Our approach to governance
Our Code of Conduct and Group Governance Manual were updated in 2011. These documents embrace our values as a company, by being open and transparent, and simply state the right thing to do. Effectively, they form the basis of our ethics and, also, formally record our management procedures and its application within our businesses is non-negotiable.
The Code was rewritten in 2011/12 to align with the new business strategy of Creating the Leader. We are now working to make the Code of Conduct a living document that is at the core of people's daily work at Kingfisher so that it drives conscious behaviour. The Code of Conduct also forms part of our contractual relationships with suppliers, setting out standards for ethical business practice. Suppliers are also expected to convey the Code to their employees, as appropriate, and throughout their supply chain.
Anti-bribery and corruption
Importantly, the Code of Conduct also details behaviour to comply with the new Bribery and Corruption Act that came into force in the UK in 2011. The Act requires all of our operating companies, irrespective of where they are based, to comply with the new legislation.
We have a dedicated network of compliance officers within our operating companies who ensure compliance with the Act. We also sought external legal opinion to verify that we have adequate procedures and controls in place to comply with the Act.
In line with EU and UK corporate governance best practice, it is Group policy not to make donations directly to political parties or politicians. This is clearly set out in the Kingfisher Code of Conduct.
The Group has made no political donations during the year. On a precautionary basis to avoid any possibility of unintentionally breaching the relevant provisions, the Board annually seeks and obtains shareholders' approval to enable the Group to make donations to or incur expenditure in relation to EU political parties, other political organisations or independent election candidates under section 366 of the Companies Act 2006.
Kingfisher adopts a responsible and transparent approach to managing its tax affairs and the details of the company's tax rate calculations and payments made can be found in the taxation section of the Annual Report and Accounts PDF (1.20Mb).
The Group's policy is to pay the right amount of tax at the right time whilst also being mindful of the need to maximise shareholder value.
As well as making the most of business opportunities, our CR strategy also seeks to assure shareholders and investors that Kingfisher is effectively managing key non-financial risks, e.g. supply-chain standards, timber sourcing and chemicals. The company engages with a range of non-governmental organisations on key CR issues; find out more in the Stakeholder engagement section.
The potential impact to our reputation, arising from a major environmental or ethical failure, has been identified as one of our top ten strategic risks. We have CR Risk Assessment Guidelines to help our operating companies identify key environmental and ethical risks to their businesses. These include a risk assessment process for identifying and managing key risks, including timber, climate change, chemicals and factory working conditions.