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Three questions for Delphine Voillemot-Tranié, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer

How are the terms “Ethics” and “Growth” related?

At Rexel, we are convinced that responsible business management contributes to strengthening our attractiveness and competitiveness and to preserving our reputation over the long term. All our stakeholders – right down to the talents we recruit – have expectations on these matters. Responsible business management creates a virtuous circle in which our customers and suppliers come first. For Rexel, this goes beyond compliance. It is really a matter of ensuring that, throughout the value chain, the third parties with whom we collaborate are in tune not only with regulations, but also with our ethical principles in social and environmental matters. In this sense, ethics are a driver for sustainable growth at Rexel.

How can the cohesive deployment of the compliance program be ensured throughout the entire Group?

There are of course differences in maturity between our countries, but this is due more to the difference in legislative maturity than to cultural maturity in the subsidiaries. Rexel has a common compliance program for all its subsidiaries. The course is set by General Management, which has made a determined and unambiguous commitment. Local management is also very involved in the implementation of the compliance program. The Group’s requirements in this area are supported on a daily basis by a network of Compliance Officers and a network of ethics correspondents. They are supported by regularly updated cross-functional procedures and tools, in particular the Ethics Guide and the Anti-Corruption Code of Conduct, which explain the behaviors and good habits to adopt. An alert system is also available to all our employees and third parties. It is this precise framework that enables employees to have peace of mind at work every day, because they know what to do and how to do it and are regularly made aware of this through online or ad hoc training. Above all, however, it’s the high standards and attentiveness of management that are the pillars of Rexel’s exemplary approach in this area.

Compliance also includes respecting the GDPR. What is its main challenge and how is the Group meeting it?

It should be noted that Rexel generates 3.5 billion euros in digital sales (webshops and EDI). We are facing an exponential increase in the amount and the importance of personal data to be managed, whether it be that of our customers, suppliers, or employees, which requires us to ensure their security from a technical and legal point of view. We are therefore especially demanding in the contracts we sign with our IT service providers, particularly regarding the flow of personal data hosted outside the European Union. Incidentally, we are committed to the application of GDPR principles in areas where regulations are less restrictive, such as in the United States. And all of our employees are, of course, informed and trained in these matters because today everyone processes data – without even realizing it!