Business integrity FAQ

Business integrity

Corporate conduct

What topics does Syngenta’s Code of Conduct cover?

Our Code of Conduct is a key part of our compliance framework. It demonstrates our commitment to build and maintain trust in Syngenta and to integrate business, social and environmental responsibilities in everything we do.

The revised Code of Conduct was launched in 2009. It was developed in consultation with leading business ethics and human rights organizations such as the Institute for Business Ethics, the International Business Leaders Forum, and the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

The Code covers the following key topics: law, business integrity, society, people and science, products, and property rights.

Who has to comply with the Code of Conduct?

Everyone working for Syngenta must adhere to our Code of Conduct.

The same standards of ethics and integrity apply to third parties working for or on behalf of Syngenta. Our Compliance guide for third parties sets out the minimum standards expected of third parties when working with Syngenta.

What other corporate codes of practice does Syngenta have?

The Code of Conduct sets out clearly the standards different stakeholders can expect from Syngenta on a range of relevant and important issues. The Code is supported by detailed policies, standards and guidelines such as:

  • Anti-Fraud Policy – defines the way we prevent or report any form of fraud (or attempted fraud) across our business
  • Anti-Bribery Policy – establishes our approach to engaging in ethical business negotiations across all levels of our organization
  • Securities Trading Policy – defines the rules and procedures associated with trading while in possession of material information that is not publicly available
  • Gifts and Entertainment Policy – provides clear guidance to our people on their responsibilities regarding corporate gifts and entertainment
  • Competition Law Policy – defines the principles of antitrust and competition law and establishes our expectations for ensuring these principles are upheld
  • HSE Policy and Standards – set out the standards of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) expected throughout Syngenta, and outlines what needs to be done to achieve them
  • Syngenta Labor Standards – define our approach to labor rights, including contractual working conditions, freedom of association and collective bargaining

All of our policies are binding for Syngenta employees and external contractors and stakeholders who engage with Syngenta.

How does Syngenta implement the Code of Conduct and ensure compliance?

Everyone at Syngenta is expected to know, understand and apply our Code of Conduct without exception. . All employees receive a copy of the Code and we offer discussion sessions with leaders and online training to help employees deepen their understanding. The Code is also embedded into our daily employee interactions – managers must ensure that employees understand the Code, providing training and support as required.

We expect every employee to take personal accountability for upholding the Code and suppliers are required to demonstrate compliance through their own policies or through contractual obligations to uphold the Code.

Compliance with the Code is the accountability of territory, regional and functional leadership teams to ensure a holistic review of compliance and risks in Syngenta.

We also have a Head of Group Compliance at global level and a team of regional compliance officers who are responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring our corporate compliance framework and implementation tools. The compliance officers work directly with managers around the world to ensure consistent implementation of the Code as well as other policies and guidelines.

We encourage and expect employees to report any suspected breaches of the Code of Conduct and we take all reports of potential violations seriously.

Read more in our Annual Review (p. 41)

How can suspected violations of the Code of Conduct be reported?

Employees are encouraged to report any breach or suspected breach, of the Code of Conduct to their line manager, a compliance officer or local HR/Legal/Finance teams or through our confidential compliance helpline. This helpline is accessible on our website and can also be used by our suppliers and contractors.

The helpline is available 24-hours a day and in several languages. Reports can also be made online via our intranet. We take every concern seriously and investigate each one in line with our policies. We do not tolerate any form of retaliation against an employee who has reported a suspected compliance violation in good faith, nor will we tolerate any deliberately abusive accusations.

What metrics does Syngenta report on corporate conduct?

We publish the number of concerns reported through our compliance helpline annually as well as the number of leaders engaged in leader-led compliance sessions. In these sessions managers discuss with their teams relevant compliance topics and encourage people to speak up if they have concerns.

Read more in our Annual Review (p. 41)

The conduct of our third party suppliers and contractors is monitored through regular risk assessments and audits. We publish the results of these processes annually.

Read more in our Annual Review (p. 20)

How does Syngenta regulate its lobbying activities?

Syngenta may engage in political debate on subjects that advance the company's goals and improve the communities where we work and live.

We maintain strict internal control of lobbying activities and conduct them in full compliance with local law and guided by honesty, completeness, respect, accuracy of information and transparency.

Any lobbying activities carried out by appointed external agencies or through our industry associations must be guided by the same principles that apply for Syngenta.

Read more about Code of Conduct

How does Syngenta prevent bribery and corruption?

At Syngenta, we are committed to conducting business with the highest standards of integrity and responsibility, and to preventing any form of public and private bribery in our organization. Our Code of Conduct and our Anti-Bribery Policy demonstrate our commitment to corporate responsibility, help to foster an ethical company culture, and build confidence among our external stakeholders in the way we do business.

