General Business Principles

General Business Principles

Acting with Quality and Integrity always is at the heart of our culture, and is part and parcel of our company’s mission and vision. While pursuing our business objectives, we aim to be a responsible partner in society, acting with integrity towards our, customers, employees, business partners and shareholders, as well as the wider community in which we operate.


The General Business Principles set the standard for acting with integrity at Philips. They govern all our decisions and actions throughout the world and apply equally to our group actions and to our conduct as individuals. The General Business Principles are an integral part of Philips’ labor contracts and are available in 30 languages. You can find the English version of our General Business Principles below.

In order to ensure constant awareness – throughout the company – of the need to act with integrity, a worldwide communication and training program, including mandatory sign-off on the General Business Principles, is in place.


On an annual basis, global internal communications programs are rolled out with the participation of the Executive Committee and the respective Business, Function and Market management. A web-based GBP training tool is available to all employees with online access in 23 different languages. This tool is regularly updated. Also, dedicated training courses – both web and classroom-based – are offered to specific audiences and functional areas.


GBP Compliance Officers are regularly enrolled in dedicated e-training programs that include complaint-handling procedures and dilemma training. Furthermore, a regular two-day train-the-trainer program for compliance awareness is mandatory for all Philips GBP Compliance Officers.



The following standards served, amongst others, as reference in the preparation of the Philips General Business Principles and may be a useful source of additional information: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, The eight fundamental Conventions of the International Labour Organization, nos. 87, 98, 29, 105, 138, 182, 100 and 111, UN Global Compact, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice, OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data, OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, United Nations Council Resolutions on export controls.


To drive the practical deployment of the General Business Principles, detailed underlying policies are in place that can be adapted as needed to reflect ongoing (regulatory) developments, both internal and external. Furthermore, separate Codes of Ethics apply to employees working in specific areas of our business, i.e. the Procurement Code of Ethics and the Financial Code of Ethics. The Financial Code of Ethics contains, among other things, standards to promote honest and ethical conduct, as well as procedures for full, accurate and timely disclosure in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

Compliance and Reporting

Responsibility for compliance with the General Business Principles rests principally with the management of each business. Every market organization and each main production site has a GBP Compliance Officer. Confirmation of compliance with the General Business Principles is an integral part of the annual Statement on Business Controls. The management of each business unit is required to issue such a Statement as part of a cascading process leading to CEO/CFO certification of the company’s annual accounts.


Philips has a GBP Reporting Policy in place that encourages all employees to report any suspected violation of the General Business Principles that cannot be resolved together with the management concerned or that constitute an immediate threat to corporate integrity.

Philips Speak Up

Philips cares about being a responsible partner in society, acting with integrity towards our employees, customers, business partners and shareholders, as well as the wider community. While pursuing our business objectives, we always strive to do this in a responsible manner to ensure we are doing the right thing.


If you know of any ethical breaches regarding Philips business, we invite you to report your concerns, confidentially, through Philips Speak Up, a reporting website and toll-free telephone service. Your support will help us to live up to our aspirations for being a responsible business partner.


In all countries where it is permitted by law, Philips Speak Up is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and in your local language. In most instances, if not legally prohibited, you may opt to remain anonymous, and your report will only be shared with those responsible for handling your concern. All concerns will be treated in line with the GBP Reporting Policy, in which you will also find an escalation method if Philips Speak Up is not available in your country.


To ensure maximum confidentiality, Philips Speak Up is hosted by a third party outside the Philips organization. The call center does not utilize any recording devices, and cases are securely recorded on a database outside the Philips network to ensure anonymity.

Procedures on Accounting and Auditing Complaints

Philips also has appropriate procedures in place for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by Philips regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters and the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of Philips of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters. Read more about this in our Procedures on Accounting and Auditing Complaints.


Further underpinning our behavior “Quality and Integrity Always”, our quality policy is captured in five principles. Everybody in the company has a responsibility in delivering quality through adopting these principles.
With our hearts and minds we:
  • delight our customers and deliver our brand promise
  • design and deliver safe, reliable, and effective products and services
  • drive a culture of continuous improvement
  • comply with applicable internal and external regulatory and compliance requirements
  • maintain an effective and efficient quality management system.

The Quality & Regulatory Committee assists the Supervisory Board in fulfilling its oversight responsibility with respect to the quality and assesses the culture of quality within the company.

Click here to read more on our Quality governance.

Business Continuity

Our business continuity policy is captured in eight principles.


To avoid, preclude and reduce the overall impact of a disruption each Business is subjected to the directives as listed below:

  • Each Business is responsible for implementing and operating its own local BCM system;
  • Approved Local Policy Addendum, including local legislation and regulations;
  • Approved Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and Risk Assessment (RA);
  • Determine, select and implement appropriate Continuity Measures;
  • Have up-to-date documented business continuity and crisis management plans;
  • Have a pre-defined BC organization structure in place;
  • Exercise and test the plans and procedures to demonstrate operational effectiveness;
  • Conduct, update the BC Policy Self-Assessment and Assurance Letter to ensure your operational effectiveness.

For each of the stated directives above, controls objectives have been identified and documented into the separate global Business Continuity Manual. The Philips Business Continuity Management System has been ISO 22301 certified (the International Business Continuity Management standard).


The Chief of Operations fulfills its oversight and responsibility as the chair via the business continuity steering committee with respect to the deployment, and assurance within the company.

Our approach to tax

Philips supports initiatives promoting tax transparency and responsible tax management. Philips maintains an open dialogue with its stakeholders, tax authorities, shareholders, communities in which it operates, and NGOs.

Read more about this in the document Our approach to tax: