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Business conduct

A high level of corporate governance underpins everything we do and we recognise the importance of its role in creating a successful, sustainable and profitable business. We've implemented business conduct guidelines, which describe the standards of behaviour expected from everyone working for us and have adopted a Code of Ethics (the 'Code') to promote honest and ethical conduct throughout our business. The Code, which previously applied to all senior managers, was extended during 2010 to cover all corporate employees. The Code requires:

  • Compliance with all applicable rules and regulations that apply to the Company and its officers
  • The ethical handling of actual or apparent conflicts of interest between internal and external personal and professional relationships
  • That any hospitality from suppliers must be approved, with a presumption against its acceptance

We also offer an independently administered, confidential hotline (also known as a whistle-blowing hotline), so any employee can report anything they feel is inappropriate to raise with their line manager. All whistle-blowing allegations are reported to and considered by the Executive and Audit Committees.

The Board takes regular account of social, environmental and ethical matters through the Chief Executive's regular reports to the Board and presentations to the Board at its strategy meetings. The Company Secretary is responsible for ensuring that Directors are made aware of and receive training in such matters.

The Board is also responsible for our internal risk management system. More details can be found in the Risks and Uncertainties section of the Annual Report.

Tax strategy

Our aim is to manage the tax affairs of the Group as efficiently as possible to support the commercial objectives of the Group. We manage our tax affairs in accordance with the letter and spirit of the law, whilst seeking to minimise the tax paid by the Group. We seek to maintain strong compliance controls and operate a policy of open and transparent dialogue with the relevant tax authorities.

We strive to achieve this by delivery of four key tax objectives which are aligned to our overall business strategy.

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We're a major funder of Drinkaware. The Trust's aim is to promote responsible drinking by finding innovative ways to challenge the national drinking culture.