At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we act with integrity and abide by the highest ethical standards. This Code of Conduct specifies each employee’s responsibilities to ensure a foundation-wide culture of respectful, ethical behavior and good stewardship.
We are honest, fair and trustworthy in our foundation activities and relationships
The foundation’s commitment to integrity starts with each individual. This means that we go beyond simply obeying the laws governing our work. We act honestly and treat others fairly. If confronted with a questionable situation, we take action to protect the foundation’s reputation--its most valuable asset. When in doubt, apply Warren Buffett’s rule:
- I want employees to ask themselves whether they are willing to have any contemplated act appear the next day on the front page of their local paper – to be read by their spouses, children and friends – with the reporting done by an informed and critical reporter.
We always treat colleagues and others with respect
Our global work means that we encounter people of every background and experience. We acknowledge these differences, endeavor to create an inclusive environment and treat everyone with fairness, dignity and respect. This principle of fairness extends to every part of our work, including hiring, promotions and working with grantees, partners and others.
We follow foundation policies
Foundation policies provide the basis for this Code and guide our conduct and day-to-day work. We are committed to upholding these policies, including disciplined stewardship of the foundation’s assets. These are serious matters and violation of foundation policy or the law may become the basis for disciplinary action, including termination of employment, criminal penalties and civil liability.
We report integrity concerns
If you believe a colleague, grantee, vendor or other third party has engaged in inappropriate behavior, bring the situation to the attention of a foundation manager, HR business partner, or member of the Legal Team. You may also utilize EthicsPoint, an anonymous ethics reporting service. Those who report illegal or improper activity in good faith will be protected from retaliation.
Cooperate with internal investigations
If you are asked to assist the foundation with an internal investigation, your good-faith cooperation is required.
Creating an organization where we are all proud to work will be achieved by upholding the key elements of this Code of Conduct: acting with integrity and honesty, being fair and respectful to colleagues and partners, following the law, being good stewards of the foundation’s assets, and holding one other accountable.