Group Management tasked the department Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHS&S) 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 EHS&S officers supports the local Sika companies in ideation, planning, and implementation of higher-level regional measures. Through the “More Value – Less Impact” communication campaign, Sika informed all internal stakeholders about the sustainability strategy and included them in planning and implementing respective measures. These activities were extended and intensified in 2016.

Sika has installed a Sika Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB) which has taken up its work in 2016. The SAB has been established to further reduce the company’s environmental footprint along the whole supply chain, and to support a business model based on sustainability. An independent expert opinion aims to provide the Sika Management with further impulses with regard to the direction and implementation of Sika’s sustainability strategy. The expert panel consists of five independent experts from business, public administration, science, and research. Where necessary, additional external and internal experts are consulted on specific sustainability issues.

Standards and compliance

To preserve and steer Sika’s strong compliance culture and ensure that the Code of Conduct, the company’s values and principles as well as specific functional regulations and guidelines are understood and adhered to by managers and employees, Sika is persuing a holistic approach to compliance. Sika’s compliance system involves the whole organization throughout hierarchies,functions and geographical areas. It aims to foster a culture of trust, support transparency, and enhance a speak-up culture within the Group. The pillars of this system are the Compliance Manager on Group level, four Compliance Managers on regional level and local Compliance ambassadors, e-training programs, classroom workshops and the SikaTrustLine, a web-based reporting platform.

Sika TrustLine is an externally hosted channel where employeescan raise legitimate complaints regarding serious misconductor breaches of Sika’s Code of Conduct in a confidential environment if reporting to other more immediate Sika employees, like line management or other specialists, is not feasible or adequate.

Furthermore, Sika’s compliance system wants to ensure that governance, risk management and other structures and processes within the Group are not only compliant with regulator yrequirements, but also as effective as possible within the organizationto mitigate risks and prevent losses. In this way the compliance function contributes to the Group’s performance by providing a framework for corporate culture, corporate governance and risk management. The more effective this framework is, the more successful the organization can be.

Compliance Culture

The Compliance Manager on Group level and four Compliance Managers on regional level adopt a holistic approach in planning and implementing the compliance system. 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 and the company values and principles, they are required to contact their line manager, the Group Compliance Manager, Corporate Legal, or Corporate HR. Sika has also set up a central help desk.

Adoption of and compliance with the Code of Conduct by the General Managers and their management teams was reviewed at the end of 2016, and conformity confirmed in a reporting system. The 100% response rate and completeness of the details provided suggest absolute compliance. Moreover, in the year under review, all General Managers signed an extension to a compliance commitment agreement to cover the years 2016 and 2017. They thereby pledged to honor and actively support Sika's management culture, which demands integrity in respect of all work processes. A compliance checklist drawn up in this connection by Sika sets out all requirements pursuant to the Sika compliance system, and presents best-practice examples. In line with Sika's holistic approach to compliance, this checklist is relevant to the operations of all functional units in the Sika companies.

Sika Code of Conduct

Sika's 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 2016, progress was made with the implementation of a b localized Gift & Entertainment Policy in all Sika’s companies. This policy, which integrates and reinforces the principles of the Code of  Conduct, provides employees with a clear and detailed framework on how to deal with 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. 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.

Sika Trustline

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 superiors, 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 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. In the year under review, the SikaTrustLine roll-out and e-learning program started and was implemented in the UK, South Africa, Singapore and New Zealand, with training provided for 1,100 employees. No incidences of misconduct were reported via the SikaTrustLine in 2016.

Internal Communication

A new, company-wide intranet, launched in 2016, includes designated content areas for informing all employees about the Sika compliance system, while at the same time giving impetus to an enduring feedback culture. It also provides a framework for the
systematic presentation of all corporate policies and manuals, which are now readily accessible by the entire workforce.

Supplier Code of Conduct

Sika also assumes responsibility for the supply chain. Since 2015, the Supplier Code of Conduct, introduced in 2013, is binding for all new suppliers and is being gradually extended to existing suppliers. The agreement was endorsed by a total of 3,390 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 introduced a new group-wide process 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 starts with the commitment to comply with the Supplier Code of Conduct and the completion of a self-report questionnaire. In unclear cases, the Purchasing department will follow up with sustainability audits before concluding a supply contract. Sika continued to implement this new process globally in 2016 with a special attention to new suppliers in high-risk geographic regions and industries.

Documentation generated during supplier qualification is transparently recorded and stored on a dedicated platform. 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 process for internal audits is centrally organized and is overseen by the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. All audits are approved by Group Management and the results presented at the Audit Committee. In all, Sika conducted 138 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 2016, all new suppliers were assessed according to the new vendor evaluation process.

To improve supplier qualification, Sika trains sales teams in planning and performing supplier audits themselves. 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. A new relevance (materiality) analysis covering the most important internal and external stakeholder groups was performed in 2015. The survey endorsed the strategies adopted under the “More Value – Less Impact” banner. This, in turn, prompted Sika to intensify its existing ties and partnerships with important stakeholders – including customers, suppliers, associations and sponsorship partners/communities – by engaging in numerous projects and collaborations at various levels. The focus was on key issues, such as occupational health and safety, customer health and safety, sustainable solutions, and energy/water/waste.