Business integrity

Ethically Safeguarding Reputation

The Ethics & Compliance Programme

As one of the world's leading logistics providers, our business activity is based on high ethical and legal standards. By considering integrity a key element in our business behaviour, we can foster a sense of trust with our stakeholders and meet our responsibility of being a reliable and successful business partner.

Kuehne+Nagel’s Ethics & Compliance Programme is designed to ensure that we comply with both legal and regulatory requirements and our internal standards in addition to other rules of professional conduct.

Our Ethics & Compliance Programme is an integrated element in our business environment that guides all Kuehne+Nagel employees and our business partners throughout the Group, independent of function, geography, or business area.

Our Ethics & Compliance Programme supports us to protect Kuehne+Nagel from negative consequences, such as sanctions or reputational damages. Compliance measures are continuously developed and implemented under risk-based consideration of the principles: prevent, detect and act. The programme and its implementation throughout the organisation is monitored on an ongoing basis. The monitoring will ensure that design, implementation, and related processes are aligned with Kuehne+Nagel’s operations in all regions and industries.



Ethics & Compliance Programme

Risk Assessment
Keeping the programme in the right direction, while appropriately allocating resources to remain effective, requires continuous risk consideration. The compliance risk assessment enables us to identify areas of greater attention and, at the same time, support our group risk assessment activity. Compliance risk assessment supports the enterprise-wide risk assessment for ensuring appropriate scoping of efforts and mitigation of risks.

Compliance Key Performance Indicators
A number of key compliance-related performance indicators have been established to monitor the implementation progress across the entire Kuehne+Nagel Group, and identify any remediation needs or required amendments to the programme, to continually improve its effectiveness and application.

Policy Framework
We have introduced a set of constitutional documents that describe the minimum ethical principles applied by our employees at all times. Internal policies and guidelines complement the Code of Conduct to address specific topics and guide our employees on standards and procedures they face in everyday work.

Code of Conduct
The Kuehne+Nagel Code of Conduct determines the minimum general and ethical principles that our employees must apply consistently and continuously in all their business activities. As a result, Kuehne+Nagel can show that it is a reliable business partner worldwide and will protect its business partners, stakeholders, and the Group from adverse effects resulting from its operations: safeguarding our reputation is protecting the reputation of our customers. Every Kuehne+Nagel employee must read, understand and comply with the principles and be fully aware of the meaning and significance of the Code of Conduct and its complementary guidelines.

Anti-Bribery Guideline
This guideline clearly describes and sets out what is acceptable behaviour. It is intended to give Kuehne+Nagel Board Members, officers, and staff members guidance for dealing with the risk of improper payments in accordance with rules stipulated in the Kuehne+Nagel Code of Conduct. It re-emphasises that Kuehne+Nagel will not engage in any form of active or passive bribery and will not tolerate its members or third parties in their relationship with the company being involved in bribery.

Antitrust Guideline
The Antitrust Guideline stipulates and details minimum principles of conduct for competitive behaviour following applicable antitrust or competition laws and the Kuehne+Nagel Code of Conduct.

Gift & Entertainment Guideline
Kuehne+Nagel has introduced this guideline to give its employees guidance and to help them make the right decisions when providing or accepting gifts and entertainment while conducting business on behalf of Kuehne+Nagel.

Conflict of Interest Guideline
Kuehne+Nagel members must exercise objective judgement and act in the best interest of Kuehne+Nagel. This guideline provides specific guidance concerning conflicts of interest.

Making Ethical Principles Work in our day-to-day Life

With the Kuehne+Nagel Ethics & Compliance Programme and its Policy Framework, we have created a value-based environment that is relevant for all our employees. Risk-based designed initiatives and procedures transfer these principles and values effectively into our everyday working environment, some of which are detailed in the following:
Ethical Leadership
We are confident that the day-to-day effectiveness of any comprehensive ethics and compliance programme begins with the leaders, by creating and fostering a culture of ethics and compliance with relevant law and other regulations in all levels of the company. This is why we have made it a target to address Ethical Leadership with the people managers in Kuehne+Nagel.

Progress 2021
In 2021, we decided to hold people managers accountable for improving their team members’ awareness of compliance and their knowledge of Kuehne+Nagel‘s policies and procedures. The effectiveness of a manager’s leadership is measured by testing the compliance knowledge of their team members. The team manager’s performance rating will be calculated upon the test results, affecting their monetary bonus.

