Reports of suspected wrongdoing Cosun introduced a fully revised code of conduct in 2015 entitled the Cosun Principles. The principles set out the standards and conduct that are expected of Cosun’s staff so that they take the right decisions in their day-to-day work. Specific regulations and channels are also in place within Cosun for staff to report suspected wrongdoing, anonymously if they wish.

Anyone who suspects wrongdoing or a breach of integrity by one or more of their colleagues must be able to report it to a superior or, if that is neither possible nor desirable, to a confidential counsellor. To increase accessibility, a dedicated reporting line known as Speak Up has been introduced. Staff can contact a counsellor by telephone or through the website, in their own language and anonymously if they wish. We regularly draw attention to this channel.

We received just one report via Speak Up in 2016. It related to an initiative at one of the sites outside the Netherlands. The person making the report subsequently said they would discuss the matter internally and no further action was taken.

We respond to reports of potential wrongdoing as quickly as possible. It is good that this channel is in place and is used in practice.

Some issues, such as the atmosphere at work, a colleague’s inconsiderate behaviour and the relationship with a manager, are perhaps better discussed with a superior, the P&O department or the local Works Council. In such cases the counsellor encourages the staff to try to solve the problem internally first. The only report received in 2016 fell into this category and was dealt with locally at the site itself.

The Cosun regulations on reporting suspected wrong-doing are now eight years old and will be reviewed against the Whistleblowers (Safe Haven) Act introduced in July 2016. Given the decline in the number of reports received, all the business groups will benefit if the regulations are brought to their attention again.

Safety, both physical and social, is a key theme in the Cosun Principles. The Cosun Principles apply not only to all members of staff but also to the cooperative’s Board members, executive directors and supervisory directors. The new code was brought to everyone’s attention during 2015 through various channels, including both the line organisation and our own media such as websites, staff magazines and leaflets enclosed with the payslips. In parallel, we have developed instruments to help managers introduce the Cosun Principles and raise awareness of the desired conduct.