Our Code of Conduct

Introduction

The Coop Group comprises food retail, many different sales formats as well as wholesale and manufacturing companies in Switzerland and abroad. Our 90,000 employees all share the same group vision: "Together to the top".

The corporate profile is also the same for all companies in the Coop Group. It shows how we perceive our work: close, diverse, distinctive, innovative and partnership-oriented.

The consensus that underpins the corporate profile is expressed in company-specific mission statements and business principles and, in a more general sense, in this Code of Conduct.

Scope

The Code of Conduct applies to all employees of the Coop Group Cooperative and the Coop Cooperative who are employed in Switzerland and in the Principality of Liechtenstein.
Separate regulations equivalent to this Code apply to employees of subsidiaries which are at least 51% owned by the Coop Group.
Separate regulations apply to the members of the Board of Directors of the Coop Group Cooperative and the Coop Cooperative.

 

How we conduct our business

We take our economic, social and environmental responsibility seriously.

As a cooperative with a history that goes back more than 150 years, the Coop Group attaches great importance to the issue of sustainability from a social, environmental and economic perspective. Observing, protecting and promoting human rights is one of the Coop Group's central values and is a self-evident, core element of corporate responsibility. Therefore, in purchasing, marketing and production, we apply rigorous guidelines and set ambitious targets. We expect our employees and partners to actively contribute to continually improving sustainability.

We treat each other with respect, honesty and integrity.

We also treat our employees, customers, members of the cooperative, suppliers and other partners with respect, honesty and integrity. We make our decisions based on appropriate and objective considerations. We disregard extraneous motives such as discrimination or pressure. Whenever possible, conflicts are amicably resolved.

We act in the best interests and reputation of the Coop Group.

The Coop Group's reputation depends largely on the day-to-day behaviour, actions and conduct of each individual employee. Unlawful or inappropriate conduct by an individual can be severely detrimental to the company. Therefore, it is important that employees bear the Coop Group's reputation in mind.

We abide by legal regulations and internal guidelines.

Law and legislation form the basis of and framework for our actions. Furthermore, we adhere to the internal guidelines as well as the standards to which we have voluntarily committed. We know the rules that apply to us and systematically observe them.

 
 
 

How we shape relationships with our customers

We place our customers – the members of the cooperative – at the heart of all our efforts.

We listen attentively to customers and take their concerns seriously. We are honest: we mean what we say. And we are reliable, because we stand by our word and, in so doing, offer customers the best possible service.

We treat our customers as we would wish to be treated.

We always interact respectfully with our customers. We respond to customers’ wishes and are obliging when complaints are made.
 

 

How we interact with each other within the company

We interact with respect and free of any discrimination.

The Coop Group is an open company in which human dignity and the personal rights of all employees are respected. We expect employees to interact and cooperate with each other free of prejudice, regardless of age, gender, nationality, ethnic affiliation, religion, political views, sexual orientation etc. We are committed to gender equality and the equal treatment of people of different origins or from different backgrounds. Workplace bullying and harassment are not tolerated, even if they take place outside the workplace or outside working hours.

We lead by example and promote personal responsibility.

Line managers are responsible for their areas and the employees entrusted to them. They must make it clear to their employees that compliance with applicable law, this Code of Conduct and the company's internal regulations is a top priority in all circumstances and at all times, while also enabling them to take personal responsibility and allowing them freedom of action. Line managers’ duty of care does not discharge employees from their own duty of care.
Line managers are responsive to their employees’ questions as well as professional and personal worries. “Leading by example” is one of our principles. Line managers always stress the importance of ethically impeccable conduct, promote it through their own leadership style and suitable measures, and set clear, achievable targets.

We promote good working conditions, continuous further training and fair remuneration.

We are a fair and responsible employer for our employees. We have high standards in HR marketing measures, training, remuneration and social partnership, and with regard to communication, information and equal treatment. Employees’ co-determination and further development are always a primary concern. Although we cannot guarantee a job for life, it remains very much our aim to qualify all employees for lasting employment with us. 

