SAEOPA’s way of conducting business
1.1 SAEOPA is committed to the highest standards of social and business practices. The delivery of success to our members results from the efforts of our people – it is their resourcefulness, professionalism and dedication that gives SAEOPA its leading edge as the representative voice of the industry. To this end, all directors and employees are expected to observe the highest standards of integrity in the conduct of SAEOPA’s business.
1.2 The Board of Directors have approved a King Report IV Gap Analysis, Board Charter and Code of Conduct for Directors to provide a framework within which all business practices involving SAEOPA must be conducted, managed and regulated. The said documents have been developed in accordance with the common values shared by all involved in the business of SAEOPA, the general principles of law and internationally accepted ways of doing business ethically. In addition, comprehensive systems of control have been introduced to ensure that in attaining the objectives of SAEOPA, we behave legally, ethically, appropriately and sustainable.
2. Health and safety
SAEOPA is committed to treating all employees fairly, with respect and dignity, and in order to honour this commitment, SAEOPA shall create and maintain a safe and healthy work environment.
3. The workplace
3.1 Reward employees fairly based on their qualifications and performance without discrimination on the basis of age, colour, creed, disability, ethnic origin, gender, marital or family status, religion or sexual orientation. In addition all promotions and recognition will be based purely on merit.
3.2 Provide all employees with equal opportunities to training and skills development.
3.3 Respect the privacy of all employees and safeguard the confidentiality of employee information.
3.4 Not tolerate behaviour which is tantamount to any form of harassment in the workplace and shall foster work environments that are free from harassment, intimidation and hostility of any kind.
4. The environment
4.1 SAEOPA acknowledges that its activities may have an effect on the environment. To responsibly manage its obligations, SAEOPA undertakes to:
- understand the environmental impact of its activities and treat it as an integral factor in all decisions;
- make the principles of sustainable development a fundamental part of SAEOPA’s business strategies and day-to-day operations;
- implement and maintain comprehensive environmental policies so that its actions are carried out in an environmentally responsible way;
- be transparent about and accountable for its environmental performance; and
- refrain from doing business with third parties who do not conduct their business in an environmentally responsible manner.
5. Conflict of interests
5.1 Conflicts of interest are situations where directors and employees may make decisions based on personal gain rather than the best interests of SAEOPA and its members. Further, even though they may not allow personal interests to influence their decision-making, the appearance of conflict will jeopardise the trust of SAEOPA’s stakeholders should they perceive that decisions are made not solely with SAEOPA’s best interests in mind.
5.2 While it is acknowledged that directors and employees may and probably will be from the industry itself; actively involved in essential oil and related operations; and their services utilised as consultants in the furtherance of the Association’s objectives, it is expressly recorded that such interests, other than the collective interests of the Association, must be disclosed at every board meeting for the board’s cognisance and approval or rejection.
5.3 SAEOPA’s policies governing the conflict of interests set forth the guidelines and procedures to be followed by all office-bearers and those employed by SAEOPA in their dealings with fellow employees, suppliers, customers and competitors, and any persons or business concerns which are affected by any of the operations or activities of SAEOPA, such as:
5.3.1 Outside business interests
SAEOPA office-bearers and employees shall not:
- operate in any capacity, serve as directors or work as employees or consultants for any entity that is a competitor to SAEOPA;
- use the resources of SAEOPA to run private businesses or conduct work for another organisation; and
- confer any benefit, monetary or otherwise on a business partner or competitor of SAEOPA in which such employee or a family member in his or her personal capacity, holds a beneficial interest.
When in doubt – disclose!
5.3.2 Gifts, entertainment, travel, hand-outs, offerings, etc.
18.104.22.168 Where anything is offered to a director, employee and/or a member of a director or employees’ immediate family for less than market value, the guidelines in determining a conflict of interest would be:
- whether the value or frequency of the offer made is excessive having regard to internationally prevailing business standards;
- whether the acceptance of such offering would jeopardise the trust that any stakeholder may have in SAEOPA, or may have the potential to negatively affect SAEOPA’s reputation; and
- whether the offering is of a nature that SAEOPA would, in all probability, not reciprocate.
