a. Brief overview of the policy
The Competition Law Compliance Policy of D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE is designed to provide guidance to all employees, officers, directors, and representatives on the principles and practices that must be followed to ensure compliance with competition laws and regulations. This Policy covers key areas such as anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominance, information exchange, and trade association and industry event participation. It also outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Competition Compliance Officer, employee training and awareness initiatives, reporting and whistleblowing mechanisms, consequences of non-compliance, and the process for reviewing and amending the Policy. The aim of the Policy is to foster a culture of compliance within the organization, minimize the risk of non-compliance, and maintain our company's reputation for ethical business practices.
b. Company commitment to competition law compliance
D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE is fully committed to complying with all applicable competition laws and regulations, including but not limited to Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and relevant national competition laws.
As regards, specifically, the national legislative framework, the older legislation on unfair competition (= object of morality), i.e. Law 146/1914, was later enhanced after the adoption of the current Constitution, with Law 703/1977 "On the control of monopolies and oligopolies and the protection of free competition", whose provisions were amended several times, until the law was finally replaced in full by Law 3959/2011 on the protection of free competition. The Law 3959/2011 on the Protection of Competition is now central to this legislation conernig the protection of free competition, the implementation of which is supervised by an independent authority called the "Competition Commission". However, following the recent adoption of Law 4886/2022 on the Modernisation of competition law for the digital age - Amendment of Law No. 3959/2011 and transposing Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 empowering the competition authorities of the Member States to enforce the rules more effectively and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market and other provisions, a comprehensive update of the competition law has taken place. The ultimate objective is to harmonise national competition law with the provisions of Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 ("ECN PLUS Directive") by strengthening the necessary guarantees of independence and resources.
We believe that adhering to competition law principles is essential for promoting fair competition in the marketplace and ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of our business. Our commitment to competition law compliance is demonstrated through the development and implementation of this comprehensive Policy, as well as our ongoing efforts to educate employees, monitor business practices, and adapt our compliance program as needed.
To further reinforce our commitment to competition law compliance, we have established a culture of integrity and ethical conduct at all levels of our organization. This involves fostering open communication, empowering employees to seek guidance and report concerns, and taking prompt action to address any potential violations. We also collaborate with industry partners and regulatory authorities to share best practices, stay informed of evolving competition law requirements, and contribute to the development of a competitive and transparent business environment.
In summary, the introduction of the Competition Law Compliance Policy highlights the Policy's purpose and scope, and underscores D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE's unwavering commitment to adhering to competition laws and regulations. By implementing a robust compliance program, our company aims to minimize potential risks, protect our reputation, and contribute to a fair and competitive marketplace for the benefit of our stakeholders and the industry as a whole.
a. Ensuring employee awareness
The primary purpose of the Competition Law Compliance Policy is to ensure that all employees, officers, directors, and representatives of D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEare aware of their obligations and responsibilities under competition laws and regulations. By providing comprehensive guidelines on the principles and practices that must be followed, the Policy equips employees with the knowledge and tools needed to make informed decisions and act in compliance with competition laws. Additionally, through regular training sessions and educational initiatives, we aim to keep employees updated on any changes in competition law requirements and provide them with a forum to address any questions or concerns that may arise in their day-to-day activities.
b. Minimizing risk of non-compliance
Another crucial purpose of the Policy is to minimize the risk of non-compliance with competition laws and regulations, thereby protecting D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEfrom potential legal, financial, and reputational consequences. By implementing a robust compliance program that encompasses clear guidelines, ongoing employee training, and a dedicated Competition Compliance Officer, we strive to identify and address potential risks proactively. This proactive approach enables us to promptly address any violations or concerns, reducing the likelihood of significant penalties, fines, or other adverse effects that could result from non-compliance.
c. Maintaining company reputation
A strong reputation for ethical business practices is essential for maintaining the trust and confidence of our customers, suppliers, partners, and regulators. By implementing and enforcing the Competition Law Compliance Policy, D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE demonstrates its commitment to operating with integrity and adhering to the highest standards of fair competition. This, in turn, helps to strengthen our company's reputation and maintain our position as a respected and trusted player in the marketplace.
d. Fostering a culture of compliance
Finally, the Competition Law Compliance Policy aims to foster a culture of compliance within D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE. By embedding competition law principles into the fabric of our organization, we ensure that compliance is not merely an afterthought but an integral part of our business operations. A culture of compliance means that all employees, from top management to entry-level staff, understand the importance of adhering to competition laws and regulations and feel empowered to take ownership of their compliance responsibilities. This collective commitment to compliance helps to create a supportive and ethical work environment, where employees can confidently make decisions that align with both the letter and the spirit of competition laws.