 
 

How we shape relationships with our business partners

We are committed to fair competition.

The Coop Group bases its strategy on its own strengths: the quality of our products, services and employees, as well as our traditional status as an honest company. This way, we can convince our customers and suppliers that we are a fair partner and prevail over the competition without breaking any rules. Arrangements with other market players and the abuse of our market position are strictly forbidden. In particular, we do not make arrangements with competitors to set binding prices, coordinate our offerings, set production restrictions or quotas, or divide up customers or markets. The sharing of market-sensitive information with competitors which affords an insight into current or future competitiveness is also forbidden.

We demand compliance with legal regulations and the relevant guidelines and requirements.

The Coop Group invests heavily in meeting the high demands of all stakeholders. At the same time, however, we set high standards for our suppliers and business partners. These standards are reflected in clear rules and requirements. By entering into a business relationship with the Coop Group, our partners commit to complying with the relevant guidelines and requirements. If these are not met, either deliberately or due to negligence, we reserve the right to terminate our cooperation, having due regard for the legal situation. This is always done in the best interests of our customers.

We do not tolerate any form of bribery and corruption.

We do not tolerate bribery or corrupt behaviour in any way. We do not grant benefits to business partners, private individuals or government agencies and institutions in order to gain an advantage in a business transaction (active bribery), nor do we accept benefits from third parties in exchange for preferential or favourable treatment (passive bribery). Likewise, employees may not abuse the competences conferred upon them in their professional role for personal gain or the benefit of third parties. Dining invitations and small gifts must also be treated with the utmost caution. These must not give rise to the appearance of a possible obligation, either materially or in their form and scope. 

 

How we avoid conflicts of interest or promptly declare them

We avoid activities and connections which result in a conflict of interests.

We avoid getting into situations which could lead to a conflict between our own interests or family and personal ties and the interests of the company. Some examples of this are business relationships with related parties or activities and connections which are in competition with tasks in the Coop Group. We swiftly disclose potential conflicts of interest.

We set clear internal guidelines on secondary employment and mandates.

We clearly define and communicate the instances in which secondary paid employment requires the prior, written approval of the line manager and appropriate HR department. The exceptions to this are publications, speeches and other occasional activities, and all voluntary work. We do not, under any circumstances, use or publish confidential information of the Coop Group or of its business partners in any of the foregoing.

We handle confidential information with care.

We always use information that we obtain in the course of our business activities with care and only to the permitted, commercially justified extent. In particular, we do not allow unauthorized persons, either internal or external, access to confidential information and business secrets. Moreover, we do not abuse such information, either for personal gain or to confer undue advantages on third parties. We handle personal data of our customers, our employees and our business partners in particular confidence and take appropriate measures to protect it, in strict compliance with data protection principles. 

 
 

How we put our Code of Conduct into practice

We promote knowledge and understanding of the rules in the Code of Conduct.

All employees are informed about the Code of Conduct when they join the company. Changes to the Code of Conduct are published on the Intranet and on the Internet and are effective from the date of their publication. Employees of the Coop Group periodically make sure they are aware of the latest principles of conduct.

We take resolute action against violations.

The Code of Conduct of the Coop Group, the terms of employment and specific internal guidelines and various regulations help ensure the personal and professional integrity of employees. Managers and Internal Audit have a duty to investigate violations, discuss them with the persons concerned and decide on any disciplinary measures. Breaches may result in prosecution under civil and criminal law.

Discrimination or reprisals of any kind against employees who, in good faith, report a violation of this Code of Conduct or who refuse to participate in a violation are not tolerated.

We report discrepancies and stand by the people who report them.

We create a working environment in which each individual can uncover abuses and risks to the company, without compromising their situation. In principle, we report violations of this Code of Conduct or other internal regulations as well as unlawful actions to our line managers. In cases when this is not possible, there is a reporting office available for informants in Internal Audit (reportingoffice@coop.ch). All information provided, including the informant's identity, is treated in the strictest confidence.