For the Telekom Austria Group, achieving the defined business goals is not the only thing that matters — how it goes about doing so is also essential. The overriding principle is acting with integrity and responsibility towards customers, shareholders, external creditors, the public and employees. To ensure that this principle is upheld in day-to-day business in all of its divisions, the Telekom Austria Group defines clear rules for various topics. As well as naturally complying with all of the relevant statutory provisions, this objective is primarily served by the Code of Conduct and various Group guidelines.
Prevention and reaction
The Telekom Austria Group owes it to all of its stakeholders to ensure that its standards of integrity are realised as a key component of its corporate culture. Acting with honesty, fairness and transparency is the only way to secure the Group’s economic success and reputation in the long term.
To achieve this, the Telekom Austria Group has a sophisticated compliance management system based on the central elements of prevention and reaction. To prevent potential misconduct, the Group has expressly included its standards of integrity in its code of values, established clear rules for acting ethically and with integrity in all business relationships, and integrated appropriate controls within its business processes.
To enable an appropriate response to potential misconduct, indications and evidence are collected via a dedicated portal and addressed in strict confidentiality as part of a structured process. This allows the remediation of any weaknesses and the permanent improvement of the compliance management system. A risk assessment process has identified the following areas as key compliance topics: Corruption prevention and integrity, antitrust law, data protection and capital market compliance.
Group Compliance ensures the consistent implementation of the corresponding measures and instruments at all business units of the Telekom Austria Group with the support of the local compliance managers at the international subsidiaries. The Telekom Austria Group’s compliance management system is consistent with the internationally recognised standards issued by Transparency International and Institut Deutscher Wirtschaftsprüfer (Institute of Public Auditors in Germany). This was confirmed by an independent auditor in 2013.
Four corporate values guide the way in which the Telekom Austria Group works
Acting with integrity and responsibility
The Code of Conduct is a central instrument in the Telekom Austria Group’s compliance management system. It is aimed at all employees and the entire management team of the Group and is intended to help prevent misconduct with regard to the various decisions that have to be taken every single day. It contains advice and regulations on fair conduct, gifts and personal benefits, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, protecting company assets, indications of violations, communicating the content of the Code of Conduct as well as the Group’s whistleblowing principles. Accordingly, the Code of Conduct provides the elementary guidelines for the implementation of integrity as a value in day-to-day business practice.
This is supplemented by Group-wide guidelines providing detailed assistance on concrete topics, such as anti-corruption and conflicts of interest, gifts and invitations, management consulting and lobbying, sponsorship, donations and advertising, capital market compliance and antitrust law.
To ensure that the principle of integrity is sustainably embodied by all of the Group’s units in Austria and all of its subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe, target group optimised training on compliance topics takes place on a regular basis. To clarify any questions they may have, Telekom Austria Group employees can also contact the ‘ask.me’ compliance helpdesk, which dealt with around 350 questions in 2014.
A matter of corporate culture
Systematic adherence to all rules and regulations in the course of the company’s day-to-day work makes compliance a central element of the corporate culture. Key factors include, not least, the example set by senior management and the responsibility of all employees for their own actions. Employees and third parties can use the ‘tell.me’ whistleblower platform to anonymously report information on potential misconduct in order to sustainably prevent and identify potential risks within the Telekom Austria Group. In 2014, approximately 50 tips were submitted via this compliance instrument and carefully investigated by the Group.
The Telekom Austria Group responds to incidents with appropriate sanctions. If an actual case of misconduct is established, the potential consequences range from educational measures and process improvements via reprimands through to dismissals or the termination of business relationships.