Code of Conduct for AcadeMedia

Introduction

AcadeMedia is the largest education provider in northern Europe – our size means security and stability.

Our employees in our preschools, primary and secondary schools and adult education centres have a shared focus on quality and development. All children, students and participants who attend our institutions in the course of a year should receive an education of a quality that enables them to achieve the objectives of the education. Everyone who has chosen us should have the opportunities they need to achieve their full potential, and we provide guarantees for education, quality, openness and security.

AcadeMedia’s vision

AcadeMedia will be an international role model in terms of quality, results and innovation.

We must do the right thing

The aim of this Code of Conduct for AcadeMedia is to create a shared framework on matters concerning human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. It is impossible to anticipate all issues that may arise. However, this Code of Conduct is designed to draw attention to particularly important areas of ethical work and highlight the international principles that apply. It is intended to help us behave correctly and ethically. We must also always comply with existing legislation in all the countries in which we operate. If you have any doubt about anything, it is essential to ask your line manager.

This Code of Conduct is brief when it comes to issues that other policies/regulations/guidelines at AcadeMedia discuss and handle in more detail. Consequently, the following policies (which do not apply to AcadeMedia’s suppliers or their subcontractors) are attached as appendices to this Code of Conduct.

  • AcadeMedia’s guarantees
  • Gender equality policy
  • Travel policy
  • Guidelines for social media
  • Remuneration of senior executives
  • Principles for corporate governance
  • Personal safety policy
  • Whistleblowing policy

All of these policies are published at www.academedia.se (in Swedish).

Our Code of Conduct is based on the Global Compact, which was created by the UN in 1999 to provide international principles for companies on issues relating to human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. The Code of Conduct applies to all employees of AcadeMedia and its subsidiaries, both in Sweden and abroad. It also applies to our suppliers and their subcontractors.

As this Code of Conduct applies not only to our own employees, there are a number of formulations that may seem superfluous, for example the formulations relating to slavery. This is hardly needed for our centres in Europe, but it may be decisive when purchasing from manufacturing countries in which child labour, for example, occurs.

Everyone who is covered by this Code of Conduct is responsible for complying with it. However, managers are responsible for ensuring that their employees read, understand and act on the basis of both the content and the spirit of this document. Conduct or action that does not comply with this code or that may be perceived as not complying with this code must be reported to your line manager or as specified in the relevant whistleblowing policy. The whistleblowing policy can be found at www.academedia.se. If we become aware of any breach of this Code of Conduct, the problem in question will be dealt with as soon as possible in the best possible way.

There is a checklist at the end of this document. This is intended to function as an ethical compass when a decision needs to be made.
The Global Compact has adopted ten principles, which are listed under the headings below. Under each heading, we have also added issues that are of particular relevance to us.

Human rights

Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights within their sphere of influence

Principle 2: Businesses should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses

Reference is made in the Global Compact to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Abuses of human rights, as they are defined by the UN, are never acceptable. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an extensive document. There are a few things that are worth highlighting in particular:

  1. No one may be discriminated against for any reason whatsoever. Some of the reasons listed by the UN are race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property and birth. (Article 2). To this can be added sexual orientation or expression.
  2. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude (Article 4).
  3. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 5).
  4. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 18).
  5. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression (Article 19).
  6. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages (Article 26).

Labour

Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
Principle 4: Businesses should eliminate all forms of forced and compulsory labour.
Principle 5: Businesses should eliminate child labour.
Principle 6: Businesses should eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

In this section about labour, we also base the Code on the ILO’s core conventions. The ILO is the UN’s specialised agency for employment and work-related issues.

  1. All employees are entitled to join associations and organisations, to organise themselves in trade unions and to make collective agreements.
  2. There may be no form of forced labour.
  3. There may be no form of child labour.
  4. There may be no discrimination in connection with employment or occupation (see point 1 under Human rights above).
  5. There may be no pay discrimination. The principle of equal pay for equal work applies (see point 1 under Human rights above).
  6. Everyone must have a safe, healthy working environment.

All employees, students, parents, participants and other stakeholders must always be treated with respect. There may be no discrimination, nor any unfair treatment of any other kind. Our working environment must be safe and secure, and we strive at all times to prevent accidents, injuries and threats. We always communicate openly, honestly and without unnecessary delay – in all situations. Our workplaces must be characterised by diversity. We believe in the motto ‘Together we are stronger’ – it also has an underlying meaning that indicates the importance of difference. We want to have employees with different backgrounds, personalities, insights, knowledge and interests.

Environment

Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.
Principle 8: Businesses should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.
Principle 9: Businesses should encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

AcadeMedia must always strive to reduce its negative environmental impact. This means making deliberate choices such as always trying to choose means of transport that have as little environmental impact as possible, and using products with environmental labels, for example for cleaning. We procure energy and always prioritise the environment in such procurements. We try to reduce waste wherever possible, in particular food waste.

Anti-corruption

Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

We must never demand or accept improper benefits for personal gain. Nor must we ever offer or give any such improper benefits to any other party. ‘Improper’ means that something is, or may be perceived to be, intended to influence the recipient to perform their work in a manner that is disloyal to their employer. Clear cases of improper influence are gifts in the form of cash or private travel (including short taxi rides). If you have even the slightest doubt about whether a gift should be considered improper, it is wise to refrain. A sense of doubt is nearly always justified. You should also discuss the matter with your line manager.

All decisions made by managers and other employees at AcadeMedia must be made with a view to the best interests of the company. There must never be any conflicts of interest. Advantages for an employee, their relatives or their friends must not influence decisions. Buying or selling goods or services from people with whom you have a personal relationship is a particularly sensitive issue. If any such relationship exists, the decision should always be left to someone else.

Checklist

It may feel time-consuming and perhaps even unnecessary to ask a number of check questions before making each decision. At the same time, this is exactly how we set our moral compass as individuals. For most people, a few conscious runs through this list will create the awareness necessary to know that something is wrong and often to ask the right question straight away if you are about to breach the letter or the spirit of the Code of Conduct.

  • Is what we are doing lawful? Or do I need to act to prevent a breach of the law?
  • What consequences may my action/inaction have for AcadeMedia? For others?
  • Does my action/inaction enhance confidence in AcadeMedia?
  • Can my action/inaction be influenced by my personal interest or any other conflict of interest?
  • Does my action/inaction stand up to public scrutiny?

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