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Responsible business practices

Our shared core values shape the corporate culture that defines and unites us as a company across all brands and regions. Our reputation for ethical behavior and integrity is one of our most valuable assets. It is the result of our daily actions and an integral part of our endeavor to create sustainable value and success.

Ethics and integrity

CR organization

Our sustainability program aligns closely with our business strategy; its topics and their impacts, risks and opportunities as well as reporting are reviewed both at the highest management level and biannually at meetings of the Board of Directors.

The Corporate Responsibility (CR) function develops the sustainability program and provides expertise and advice to the management board on relevant topics. It implements the strategy approved by the management board and coordinates group-wide initiatives in close collaboration with experts from the CR network.

CR country champions represent one or all Sonova Group companies in a given territory and are responsible for gathering data and implementing CR initiatives locally. CR functional champions are linked to group-wide business functions; they report to the CR function on relevant functional issues.

Ethics & integrity

Sonova’s commitment to compliance promotes ethical conduct at all levels of the organization. Compliance means that we follow the laws of each country in which we operate while also abiding by our own Code of Conduct and internal regulations.

  • Code of Conduct

    Sonova’s Code of Conduct defines general principles for ethical behavior; it applies to all employees in the Sonova Group, its subsidiaries, and any contractors or vendors performing work for the Sonova Group or any of its subsidiaries. 

  • Human rights

    Sonova believes in treating everyone with respect and fairness at all times. We value the varied experience of diverse individuals from around the world. We are committed to conduct business and to align our codes and principles according to internationally recognized standards of the United Nations (UN), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    As a sign of this commitment, Sonova became a signatory to the UN Global Compact in 2016, endorsing its ten principles in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment, and anti-corruption. All employees of the Sonova Group, as well as its business partners, are expected to comply with these principles.

    Human rights as understood at the Sonova Group include the following principles:

    • Ensuring that there are no child, forced, or illegal workers at any point in our supply chain.
    • Never tolerating harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, age, ethnic or national origin, marital/parental status, or sexual orientation.
    • Providing a fair remuneration that ensures for all employees and their families an existence worthy of human dignity.
    • Limiting the working time of our employees according to local law.
    • Protecting the privacy of our employees, customers, and their patients.
    • Ensuring that there are grievance mechanisms for employees and other parties to file complaints in a safe and anonymous environment.
    • Respecting the legal rights of employees to join or to refrain from joining worker organizations, including trade unions.
    • Strengthening access to hearing care, including for those currently underserved by the healthcare system.
  • Corruption & bribery

    As a general rule, Sonova does not make donations to political parties. Sonova and its employees and representatives may make contributions to support charitable causes, subject to appropriate due diligence. Contributions should be made for bona fide purposes and only where permitted by local law.

    The Anti-Bribery Policy has been communicated and taught to all governance body members and employees worldwide. The Sonova Group Supplier Principles cover ethical standards such as compliance with all laws and regulations on bribery, corruption, and prohibited business practices. These have been communicated to all our suppliers.

    Sonova performs an annual group-wide bribery / corruption risk assessment which takes into account Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index and internal indicators. Potential bribery / corruption risks are also an integral component of our business partner due diligence, which, depending on the business partner risk assessment, is performed not only before entering a business relationship but also regularly thereafter, following a pre-defined process.

  • Anti-competitive behavior

    Sonova’s Competition Law Policy provides the basic principles of doing business based on fair and efficient competition. It specifies how to interact with competitors, customers, distributors, and suppliers in order to comply with competition law regulations.

  • Responsible marketing

    We adhere to strict ethical sales and marketing practices in all our businesses and have established world-wide guidelines containing principles regarding responsible marketing for our group companies to ensure that all our interaction with customers and marketing materials provide truthful, accurate, balanced and non-misleading information and to prevent inappropriate practices or false claims. These guidelines are further supported by the worldwide Sonova Group Code of Conduct and the Anti-Bribery Policy, which also includes detailed information on interactions with health care professionals (HCPs). Furthermore, we have implemented refined country-specific marketing and sales practices codes in group companies in markets with relevance for Sonova.

    To secure substantiation of B2B and B2C advertising messages, Sonova has established a claims management process and claims evidence database that is maintained by the claims core team. The process is an integral part of the end-to-end marketing process and provides formal guidelines on how to identify, substantiate and administer a claim at Sonova to be compliant with the regulatory requirements and to ensure a high-quality standard of marketing communication.

  • Data privacy

    Sonova protects confidentiality and integrity of data, including the data of employees and customers, by technical and organizational means. We adhere to applicable data protection regulations and train our employees accordingly. We closely monitor developments in data protection law and incorporate its principles into our business processes and product design. Our IT department has developed a cyber security program including security governance, user awareness & education and incident management.

  • Suppliers

    Suppliers are an integral part of our value chain: a risk to them is also a risk to our company and our customers. Sonova requires that all our suppliers be as committed to sustainable development as we are.

    Sonova’s Group Supplier Principles (SGSP) are based on a range of international standards, customer requirements, and industry characteristics. These principles are non-negotiable; they are the first basis of contact with possible suppliers. Once a supplier has been approved as a Sonova partner, the SGSP is incorporated into all development and supply agreements. The SGSP requires suppliers to put in place and maintain systems that ensure:

    • Healthy and safe working environments;
    • Respectful and dignified working conditions;
    • Environmentally friendly production; and
    • Legal and ethical behavior.

    The supplier principles forbid the usage of any conflict materials for any product supply to Sonova. Since 2007, Sonova has proactively asked suppliers to review their sources of materials. Except for one case, all have confirmed the absence of conflict materials. The single case was related to a production tool, for which the parts involved were replaced by the supplier with conforming material.

  • Taxes

    Sonova Holding AG is registered in the Canton of Zurich; as a holding company, it is exempted from cantonal but not from federal income taxes. From its base in Switzerland, the Group develops, manufactures, and distributes in over 100 countries world-wide, including about 30 countries where Sonova owns distribution subsidiaries.

    Sonova maintains legal entities in those countries to host its local commercial distribution activities, thus ensuring that taxes are paid locally. The company annually verifies its locally-applicable tax rates to ensure that these are at least equal to those of comparable third-party distributors. The Sonova Group does not own off-shore companies.