Business Code of Ethics
Our Way of Doing Business
Trebuchet is committed to the highest standards of social and business practices. The delivery of success to our shareholders results from the efforts of our people – it is their resourcefulness, professionalism and dedication that gives Trebuchet its leading edge as one of the forerunners in the real estate sector. To this end, all directors and employees are expected to observe the highest standards of integrity in the conduct of Trebuchet’s business. The Board of Directors has approved a Code of Business Ethics to provide a framework within which all business practices involving Trebuchet must be conducted, managed and regulated. This Code of Business Ethics has been compiled in accordance with the common values shared by all involved in the business of Trebuchet, the general principles of law and internationally accepted ways of doing business ethically. In addition, comprehensive systems of control have been introduced to ensure that in attaining the objectives of Trebuchet, we behave legally, ethically, appropriately and sustainably.
Health and Safety
Trebuchet is committed to treating all employees fairly, with respect and dignity and in order to honor this commitment, Trebuchet shall:
• Create and maintain a safe and healthy workplace through the design of the work environment, the planning and performance of work, the provision and use of all necessary equipment, tools and procedures, the appropriate training and the constant identification and elimination of risks present in the workplace; and
• Take appropriate measures to ensure that employees refrain from using any drug or alcohol in the work environment which could affect such an employee’s work performance and thereby posing a risk to the health and safety of other employees.
• Reward employees fairly based on their qualifications and performance without discrimination on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, ethnic origin, gender, marital or family status, religion or sexual orientation. In addition all promotions and recognition will be based purely on merit;
• Provide all employees with equal opportunities to training and skills development
• Respect the privacy of all employees and safeguard the confidentiality of employee information; and
• Not tolerate behavior which is tantamount to any form of harassment in the workplace and shall foster work environments that are free from harassment, intimidation and hostility of any kind.
Trebuchet acknowledges that its activities have a profound effect on the environment.
To manage its obligations, Trebuchet undertakes to:
• Understand the environmental impact of our activities and treat it as an integral factor in all decisions;
• Make the principles of sustainable development a fundamental part of Trebuchet’s business strategies and day-to-day operations;
• Implement and maintain comprehensive environmental policies so that our actions are carried out in an environmentally responsible way;
• Be transparent about and accountable for our environmental performance;
• Refrain from doing business with third parties who do not conduct their business in an environmentally responsible manner;
• Require all our business partners to have appropriate systems to safely handle hazardous materials.
Conflict of Interests
Conflicts of interest are situations where employees may make decisions based on personal gain rather than the best interests of Trebuchet. Further, even though an employee may not allow personal interests to influence their decision-making, the appearance of conflict will jeopardize the trust of Trebuchet’s stakeholders should they perceive that decisions are made not solely with Trebuchet’s best interest in mind. Our policies governing the conflict of interests set forth the guidelines and procedures to be followed by all employed by Trebuchet in their dealings with fellow employees, suppliers, customers and competitors, and any persons or business concerns which are affected by any of the operations or activities of Trebuchet, such as: –
(a) Outside Business Interests
Trebuchet employees shall not:
• Operate in any capacity, serve as directors or work as employees or consultants for any competitor or any current or potential business partner;
• Use the resources of Trebuchet to run private businesses or conduct work for another organization without prior consent
• Confer any benefit, monetary or otherwise on a business partner or competitor of Trebuchet in which such employee or a family member in his or her personal capacity, holds a beneficial interest; or
• Take personally yourself, your family or personal associates, directly or indirectly benefit from opportunities that may arise through the use of Trebuchet’s intellectual property, information or position.
When in doubt – disclose:
(b) Gifts, Entertainment, Travel, Hand-outs, Offerings, etc
Where anything is offered to an employee and/or a member of an employees’ immediate family for less than market value, the guidelines in determining a conflict of interest would be:
• The value or frequency of the offer made is excessive having regard to internationally prevailing business standards;
• Should the receipt of such offering become a matter of public attention, the acceptance of such offering would jeopardize the trust that any stakeholder may have in Trebuchet or may have the potential to negatively affect Trebuchet’s reputation;
• Is the offering of a nature that Trebuchet would, in all probability, not reciprocate.
