Code of Conduct
Version 2 of 11 Sep. 2023
The ethical guidelines described in the Code of Conduct of Knick Elektronische Messgeräte GmbH & Co. KG are based on the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact (Appendix) and the Fundamental Principles of the International Labour Organization (ILO), with which the Company explicitly affirms its compliance.
This document is written in gender-neutral language; all references to persons are understood as applying to any gender.
1 Scope of Application
This Code of Conduct applies to our employees and suppliers. We expect our partners to comply with this Code of Conduct as the basis of our business relations.
2 Human Rights
As a sought-after employer that has been developing, producing, and selling high-quality interface and process analysis products and services for over 75 years, we see our strength as embodied in our employees. Our company culture is built around personal responsibility, a sense of mutual respect, and non-hierarchical communication structures. We see diversity as a competitive advantage, we respect the dignity of all people, and we are committed to respecting and protecting human rights. Every one of our employees is obliged to contribute to our success through their work, to adhere to agreements made, and to achieve the best possible results within their remit.
Knick supports and respects the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and ensures that it is not involved in any human rights abuses.
2.1 Forced or compulsory labor, child labor
Knick prohibits forced or compulsory labor in any form.
Our company does not employ children under the age of 15 and requires suppliers to employ children only in compliance with the law of the country in which the service is performed.
2.2 Diversity, inclusion, anti-discrimination
The diversity of our workforce brings with it unique ideas, viewpoints, talents, and values, all of which are crucial to our success. In our company, responsibilities are assigned to the people best suited to take them on, without regard to gender, skin color, or religious affiliation. We are committed to equal opportunity and equal treatment at work. We do not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, gender, religion, political opinion, national origin, social background, and other grounds, and also require our business partners to adhere to this policy.
Knick treats all employees with dignity and respect, and prohibits verbal, psychological, and sexual harassment or abuse. Mutually respectful conduct is fundamental to our culture, and we do not tolerate any behaviour that is inappropriate, humiliating, intimidating, or hostile, or other conduct that interferes with our employees’ ability to do their jobs properly. This applies equally to our employees and third parties with whom we do business. Any form of harassment or discrimination, including physical acts, verbal or written statements, or visual representations, is prohibited, will be investigated, and may be subject to disciplinary or criminal action.
2.4 Pay, working hours and working conditions
Knick documents and pays salaries and wages in full directly to its employees at regular intervals of no more than one month. Working time regulations and working conditions at the company are in line with legal regulations, which we ensure compliance with.
2.5 Occupational health and safety (OHS)
At Knick, we are committed to acting sustainably and responsibly with regard to our employees’ health. We are environmentally aware and respect the environment in which we work. Top priority is given to providing our employees with a safe workplace that is not detrimental to their health. We strictly comply with all legal requirements relating to occupational health and safety. Hazards that exist or may arise during work are identified and, wherever possible, avoided or mitigated. We have set up an OHS committee and put in place a formal OHS procedure to ensure the health of our employees. We always try to sensitize our employees to the risks of accidents and health hazards and enhance their safety awareness through safety briefings and regular training and development programs. Occupational healthcare for our employees includes regular consultations, medical checkups, and vaccinations.
2.6 Working conditions, careers and the right to collective bargaining
We respect all legal requirements regarding working hours, compensation, and employee benefits. We strive to achieve the best possible working conditions for our employees and aim for a high level of satisfaction in the workforce. To better reflect our employees’ mobility requirements, we offer flexible working hours and the option to work from home. Irrespective of the specific job, we use a standardized, transparent recruitment process, thereby remaining an attractive employer in the long term. We recognize the right to social dialog and collective bargaining. We therefore have a works council that represents our employees’ interests. We also work to promote our employees’ career development through personal feedback interviews, at which we set professional and personal goals to encourage our employees’ development. We offer a wide range of training, which we organize together with our employees as part of their personal development plans.
3 Environmental protection
The basis of our environmental management system is, at minimum, compliance with relevant laws and regulations. We work to minimize environmental pollution caused by the manufacture of our products, and wherever possible avoid producing waste, wastewater, and emissions. We expect our suppliers to maintain environmental policies that act to protect resources and the environment.
3.1 Energy consumption
For us, sustainable business means avoiding negative impacts on the environment and available resources. This is expressed in our activities to protect the environment. To reduce our use of energy, we regularly review areas in which savings may be made. We also want to cut the emissions produced by our vehicles. To this end, we review and evaluate our service fleet, and use electric cars, for example. Our employees can also make use of the company’s own charging points for e-bikes and pedelecs. We commission energy audits to identify areas in which we can improve energy efficiency throughout our premises.
We also want to act responsibly in the area of water management. As one example, we have purchased a parts cleaning system that allows the cleaning water to be used up to a hundred times.
