Volkswagen is undergoing one of the furthest-reaching processes of change in the Company’s history. A strategic objective as part of TOGETHER – Strategy 2025 is to make Volkswagen a role model of a modern, transparent and successful company when it comes to integrity.
With the Board of Management position for Integrity and Legal Affairs, the Group has put in place the organizational prerequisites for centralized integrity management. This Group function is responsible for planning, preparing and implementing programs and projects aimed at raising awareness, providing information and reinforcing a shared awareness of integrity.
Integrity at Volkswagen is defined as acting out of conviction, with responsibility and steadfastness. Integrity is an inner disposition that acts as an internal moral compass for doing the right thing in gray areas, in the absence of explicit rules or in the event of conflicting objectives. This means complying with our Group principles and the ethical principles established therein and behaving correctly in accordance with rules. This also includes the steadfastness needed to adhere to these principles – regardless of economic and social pressure.
Already in 2016, we launched a comprehensive integrity program with information campaigns, opportunities for dialog and initiatives aimed at all employees. This encompasses measures such as international get-togethers for managers and integrity workshops for team spokespeople in production. In addition, we have launched an ambassador program that helps multipliers to make integrity a visible and practical part of everyday working life. We have also worked intensively to create an integrity index. This is due to be piloted in 2019 at the German locations of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Audi brands as a joined-up approach to measuring integrity.
We firmly believe: only with lasting, dependable integrity will our Company gain and strengthen the trust of its staff, customers, shareholders, business partners and the general public. The Group Board of Management therefore resolved in April 2018 to combine the programs and initiatives on integrity, compliance, risk management and culture under the umbrella program “Together4Integrity”, and thus to reinforce them.
With “Together4Integrity” (T4I), the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG has initiated an umbrella program with which to embed excellence in integrity and compliance throughout the Group – in all brands, regions and companies and in respect of processes, structures, attitudes and behavior. The program plays an integral and central role at Volkswagen. It consolidates, combines and coordinates the Group-wide initiatives that are led by the responsible divisions. It also encourages discussion and mutual learning, thus ensuring continuous improvement. Uniform and consistent implementation according to a firm schedule is planned for all Group companies, prioritized by their size and risk profile.
T4I is based on the five principles of the internationally recognized Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI). These principles relate to strategy, risk management, culture of integrity, speak-up environment and resolute accountability. They are codified as the Group’s aspiration level and are implemented through T4I. The Board of Management positions for Integrity and Legal Affairs and for Human Resources are responsible for the program. The other Board of Management positions act as sponsors, thus ensuring that T4I is successfully implemented in their area of responsibility.