In instances where it appears to be inappropriate to accept the item, an employee is advised: –
• To tactfully refuse the offering; or
• In exceptional circumstances, if to refuse such offering would reasonably cause embarrassment or hurt to the person making the offering, the employee may accept the offering on behalf of Trebuchet and then advise the Company Secretary of its receipt, so that an appropriate course of action may be determined.
(c) Involvement with Suppliers, Customers, etc
Employees (and/or any member of his or her immediate family), should refrain from being associated with a supplier, contractor, customer, competitor, joint venture partner, service provider or other entity involved in business dealings with Trebuchet. Examples of inappropriate involvement include:
• The acquisition of non-trivial interest in a business entity that deals with Trebuchet;
• Holding a partnership interest or having a profit-sharing or incentive arrangement, creditor – debtor relationship or similar economic involvement with any business entity that deals with Trebuchet;
• Serving in any capacity in a business entity that deals with Trebuchet; or
• Acceptance of a loan, advance or other non-monetary benefit from a supplier, contractor, customer or other business entity, except for customary loans or advances from banks or other lending institutions.
(d) Use of Confidential or Proprietary Information
Employees and/or members of an employee’s immediate family should avoid activities, which involve the use or misuse and/or the disclosure of confidential or proprietary information of or concerning Trebuchet or other companies gained by virtue of their employment, including more specifically the following:
• Buying or selling securities of Trebuchet or another company when in possession of price sensitive information relating to that entity whether favorable or unfavorable;
• Disclosure of any information not already in the public domain relating to Trebuchet or another company except to persons who are authorized to receive such information and where such disclosure is in the course of an employee’s normal duties and responsibilities as part of his or her employment;
• Recommending or expressing an opinion as to the buying, selling or holding of securities of Trebuchet or another company;
• Speculating in securities of Trebuchet or another company or in options to buy or sell such securities or other similar financial instruments relating to any such securities or selling any such securities short or generally trading in such securities for short-term profit.
Speaking directly or indirectly to media outlets including but not limited to online forums, social media, without prior consent of management while in the employ of Trebuchet.
(e) Personal Use of Company Information and Business Opportunities
Employee and/or members of an employee’s immediate family shall not use the employee’s position with Trebuchet for any personal gain or for the benefit of any third party, such as:
• Any personal exploitation of information to which an employee has access by reason of his or her employment with Trebuchet;
• Personal use of any “business opportunity” in which Trebuchet is or may be interested;
• Speculation in land, properties or other products of a type managed, owned, produced or traded by Trebuchet where such speculation involves the use of such information to which the employee as access by reason of his or her employment with Trebuchet.
(f) Political, Charitable and other Public Activities and Business Affiliations
In general we would not expect that a conflict of interest will arise from a director or employee’s affiliation with outside professional, political, civic or charitable organizations or (subject to written approval by Trebuchet in advance) from directorships or trusteeships of non-competing business entities who do not trade with Trebuchet. Any request for such approval should be submitted in writing to the Company Secretary. An employee should disclose to the Company Secretary any such activities where the employee has reason to believe that an invitation to serve in any such organization was offered primarily because of the person’s employment with Trebuchet or where there is an implication of Trebuchet’s interest or responsibility.
In order to avoid such an inference, unless approved by the Company Secretary, in writing, an employee shall refrain from using Trebuchet or its premises for 3rd party charitable, political or other purposes outside the employee’s normal duties and responsibilities.
(g) Interaction with the Press and Media
Trebuchet’s name shall not be used without prior written approval in any published article or as part of an employee’s public appearance in the media. To fulfil this commitment of being fair and honest to all of Trebuchet’s business partners, all employees shall endeavor to:
• Treat them courteously, respectfully and in a professional manner;
• Commit only to what we as employees of Trebuchet honestly believe Trebuchet is able to deliver within the parameters of this Code of Business Ethics and honour the commitments made;
• Protect all information shared with Trebuchet on a confidential basis by any of our business partners;
• Desist from attempting to improperly influence the decisions of existing or potential business partners by e.g.- offering gifts, if this Code would prohibit an employee of Trebuchet from accepting the same if roles were reversed;
• Select our suppliers objectively based on the long term best interests of Trebuchet.
