Our Blueprint for Sustainability
Ethical Business Practices
Our Corporate Compliance Office has a comprehensive program in place to guide compliance with Ford Policy Letters and Directives as well as key legal requirements. The Corporate Compliance Office is part of Ford’s Office of the General Counsel. Our compliance program is overseen by a senior management compliance committee and the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. The compliance program includes a variety of activities. The program raises awareness of the Company’s commitment to ethical practices, defines corporate practices through Policy Letters and Directives, ensures an infrastructure that allows for the reporting of Policy violations or business-related legal violations through a number of avenues worldwide, oversees the investigation of such reports, conducts risk assessments, and provides training and education on key legal and ethical risk areas.
Our Policy Letters and Directives formally establish expectations for our employees and others working on behalf of the Company, and our Code of Conduct Handbook is the fundamental tool for communicating these expectations.
The Code of Conduct Handbook, our chief ethical guidance document, is a compilation of the most important and relevant Policy Letters, Directives and standards for Ford employees. It is available in 14 languages. The online version, available to Company personnel, includes active links to the original source documents, thus providing a single source for the relevant information. The Code of Conduct Handbook underwent a major revision in 2007 to make it easier to understand and use as a reference manual.
The Handbook outlines requirements for our employees and those working on behalf of the Company and provides background resources for a wide range of business-related situations, including:
- The workplace environment
- Gifts, favors and conflicts of interest
- Use of Company assets and data safeguarding
- Integrity of financial records
- Product quality, safety and environmental matters
- Intellectual property
- Working with governments (political activities)
- Competition and antitrust laws
- International business practices
All salaried employees and most contract personnel around the world are required to certify that they have reviewed the Handbook.
To reinforce information contained in the Code of Conduct Handbook, we introduce new mandatory online training courses on a regular basis for our global employees and other targeted personnel. The courses focus on ethics, conflicts of interest, gifts and favors – topics on which we have long provided employee training – as well as touching on additional issues that have global applicability. Since the current Code of Conduct online training course was introduced in May 2009, more than 83,000 individuals, approximately 90 percent of those invited, have completed the course. In addition, global employees must certify yearly that they have read the Code of Conduct Handbook, and they also must either report potential conflicts of interest or attest they do not have any conflicts of interest to report.
In furtherance of our commitment to business ethics and compliance, every year we roll out new mandatory online compliance training on important risk areas. Not only do these courses increase awareness, they also help our employees worldwide understand and access resources that enable responsible behavior and enhance regulatory compliance. Recent courses covered the topics of social media and export compliance.
Another component of our compliance program is an infrastructure that encourages and allows for the reporting of any potential violations of our Policy Letters and Directives, and any violations of laws related to the business. Our nonmanufacturing workforce and contract personnel are regularly reminded of their responsibility to report any known or suspected violation of the law or a Company Policy Letter. There are many ways for individuals to report such violations, including direct communications to a member of one of the control groups – such as the General Auditors’ Office or the Office of the General Counsel – as well as telephone tip lines and email. All of our plants have posters describing how our manufacturing workforce can centrally report.
We assess compliance with our ethical standards through regular legal audits that cover a range of topics relating to legal requirements and internal policies. These are in addition to audits regularly conducted by other parts of the Company on issues such as workplace health and safety.