PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, Zurich
Swisscontact is committed to the principles of good governance for responsible management, control, and communication. The Foundation complies with the ZEWO accounting standards and fulfils the Swiss GAAP FER 21 guidelines for charitable and social non-profit organisations. Our Corporate Governance principles are outlined in various documents. These include our Foundation Certificate, Rules of Organisation, and Code of Conduct.
The Foundation Council is Swisscontact’s highest governing body. As a strategic management and supervisory entity, it carries out executive and supervisory activities, taking on overall responsibility for the foundation, specifically in matters involving business activity, the management and use of its financial endowment, risk management, and internal monitoring and controls.
The Foundation Board is in charge of the Executive Board’s ongoing business and activities. It also bears responsibility for and decision-making authority over the following in particular: issuing the Swisscontact mission statement and strategy developed by the Executive Board, long-term financial and business planning over several years, submitting requests to the Foundation Council for approval of internal and geographic areas of focus as well as project activities.
The Finance and Audit Committee (FinCom) is tasked by the Foundation Board with financial guidance and control and prepares informative documents and decisions on the Foundation Board’s behalf. FinCom performs comparative analyses of annual reports, sets Swisscontact’s investment policy, validates financial planning and controls, assesses the internal controls system, and evaluates the results of both external and internal audits.
The Nomination Committee (NomCom) is tasked by the Foundation Board with preparing successorship rules for the Foundation Council, Foundation Board, Executive Steering Committee, and Executive Board, in addition to dealing with general strategic HR issues. NomCom is in charge of the following in particular: finding and evaluating suitable Foundation Council members, identifying the best candidates for the Foundation Board and FinCom, successorship planning for the CEO and Executive Board members, and monitoring the pool of next-generation leaders.
The Executive Board is headed by the CEO and is responsible for the organisation, both at Head Office and in the regions, accounting and planning, acquisitions, finance, preparation, and execution of development projects. It reports to the Foundation Council and Swisscontact’s donors. The Executive Board is in charge of strategy development and implementation as well as annual planning.
The Audit Committee is appointed by the Foundation Council for a one-year term and carries out group reviews specifically.
All employees are bound by legal regulations and our internal guidelines. Compliance with the Swisscontact Code of Conduct is mandatory for all members of the Board of Trustees, employees and subcontractors. There is a whistleblowing line for anyone affected to report an issue to the Head Office, either anonymously or in-person. Internal rules, processes, proven methods, and procedures are accessible to all Swisscontact employees via our Intranet.
Swisscontact implements various tools to monitor and mitigate risks related to projects, countries, and the organisation as a whole, keeping these continuously up-to-date. These tools include the system for risk management and internal controls. Our internal control system undergoes annual compliance reviews both at Head Office and in the regions. Based thereupon, the Executive Board can react quickly and in a targeted fashion, implementing measures wherever needed. Both risk management and the internal control system undergo an annual external audit, the results of which are reported to the Foundation Council.
Our internal audits check work processes for their correctness, regularity, appropriateness, and cost-effectiveness. The goal is to increase efficiency while reducing risk and identifying alternative ways of operating and areas where Executive Board members and Country Directors could improve. Due to the COVID-19 situation, internal audits were conducted via virtual meetings instead of on-site.
The Swisscontact Foundation is the 100% shareholder of an incorporated company, headquartered in Zürich, under Art. 620 et seq. of the Swiss Code of Obligations. The company exercises its activities within the framework of Swisscontact’s charitable engagement; thus, only to the extent the Foundation does not want or is unable to engage in an activity undertaken by the company. The company provides services and takes on specific tasks – particularly for studies, consultancies, and training –also implementing various projects. The company may decide to pay out dividends to support the non-profit Swisscontact Foundation and only to the Foundation. In turn, the Foundation can use the dividends only for non-profit purposes. In 2019, Swisscontact ‘s Services AG entity acquired the Springfield Centre for Development (SFC) in England. SFC remains an independent subsidiary.
We are a leading organisation for the implementation of international development projects. Founded in 1959 and registered under Swiss law, we are an independent non-profit organisation. We are politically and denominationally neutral.
We promote inclusive economic, social and ecological development to make an effective contribution towards sustainable and widespread prosperity in developing and emerging economies. With this objective in mind, we offer the chance to economically and socially disadvantaged people to improve their lives on their own initiative.
ZEWO Seal of Approval: Swisscontact was awarded the Seal of Approval from ZEWO. It is awarded to non-profit organisations for the conscientious handling of money entrusted to them, proves appropriate, economical and effective allocation of donations and stands for transparent and trustworthy organisations with functioning control structures that uphold ethics in the procurement of funds and communication. Swisscontact is regularly audited on the adherence to these criteria. (Source: ZEWO)
Swisscontact is a member of Transparency International and UN Global Compact.