Employees Guided by Leaders and Compliance Personnel
Our Ethics & Compliance Programme guides many ethical situations when conducting business. Our Code of Conduct explicitly describes fostered and non-tolerated principles, and other guidelines provide similar clarity. We continuously qualify our leaders and managers to have the right and practical advice available. Additionally, we have established an internal network of qualified, dedicated, and independent compliance personnel that can be consulted.

Progress 2021
A set of practical aides for leaders to reiterate awareness with themselves and their teams, such as “A Journey with Confidence”, “Making Good Choices”, and “Tone from the Top”, was released in 2021.

Code of Conduct participation rates
in per centTarget202120202019
Live Training >95 90.1 91 86
Live Training Top and Senior Managers >95 98.3 98 93
Online Training >95 93.3 94 74
Annual Confirmation >95 95.1 98 93

Learning in Compliance

Training Programme

Code of Conduct
The Kuehne+Nagel Code of Conduct mandatory training programme has been designed to ensure that all employees understand the ethical principles applicable in their business activity. It is delivered in a combination of live and online training complemented by an annual confirmation. Key performance indicators have been determined to monitor progress and participation. Reminder procedures and escalations over non-satisfactory performance are in place.

Despite the pandemic crisis, expected participation rates were almost met with the pandemic environment affecting live training the most. Same as in the previous year, the target for the Annual Confirmation was met.

Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption and Antitrust Training
Since 2014 and 2015, Kuehne+Nagel employees have been educated in annual waves of dedicated anti-bribery & anti-corruption and antitrust training. This form of training is delivered in live or web sessions to target audiences who are selected based on risk, for example, corporate, regional, or country management teams and other functions such as sales.

Furthermore, in 2021, we emphasised the usage of standardised online training covering anti-bribery & anti-corruption and antitrust topics. For example, a target group of around 3,000 risk-based selected managers were invited to complete two antitrust courses; with basic and advanced content. Moreover, we have updated our online training about conduct in competitors' presence, such as on congresses or in meetings of business and trade associations. Likewise, on anti-bribery & anti-corruption, additional online courses have been made available in our learning management system for self-enrolment.

Other Compliance Trainings
All other compliance training activities allow flexibility in topics and extended functional and geographic reach across the Group. For example, we have launched a new online course for the high-risk supplier Integrity Due Diligence process or geographic-related gift and entertainment courses.

Practical Aides
In 2021, we launched an awareness campaign, via our intranet pages, with a set of practical aides covering a number of everyday situations for many of our employees, such as “A Clean Start with Kuehne+Nagel”, “Competition and Fair Dealing”, and “Confidential Competitive Information”.

Encouraging a ‘Speak-up’ Culture and Managing Reported Cases


Confidential Reporting Line
According to the Kuehne+Nagel Code of Conduct, our employees are encouraged to raise concerns over potential issues they observe via various available channels; including the Kuehne+Nagel Confidential Reporting Line, even anonymously if desired, operated by an external service provider, accessible 24/7, and available in more than 100 languages.

Progress 2021
In 2021, we took the opportunity of a service provider change for the Confidential Reporting Line, to reiterate awareness to our employees by putting up newly designed posters with Confidential Reporting Line contact information and updating our intranet pages accordingly.

Allegation Management
Kuehne+Nagel’s Independent Allegation Management Committee assesses all incoming reports. Where necessary, professional and independent investigations are initiated in line with our Group Allegation Management Guideline to resolve concerns raised, and remediation applied effectively. These procedures comply with laws and regulations and help detect and resolve issues proactively that otherwise may result in an adverse effect on the Group, its stakeholders, or its customers. Cases with material impact on the Group have been disclosed in our annual reports and media releases, respectively. Reporting issues always helps Kuehne+Nagel solve them effectively and take the right actions to prevent re-occurrence, including applying our Group Disciplinary Actions Guideline.

Progress 2021
In 2021, 220 allegations were coordinated by the Independent Allegation Management Committee. The committee instigated actions for investigation and remediation as needed, including engaging external law firms or forensic experts.

Facts and figures allegation management
Absolute number of cases 220 323 320
Cases per 1,000 employees 2.8 4.1 3.8
Percentage of incoming reports via Confidential Reporting Line 39 57 69
Percentage of incoming reports anonymously 35 53 61
Percentage of incoming reports of HR* vs. non-HR** matters 53 62 71
Percentage of closed cases with merit 41 40 28

  * HR cases include e. g. employment term issues, inappropriate behaviour, discrimination, and conflicts of interest
** Non-HR cases include e. g. improper payments, fraudulent activities, and other issues such as in export controls, data privacy, or competition law

Executing Responsible Tax Management

Kuehne+Nagel is one of the world's largest integrated logistic providers. Kuehne+Nagel strives to be a world-class operator, the employer of choice in logistics, and a good corporate citizen.

