Information and control instruments
The Board of Directors is kept regularly informed about all important matters relating to the Lindt & Sprüngli Group’s business activity. The CEO and the CFO, as well as other members of Group Management as required, attend meetings of the Board of Directors and report on the ongoing course of business, important projects, and events. Extraordinary occurrences are immediately brought to the attention of the Chairman of the Board of Directors. To obtain a direct picture of local market situations, the Board of Directors regularly visits country subsidiaries and meets with local business management.
The whole Board of Directors is kept informed in writing on a regular basis through an extensive and complete Management Information System (MIS) covering profit and loss, statement balance sheet, cash flow, investments, and personnel of the Lindt & Sprüngli Group and the individual subsidiaries. The information is provided on both a historical basis and as a year-end forecast.
Furthermore, members of the Board of Directors receive, on an annual basis, a detailed overall budget, together with a five-year medium-term plan with forecasts for the future development of individual subsidiaries and the consolidated group of companies, covering profit and loss, statement balance sheet, cash flow, investments, and personnel. In addition, the Board of Directors receives an annually updated Group-wide analysis of strategic, operational, and financial risks – including assessments and actions taken to limit risks and responsibilities.
In order to assess the Lindt & Sprüngli Group risk parameters, the Audit Committee also receives a quarterly report on securities and cash investments, currencies, raw material procurement, and liquidity (risk control reporting). Members of Group Management regularly attend Audit Committee meetings. Instead of a formal internal audit department, the Lindt & Sprüngli Group maintains the Lindt internal control system (LICS), which oversees the internal financial control system, management information and risk management reporting of the Group.
As part of the Lindt internal control system, the Group determines financial reference controls for the subsidiaries, which are tailored by the subsidiaries to local circumstances and risks.
The existence and effectiveness of these controls are self-assessed annually by the subsidiaries. The results of these annual assessments are supervised centrally by the Group. Based on the observed results, a report regarding the financial internal control processes in the various corporate functions of subsidiary companies (including IT, Procurement, Production, Sales, Salary Payments, Treasury, HR, and Financial Reporting) is submitted annually to the Audit Committee. Supervised by the Group, subsidiaries then develop measures in order to react to control weaknesses and deficiencies.
Moreover, the external auditor Pricewaterhouse-Coopers AG acts as an additional control instrument by, inter alia, testing the existence and adequacy of the internal control system; i.e. the LICS. In the course of the annual audit, the Audit Committee may also charge the auditor with special assignments that go above and beyond legal and statutory requirements.
Lindt & Sprüngli is committed to conducting its business with fairness and integrity and to respecting laws and the values of the Lindt & Sprüngli Group. Similar behaviour is expected from all third parties, such as suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors, with which the Lindt & Sprüngli Group engages. These obligations and expectations are set out in the Lindt & Sprüngli Code of Conduct and in important policies such as the Human Rights Policy and the Speak Up Policy. Under the Speak Up Policy, Lindt & Sprüngli operates a Speak Up Line that enables employees and workers of Lindt & Sprüngli companies, and also companies, suppliers, and business partners, whether openly or anonymously, to report incidents or circumstances that could constitute a violation or possible violation of the Code of Conduct, Lindt & Sprüngli policies, laws, or other regulations. This includes health and safety risks, harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and environmental concerns. In the event of critical concerns, these are reported to the Board of Directors.