3.3 Waste and recycling
We are actively committed to environmental protection and promote the economical use of resources and energy. Our company has set itself the goal of minimizing or eliminating the environmental impacts resulting from its business activities. We also strive to use materials that are less harmful to the environment. We always aim to use efficient recycling processes and try to minimize our use of chemicals. Our employees are made aware of the need to minimize the amount of waste we produce and to use products with a low ecological impact.
3.4 Product use
Earth’s resources are limited, so we need to make sure we use energy, water, and raw materials sparingly. We already strive to adhere to this principle at the development stage of our products, which is reflected in the durability and energy efficiency of both our products and our production processes.
4 Ethics in business
We are committed to fair competition. We expect our suppliers, customers, and competitors to share this commitment.
We undertake to apply our internal rules on avoiding and preventing corruption. Knick prohibits corruption (bribery, extortion) in any form and its associated crimes (fraud, embezzlement, breach of confidentiality, obstruction of justice, anti-competitive agreements). Relevant (anti-corruption) legislation must be adhered to at all times.
4.1.1 Business integrity and conflicts of interest
Our excellent reputation is largely sustained by the independence of our decision-making processes and the integrity of our employees. It is therefore imperative that we avoid relationships or activities that could impair, or even appear to impair, our ability to make objective, fair decisions. Every employee has a duty to make business decisions that reflect the best interests of our company, not their own personal interests. Knick property or information must not be used for personal gain any more than an opportunity that arises solely from working for Knick.
We expect our employees to focus on their work obligations to Knick and to refrain from additional professional activities if they might conflict with the company’s objectives. Any additional professional activity, in particular for a competitor, or personal interest related to the performance of professional duties must therefore be reported to management and HR, and may require approval.
We do not wish to restrict our employees in any way from becoming privately involved in political office, charitable organizations, or the like, but beyond this we do not tolerate any involvement, including consulting and significant participations or other financial interests, in our competitors or cooperation partners.
4.1.2 Gifts and invitations
We are aware that gifts and entertainment can promote good business relationships and create goodwill. However, we do not offer or accept gifts or invitations that could create even the impression of improper influence. To ensure this, the following principles must be observed at all times and in all places:
Gifts or invitations, if they go beyond common courtesy and established, legal, local business practices, are not offered or accepted; in particular, this applies to gifts and invitations in the context of ongoing or scheduled business negotiations or new acquisitions.
- The value of a gift or entertainment must always be reasonable and must not raise the question of any resulting obligation on the part of the recipient to perform a particular act or make a particular decision.
- No benefits of any kind may be offered to government officials without the prior approval of their supervisor.
4.2 Responsible choice of raw materials
Knick tracks the origin of the raw materials it uses as far as documented information allows. Our purchasing department prohibits the use of tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold (3TG) originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighboring countries, unless the minerals in question are extracted by certified mine operators. In this way, we aim to prevent funds from being used to finance armed conflict in the region.
4.3 Responsible information management
Our digital systems and various communication technologies are provided to our employees for business purposes only and must be handled with care. Private use of software provided and/or owned by Knick is prohibited unless explicitly permitted. Copying software and/or data from Knick IT systems for private purposes is also prohibited, as is the installation of private or unlicensed software on company-owned hardware.
Our digital and communications infrastructure, systems, and services must not be misused for illegal or unethical purposes. Searching, retrieving, and/or disseminating information or websites with content that is racist, propagandistic, pornographic, or that glorifies violence is considered abusive in this sense and will be subject to disciplinary or criminal action.
To prevent information security breaches, we provide our employees with information management training. We also limit the type and amount of confidential data we collect and store, and require from our partners that they issue a data usage statement.
5 Supplier compliance with social and environmental practices
We also expect compliance with our principles from our suppliers, who must adhere to both environmental and social practices. Consequently, we evaluate our suppliers with regard to REACH compliance, for example, and conduct on-site audits of suppliers on environmental and social aspects. We have integrated conflict minerals clauses into our supplier contracts.
6.1 United Nations Global Compact
The Ten Principles of the Global Compact are based on world-wide consensus derived from …
- the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and …
- the United Nations Convention Against Corruption
The Global Compact requires from companies that they acknowledge, support and put into practice within their sphere of influence a list of fundamental values in the areas of human rights, labor standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption.
6.2 Human Rights
Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;
Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labor; and …
Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and …
Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
6.6 International Labour Organization (ILO)
Five fundamental principles determine the ethos and activities of the ILO:
Principle 1: freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
Principle 2: the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor;
Principle 3: the effective abolition of child labor;
Principle 4: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation; and
Principle 5: a safe and healthy working environment.