• Employees and directors of Trebuchet will not speak to write or represent the company, prior to consent of the Managing Director and or Chairman. This desire must be in writing. This helps to ensure our message and reputation is not misinterpreted. Employees and directors, executive or non who fail to failure to follow this procedure will result in immediate dismissal, all shares, bonuses, options and benefits will be returned to treasury, and prosecution and damages will be sought by Trebuchet. This is to help ensure our mandates are objective and well thought out and will be based on the long-term best interests of Trebuchet.
An employee’s duty to avoid a conflict of interests is a continuing obligation situation that might, or may appear to constitute a potential conflict of interests to the Company Secretary.
Adherence to Law
All employees shall act in accordance with the Law of the jurisdictions in which Trebuchet conducts its business. It is recognized that employees in some countries may be subjected to local pressures to engage in unlawful conduct. However, as representatives of Trebuchet, employees owe their duties to the Company and are reminded that the interests of Trebuchet will be best served if such pressures are resisted.
If you find yourself in this situation, your best course of action is to tell your manager or their manager of your concerns. Furthermore in countries where corporate political contributions are lawful, such contributions may only be made with Board approval and must be accurately and fairly reflected as such in the company’s books, records and accounts.
Trebuchet’s books, records and accounts are to reflect accurately and fairly, in detail all transactions and acquisitions and dispositions of assets in accordance with the highest standards of integrity and generally accepted accounting principles. No employee shall make false or misleading statements to either the internal or external auditors of Trebuchet in connection with the preparation, audit or examination of any financial statement or otherwise. No payment made or to be made shall be approved without the adequate supporting documentation or with the intention that or understanding that such payment is for the purpose other than that described in such supporting documentation.
Trebuchet does not approve of the making of any payment in any kind (gifts, favors, etc) to influence any act or decision relating to Trebuchet’s business. No employee of Trebuchet is to make, offer, promise or authorize an unlawful or improper payment of any kind, whilst knowing that such payment is intended as a bribe, payoff or rebate in an attempt to coerce any individual into awarding business opportunities to Trebuchet.
Employees are warned that such conduct could have serious consequences for Trebuchet and the employee concerned. Trebuchet’s views on non-solicitation should be clearly communicated to all parties that conduct business with Trebuchet.
Promotion of Fair Competition
Trebuchet strongly believes in a free market economy and embraces fair competition. Consequently, Trebuchet avoids all actions that are anti-competitive or otherwise contrary to the laws that govern anti-competitive practices in the marketplace.
Trebuchet does not:
• Enter into agreements or employ practices in restraint of trade such as price-fixing, bid-rigging, collusion and “kick-backs”; or
• Employ illegal means to obtain information from competitors, including:
Offering bribes or gifts in the exchange of information;
Soliciting confidential information from a competitor’s ex-employee now employed at Trebuchet; and
Misrepresenting Trebuchet or its position in order to convince third parties to divulge information to Trebuchet.
Protection of Trebuchet’s Assets
All employees of Trebuchet have a duty to safeguard its assets in order to protect its economic well-being and competitive advantage. Employees are therefore expected to, in respect of the management of:
• Exercise integrity, prudence and good judgment in incurring and approving business expenses and ensure that business expenses are reasonable and incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the best interests of Trebuchet;
• Obtain authorization for all transactions and expenses incurred;
• Not to conceal any funds or any transaction from either management and/or the auditors;
• Not to enter into any transaction for the purposes of unlawfully evading any tax, duty or other levy imposed by the government in those jurisdictions in which Trebuchet conducts business either for the benefit of Trebuchet or third parties.
• To use Trebuchet’s assets prudently with due care and diligence; and
• To take appropriate steps to protect Trebuchet’s assets against theft, loss, damage and waste.
c) Company Functions
Trebuchet will always thank its people for a job well done, and recognizes that in-house social functions are a vital part of both peer group recognition and team building. However, it is easy for these proper activities to be perceived as excessive, particularly if attendance is restricted, and resentment will inevitably follow.
The correct balance must be struck, and it is the responsibility of the organizer to ensure that the hospitality provided is not excessively lavish, and that attendance is open to all relevant employees.
d) Intellectual Property
• To take precautions to avoid inadvertent disclosure e.g., by not discussing such information with third parties and to take care in transmitting such information by fax or electronic mail;
• To enter into confidentiality agreements with any parties to whom Trebuchet is obliged to disclose such information restricting the further disclosure thereof;
• Not to release information to third parties without proper authorization;
• To use only properly licensed computer software;
• Not to reproduce, distribute or alter copyrighted materials such as computer software, books, audio, videotapes, journals and magazines without the permission of the copyright owner or authorized agent;
• To employ ethical means of conducting research, development and exploration; and
• To be honest in obtaining, interpreting, using and disclosing information.
