environmental malpractice.
The comprehensive supplier management system is designed to create transparency and detect any violation of human rights or international labour standards.
Fighting corruption anti-competitive behaviour
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Competition within the construction sector is fierce, but Implenia always competes fairly and has a zero-tolerance policy towards anti-competitive behaviour. The company adheres strictly to all national and international antitrust and competition regulations, and will not tolerate any form of bribery or corruption.
Implenia has a clear set of competence regulations. Additionally, the dual control principle is applied in order to prevent corruption. Auditors also regularly check the books for any irregularities as part of the standard auditing process.
Implenia has formulated Group-wide competition regulations to help familiarise employees with competition law and protect them from infringements. These regulations are unequivocal. All forms of agreement that could breach competition law are banned, for example, and the rules make it very clear to employees what behaviour is expected of them.
Additional integrity guidelines flesh out the principles of the Code of Conduct as they apply to corruption. The guidelines contain binding rules on the prevention and active fight against corrupt practices and bribery. Implenia expects all employees to adhere conscientiously to these laws and guidelines.
The integrity guidelines also include concrete rules on accepting and offering personal gifts. They set out country-specific financial thresholds, above which such gifts either have to be approved or are forbidden.
Implenia doesn’t just discuss compliance issues when people first join the company; they are given compliance training regularly throughout their careers and are sensitized regularly on compliance topics, as part of Implenia’s efforts to give its workforce a deeper understanding of the topic.
In 2022, there were four training sessions on preventing corruption, attended by over 800 technical-commercial employees in total. Additionally, the topic was raised at several internal division meetings.
The company also fosters awareness by using its internal communications channels regularly to address important matters, including the latest industry developments. The company produces “Quick Guides” to frequently raised topics – rules of conduct at meetings, or how to handle personal benefits correctly, for example – and distributes these to employees. In 2022, all technical commercial personnel (white collar), which make up 55% of all employees, received at least one communication about preventing corruption.
Corporate risk management includes communications about corruption risks.
Infringement of competition law
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If Implenia is implicated in investigations or lawsuits relating to competition law, it cooperates fully with the authorities and provides transparent information about the matter concerned. In the past ten years, a total of four official investigations have taken place, two of which were completed some time ago. There are currently two cases outstanding, in one of which the investigation is still ongoing.
- In Switzerland, the Competition Commission carried out several investigations between 2010 and 2019 in Canton Grisons. It dealt with suspicions of illegal collusion in the road construction market as well as in building construction and civil engineering prior to 2010. In this case, Implenia was found to be involved in two tenders for private clients. The Competition Commission finished its final investigation in August 2019. Implenia gave the Competition Commission its unreserved cooperation throughout the process and helped to clear up the specific cases as well as other collusive agreements on price and territories. Ultimately the investigating authorities therefore refrained from imposing a fine on Implenia.
- In Austria, the Central Public Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Economic Crime and Corruption in Vienna has been conducting an investigation into suspected collusive bidding since 2017; Implenia Baugesellschaft GmbH is one of the companies it is looking at. The investigation is still under way.
Information on older cases can be found in previous sustainability reports.
Working with universities
Implenia has been working closely with universities for some years now in order to strengthen knowledge transfer between academia and business, and further the development of skilled professionals. In Switzerland, for example, the company collaborates with the University of Applied Sciences of Northwest Switzerland (FHNW) and Lucerne HSLU.
Implenia has maintained close relations with the EPFL in Lausanne since 2019. Implenia executives meet regularly with the President of the EPFL to discuss potential cooperation and closer institutional links. The aim is to identify each other’s needs and make the most of each partners’ specific strengths. Since 2021, Implenia has also hosted the Innovation Leadership Seminar at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich in order to showcase the latest innovations.
Implenia works with various universities in Germany too. It is, for example, supporting research projects at the Technical University (TU) Darmstadt, supporting degree theses at RWTH Aachen University, and awarding scholarships at the TU Dortmund, while Implenia staff are giving lectures at Biberach University of Applied Science.
In Norway, Implenia works with NTNU Trondheim, offers summer internships and supervises master’s theses.
Implenia is proud of its wide university network and its longstanding commitment to teaching and research, which has consistently delivered results in the form of knowledge sharing, joint initiatives and projects, master’s theses and graduate employment.
Social commitment and sponsorship
As the leading construction and real estate services provider in Switzerland, Implenia has a responsibility to make a positive contribution to society. The company’s commitments in this regard go beyond the real estate and construction industry to embrace culture, innovation and education, as well as social projects. With all its commitments, Implenia attaches great importance to sustainable, partnership-based relationships.
It has, for example, worked for many years as a partner of “Smiling Gecko”, an aid organisation that works to improve living conditions for people in rural Cambodia. Employees from all over Implenia go out to Cambodia for three month stints to support locals with their expertise and help out with construction and infrastructure projects.
Other recent examples of local sponsorship and social commitments include:
- Young Stage Circus Festival
- Integration of disadvantaged people into the world of work in Sweden
- AFB Germany & Viskogen Sweden
Implenia adheres to high ethical standards when it sponsors or donates. Its own competition rules state that the company can only support political organisations or individual politicians if this is done transparently and within the bounds of statutory regulations. Payments to other organisations have to be transparent and cannot be made with the intention of influencing their decisions.
Participation in green economy initiatives
The term “green economy” is shorthand for an economy that uses energy and raw materials prudently. There are many different green economy initiatives in many different countries, as well as at international level. Implenia supports such efforts wherever possible, whether at government level or within the private sector.
Implenia Norway is a member of the Green Construction Sector network within SINTEF. SINTEF is one of the largest independent research organisations in Europe. It promotes close collaboration between members, and backs innovations that contribute to sustainable development.
Implenia Sweden has been part of the national “Fossil Free Sweden” initiative since 2020, and is collaborating on its roadmap for the building and civil engineering sector. The initiative and roadmap both aim for a climate-neutral value chain, with the goal of cutting all greenhouse gas emissions from the construction sector by 2045.
In Switzerland, Implenia works in major industry associations, such as “swisscleantech” and “öbu” , that lobby for a sustainable economic policy. As part of the CEO4Climate campaign, Implenia’s CEO André Wyss personally advocates for effective Swiss CO2 legislation.