Confidential counselor

ESG | 3 min read

We value a transparent and honest culture allowing employees to raise questions and express concerns or criticism. A culture that values integrity reduces the risk of abuse and irregularities. Fagron has a grievance mechanism enabling employees to report any grievances concerning any of the topics described in Fagron’s Code of Business Conduct or potential violations of applicable laws and regulations.

The grievance mechanism is part of the “Good Governance” category of our ESG (environmental, Social, and Governance) strategy.

At Fagron, we focus on the following topics when it comes to good governance:

  • Compliance with laws and regulations
  • Corruption and bribery
  • Fair tax policy
  • Grievance mechanism
  • Product quality and safety

In our article about “Good Governance,” we have focused on Product Quality and Safety. This time, we would like to tell you more about our grievance mechanism.

Fagron’s grievance mechanism

A properly functioning grievance mechanism reduces the risk of corruption and bribery as well as the risk of unwanted behavior. Fagron’s grievance mechanism offers employees three channels to raise concerns.

  1. First, people can reach out to their manager or supervisor.
  2. If they are uncomfortable discussing the topic with their manager, they can contact a confidential counselor.
  3. And as a third option, they can report concerns via the Fagron Integrity Line which is operated by an external provider. Fagron’s Integrity Line is part of Fagron’s whistleblower procedure.

We have introduced the second option, the confidential counselor, this year. We would like to tell you more about it.

Confidential counselor

A confidential counselor is a Fagron employee who has been trained to support employees by reporting their concerns and spotting any potential (future) grievances at an early stage.

The confidential counselor acts as a point of contact for employees to voice their concerns and complaints. Each employee can confidentially talk with a confidential counselor if they feel they have been subjected to unwanted behavior or wish to report a concern or suspicion ofout-of-policyy practices or if they have any questions. Unwanted behavior includes direct and indirect harassment, such as bullying, sexual intimidation, discrimination, or aggression. Out-of-policy practices include a breach or suspected breach of integrity, such as fraud, abuse of power, or conflict of interest.

The counselor will inform the employee who reaches out about Fagron’s grievance mechanism and guide the employee toward the proper channels. The counselor can advise the employee on the steps to take to deal with a concern/complaint, support the employee when she or he wishes to report a violation or suspicion of breach of integrity, and the counselor is there to answer any related questions. The confidential counselor treats every question or contact confidential and anonymously unless the employee wants to speak up.

The confidential counselor is also there to spot unwanted behavior and report trends she or he may detect on the basis of the complaints received with the Confidential Counselor Committee. This way we can prevent problems from occurring.

Ambitions and targets

A confidential counselor should be easily accessible for all our employees, so we strive to appoint a confidential counselor at each of our entities. At year-end 2022 Fagron has 18 confidential counselors spread across all regions. This is a significant achievement, but not all our employees have direct access to a confidential counselor yet. Appointing additional counselors takes time, as we prefer candidates to enlist themselves voluntarily and we want to provide them with proper training. We plan to select and train additional confidential counselors in 2023 and 2024 and target to realize 100% coverage – so all Fagron employees having access to a confidential counselor – by 2025.