Foundation of our daily actions

For us, integrity means acting out of conviction with responsibility and steadfastness.

Integrity means doing the right thing out of your own and personal conviction - with responsibility for our company, for business partners and as a member of society. This also includes the steadfastness to adhere to the right principles and principles - regardless of emotional, economic and social pressure.

Our aim is to become a role model when it comes to integrity and compliance. Acting with integrity is an established part of the Volkswagen Group's strategy "TOGETHER 2025+" and therefore also guides our actions at Volkswagen Group Services GmbH. Acting with integrity is thus on par with the quality of our products, our financial KPIs and the satisfaction of our customers. By implementing our ambitious integrity program and the Group Essentials, which provide orientation for the daily value-oriented actions of all employees, we have set the course for the future.

With the Group-wide integrity and compliance program Together4Integrity, known as T4I for short, we are pursuing, among other things, the goal of increasing understanding of integrity and its importance as a basis of doing business among all the Volkswagen Group’s employees and managers and of creating a culture in which acting with integrity is not only consistently possible, but also seen as a matter of course. It is associated with encouraging the constructive handling of mistakes, increasing the transparency of reasons for decisions and strengthening willingness to also address aberrations and risks with managers. Integrity is not only a core element of professional conduct, but also of social and value-based interaction.

As the basis for running our business, integrity must impact all levels. This means integrity is an obligatory criterion for all the Board of Management’s decisions: every submission to the Board of Management must include an opinion by the responsible department on the way in which the intended decision and its consequences are in line with the Group’s integrity and compliance or whether/ what integrity or compliance risks are associated with it and how they can be lessened.

Integrity is a competitive advantage and can help to be even better positioned economically in the future.

How we strengthen integrity

The foundation of our actions

For us, living integrity as an example means doing the right thing in a professional context on the basis of our own convictions. This means complying with our Group Essentials 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.

In our opinion, it is not enough to base correct behavior solely on rules and guidelines, but it takes attitude to do the right thing, even if no one is looking. Integrity is an attitude that represents an inner compass for correct action in grey areas, in the absence of explicit rules or in the event of conflicting goals.

Integrity is the maxim for our actions and complements compliance, with which ensures that all processes and decisions within our Group comply with the relevant rules. Together, they shape our corporate culture, which unites the unspoken and pronounced rules and values relating to our daily cooperation.

Integrity in the opinion survey

Whether it is possible for each individual to act with integrity is an explicit question in the Opinion Survey, the annual survey of all the Group’s employees. The question is: “In our organizational unit, is it possible for everyone to act with integrity”. If employees think this possibility is in doubt in a particular organizational unit, the relevant manager must identify and clear the possible obstacles together with the team. The question was asked in the Opinion Survey for the first time in 2017.

The conduct anchors were developed in order to breathe life into the concept of integrity and make clear to employees what acting with integrity in their day-to-day work means. They serve as practical guidelines for action and at the same time set a normative expectation regarding what is considered “correct conduct” in the Volkswagen Group.

Integrity as a management task

As role models, managers are among the greatest factors influencing employee conduct. In order to further strengthen this function as a role model and further develop their skills, the Role Model Program 2.0 was introduced in 2019 to encourage dialog-oriented and distance-reducing collaboration. The managers are to be equipped to ensure a culture of open discussion in their own team, where risks or conflicting objectives can be discussed without fear of sanctions and employees are encouraged to contribute their questions and ideas.

Beyond their own conduct, however, managers also have the task of purposefully encouraging and demanding the right conduct among their employees. One of the ways in which support is given to them is through formats that are provided via the Opinion Survey method toolbox.

Employees' active Role

Motivating our employees and spurring them to action is also critically important. The integrity program therefore ensures permanent visibility of the topic through continuous communication both in employee media and in personal discussions. For example, information about the integrity program is regularly provided at works meetings, in individual departments, in  workshops, in front of shop stewards or also vocational trainees.

However, the people who promote the topic of integrity of their own accord, who embed it within the structures of the Group and keep the topic alive – the integrity ambassadors – are also of key importance. It was possible to expand the network of them again in 2019.

This suggests an improved understanding and higher acceptance of the topic of integrity as well as greater willingness by employees to openly address problematic aspects where necessary.

Anchoring integrity in personnel management

Another focus of activities is the integration of integrity in as many HR processes as possible. For example, integrity has been a criterion in the recruitment process and in staff development of managers since 2019. Integrity was also taken into account as a required component of performance-related remuneration up to the management level. Training and presentation documents aimed at specific target groups are used to provide information for new and existing employees and ensure that they have the competence they need.

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