Kuehne+Nagel’s business activities generate a substantial amount and across various taxes such as corporate income tax, stamp duties, or withholding taxes. Kuehne+Nagel further collects and pays value-added and other indirect taxes and employee taxes.  Altogether, these taxes paid form a significant part of the economic contribution to the countries in which Kuehne+Nagel operates.
The Report provides an overview of our Tax Mandate, Code of Conduct and Tax Governance Framework. Kuehne+Nagel believes that responsible tax behavior is crucial for its sustainability strategy.

Tax Mandate and Code of Conduct
Kuehne+Nagel commits to being a responsible corporate citizen. Our Group Tax Mandate includes our obligations to:

  • Responsibly manage the Group’s tax affairs and protect shareholder value in line with the Group’s Code of Conduct
  • Provide adequate tax advice service and business-critical communication to the Group’s Audit Committee, Group Management Board, Business Units and other important Stakeholders
  • Maintain a strong tax control environment and tax risk framework that considers current tax law regulations and practice

Kuehne+Nagel’s Code of Conduct sets the expectation for everyone at Kuehne+Nagel and includes the Group’s approach to tax.

Tax Governance Framework
Tax Governance Framework is owned by Group CFO, overseen and reviewed by the Audit Committee. The implementation is the responsibility of the Head of Group Tax reporting to the CFO. They inform the Management Board and the Audit Committee as and when appropriate. The reports comprehensively explain the nature of any impacts of implemented business models on tax, the associated tax implications and potential tax audit issues. Updates are provided on governments’ tax policies in areas where they may impact the Group.

Tax Principles:
1. Compliance

Kuehne+Nagel acts according to the applicable tax laws and comply with international standards, namely Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) standards. If the letter of the law is unclear, or does not provide answer, Kuehne+Nagel complies with the spirit of the law. Kuehne+Nagel respects the government’s right to determine its tax rate and collection mechanisms.
2. Substance, Transparency and Arm’s Length Principle
Kuehne+Nagel engages in efficiently structuring tax, which is understood as following the commercial reality from operating its business models. For taxation of profits, Kuehne+Nagel attributes taxable results only where substance and commercial values are created. Kuehne+Nagel understands substance as economically owning assets and actively executing decisions to manage risks associated with this taxable result. Kuehne+Nagel is transparent in its approach to tax. All transactions must have a commercial and business reason. Kuehne+Nagel adheres to the OECD’s arm’s length principle.
3. Relationship with tax authorities
Kuehne+Nagel constantly aims to develop and sustain a mutually respectful relationship with tax authorities based on trust and transparency.

4. Tax Risk Management
As a large multinational operating company in more than 100 countries, Kuehne+Nagel is exposed to a variety of tax risks as follows:

  • Tax reporting and compliance risk: This risk is manifested through failures associated with submission of late or inaccurate returns, claims and elections not made in time or where the finance or operational systems and processes are not sufficiently robust to support tax compliance and reporting requirements;
  • Transactional risks: These risks may arise where transactions are executed without appropriate consideration of the potential tax consequences or where advice taken is not correctly implemented;
  • Reputational risk: This risk occurs on Kuehne+Nagel’s relationship with its stakeholders, such as shareholders, customers, tax authorities and the general public.

These risks are managed as per the following principles:

  • Kuehne+Nagel manages these tax risks following its ICS (The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes) similar to operational risks across the Group.
  • In addition to its Group’s tax oversight role, Corporate Tax provides advice to the Group and its business activities on tax-related issues, undertakes or assists with tax filings, manages relationships with tax authorities and assists in various forms of tax reporting. Internal controls and escalation procedures are put in place to identify, quantify and manage key tax risks.
  • Where appropriate, Kuehne+Nagel looks to engage proactively with tax authorities to disclose and resolve issues, risks and potentially uncertain tax positions. The subjective nature of many tax rules means that it may be challenging to mitigate known tax risks. Whenever Kuehne+Nagel’s approach is consistent with the principles set out in the tax strategy and where the range of possible outcomes is following the Group's risk appetite, an element of tax risk may arise. As a result, at any given time, the Group may be exposed to financial and reputational risks arising from its tax affairs.