Our Code of Conduct
Our principles

We believe in a world with social and political opportunities for all. This vision is based on Amartya Sen’s conception of development: “Freedoms for all are both an end and means to development”. We strive to support inclusive social and economic development which respects our planet’s unique and limited resources. To our mind, meaningful development strategies must build on the specific needs of regional populations and our planet. They need to be conceived and implemented in a participatory way – involving stakeholders from the Global South and North. This is reflected in our vision:

People and organisations live in compassion with nature and humankind to enable freedom for each and every individual. In the present and for the future.

In line with this vision, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the focus of our work. At the same time, we believe that equal opportunities for the Global South require deeper and systemic changes and we strive to facilitate such structural transformation. In addition, we are passionate about finding new ways to advance sustainability in organisations and projects.

Striving for innovation
Challenging “business as usual”-patterns and facilitating effective communication among all stakeholders can be an effective way to bring about positive transformation. Our approach is marked by co-creation, thorough reflection, and structured analysis. We are open to and actively use innovative tools that enhance our participatory approach. These include workshops with metaplan, design thinking methods and Theory U approaches, as well as participatory workshops and statistics and online or technology-enabled surveys in locations without internet connectivity.
 
Anti-racism and post-coloniality

We are actively committed to a postcolonial attitude in our work culture and products. Postcolonial theory emphasises the continued persistence of patterns and impacts of colonial rule. In the field of development cooperation, criticism is directed at the discourse dividing countries into categories on the basis of a linear development trajectory, thereby implying a superiority of the “developed” vis-à-vis the “underdeveloped” world. We acknowledge that this rhetoric, which carries racist connotations, persists in development cooperation today. As an actor in this field, we are committed to adjusting our working habits so as to avoid reproducing this discourse and the unjust power structures underlying it.

“The white gaze of development is measuring black, brown and non-white people against the standard of northern whiteness, and taking their political, economic and social processes as a norm […] Development uses that standard of northern whiteness to measure economic, political and social processes of people in the so-called global South.” (Robtel Naejai Pailey)
We are aware of our privileged position of economic and social power, derived from our location in the Global North and question our role critically. In our projects, we try to adapt an anticolonial attitude and amplify local voices. The current digitalization of development cooperation opens a window for joint thinking, co-creation and decision making with people across the globe connected to the internet. We vow to explore this opportunity in order to foster true participation. At the same time, we acknowledge that our ability to achieve positive change through our work is limited and we reject the narrative portraying white people as saviours.
In our external presentation, we are mindful to use wording, images and photos that do not reproduce colonial discourse. In our reports, we avoid a one-sided focus on deficits of project countries, but rather aim to highlight their potential.
We are committed to also applying this post-colonial attitude to our work with clients, national experts and any other partners.
 
Our ethical standards

We abide by internationally accepted ethical standards of corporate governance and competitive practices and are committed to the principles laid out in the United Nations’ Global Compact. Specifically, we are dedicated to upholding the following standards:

Quality work
Our quality standards are based on internal project and quality management guidelines as well as requirements agreed upon with our clients. The high-level qualifications, continuous training, and diverse experience of our staff members are key assets in ensuring consistently excellent quality of our work.

Human rights & non- discrimination
We commit ourselves to comply with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We do not tolerate discrimination or stigmatization of any kind, including by gender, skin colour, religion, nationality, sexual orientation and health status. We base all our interactions – not just within our teams, but also with our clients, national partners and other stakeholders – on the principles of equality and mutual respect.

Independence
As an independent consultancy, we declare ourselves free from third-party interests. Our intellectual and economic independence serve as guarantors of our impartiality. We only sign contracts if they do not compromise our independence or impartiality and do not lead to any conflict of interest between the employees and the company or with any client, any business partner or any other third party.

Fairness & Transparency
We engage in fair and transparent collaborations with our employees, customers, experts, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders. We strive to work visibly and comprehensibly with all of our partners. Eventual donations to charities, associations or institutions are made transparent, with no expectation of benefit in exchange.