22.214.171.124 In instances where it appears to be inappropriate to accept the item, a director or employee is advised:
- to tactfully refuse the offering; or
- in exceptional circumstances, if to refuse such offering would reasonably cause embarrassment or hurt to the person making the offering, the director or employee may accept the offering on behalf of SAEOPA and then advise the Chairperson of its receipt, so that an appropriate course of action may be determined.
126.96.36.199 Notwithstanding any of the above, directors and employees have to comply at all times with the company’s official Gift Policy.
5.3.3 Involvement with and treatment of suppliers, customers, members, etc.
188.8.131.52 Directors and employees and any member of their immediate family should refrain from being associated with a supplier, contractor, customer, competitor, joint venture partner, service provider or other entity involved in business dealings with SAEOPA, unless authorised by the board, depending on the applicable circumstances.
184.108.40.206 Examples of inappropriate involvement include serving in any undisclosed capacity in a business entity that deals with SAEOPA, and acceptance of a loan, advance or other non-monetary benefit from a supplier, contractor, customer or other business entity, except for customary loans or advances from banks or other lending institutions.
220.127.116.11 To fulfil their commitment of being fair and honest to all of SAEOPA’s business partners and stakeholders, all directors and employees shall endeavour to:
- treat them courteously, respectfully and in a professional manner;
- commit only to what is believed SAEOPA is able to deliver within the parameters of this Code of Ethics, and honour the commitments made;
- protect all information shared with SAEOPA on a confidential basis by any of its members or business partners;
- desist from attempting to improperly influence the decisions of existing or potential business partners by, for instance offering gifts, if this Code would prohibit an employee of SAEOPA from accepting the same if roles were reversed; and
- select the Association’s suppliers objectively based on the long-term best interests of SAEOPA. A director and employee’s duty to avoid a conflict of interests is a continuing obligation.
5.3.4 Use of confidential or proprietary information
18.104.22.168 Directors and employees and members of their immediate family should avoid activities, which involve the use or misuse and/or the disclosure of confidential or proprietary information of or concerning SAEOPA or other companies gained by virtue of their employment, including more specifically the disclosure of any information not already in the public domain relating to SAEOPA or another company except to persons who are authorised to receive such information and where such disclosure is in the course of a director or employee’s normal duties and responsibilities.
5.3.5 Personal use of company information and business opportunities
Directors and employees and their immediate family shall not use the incumbent’s position with SAEOPA for any personal gain or for the benefit of any third party, such as the personal exploitation of information to which a director or employee has access by reason of their directorship or employment with SAEOPA.
5.3.6 Political, charitable and other public activities and business affiliations
22.214.171.124 It is not expected that a conflict of interest will arise from a director or employee’s affiliation with outside professional, political, civic or charitable organisations or from directorships or trusteeships of non-competing business entities who do not trade with SAEOPA. A director or employee should disclose to the board any such activities where the incumbent has reason to believe that an invitation to serve in any such organisation was offered primarily because of the person’s office-bearing capacity or employment with SAEOPA.
126.96.36.199 In order to avoid such an inference, unless approved by the board, in writing, a director or employee shall refrain from using SAEOPA or its assets for charitable, political or other purposes outside their normal duties and responsibilities.
6. Adherence to law
All directors and employees shall act in accordance with the law of the jurisdictions in which SAEOPA conducts its business.
7. Proper accounting
7.1 SAEOPA’s books, records and accounts are to reflect accurately and fairly, in detail all transactions and acquisitions and dispositions of assets in accordance with the highest standards of integrity and generally accepted accounting principles.
7.2 No director or employee shall make false or misleading statements to the board, financial committee or auditors of SAEOPA in connection with the preparation, audit or examination of any financial statement or otherwise.
7.3 No payment made or to be made shall be approved and made without the adequate supporting documentation or with the intention or understanding that such payment is for a purpose other than that described in such supporting documentation.
8.1 SAEOPA does not approve of the making of any payment in any kind (gifts, favours, etc.) to influence any act or decision relating to SAEOPA’s business. No director or employee of SAEOPA is to make, offer, promise or authorise an unlawful or improper payment of any kind, whilst knowing that such payment is intended as a bribe, payoff or rebate in an attempt to coerce any individual into awarding business opportunities to SAEOPA or one of its business partners.
