Code of Business Ethics
AB Akola Group and its subsidiaries (hereinafter – the Group) strive to increase the value of the shares consistently and therefore seek to ensure long-term and successful activity. The Code of Business Ethics is designed to all employees of the Group in all markets, countries and areas where the subsidiaries operate. Companies of the Group have to maintain daily communication concerning a variety of issues with a wide range of interested parties: customers, employees, business partners, competitors, shareholders, governments and regulatory authorities, non-governmental organizations, as well as local communities.
Fair and meaningful relations are important for the development of a good reputation of the Group, therefore, we are open to society, as well as we are public-spirited.
The present Code of Business Ethics is to reveal how we create business relations and what standards of conduct we follow when communicating, as well as when raising animals.
I. Relations with Customers and Consumers
The aim of the Group is to become the driving force of agriculture in the Baltic States and good example for food industry companies.
Together with farmers, we create a thriving and competitive agriculture of the Baltic States. We help farmers to create an efficient and growing agricultural business.
We care about public health, therefore, not only do we maintain high standards for food production and continuously improve the quality of our products (we were the first producer offering chicken without antibiotics in the Baltic States region), but we are also consistently educating chicken consumers.
We offer our services and products fairly and do not use any dishonest or deceptive methods.
We protect the personal data of our customers and ensure their privacy. We apply measures to prevent any unauthorized access to personal data and only disclose them in the cases provided for by law.
II. Relations with Employees
The aim of the Group is to become the most desirable agribusiness employer in the Baltic States. We are confident that employees are the greatest value of the Group and the creative force that drives us forward.
We strive to be an attractive employer for our current and future employees, capable of attracting, helping to develop and maintaining skilled and motivated people in a professional work environment. We respect and treat fairly all of our employees.
We select employees based on their competence, professionalism and values.
We strive to create a working environment where people are respected, regardless of their individual differences, talents or personal qualities, and the work of the employees is evaluated according to their performance and values-based behaviours.
We do not tolerate any age, race, gender, religion, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, marital or familial status or political views-related discrimination, humiliation, harassment, violence or abuse in respect of our employees or other persons we encounter in our activities.
We properly reward employee work and the results achieved, taking into account the responsibilities of the employees and the situation in the labour market.
We part with employees in good faith.
We strive to create a safe and healthy working environment by ensuring the safety of work processes, preventing potential damage and responding to health-damaging conditions, as well as supporting measures to promote health and well-being.
Each company of the Group has relevant safety regulations applicable to its work environment that are established by laws and internal legal acts of the respective company. Each employee must know and follow the safety rules that apply to him / her and the relevant working environment.
We are against the use of child labour or forced labour.
The Group recognizes the right of employees to join trade unions or other representative bodies voluntarily and to negotiate with the employer.
We respect employee privacy. We collect, store and use personal data of our employees in accordance with requirements of legal acts.
We adhere to the principle that the personal activities of the employees of the Group must not contradict the Group’s intention to ensure the lawfulness and continuity of its activities. Our employees have to avoid any contacts and activities that are contrary to the Group’s legitimate interests or raise doubts about employee loyalty.
We adhere to the requirement that any employee of the Group who intends to engage in another employment relation or in another professional activity, or to become a member of management bodies or participate in other active operations beyond the companies of the Group must notify his / her supervisor in this regard, as well as to make sure that such activity will not raise a conflict of interest.
We respect the political views of our employees and do not restrict their personal political or social activities. However, our employees may not make use of the reputation or resources, including working hours, of any of the companies of the Group for their political or social activities or political interests.
The companies of the Group collect and store confidential information about their activities, employees, customers and business partners. It is the duty of each employee to protect such confidential information from disclosure. We encourage our employees to share their knowledge and experience within the confines of confidentiality. Employees may only share any non-public information with those colleagues who need to know that information for work purposes. Such information may only be disclosed to third parties if it is necessary for the performance of activities or mandatory under applicable legal acts, ensuring that the recipients of such information will keep it strictly confidential.
Any business gifts or hospitality services may only be accepted or offered in accordance with requirements of legal acts and usual business practices. Employees can accept and give symbolic inexpensive business gifts that correspond to usual practises aimed to show hospitality and maintain business relations. Giving or accepting money, loans, support, travel or job offers, compensations, or any other valuable reward may not be considered to be the gifts to show hospitality or maintain business relations.
In cases where employees are permitted to use the Group’s assets for personal purposes, employees must ensure that their activities are not in conflict with law, public order and good morals, and do not infringe the business interests of the Group and do not waste the resources of the Group.
Employees of the Group protect the assets and intellectual property rights of their company. Intellectual property encompasses everything that employees create in a company during their working hours using company’s funds or carrying out their job duties. The Group and its companies own rights to everything that employees create while working in the company.
III. Relations with Shareholders
The shares of AB Akola Group are traded on the Nasdaq Vilnius Stock Exchange, therefore, we have to comply with all the regulations applicable to the confidential information that may affect the price of the shares.