a. Applicability to employees, officers, directors, and representatives
The Competition Law Compliance Policy applies to all employees, officers, directors, and representatives of D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE. This comprehensive scope is designed to ensure that everyone within the organization, regardless of their role or level of seniority, understands their obligations and responsibilities under competition laws and regulations. By making the Policy applicable to all members of the organization, we create a shared understanding and commitment to compliance, which in turn fosters a more cohesive and ethical corporate culture.
b. Inclusion of temporary staff, consultants, and contractors
In addition to full-time employees, officers, directors, and representatives, the Competition Law Compliance Policy also extends to temporary staff, consultants, and contractors who work on behalf of or in collaboration with D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE. This inclusive approach ensures that all individuals involved in our business operations are aware of and adhere to competition law principles, thereby minimizing potential risks and maintaining a consistent standard of compliance across the organization.
To achieve this, D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEmay provide tailored training or resources to temporary staff, consultants, and contractors, as well as include specific competition law compliance clauses in contracts or agreements. By doing so, we create a strong foundation for competition law compliance that extends beyond the boundaries of our organization, fostering a shared commitment to ethical business practices and fair competition in the marketplace.
4. Key Principles
a. Anti-competitive Agreements
Price-fixing occurs when competitors agree to set prices or other terms of sale in a coordinated manner, rather than letting market forces determine them independently. Price-fixing can take many forms, including agreements to set minimum or maximum prices, adhere to a specific pricing structure, or eliminate discounts or promotions.
ii. Market allocation
Market allocation occurs when competitors agree to divide markets among themselves, either by allocating specific territories or by allocating specific customers or types of customers. This practice restricts competition, as companies refrain from competing with one another in designated areas or for designated customers.
Bid-rigging occurs when competitors coordinate their bids in tenders or procurement processes, ensuring that one particular company wins the contract. This practice distorts competition by artificially inflating prices or reducing the quality of products or services offered to customers.
b. Abuse of Dominance
i. Predatory pricing
Predatory pricing occurs when a dominant company sets its prices below cost to drive competitors out of the market or prevent potential entrants from competing. Once competitors have been eliminated, the dominant company can then raise its prices, harming consumers in the long run.
ii. Exclusive dealing
Exclusive dealing occurs when a dominant company requires its customers or suppliers to deal exclusively with it, thereby foreclosing competitors from accessing those customers or suppliers. This practice can have anti-competitive effects by limiting the opportunities for competitors to enter or expand in the market.
iii. Refusal to supply
Refusal to supply occurs when a dominant company refuses to supply an essential product or service to a competitor, without an objective justification for doing so. This practice can be anti-competitive if it prevents or hinders competition in the downstream market.
c. Information Exchange
i. Types of sensitive information
Sensitive information includes any non-public data that could impact competition if shared among competitors. Examples of sensitive information include pricing information, production capacities, costs, market shares, and customer data.
ii. Guidelines for appropriate communication
To avoid the risk of anti-competitive information exchange, employees should adhere to the following guidelines:
Refrain from discussing sensitive information with competitors, either directly or indirectly.
Limit the exchange of information to what is strictly necessary for legitimate business purposes.
Ensure that any information shared is aggregated and anonymized, so it cannot be linked to specific competitors or market participants.
Consult the Competition Compliance Officer before sharing any potentially sensitive information.
d. Trade Associations and Industry Events
i. Guidelines for participation
When attending trade association meetings or industry events, employees should follow these guidelines to avoid potential competition law violations:
Participate only in meetings and discussions with a legitimate business purpose. Avoid discussing sensitive or confidential information with competitors. Ensure that any information shared is aggregated and anonymized, so it cannot be linked to specific competitors or market participants. Do not engage in any agreements, arrangements, or understandings with competitors that may restrict competition. Promptly leave any meeting or discussion if anti-competitive topics are raised, and report the incident to the Competition Compliance Officer.
ii. Red flags and potential risks
Employees should be aware of the following red flags that may indicate potential competition law risks at trade associations or industry events:
Discussions about current or future prices, costs, or market shares.Sharing of sensitive or confidential information with competitors.Proposals to coordinate market behavior, such as allocating customers or territories.Unofficial or informal meetings or communications with competitors.Any other conduct or discussions that could potentially restrict competition or harm consumers.
