ABSL Code of Conduct
ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS SERVICES LEADERS (ABSL)
CODE OF CONDUCT
1. Individual Responsibility
Ethical and lawful conduct demands the cooperation and responsibility of every individual that works for or acts on behalf of ABSL. Compliance with this Code of Conduct is mandatory at all levels of ABSL. This Code of Conduct applies to ABSL as well as its members and contractors.
2. Compliance with Antitrust Laws
ABSL is committed to comply with European Union and national antitrust laws. ABSL’s activities must on no account lead towards a restriction of competition between members, nor must meetings of members organized or supported by ABSL be used by members to discuss or coordinate future market behaviour resulting in a restriction of competition. More generally, the platform offered by ABSL to its members must not be misused for activities prohibited by the antitrust rules.
ABSL is not allowed to provide detailed information concerning the operational or commercial activities of its member companies. This is a direct consequence of its antitrust guidelines and its policy concerning the confidentiality of its member company data. The objectives of ABSL are the co-operation amongst the national organizations and companies in all matters that contribute to the development of the business services sector, and the representation of the common interests of its members vis-à-vis third parties, notably the national institutions and other international organisations. Within this framework there is no role whatsoever for ABSL in any commercial transaction.
ABSL also serves as a communication centre where statistical data are collected and distributed and where members exchange general information. Such exchange is on principle not objectionable.
The following conduct between or among competing members of ABSL is illegal under the antitrust laws and can result in substantial monetary damages, regulatory fines, criminal sanctions, and other remedies. Consequently all such actions violate this Code and must not be undertaken between members using ABSL mailing lists, meetings, task forces, document exchanges or other means involving ABSL. These actions include:
- Price fixing (agreeing on pricing or any other price terms);
- Customer allocation (agreeing not to compete for certain customers);
- Agreeing not to do business with certain customers;
- Territory or market allocation (agreeing not to compete in certain geographic areas or in market segments);
- Bundling or tying products or services protected by copyrights or patents to the purchase of other unprotected products or services.
Matters that should NEVER be discussed during a meeting of competing members of ABSL:
- Individual ABSL member or industry prices, including any matters affecting price, such as discounts, rebates, price changes, profit margins - this includes both current and recent pricing;
- Individual ABSL member costs, including costs of components or distribution costs;
- Any plan to bid for a customer's business;
- How to divide a category between competitors;
- Individual ABSL member terms and conditions of sale;
- Individual ABSL member sales or process-related information, including sales volumes, market shares, sales revenues; and/or
- Individual ABSL member's confidential future plans, including plans relating to marketing strategy, production or technology.
3. Conflicts of Interest
A “conflict of interest” exists when the private interests of a member of ABSL interferes – or even appear to interfere – in any way with ABSL’s interests. For example, conflict of interest situations can arise when a member of ABSL receives improper personal benefits as a result of its position with ABSL. Loans to, or guarantees of obligations of ABSL members and their family members may create conflicts of interest. The existence of a conflict depends upon the circumstances, including the nature and relative importance of the interest involved. If the member of ABSL becomes aware of any potential or actual conflict of interests, then the member shall immediately inform ABSL. Where ABSL forms the view that such a conflict does or could exist, it may direct the member to take action(s) to resolve that conflict, and the member shall comply with that instruction.
4. Confidentiality of Information
Members of ABSL must maintain the confidentiality of all confidential information that they receive, from whatever source, as a result of their membership in ABSL except where disclosure is (i) authorized by the provider of this confidential information or (ii) required by laws or regulations. If disclosure of confidential information is required by law or regulation, one must provide ABSL with prompt notice of the disclosure requirement. Confidential information includes all non-public information that might be of use to any third party, including competitors, or harmful to the ABSL, its members or partners if disclosed. It also includes information that third parties have entrusted to ABSL. The obligation to preserve confidential information continues even after the membership in ABSL ends.
5. Further Information and Contact
ABSL has established the position of a Legal and Compliance Officer to oversee implementation of the Code of Conduct and all supplemental guidelines and to serve as a resource, should any questions arise. The Legal and Compliance Officer can be contacted via e-mail under firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone under +48602770042.