Prohibition of benefit and corruption
We reject any form of corruption, fraud, collusion, or coercion, such as offering or accepting a bribe in order to unduly influence a tender, procurement, employment, management, or other decision-making processes related to our consulting services. We prohibit any form of corrupt practices including unreasonable and inappropriate remunerations in the form of entertainment, gifts, or hospitality. The boundaries of acceptable behaviour in this regard are defined by law.

Legal compliance
We respect and conform to the rule of law in all of our activities and meets our contractual obligations both in Germany and in any other country in which we provide services.

Confidentiality and data protection
We carefully handle the personal data of employees, freelancers and all project partners and comply with the legal provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation. joyn-coop employees and collaborators agree not to divulge confidential information1 about business operations and customers during or after their period of employment.

Health and safety
We are committed to protecting and preserving the health and safety of our team members and that of our partners and customers. We proactively search for advice on health and security-related issues before our team or partners travel to sensitive locations. The risk analysis for travels is undertaken by the staff members concerned and the project leader in close consultation with the joyn-coop management team and our security expert. The assessment is based on information issued by the German government and other relevant sources. Ultimately, staff members or partners make the final decision whether and how they want to travel. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the working conditions of staff members are in compliance with the guidelines recommended by the German government.

Our cooperation practices

Our cooperation practices with our clients
The work with our clients is based on open listening and communication in order to understand their requirements and needs. Our advice reflects our commitment to develop the best solutions possible for the respective programmes and projects. As part of our agile culture, we maintain open communication channels with our clients and flexibly adapt to their demands, ideas and feedback. For best results of our consultancy work, we apply a cross-sectoral approach:

• Integrate latest academic thinking into our work
• Apply high management consulting standards when delivering the work
• Bring in knowledge and methods from the development sector

Additionally, in coherence with our post-colonial vision of development cooperation, we strive to promote a relationship at eye level between our clients and the communities they work with.

Our cooperation practices with national partners and constituents
• Our approach emphasises the importance of local knowledge and expertise. Hence, we actively seek to work with national experts, who are familiar with the concrete challenges faced by their communities.
• We value the experience and competencies of national experts and dedicate sufficient time to exchanging with them on methodological approaches and their insights from the field.
• Participatory and client-centred methods are key to our work: They enable us to listen to different stakeholders and take into account their particular circumstances, needs and suggestions in order to anchor their perspective in our final products.
• We are convinced that mutual understanding and trust is the foundation of solid relationships in life and work. We also seek to bring this attitude to our interactions with national experts, national partners and stakeholders.

Our cooperation practices with our staff and experts
Working in the spirit of joyoountu also entails actively seeking opportunities to grow as individuals and members of the team. The following joyoountu practices help us in this endeavour:
• Our approach is based on teamwork and the joint generation of ideas to maintain a high quality standard.
• We foster an active and constructive feedback culture.
• We have clear rules and standards and communicate what we expect within the teams.
• We regularly hold team-building and training sessions with our entire team and also invite our long-term partners and national experts to knowledge exchanges from time to time.
• Our staff is involved in important management decisions.

 
Our commitment to this Code of Conduct

joyn-coop’s Code of Conduct is part of all our working agreements and contracts.
To foster a trusting and collaborative working environment, we require our staff members and freelancers to accord with our philosophy, principles, ethical standards, and collaboration practices (see all Sections). We also aim to work with organisations that share our values. As such we expect our business partners to respect our philosophy and principles and abide by our ethical standards.
All staff partners, national experts, and other stakeholders we interact with should report any concern or violation of the Code of Conduct to our internal ombudsperson Ricarda Bollmann (r.bollmann@joyn-coop.com). There shall be no adverse consequences as a result of reporting any disregard of joyn-coop’s ethical principles and joyoountu culture.