5. Competition Compliance Officer
a. Roles and responsibilities
The Competition Compliance Officer is responsible for overseeing and managing D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE's compliance with competition laws and regulations. Their main roles and responsibilities include:
i. Developing, implementing, and maintaining the Competition Law Compliance Policy.
ii. Providing guidance and support to employees on competition law matters, including answering questions, clarifying doubts, and offering advice on specific business practices.
iii. Developing and delivering training programs to educate employees about competition laws and their individual responsibilities under the Policy.
iv. Monitoring compliance with the Policy and competition laws, identifying potential risks, and recommending corrective actions.
v. Investigating reports of suspected violations of the Policy or competition laws, taking appropriate disciplinary action when necessary, and reporting any violations to the relevant authorities.
vi. Keeping abreast of changes in competition laws and regulations, ensuring that the Policy is up to date and aligned with current legal requirements.
vii. Liaising with external legal counsel and regulators as necessary to address competition law issues and concerns.
b. Communication and reporting channels
To facilitate open communication and prompt reporting of competition law concerns, the Competition Compliance Officer should establish and maintain clear communication and reporting channels for employees. These channels may include:
i. Direct contact with the Competition Compliance Officer via email, phone, or in-person meetings.
ii. A confidential whistleblowing mechanism that allows employees to report concerns anonymously, without fear of retaliation.
iii. Employees are encouraged to consult the Competition Compliance Officer whenever they have questions or concerns related to competition law compliance or believe that a violation of the Policy or competition laws may have occurred.
c. Periodic assessments and audits
The Competition Compliance Officer is responsible for conducting regular assessments and audits of D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE's compliance with competition laws and the Policy. These assessments and audits should include:
i. Reviewing business practices and processes to identify potential competition law risks and areas for improvement.
ii. Evaluating the effectiveness of the Policy and the company's compliance efforts, making recommendations for enhancements as necessary.
iii. Monitoring the company's participation in trade associations and industry events to ensure compliance with competition laws.
iv. Reviewing employee training and awareness programs to ensure that they are up to date, effective, and aligned with current legal requirements.
v. Investigating any reported incidents of potential non-compliance, taking appropriate corrective action, and reporting violations to the relevant authorities as necessary.
vi. The results of these assessments and audits should be documented and reported to senior management, with recommendations for improvements and corrective actions as needed. The Competition Compliance Officer should also work closely with other departments within the company, such as Administration Office and Sales, to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive approach to competition law compliance.
6. Employee Training and Awareness
a. Training programs and materials
D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEis committed to providing employees with the necessary training and resources to ensure compliance with competition laws and regulations. Training programs and materials should be designed to:
i. Educate employees about the basic principles of competition law and the specific laws and regulations that apply to D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE's business operations.
ii. Explain the key provisions of the Competition Law Compliance Policy, including the roles and responsibilities of employees in maintaining compliance.
iii. Provide real-life examples and case studies to help employees understand how competition law principles apply to their day-to-day work.
iv. Offer practical guidance on how to identify and avoid potential competition law risks, including recognizing red flags and responding to inappropriate requests for information.
v. Inform employees about the reporting channels and procedures for raising concerns about potential violations of the Policy or competition laws.
b. Frequency of training sessions
Training sessions should be held regularly, in particular training sessions will be conducted consistently once a year or more frequently if necessary, to ensure that all employees remain up-to-date on competition law requirements and the company's compliance policies.
i. New employees receive an introductory training session on competition law compliance as part of their onboarding process.
ii. Existing employees participate in refresher training sessions at least annually, or more frequently if there are significant changes to competition laws, regulations, or the company's business practices.
iii. Additional, targeted training sessions may be provided for employees in roles with a higher risk of competition law exposure, such as sales, marketing, or procurement.
c. Training effectiveness measurement
To ensure that employee training programs are effective in promoting competition law compliance, D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE's should implement measures to evaluate the success of its training efforts.
These may include:
i. Pre- and post-training assessments or quizzes to gauge employees' understanding of competition law principles and their ability to apply them in practical scenarios.
ii. Regular evaluations of the training materials and delivery methods, soliciting feedback from employees to identify areas for improvement.
iii. Monitoring employee compliance with the Policy and competition laws, tracking the number and nature of reported incidents, and using this information to inform future training efforts.
iv. Periodic reviews of the company's overall compliance efforts, including the effectiveness of employee training, as part of the assessments and audits conducted by the Competition Compliance Officer.
v. By regularly evaluating the effectiveness of its employee training programs, D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEcan ensure that its workforce remains knowledgeable about competition law requirements and is well-equipped to maintain compliance in all aspects of the company's operations.