Read more about Code of Conduct

Human Rights

What human rights initiatives does Syngenta endorse?

Our Code of Conduct sets out our commitment to comply with all labor laws, national and international codes and conventions, and to uphold the principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Core Conventions. Syngenta is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, endorsing the 10 universal principles covering human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption.

Syngenta is a member of the
Global Business Initiative on Human Rights -- a coalition of companies working together to develop good practices and sharing experiences as well as outreach in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We also work with the Institute for Human Rights and Business, which is a global center of excellence and expertise on the relationship between business and human rights.

Read more information on our approach to Human Rights

What does Syngenta do to ensure human rights are respected?

Our Code of Conduct, which employees, contractors and suppliers must adhere to, ensures that everyone working for Syngenta respects human rights. It was developed in consultation with the Institute for Business Ethics and the International Business Leaders Forum and informed by a risk analysis conducted by the Danish Institute for Human Rights. The results of the risk analysis led to the development of policies covering a number of labor, product, community and security issues.

Syngenta promotes employee empowerment and human rights protection and seeks dialogue with our employees and their representatives (Works Councils, Labor Unions) based on our labor standards.

Our minimum requirements on labor and human rights are integrated in all supplier contracts and we work with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to monitor and improve labor standards on seed farms around the world which are part of our supply chain. FLA assessments cover issues such as child labor, health and safety, and workers' rights. Visit our Good Growth Plan commitment to find out more about how we look after every worker and report on progress.

As a member of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, we are working with other companies and organizations to ensure our approach remains current and understand how best to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Our business also has an important contribution to make to support human rights through the role of our products in improving food security, access to water, farmers’ livelihoods and rural development.

How does Syngenta look after those who produce our products?

As part of The Good Growth Plan, we have committed to strive for fair labor conditions throughout our entire supply chain network. Every year we contract with thousands of seed growers across almost 40 countries to produce our seeds. The complexity of this supply chain poses particular challenges. 

Since 2004, we have worked with the Fair Labor Association to set up supplier labor codes, training programs, and monitoring protocols etc. for our seed supply farms. The program was initially rolled-out in a number of key countries where labor rights were identified to be at high-risk either due to local labor regulations, labor market situation, or local farming practices. 

In our flowers business we are rolling-out the GLOBALG.A.P. and GRASP (social practice standard) certifications on all our own and third party flower production sites across all regions.

There are around 900 companies in our chemicals supply chain, and our assessment program checks their compliance with our health, safety, quality and labor standards. In 2015, we joined the Together for Sustainability initiative (Tfs). This brings together international chemical companies to share joint supplier audits on health, safety, environmental, social and ethical issues in line with the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, Responsible Care® and the International Labor Organization. This enables us to reach deeper into our supply chain and to raise the bar for suppliers. It will also free up resources so that we can conduct `deep dive´ assessments of our strategically most important suppliers.

What is Syngenta’s response regarding the redundancy of Mr. Imran Ali?

In November 2010, Syngenta Pakistan announced a reorganization which was part of an ongoing global re-alignment of Syngenta’s IT function. The reorganization followed due procedures and led to the redundancy of Mr. Imran Ali. The redundancy was not connected with his position as Secretary of the Union of Pakistan. A lawsuit was filed against Syngenta in 2011 claiming that the redundancy was without prior warning or clear justification. While this case is still pending in the High Court, we continue to offer dialogue with Mr. Ali.

Animal research

Does Syngenta carry out animal testing?

We use animal studies only when necessary and aim to develop alternative techniques that replace and reduce the use of animals. However, in many countries, legislation requires animal testing to ensure products are safe to humans and the environment. We have no laboratories that undertake animal studies, but we do sub-contract such work. We only use contract laboratories that meet the highest standards for animal care, and we audit them to ensure these standards are consistently applied.

How is animal testing governed and managed at Syngenta?

The "Syngenta Animal Welfare Policy" sets standards that apply to animal studies carried out by third party contractors on behalf of Syngenta. The Syngenta Animal Ethical Review Committee (SAERC) is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and mandated legal and regulatory requirements.

We also require that Syngenta managers initiating animal work sign an annual Letter of Assurance that the Policy and Commitments have been complied with in the facilities performing the studies. This letter provides an assurance that both the facilities used and the study protocols are compliant.

We expect our contract laboratories to have management systems in place that are consistent with our Policy and Commitments to the care and use of animals in research and development.

How does Syngenta monitor animal testing compliance?

We expect our contract laboratories to have management systems in place that are consistent with our policies and commitment to the care and use of animals in research and development. We conduct audits of third parties to monitor compliance. We report on the number of management system audits conducted on our Annual Review (p. 60).

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