A responsible governance system ensures the integrity and consistency of a management approach that provides the basis for stakeholders' trust. Our robust governance system and the many processes and actions that we enacted during the year are discussed in depth in our Corporate Governance Report included in the 2011 Annual Report.
Responsiveness in Governance
We recognise that, with expansion of our operations into external markets, governance needs to evolve to maintain its integrity and the responsiveness to organisational needs while adhering to the ‘think global, act local’ philosophy. The introduction of the enhanced governance framework for subsidiaries and affiliates last year is moving the governance agenda forward. Better management, transparency and co-ordination of business decisions within group companies are being observed in the context of expectations and levels of reporting and compliance within the individual company. Particular progress has been made on engagement with trade unions in Europe and Australia to promote greater inclusion of the workforce.
We are also addressing our systems’ governance compliance capacity in regards to the introduction of new regulations such as the Competition Ordinance in Hong Kong and the UK Bribery Act. Internal frameworks for adequate procedures and due diligence competencies are targeted. A new anti-bribery corporate policy, for example, is in the making to guide behaviour and practices that will address the impact of the new legislation.
Building Internal Competencies
Internationalisation brings further challenges with respect to new regulations in global operating centres and the increasing compliance factors across all operations.
We are focusing on awareness at the workplace. Compliance manuals are being distributed and seminars conducted for non-legal managers in such areas as data privacy, IP management and PRC state secrets to augment the rapidly changing operating environments, in particular in mainland China. The goal is to have all relevant managers versed in the necessary and most up-to-date legal guidance for business activities and conduct.
Our legal department is taking a bigger organisational role to bring governance into the operating mainstream. We are widening participation in the day-to-day management of our legal risk profile, including the understanding of jurisdictional challenges and implications. Proactive steps are in progress for better communications with staff, including newsletters, on-site support in legal issues and more frequent training of non-legal managers.