7. Reporting and Whistleblowing
a. Employee duty to report violations
All employees of D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEhave a duty to report any suspected or actual violations of the Competition Law Compliance Policy or applicable competition laws. This responsibility extends to reporting any activities or practices that they believe may be anti-competitive or otherwise inconsistent with the company's commitment to competition law compliance. Employees should promptly report any concerns to the Competition Compliance Officer or through the confidential whistleblowing mechanism described below.
b. Confidential whistleblowing mechanism
To encourage employees to report potential competition law violations without fear of reprisal, D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEhas established a confidential whistleblowing mechanism. This mechanism allows employees to submit their concerns anonymously, if they so choose, and provides a secure and confidential channel for reporting potential violations. This may include a dedicated hotline, email address, or online reporting platform.
The Competition Compliance Officer is responsible for reviewing and investigating all reported concerns and taking appropriate action to address any confirmed violations. Employees who submit reports through the whistleblowing mechanism can be assured that their concerns will be treated seriously and handled with the utmost discretion.
c. Protection from retaliation
D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE is committed to fostering a culture of openness and accountability and recognizes the importance of protecting employees who raise concerns about potential competition law violations. The company strictly prohibits any form of retaliation or adverse action against employees who, in good faith, report suspected violations of the Competition Law Compliance Policy or competition laws.
This protection from retaliation extends to any employee who participates in an investigation or provides information related to a reported concern. Any employee who believes they have been subjected to retaliation for reporting a concern or participating in an investigation should immediately report the matter to the Competition Compliance Officer, who will take appropriate action to address the issue and ensure that the employee's rights are protected.
8. Consequences of Non-Compliance
a. Disciplinary actions
Non-compliance with the Competition Law Compliance Policy or applicable competition laws can result in serious consequences for employees, including disciplinary action. Depending on the severity of the violation, disciplinary measures may range from a formal written warning to suspension or termination of employment. D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE will take into account the nature and extent of the violation, as well as the employee's role, responsibilities, and history within the company when determining the appropriate disciplinary action.
b. Legal and financial consequences
In addition to internal disciplinary actions, non-compliance with competition laws can lead to severe legal and financial consequences for both the individuals involved and D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE. These may include significant fines, damages awards, and even criminal sanctions such as imprisonment for individuals found guilty of serious competition law offenses.
Furthermore, the company may be subject to regulatory investigations, which can result in costly and time-consuming litigation, as well as potential restrictions on the company's ability to operate in certain markets or engage in specific business activities.
c. Reputational damage
Competition law violations can also cause significant reputational harm to D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE. Adverse publicity resulting from investigations, legal proceedings, or public disclosure of anti-competitive behavior can damage the company's brand, undermine customer trust, and negatively impact relationships with suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders. This can lead to a loss of market share, reduced revenue, and diminished investor confidence, which can ultimately have long-lasting effects on the company's overall performance and sustainability.
By adhering to the Competition Law Compliance Policy and maintaining a strong commitment to ethical business practices, our firm aims to protect its reputation and minimize the risk of non-compliance and its associated consequences.
9. Review and Amendments
a. Policy review process
To ensure the ongoing effectiveness and relevance of the Competition Law Compliance Policy, D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEwill conduct regular reviews of the policy. These reviews will take into account changes in applicable laws and regulations, developments in competition law enforcement and jurisprudence, and any feedback or concerns raised by employees, management, or external stakeholders.
The review process may involve consultations with the Competition Compliance Officer, legal counsel, and other relevant experts or departments within the company. Based on the findings of these reviews, amendments may be made to the policy to better address emerging risks, clarify guidance, or incorporate new best practices in competition law compliance.
b. Communication of policy updates
D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEis committed to ensuring that all employees are informed of any updates or changes to the Competition Law Compliance Policy. Policy amendments will be communicated through various channels, such as email announcements, internal newsletters, staff meetings, or dedicated training sessions. Employees will be provided with access to the most current version of the policy, along with any supporting materials or resources that may be helpful in understanding and implementing the changes. It is the responsibility of each employee to familiarize themselves with the updated policy and adhere to its requirements.
c. Employee adherence to updated policy
As part of their ongoing commitment to competition law compliance, employees are expected to comply with any updates or amendments to the Competition Law Compliance Policy. This includes incorporating new guidance or requirements into their day-to-day activities, participating in any additional training sessions or workshops related to the policy updates, and seeking clarification or guidance from the Competition Compliance Officer or management when needed.