8.2 Such conduct could have serious consequences for SAEOPA and the director or employee concerned, and SAEOPA’s views on non-solicitation should be therefore be clearly communicated to all parties that conduct business with SAEOPA.
9. Promotion of fair competition
9.1 SAEOPA strongly believes in a free-market economy and embraces fair competition. Consequently, SAEOPA avoids all actions that are anti-competitive or otherwise contrary to the laws that govern anti-competitive practices in the marketplace.
9.2 SAEOPA does not:
- enter into agreements or employ practices in restraint of trade such as price fixing, bid-rigging, collusion and “kick-backs”; or
- employ illegal or otherwise improper means to obtain information from competitors, including:
- offering bribes or gifts in the exchange of information;
- soliciting confidential information from a competitor’s ex-employee now employed at SAEOPA; and
- misrepresenting SAEOPA or its position in order to convince third parties to divulge information to SAEOPA.
10. Protection of SAEOPA’s assets
All employees of SAEOPA have a duty to safeguard its assets in order to protect its economic well-being and competitive advantage. Employees are therefore expected, in respect of the management of the following, to:
10.1 Regarding funds:
- exercise integrity, prudence and good judgement in incurring and approving business expenses and ensure that business expenses are reasonable and incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the best interests of SAEOPA;
- obtain authorisation for all transactions and expenses incurred, unless having delegated authority to incur such costs;
- not to conceal any funds or any transaction from the board, management or the auditors; and
- not to enter into any transaction for the purposes of unlawfully evading any tax, duty or other levy imposed by the government in those jurisdictions in which SAEOPA conducts business either for the benefit of SAEOPA or third parties.
10.2 Regarding assets:
- to use SAEOPA’s assets prudently with due care and diligence; and
- to take appropriate steps to protect SAEOPA’s assets against theft, loss, damage and waste.
10.3 Regarding intellectual property:
- to take precautions to avoid inadvertent disclosure e.g., by not discussing such information with third parties and to take care in transmitting such information by electronic mail or any other means;
- to enter into confidentiality agreements with any parties to whom SAEOPA is obliged to disclose such information, thereby restricting the further disclosure thereof;
- not to release information to third parties without proper authorisation;
- to use only properly licensed computer software;
- not to reproduce, distribute or alter copyrighted materials such as computer software, books, audio, videotapes, journals and magazines without the permission of the copyright owner or authorised agent;
- to employ ethical means of conducting research and development; and
- to be honest in obtaining, interpreting, using and disclosing information.
11. Relationships with government
11.1 SAEOPA respects the authority of the government. It is therefore imperative that directors and employees maintain honest, transparent and ethical relationships with government, their agencies, officials and personnel.
11.2 Directors and employees must ensure, when providing company information to representatives of government, that same is accurate, comprehensive and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations relating to corporate participation in public affairs.
12. Social responsibility
12.1 SAEOPA’s primary purpose is to deliver a return to members over the long term. However, this implies that its business model must be sustainable and it is therefore a basic requirement that it conducts its business in a socially responsible manner.
12.2 SAEOPA is committed to continuously striving to improve the quality of life and contribute to the well-being of communities in which it conducts its business. Whilst such support will take different forms, SAEOPA shall make every effort to:
- support health, education and environmental initiatives;
- support charitable projects, especially in the agricultural sector and essential oil industry, that address community needs;
- involve local communities in decision-making issues that affect them;
- give preference to business partners who conduct their business in accordance with social and ethical standards consistent with its own; and
- draw from the local labour pool to the extent possible.
13. Cultural sensitivity
As representatives of SAEOPA, all directors and employees should be aware when dealing with business partners that their behaviour is a reflection on SAEOPA and they are therefore expected to familiarise themselves with the norms and customs of the respective situations and abide thereby.
The board is responsible for the management of SAEOPA’s Code of Ethics. Any person who becomes aware of any existing or potential violation of this Code of Ethics is required to promptly notify the Chairman and/or the Executive Director and/or the Secretary.