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Compliance, Fair Competition

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Mission

Ensure excellence through compliance and integrity
We build trust with all stakeholders by ensuring that ethical decision-making guides responsible business practices across our operations.

Management Structure

Responsibility for maintaining a best in class ethics and compliance program and culture starts at the most senior levels of Bridgestone but ultimately belongs with each and every employee.

Bridgestone’s Group Global General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) and Global Law Leadership Team are principally responsible for oversight, evaluation and enhancement of the Bridgestone Group’s global and regional ethics and compliance programs. The Bridgestone CCO and Global Law Leadership team are supported in these efforts by Bridgestone’s Compliance and Fair Competition Working Group (WG) and regional teams of dedicated compliance professionals who work together to identify annual and long-term regional and global compliance priorities and goals, confirm the progress of overall compliance activities at the regional and global level and report the results to senior management. Since its establishment, the Compliance and Fair Competition WG has carefully evaluated the key elements and practices of highly effective corporate compliance programs and instituted short and long-term strategies to foster a best-in-class compliance culture consistent with the Bridgestone Group’s corporate values and principles.

Board oversight and engagement has been a hallmark of Bridgestone’s ethics and compliance program for many years. This board-level oversight was strengthened in 2014 with the establishment of a Compliance Committee as an advisory body to the Board of Directors, and again in 2016, when Bridgestone transitioned to a new corporate governance structure. In 2017, the Compliance Committee held six meetings comprised of external directors who shared feedback on Bridgestone’s ethics and compliance program based on their own experiences and expertise. The Bridgestone CCO submits periodic reports to the Compliance Committee as well as annual reports pertaining to global compliance activities to the Board of Directors. Regional CCO’s are responsible for providing similar reports to their respective senior leadership teams and boards as well.

Finally, recognizing that a true culture of compliance requires active engagement by all of our teammates, Bridgestone prioritizes a culture that provides opportunities for and encourages participation in compliance activities by teammates in every business unit and function and at all levels of the organization.

Compliance Activities

1. Establishment of corporate standards and rules

For many years, Bridgestone Group companies have maintained comprehensive codes of conduct and other compliance policies. Although the themes in these policies and codes were generally consistent, there were some regional variations. To ensure a unified consistent compliance message on compliance for all of its teammates globally, in July 2018 Bridgestone introduced a new comprehensive global code of conduct that will apply to the entire Group. The new Bridgestone Code of Conduct expands on Bridgestone’s Mission and core values to provide practical guidance to our teammates at all levels as they face ethical and compliance challenges in their daily work lives. The new Bridgestone Code of Conduct covers a broad range of ethics and compliance topics.

It is supplemented by additional global and regional policies and standards for areas that require special focus or more in-depth guidance. For example, in order to clearly show the special emphasis placed by Bridgestone on cartel and bribery prevention, Bridgestone Corporation established a stand-alone group-wide policy strictly prohibiting cartel and bribery conduct. Each SBU adopted and maintains a similar code or guideline. Bridgestone Corporation issued its Cartel Prevention Code and Bribery Prevention Code in October 2012 with approval of the Board of Directors, which set out the basic rules of cartel and bribery prevention. Bridgestone also issued Cartel Prevention Guidelines in December 2014 as a supplement to its Cartel Prevention Code. The Guidelines demonstrate the appropriate course of action to be taken by employees in day-to-day business situations. Bridgestone also issued its Guidelines on Gifts and Entertainment in October 2012, and renewed the guidelines as “Bribery Prevention Guidelines” in October 2016 under the supervision of the Board’s Compliance Committee. Globally, regional companies have adopted related policies and controls.

Policies and guidelines, including the Bridgestone Code of Conduct, are available to employees through the Company intranet.

Bridgestone Code of Conduct(10.1MB)

2. Trainings

The Bridgestone Group provides its employees with a variety of compliance trainings. While relevant annual themes are selected by legal and compliance departments for each region, cartel and bribery prevention code and guideline are common themes globally. Live, online and workshop-style trainings are offered depending on the targeted audience within the organization. In 2017, live training reached more teammates than ever before, and e-learning courses were expanded to many remote operations. In addition, several Bridgestone companies celebrated “Ethics and Compliance Week” activities to promote teammate awareness of ethics and compliance through leader communications, compliance tips, surveys, contests, quizzes, and live training sessions.