The goal of the Group is a long-term increase in the value for shareholders.
We provide our shareholders with information about the financial position of the Group and the companies in a transparent and continuous manner, as well as we inform them of the most significant changes in our operations that may affect the value of the shares they hold.
We inform our shareholders and market participants at the same time and transparently about all major changes that have impact on the company’s assessment.
We ensure that the information submitted to the market is accurate and communicated in accordance with relevant legal acts, stock exchange rules and Corporate Governance Code.
We publish comprehensive, clear and accurate financial reports for the Group, as well as provide explanations for major changes.
Any comments on the Group’s financial achievements and other material events are made solely by the management of AB Akola Group.
We do not use the internal information of the organization in stock trading. The persons having non-public information at their disposal act in accordance with laws and do not trade securities using the above information, do not advise other persons to engage in such trading based on non-public information, and undertake to ensure the confidentiality of such information.
In maintaining our financial or non-financial relations, we only submit data that correspond to reality and provide our knowledge-based information.
IV. Relations with Suppliers, Business Partners and Competitors
We conduct our business in good faith in accordance with all applicable legal acts and high standards of business ethics.
We strive for long-term partnerships and healthy co-operation, and we make every effort to be reliable partners. We strive to build constructive and mutually beneficial connections.
Any business decisions and actions must be based on the principle of maximum benefit for the Group, customers and shareholders. Such decisions may not be taken to fulfil personal objectives or satisfy personal interests.
We expect from our business partners a fair competition in the field of their business.
We select and evaluate our suppliers and subcontractors based on pre-defined criteria such as quality, price, availability, ability to implement, reliability, service and corporate responsibility, including social and environmental protection aspects.
We expect from our suppliers and contractors the compliance with international standards concerning human rights, working conditions, environmental protection and anti-corruption.
We do not offer or accept bribes or other forms of illegal payments in order to acquire or maintain business.
We do not engage in discussions or negotiations on pricing, market shares or other illegal activities with our competitors.
We keep confidential all and any business information entrusted to us by our business partners and use it only to the extent agreed on with our business partners or established by laws.
V. Relations with State Institutions and Government Representatives
In each country, we operate under the laws of that country and communicate with the authorities in an open and transparent manner.
We provide information to all authorities in a timely and appropriate manner in accordance with legal acts.
We strive to maintain good relations with the supervisory authorities of the countries in which we operate. We ensure appropriate conditions for government representatives to inspect the activities of the companies of the Group, as well as fully cooperate during such inspections. Where any non-conformity is found in our activities, we remove it immediately and take measures to prevent the occurrence of such inconsistencies in the future.
VI. Relationship with Society
We aim to foster good neighbourly relations, to be reliable partners, as well as active participants in social life.
We carry out our daily activities in accordance with environmental protection laws, regulations and permits.
We recognize our responsibility for the protection of human health, the environment and natural resources. The Group promotes a healthy lifestyle, rational management and use of resources, and pays a great deal of attention to waste sorting. We aim to reduce waste and CO2 emissions in performance of our activities.
We are not involved in politics. We do not comment on political events and do not make any political statements. However, the Group participates in the dialogue concerning the adoption of regulatory acts that affect our business.
We collaborate with the public in the course of development of our business activities, maintaining the dialogue and taking into consideration relevant comments.
The companies of the Group do not provide direct or indirect support or funding to any political parties.
We follow a long-term sponsorship policy and support the projects that meet our ethical standards, values, and priorities.
Our employees should avoid speaking in public about the activities of the Group or its companies, if such activities are not related to the scope of their direct competencies. It is important to avoid speaking on behalf of the companies of the Group when expressing a personal opinion. This principle also applies to sharing personal opinions in the social space and online.
VII. Ensuring Animal Welfare
The Group is one of the major milk suppliers in Lithuania and the largest poultry producer in Latvia. Good handling of animals and ensuring proper animal farming conditions reflect our culture and progress.
The dairy farms and poultry farms of the Group are guided by the following activity principles: the best possible environment for farm animals, ensured hygiene, balanced nutrition, skilled care, and disease prevention.
Improving animal welfare conditions in dairy farms and poultry farms is an ongoing process.
COMPLIANCE AND REPORTING POTENTIAL INFRINGEMENTS
The Board of AB Akola Group is responsible for this Code and carries out reviews of its content and compliance checks.
The daily implementation of and compliance with the Code is the duty of the manager of each company.
Each employee must carry out work in accordance with this Code and is encouraged to report any potential infringements of the Code, as well as to provide examples of best practices.
Any actions that do not comply with the provisions of the Code must be corrected immediately and disciplinary action taken.
Employees are encouraged to report any infringements of the Code via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting their line manager.
Regardless of the methods used for such reporting, any benevolently submitted reports on potential infringements of the Code will be investigated promptly, fairly and thoroughly.