As part of our commitment to tackle corruption, our Corporate Policy “Code of Conduct for Responsible Lobbying” sets out binding rules for our involvement in political matters and creates transparency in our collaboration with the representatives of political institutions. We also proactively participate in existing transparency initiatives such as those established by the European institutions or the U.S. Congress.
The Group’s Public and Governmental Affairs Committee develops the principles for the alignment of Bayer’s political lobbying. This body establishes the company’s position with regard to relevant political and legislative decision-making processes, as well as advising the Board of Management on its position on important political issues. In 2018, Bayer’s global lobbying work focused on the issues of “innovation,” “access,” “reputation” and “freedom to operate.” In the area of “innovation,” Bayer advocates social discourse about good framework conditions for the development of innovative technologies, as well as strong protection of intellectual property. The issue of “access” deals with safe, fast and simple access by patients and consumers to our products. In the area of “reputation” we want to position Bayer as a leading life science company. In this context, we actively seek dialogue with various societal players, particularly nongovernmental organizations and politicians. The term “freedom to operate” summarizes all activities with which Bayer advocates strictly science-based regulation and an intensive and results-oriented debate about new technologies. The Public Affairs & Sustainability Function, in cooperation with the country companies, is responsible for the specific local implementation of lobbying work, compliance with ethical and legal criteria and the creation of transparency.
Our liaison offices in Berlin, Brussels, Washington, Moscow, Brasília and Beijing are key touchpoints between the company and political stakeholders. We publish details of costs, employee numbers and any of the other statistics required in each country in the transparency registers of the European institutions and the U.S. Congress. Bayer goes far beyond the statutory requirements in doing so. For instance, the Group also publishes data for countries such as Germany where there is no legal publication requirement. In 2019, the costs incurred at the liaison offices totaled approximately €1.7 million in Berlin, Germany; €4 million in Brussels, Belgium; €9 million in Washington, United States; €0.25 million in Moscow, Russia; €0.51 million in Brasília, Brazil; and €1.51 million in Beijing, China.
As set out in our corporate policy on responsible lobbying, we did not make any direct donations to political parties, politicians or candidates for political office in 2018. Some associations of which the Group is a member make donations on their own initiative, in compliance with statutory regulations.
In the United States, where corporate donations are prohibited by law for federal elections and in many cases also state and local elections, some employees use the Bayer Corporation Political Action Committee (BayPac) to support legislative candidates through private donations. Political action committees are state-regulated, legally independent employee groups. The private donations made by BayPac are regularly reported to the U.S. Federal Election Commission and can be viewed on its website.
Bayer engages on a number of different topics, in multiple countries, and with a variety of stakeholders and organizations. We proactively publish political position papers to ensure transparency in our collaboration with stakeholders and decision makers.