Silke Becker and Sarah Specht on the New Volkswagen Code of Conduct [Podcast]

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By Adam Turteltaub

As of January 2024, there’s a new Code of Conduct of the Volkswagen Group, replacing one developed in 2017.

To understand what led to the latest iteration of the code and the vision behind it we spoke with Silke Becker and Sarah Specht (LinkedIn) of Volkswagen Group Integrity & Compliance. They are part of a team lead by Tina Landsmann, Head of Volkswagen Group Center of Competence Integrity & Compliance Awareness & Qualification and Dr. Kurt Michels, Volkswagen Group Chief Integrity & Compliance Officer.

The code was updated to reflect changing times, including the draft European Supply Chain Act. This required a change in content, but the team also chose to update the tone and feel.

The language of the document now focuses on “we” and “us”, and it is very proactive, making the document less about what the board or management calls for and is instead about what we as a group are committing to. Each section of the code has a headline that reinforces this message: “We take responsibility for human rights,” “We lead based on our values,” “We like diversity.”

The document embraces a magazine style to increase readability, and there is the opportunity to digitally drill down on individual topics, make it a one-stop shop for employees.

As the team developed the document, in partnership with individuals around the company from multiple departments, they had several goals in mind. First, it had to be relevant for everyone, whether working in conventional auto manufacturing or battery development. Second, it had to work all around the globe given Volkswagen’s global footprint. It also had to be more human.

Take some time to see all of these elements and more when you explore the code. Then listen to the podcast to hear the story behind it and, maybe, get some ideas for updating your code of conduct.