Relationships with Governments
Trebuchet respects the authority of the governments in the countries in which it conducts its business. It is therefore imperative that employees maintain an honest, transparent and ethical relationship with the government, their agencies, officials and personnel. Employees must ensure that when providing company information to representatives of the government, that same is accurate, comprehensive and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations relating to corporate participation in public affairs.
Trebuchet’s primary purpose is to deliver a return to investors over the long term. However, this implies that our business model must be sustainable and it is therefore a basic requirement that we conduct our business in a socially responsible manner.
Trebuchet is committed to continuously striving to improve the quality of life and contributing to the well-being of communities in which we conducts our business and whilst this support will take different forms in different countries and communities, Trebuchet shall make every effort to:
• support health, education and environmental initiatives;
• support and work with voluntary and charitable organizations that respond to community needs;
• become involved in and with the community to solve community problems;
• encourage all employees to volunteer for community projects and support them in doing so;
• encourage, support and seek partnerships with organizations which need Trebuchet’s assistance whether they be schools or social service organizations;
• involve local communities in decision making issues that affect them;
• give preference to business partners who conduct their business in accordance with ethical standards consistent with its own; and
Trebuchet recognizes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. However it is also aware of violations of fundamental human rights in certain parts of the world, including the right to life, the freedom of conscience, religion and association. Whilst it is accepted that Trebuchet cannot independently change this reality, we nonetheless support the protection of human life and dignity within our sphere of influence by subscribing to the principles laid down in the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights. Trebuchet confirms its commitment thereto by complying with any sanctions or internationally agreed boycotts imposed by the United Nations and European Commission.
Trebuchet concedes that it is obliged to employ armed security guards to protect its business activities and assets, and its employees working in those operations, but does so in accordance with general law enforcement structures in the countries in which it conducts its business and the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
As representatives of Trebuchet, all employees should be aware, when dealing with business partners in other countries and/or when visiting other countries with family members that their behavior is a reflection on Trebuchet and are therefore expected to familiarize themselves with the norms, laws and customs of the respective countries and abide thereby.
The Board of Directors is responsible for the management of Trebuchet’s Code of Business Ethics (“the Code”). Any person who becomes aware of any existing or potential violation of this Code is required to promptly notify the Company Secretary.
The Ethics/Whistleblower Hotline
As an alternative, the Ethics Hotline will be made available to all employees who wish to report activities that they feel are not consistent with the spirit of this Code. Whistle-blowing legislation such as this must strike a balance between a person’s right to free speech and protecting the reputation of the person(s) against whom an unfair or unfounded allegation is made. All complaints must therefore be factual and not based on office gossip/rumor and/or malicious opinion. In addition the failure to “blow the whistle” in cases where employees know of misconduct arising under this code is regarded as a serious offense.
The Ethics Hotline is operated by an external specialist provider. All reports made (whether by phone, e-mail or other route) are fully confidential and can be anonymous if you prefer. Reports made are referred onwards to the Group Company Secretary of the specific fund, who chairs the Company’s Ethics Committee. Trebuchet’s Ethics Committee shall take all action it deems appropriate to investigate any violations of this Code reported through the Ethics Hotline, but will in all cases respect the confidentiality of the “whistleblower”. If a violation is found to have occurred, the Ethics Committee will instruct management to take the appropriate disciplinary action.
Ethical Decision Checklist
When faced with a decision, one needs to run through five key questions to satisfy oneself that it is appropriate to proceed:
1. Is it legal in this jurisdiction?
2. Is it consistent with Trebuchet’s policies?
3. For whose benefit is the proposed action?
4. Does the action match up to Trebuchet’s Code of Business Ethics?; and
5. How would it be seen if reported on the front page of tomorrow’s paper?
If in doubt, do not act, rather seek the advice of your manager or Trebuchet’s legal department.
Publication of Charter
This Charter may, at the digression of management and abiding with current and other Canadian regulatory bodies be made available on the Company’s website and the key features will be published in the annual report.