February 13, 2006 Lehigh Valley, Pa.
Air Products (NYSE:APD) has updated and expanded its global Employee Code of Conduct to more clearly communicate its expectations for ethical behavior in today's ever-changing, transparent, global business environment.
Accessible from the company's Corporate Responsibility web site at www.airproducts.com/responsibility or directly at www.airproducts.com/codeofconduct, the Code outlines appropriate business conduct with regard to the working environment, interactions with various stakeholders, company assets, conflicts of interest, financial matters, and more.
"Our people have always understood that integrity is crucial to successful relationships and the ongoing success of this company – it's part of our culture and one of our core values," said John Jones, chairman and chief executive officer. "We've had an Employee Code of Conduct and enforcement procedures in place for many years. But as the world continues to change and becomes more complicated, we wanted to be explicit and clear about where we stand, not only on 'black and white' issues, but also on what we expect from employees when they encounter more difficult 'gray' areas. Instead of writing the Code from a legal or regulatory standpoint, we've used a tone of voice that is clear and transparent, making the guidance we provide to employees more understandable and real to their work."
In proactively updating and expanding the Code, Air Products benchmarked other companies' standards, identified gaps, expanded the scope of its guidance to address requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and modernized content to reflect current business issues.
Diane Sheridan, Air Products' chief risk officer, noted that the Code is being rolled out to every employee globally using a variety of print, on-line and face-to face communications to emphasize the importance of ethics to Air Products people.
"We have translated the Code from English into 15 languages so there is no misunderstanding what we mean by integrity," Sheridan said. "And we are developing rich content for our corporate Intranet, such as case studies, quizzes, self-evaluations, tips and group exercises, to better explain our expectations where the right course of action may not be clear to an employee. Our message is that our people are empowered to uphold their personal and professional integrity by asking questions, expressing concerns, and reporting conduct violations or suspected violations."
Air Products filed the expanded Code of Conduct in its entirety as part of its Form 10-K this year. "We take great pride in the document and have an ongoing commitment to integrity and ethical behavior in all aspects of business, both internal and external," Sheridan noted.
Air Products also recently revamped its Employee Compliance Reporting Hotline, which had been in place for U.S. employees since 1999. Through the company's new in-country, toll-free numbers, called the IntegrityLine, employees can talk about Code of Conduct violations and other ethics concerns with third-party operators in their language of choice. The company also added online reporting in three languages as a means for employees to report violations or express concerns. Air Products enforces a strict non-retaliation policy.
For more information, visit www.airproducts.com/responsibility.
Air Products (NYSE:APD) serves customers in technology, energy, healthcare and industrial markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of products, services and solutions, providing atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials and chemical intermediates. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment and is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability and FTSE4Good Indices. The company has annual revenues of $8.1 billion, operations in over 30 countries, and over 20,000 employees around the globe. For more information, visit www.airproducts.com.