SINTEF’s guidelines for business activities
1. Relationships with suppliers, partners and clients
SINTEF will conduct its business in a way that gives our partners, suppliers and clients confidence in us.
We expect and require our suppliers, partners and clients to share our ethical values. Our suppliers must accept SINTEF’s ethical regulations in writing.
2. Basic values
SINTEF's basic values are important to us.
These are comprised of knowledge, ideas, structures and working methods.
These immaterial values must be protected and stewarded for the good of SINTEF. At the same time, we must also show respect for other people's values.
3. Fair competition
SINTEF will compete in a fair and ethically correct manner, within the framework of current rules of competition. We will not prevent others from competing with us.
A corrupt relationship will have some of the following characteristics:
• Abuse of the power accorded to someone by their position in an organisation
• The person abusing their power is offered unauthorised benefits (bribes)
• The agreement between the parties involved is secret
Corruption undermines trust in the constitutional state and in democratic institutions, weakens ethical and moral values, hampers rationalisation and efficiency, and undermines every kind of business activity and free competition. Corruption can ruin a reputation and puts SINTEF and the individual at risk.
SINTEF is opposed to every kind of corruption, and will actively work to prevent it happening in our business activities.
5. Facilitating payments
Facilitating payments are small payments aimed at helping to get a contract or supplies through, or to expedite a service to which one is entitled, such as permission to proceed through passport control.
SINTEF is generally opposed to these kinds of payments, even when they are legal. However, we appreciate that these payments cannot always be avoided. These kinds of payments must be authorised by the appropriate manager, and their legality must be documented.
SINTEF will strive to prevent making these forms of payments.
6. Use of middle-men
Middle-men are agents, consultants or others who act as intermediaries between SINTEF and third parties during our business activities.
Before any of SINTEF’s companies engage middle-men, they must check that the reputation, background and qualifications of middle-men are suitable and satisfactory. Contracts must be signed and at the very least must satisfy the ethical guidelines, procedures and check-lists provided by SINTEF for this purpose.
Lobbyists are a particular type of middle-man, used to influence decisions in both the public and private sectors.
SINTEF will only use lobbyists if these make a full declaration to the party they are trying to influence that they represent SINTEF. Every contract into which SINTEF enters with lobbyists will include a clause obliging the lobbyist to provide this information.
8. Correct information, accounting and reporting
Business information about SINTEF shall be communicated accurately and completely, both internally and externally.
Accounting information shall be correct, and shall be recorded and reproduced in accordance with laws and rules, including accounting standards.
9. Relations with the media
We at SINTEF are obliged to keep the public informed of our activities, and to participate in the public debate, using the knowledge possessed by us in our capacity as a research organisation. All our communications shall be honest, open and accessible.
10. Political activities
SINTEF companies are politically neutral.
11. Equality and diversity
Everyone is of equal value at SINTEF.
No discrimination of any kind will be acceptable, whether it is on the basis of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or age.
SINTEF will strive to create a good working environment, characterised by equality and opportunity.
In addition to legislation and international conventions, SINTEF bases its business ethics on Transparency International's concepts, and on the principles that form the basis of the UN Global Compact. SINTEF is a member of both these organisations.
Transparency International (link) was founded in 1993, and its main purpose is to combat every form of corruption, and to promote transparency, responsibility and integrity in the public and private sectors and in civil society. You can read more about TI Norway (here: link to websites). TI publishes several reports and indices which illustrate the state of corruption in various countries and industries. These can be useful for assessing potential partners. In 2009, TI Norway published an anti-corruption handbook (link to this).
The legal basis for anti-corruption may be found in Section 276 (a-c) of the Norwegian Civil Penal Code (link). Norway has signed ‘The Civil Law Convention on Corruption’, and is legally bound by ‘The UN Convention against Corruption’, ‘The Criminal Law Convention on Corruption’ and ‘The OECD Convention against Bribery’. You can find links to these on TI Norway’s website.
UN Global Compact
Global Compact (link) is a worldwide initiative. It was started after an initiative by Kofi Annan in 2000. Almost 8,000 companies of many different types in more than 130 countries are now involved in this initiative. Participating companies undertake to follow Global Compact’s ten principles (link), to strive to influence the companies they work with to do the same, to submit a report on the company to Global Compact every year, and to participate in activities that promote these ideas. Global Compact has a Nordic network, whose secretariat is currently based in Finland (link). The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) is the contact point for this in Norway. Global Compact is responsible for a number of worldwide reports, events and other initiatives.