As an internationally operating company, we bear responsibility in numerous ways. This is true of our compliance with laws and regulations, but also applies to our relationship with our staff, shareholders, the public at large and the cultures within which we operate. Through transparent and responsible action we strengthen the trust placed by the market in our company and in our corporate governance and at the same time we protect our reputation as an intangible asset. As a result, our employees and clients enjoy working for and with us. Not only that, it also makes it easier for us to access capital and reduces the cost of capital, which in turn improves our competitiveness. Furthermore, responsible corporate governance helps to minimise risks and mismanagement and promotes the stability of financial markets. All in all, then, good corporate governance is in the interest of a broad range of stakeholders.
In the context of our materiality process we identified responsible enterprise management as a material issue.
We embody state-of-the-art corporate governance as a matter of course. As a listed European joint-stock company in the form of a Societas Europaea (SE) based in Germany, we are subject to SE-specific laws, German laws governing stock corporations and the capital market, and laws on co-determination, especially the participation agreement concluded with the employees. The three governance bodies of Executive Board, Supervisory Board and General Meeting make up the governance structure of the undertaking. Their cooperation is regulated by law and by the company's Articles of Association. Our actions worldwide are guided by high ethical and legal standards, which we have defined in our Code of Conduct and can be viewed on our website. Furthermore, our Corporate Governance Principles and Code of Conduct constitute the basis of our enterprise management.