Failure to adhere to the updated policy may result in disciplinary action, as outlined in Paragraph 8 (Consequences of Non-Compliance). By actively engaging with policy updates and maintaining a strong culture of compliance, employees can help our corporation continue to operate ethically, responsibly, and in accordance with all applicable competition laws and regulations.
a. Employee acknowledgement and agreement
As part of their commitment to competition law compliance, all employees of D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEare required to acknowledge and agree to adhere to the Competition Law Compliance Policy. This involves signing a declaration or providing a written or electronic confirmation that they have read, understood, and will comply with the policy.
Employees may be asked to renew their acknowledgement and agreement periodically or upon the introduction of significant policy updates. This process helps to reinforce the importance of competition law compliance and ensures that employees remain aware of their obligations and responsibilities under the policy.
D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEwill maintain comprehensive records of employee acknowledgements and agreements relating to the Competition Law Compliance Policy. These records include signed declarations, electronic confirmations, or other forms of documentation that demonstrate an employee's commitment to the policy.
Record-keeping is an essential aspect of demonstrating the company's ongoing commitment to competition law compliance. These records may be subject to internal or external audits, as well as requests from regulatory authorities in the event of an investigation or inquiry. In addition to maintaining records of employee declarations, D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEwill also keep records of competition law training sessions, policy updates, and any reported incidents or concerns relating to competition law compliance. These records will help the company assess the effectiveness of its compliance program, identify areas for improvement, and respond proactively to any potential risks or issues.
11. Guidance and Support
a. Resources for employees
To support employees in their commitment to competition law compliance, D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEwill provide various resources to help them understand their obligations and responsibilities under the Competition Law Compliance Policy. These resources may include, but are not limited to:
i. Comprehensive training materials, such as presentations, handouts, and e-learning modules
ii. Detailed guidelines on specific competition law topics, including examples and case studies
iii. Regular updates on relevant legal developments, regulatory changes, and industry best practices
iv. Access to relevant internal and external sources of information, such as legal databases or industry publications
v. By providing employees with access to these resources, D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE aims to foster a culture of compliance and empower employees to make informed decisions that align with competition law requirements.
b. Seeking advice or clarification
D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE encourages employees to seek advice or clarification on competition law matters whenever they are unsure about the appropriate course of action. The company has established several procedures to be followed by our employees in order to seek guidance, including:
i. Direct communication with the Competition Compliance Officer: Employees can reach out to the Competition Compliance Officer for advice on specific competition law issues, concerns, or incidents. The Competition Compliance Officer is responsible for providing timely and accurate guidance to support employees in their decision-making.
ii. Consultation with our legal representatives: Employees may also consult with the company's legal representatives for advice on complex or high-risk competition law matters. Our legal representatives can help employees navigate the relevant legal and regulatory requirements and develop strategies for mitigating potential risks.
iii. Anonymous email: For employees who prefer to seek advice anonymously or raise concerns without disclosing their identity, D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE offers an anonymous email address (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org). This way, our employees shall be encouraged to ask questions or report potential violations without fear of retaliation or negative consequences.
iv. By providing employees with multiple ways for seeking guidance and support, D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEaims to promote open communication and active engagement in competition law compliance throughout the organization.
12. Continuous Improvement
Feedback and suggestions
D. KOPELAKIS & CO OEis committed to maintaining a robust and effective Competition Law Compliance Policy that evolves and adapts to the changing business environment, legal landscape, and industry best practices. As part of this commitment, the company actively encourages employees to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Employees can submit their feedback and suggestions through various ways, including:
i. Direct communication with the Competition Compliance Officer
ii. Anonymous feedback forms or suggestion boxes
iii. Team meetings or brainstorming sessions
iv. Internal surveys or questionnaires
As a responsible and ethical company D. KOPELAKIS & CO OE, is committed to conducting its business operations in compliance with all applicable competition laws and regulations. This Competition Law Compliance Policy has been developed to ensure that all employees are aware of their obligations and responsibilities under competition laws and regulations, and to minimize the risk of non-compliance and potential legal consequences.
This Policy is intended to foster a culture of compliance and integrity within our organization, and to maintain our company's reputation for ethical business practices. It is the responsibility of every employee to read, understand, and comply with this Policy, as well as to participate in any relevant training provided by the company.
By adhering to the principles and guidelines set forth in this Policy, we can ensure that the Comanyremains competitive, innovative, and fair in all of its business dealings. Together, we can uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct and demonstrate our commitment to compliance with competition laws and regulations.