3. Monitoring

During 2017, the Bridgestone Group introduced a common screening tool and training to standardize third-party risk management in high-risk transactions. The Bridgestone Group also continued expanding hotlines to accept reports regarding violation of internal rules, fraud, inaccurate financial records, embezzlement and theft throughout the company. In addition to these longstanding whistleblowing lines, Bridgestone Corporation maintained a hotline dedicated to cartel and bribery as part of its effort to detect any anticompetitive or unfair business conduct at an early stage. The compliance hotlines receive anonymous reports and ensure confidentiality.

Bridgestone also initiated various measures to monitor the status of its internal rules and promptly uncover potential misconduct particularly for cartel and bribery prevention. For instance, in Japan the Cartel Prevention Guidelines require officers and employees to record all contacts with competitors and also require them to consult with the Office of Legal Affairs if they have any questions or need guidance. Bridgestone’s Bribery Prevention Guidelines require employees to submit an approval form in advance of any payment to any government official. Regional SBUs periodically require selected teammates to acknowledge compliance obligations and/or disclose any potential concerns of misconduct. Furthermore, Bridgestone’s CCO regularly interviews officers and division heads to assess level of risks related to legal and compliance.

4. Others

Bridgestone seeks to continuously improve its ethics and compliance program and culture, globally and regionally. Recent examples include: compliance and legal audits and review of all of the company’s small and remote operations, enhancement and expansion of its annual certifications and investigation protocols, the identification of common global and regional metrics for measuring program effectiveness, and the development and implementation of a new global Code of Conduct.

Compliance Helplines

Bridgestone Corporation has created two compliance helplines-one internal and one external-to bring compliance-related issues to light and respond to issues as quickly as possible through internal investigations. The compliance helplines ensure the confidentiality of consultations in accordance with the provisions of in-house helpline procedures. The helplines provide the consulting employees with feedback in terms of the results of investigations and the nature of responses while attempting to prevent any adverse consequences for raising a concern. In addition, reports of consultations are regularly submitted to the CCO, who provides advice and takes appropriate measures to ensure the seriousness of responses in the event problems arise.

To encourage employees to use the helpline, we offer helpline contact information during compliance training, use posters to spread compliance awareness, provide helpline contact information on the corporate intranet, and share data on the number and types of cases received. The compliance helplines also accept anonymous inquiries.

In 2015, the Bridgestone Corporation helplines received 98 cases, of which 69% of calls related to understanding Bridgestone policies and 19% were reported concerns.

Compliance Activities for Group Companies

The Bridgestone Group promotes compliance activities globally. In addition to local compliance initiatives, global compliance support teams are sharing best practices and coordinating efforts to promote a common compliance culture.

Compliance Activities for Overseas Group Companies

In 2015, personnel in positions of responsibility in Legal Affairs and Compliance at Bridgestone's major overseas tire business-related SBUs conducted a global meeting aimed at discussing the status of initiatives and issues at each company. In addition to ascertaining the level and details of initiatives at major SBUs, a foundation for initiatives going beyond the SBU was created. Also, a meeting was held for personnel responsible for compliance at non-tire subsidiaries in Europe and the Americas. One initiative that resulted from these efforts was the introduction of an e-learning system at Group companies throughout the Americas in 2015. This progress was the result of sharing best practices from the U.S. tire subsidiary with other Bridgestone Group companies.

Compliance Activities for Domestic Group Companies

Compliance activities are also being promoted at domestic Group companies. For example, in 2015, employees responsible for compliance consultations received training on effective ethics and compliance consulting.

Furthermore, Bridgestone updated regular information exchange meetings and launched a new initiative in the form of an inaugural domestic compliance meeting. At this meeting, information was exchanged regarding compliance initiatives and the communication of Bridgestone compliance-related policies to Group companies.