Ethics and transparency are the foundation of our strong, sustainable company. By operating in an ethical, transparent manner, we earn our license to operate and minimize risk to our company’s reputation. Customers compare suppliers according to their own standards or compliance requirements. Southwire monitors and mitigates risks by engaging suppliers, adhering to and creating policies to support standards and providing robust ethics training to employees.
At Southwire, our leadership espouses the highest levels of integrity and employees follow their example. Read about Southwire’s strong governance structure and practices.
We demonstrate our commitment to ethical business practices by publishing and providing all employees with an uncompromising ethics statement. During orientation, we introduce our code of ethics, entitled “Do the Right Thing,” to all new employees through a 10-minute introduction video from our chief executive officer.
At Southwire, we strive to go beyond compliance requirements. During our ethics refresher meeting, we share examples of practices that technically comply with the law but do not live up to our values or the spirit of the law. We make it clear that these types of scenarios run counter to our culture and clash with the positive reputation we have with our stakeholders.
Prior to 2016, all salaried employees participated in a review course every two years to keep our ethical practices at the forefront of their professional lives as well as introduce them to compliance topics, such as bribery and anti-trust. Beginning in 2016, all employees, both salaried and hourly, will receive comprehensive annual ethics training.
We firmly reject any corrupt business activity and take measures to ensure our business activities internationally advance without ethics incidents. Southwire provides anti-corruption training to a significant number of executives and other salaried employees who are based outside the U.S. (particularly beyond North America) or travel abroad for business purposes. We prepare them for encounters with corrupt activities through mandatory training conducted in our employees’ native language to guarantee clarity. This training includes safety protocols which, combined with our travel policies and procedures, allows us to track the locations of our employees as they travel and, if necessary, to swiftly extract an employee in the case of an in-country emergency.
Southwire did not quite meet our internal goal to implement an online Code of Ethics training and conduct an employee survey annually for 100 percent of the employee population by year-end 2015. However, as a result of additional IT support, Southwire was able to complete these tasks in Q1 2016. In the annual ethics survey, all salaried individuals indicate if they or anyone they know has violated ethics requirements or laws. We have few incidents, violations or litigation.
To reaffirm our commitment to ethical business, we developed and implemented our conflict minerals and human trafficking policies in 2015. We drafted a Southwire Code of Conduct policy for suppliers and contractors in late 2015 and debuted our full supplier code of conduct in January 2016. This policy builds on the practices Southwire established in the past, such as the legal department screening all new suppliers and customers to ensure they demonstrate ethical practices.
For greater transparency, we publish our annual sustainability report and engage our stakeholders in a variety of ways, such as through our Community Advisory Panel in Carrollton. This panel gathers to discuss any issues that may pertain to Southwire and our impact on the community. Through our ethics and transparency, we are doing more than just the right thing—we are strengthening our business.
In the infrequent case of a spill, we notify the authorities and inform leadership via email as soon as possible. For any high-visibility events, we inform the public via local press releases. For more information on our number and volume of letters as well as other regulatory actions in 2015, click here.