Cooperative of SEKEM Employees | Our Values | Empowering Women & Gender Strategy | Diversity & Equality
SEKEMs Code of Conduct – Values that Matter
The SEKEM Code of Conduct (CoC), together with the Corporate Governance Index, form the framework of values guiding the operations of the SEKEM Group of Companies. This basis refers to the SEKEM Vision for Sustainable Development, the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), which SEKEM joined in 2004, and the relevant United Nations and International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions, e.g. ILO Labor Standards and the Universal Declaration for Human Rights (UDHR). Accordingly, the CoC formulates explicit commitments regarding legal compliance, business ethics and anti-corruption, labor standards and human rights, as well as environmental responsibility. The code applies to SEKEM operations and all associated business partners and is subject to regular review and development.
This SEKEM Code of Conduct (CoC) summarizes the framework of values guiding the operations of SEKEM. Based on the SEKEM vision for sustainable development, the principles of the UN Global Compact and the relevant UN and ILO conventions, it formulates explicit commitments regarding legal compliance, business ethics, anti-corruption, labor standards, human rights and environmental responsibility. Our Code of Conduct applies to SEKEM operations and all associated business partners and is subject to regular review and development.
Compliance with the Code of Conduct is monitored and enforced by the compliance and internal auditing managers of SEKEM. These departments also provide guidance and information on the application of the code, and serve as internal and external contact points for concerns about noncompliance, which can be raised anonymously at wish. The SEKEM CoC is publicly available at the SEKEM website, provided in English and Arabic to all SEKEM employees in the SEKEM Information System (SIS), and openly displayed on all working premises.
2. Our Vision
Sustainable development towards a future where every human being can unfold his or her individual potential; where mankind lives together in social forms reflecting human dignity; and where all economic activity is conducted in accordance with ecological and ethical principles.
3. Our Mission
To realize our Vision for Sustainable Development in Egypt…
- We establish Biodynamic agriculture as the competitive solution for the environmental, social and food security challenges of the 21st century. We support individual development through holistic education and medical care. We create workplaces reflecting human dignity and supporting employee development.
- We build successful business models in accordance with ecological and ethical principles. We innovate for sustainable development through research in natural and social sciences. We locally and globally advocate for a holistic approach to sustainable development.
4. Our Values
In nature, every organism is independent and at the same time systemically inter-connected to other organisms. Inspired by ecological principles, representing the wisdom of nature and the universe, we continuously strive to gain and sustain a harmonious balance between the polarities listed and to integrate them into our development.
5. What We Care About
SEKEM seeks to comply with all applicable national and international laws and regulations, industrial norms, ILO and U.N. conventions.
We are guided by the principles of respect and dignity for every individual within our companies and in the broader community. We commit to protect and advocate for human rights in all our activities and spheres of influence.
Child Labor / Young Employees
SEKEM does not tolerate any form of the exploitation of children and young employees in our operations. In particular, youths must not be exposed to dangerous, unsafe or hazardous conditions.
Forced or Compulsory Labor
SEKEM tolerates no form of forced or compulsory labor, bondage, servitude, slavery or conditions similar thereto. Employees must not be compelled to work by way of violence or intimidation, be it directly or indirectly. Instead, all employees must have sought work and/or employment on their own free will.
Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
The Cooperative of SEKEM Employees (CSE) is assigned with providing supportive working conditions, trainings on human rights and health & safety issues and as a forum for collective bargaining or other interest discussions of the employees. Furthermore every employee is free to become a member of work associations of any kind.
Employees are treated with dignity and respect. Sanctions, fines and other penalties or disciplinary measures (i) conform with applicable national and international regulations and (ii) are imposed in accordance with internationally recognized human rights. No employee must be exposed to verbal, psychological, sexual and/or physical abuse, coercion or harassment.
Health & Safety
SEKEM provides all of its employees with a safe and healthy working environment. All SEKEM companies have established and are applying safety management systems that are in accordance with OHSAS 18001. The Medical Center on the SEKEM premises, run by the SEKEM Development Foundation, offers medical services to all our employees.
Any form of discrimination in hiring and employment practices, including any distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, caste, skin color, gender, age, religious belief, political opinion, membership in workers’ organizations, physical or mental disability, ethnic, national or social background, nationality, sexual orientation or other personal characteristic, is prohibited.
SEKEM guarantees that the wages paid to employees equal or exceed the minimum wage prescribed by law or applicable industry-specific custom. For every management level the salary structure consists of a fixed and variable part, defined according to the goal achievement percentage documented in the Personal Performance Agreement.
Working hours comply with the applicable law, industry standards or relevant ILO conventions. The maximum number of weekly hours permitted by national law must not be exceeded. On a regular basis, however, an employee’s weekly hours are limited to 48 hours and to 60 hours with overtime.
SEKEM has established binding work ethic principles. We value punctuality, eagerness to learn, team spirit, discipline and respect for colleagues and company rules
SEKEM acknowledges that literacy is a basic human right. Therefore we provide literacy education to illiterate employees.
The business of SEKEM depends on a healthy environment. Therefore we strive to comply with well-established and trustworthy standards. Our several companies have been certified according to ISO 14001, the Biodynamic “Demeter” and the organic standard, which all indicate a responsible and balanced handling of natural resources.
Bribery and Corruption
The company has a no tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption. This policy extends to all the company’s business dealings and transactions in all countries in which it or its subsidiaries and associates operate. All our employees are required to comply with the following principles:
- We will carry out our business fairly, honestly and openly
- We will not make bribes, nor will we condone the offering of bribes on our behalf, so as to gain a business advantage
- We will not accept bribes, nor will we agree to them being accepted on our behalf in order to influence business
- We will avoid doing business with corrupt organizations
- We will set out our processes for avoiding direct or indirect bribery, and keeping to and supporting our values
- We will keep clear and updated records
- We will make sure that everyone in our business and our business partners know our principles
- We will regularly review and update our program and processes as needed
- We will keep to these principles even when it becomes difficult
SEKEM has implemented comprehensive management systems that include clear responsibilities and processes as well as adequate documentation. We regularly update our Integrated Quality Management Systems, Financial Risk Management System, Management Reporting Systems and Internal Audit procedures. Furthermore SEKEM is certified according to ISO 9001, ISO 22000, ISO 17025 and ISO 14001. All management and quality system related information, including all management and technical standards, are stored and regularly updated in the SEKEM Information System (SIS), the company’s intranet.
6. Implementation & Monitoring
Scope of Application
This Code of Conduct applies around the world to SEKEM and its associated business partners.
Information and Communication
This Code of Conduct must be prominently displayed in the appropriate language and freely accessible to all of the employees. It is available to all SEKEM employees in the SEKEM Information System (SIS) and in public displays on all working premises. To individuals who cannot read, the Code of Conduct must be explained verbally.
Monitoring Code of Conduct
SEKEM is entitled to monitor compliance with the principles set forth in this Code of Conduct and is responsible for enforcing the principles of this Code of Conduct.
Sanctions and Remedial Actions
SEKEM has the responsibility to take remedial action if non- compliance is observed. Sanctions are defined according to the degree of non-compliance and in accordance with the national law.
Procedure for Complaints
Complaints or information about violations of this Code of Conduct may be reported to SEKEM (see below for contacts) at any time and anonymously. Individuals filing a complaint are asked only to report information they consider to be true. SEKEM guarantees that individuals filing complaints will not be subject to reprisals or disciplinary action of any kind.
The code of conduct is constantly revised by the responsible department to capture changes in law, in business and reputational demands.