Policy statement regarding social responsibility and human rights


Starting out with a small motorcycle repair workshop, over the decades Detlev Louis built the largest company selling motorcycle clothing and accessories in Europe. His firm belief in the great potential of the motorbike could not be shaken. Even when other paths seemed to be more rewarding or easier to many people. His foresight, his wealth of ideas, but also his measured, responsible approach and his Hanseatic dependability are just some of the pillars on which his success was built.

Our company has now been in existence for 85 years. There is plenty of tradition running through Detlev Louis Motorrad-Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH. But it took and still takes more than tradition for a small Hamburg motorbike workshop to become an international trading company and Europe’s market leader.


We are aware of our corporate responsibility and upholding human rights is a key concern for us. Our activities go hand in hand with internationally recognised standards, including the UN Global Compact and the principles of the ILO (International Labour Organisation).

Social responsibility and responsible procurement in accordance with our Louis Code of Conduct and our Supplier Code of Conduct are essential components of our day-to-day work. The principles of this policy statement are reflected in those codes. They enables us to generate sustainable, reliable and long-term growth and safeguard jobs both nationally and internationally. One of our guiding principles is that we always comply with the applicable legal requirements in all the regions and countries in which we operate.

We recognise our duty of care as an important part of our business processes.

Furthermore, in our parent company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. we have a shareholder who also shares our values.


This policy statement applies to our employees in all countries and subsidiaries. With these standards, we oblige all employees to conduct themselves appropriately and lawfully towards colleagues and partners. We expect our partners to pass on our commitment to uphold human rights to their business partners and to act ethically and with integrity.


The following topics are particularly important to us in the light of our risk analysis:

a. Child labour

We do not tolerate child labour or any other exploitation of children and young people. The minimum age for employment must not be below the age at which compulsory schooling ends. National laws, regulations and ordinances for the protection of children and young employees must be observed.

b. Forced labour

We reject all forms of forced labour. Forced labour and employment relationships that are entered into under involuntary circumstances (debt bondage, forced labour, compulsory labour, serfdom, slave labour, slavery-like conditions) are prohibited. It must be possible for employees to terminate the employment relationship at any time within the legal framework and this must not be obstructed by arbitrary retention of deposits, identity documents or similar. No employees may be directly or indirectly forced into employment through violence and/or intimidation. Employees may only be taken on if they make themselves available for employment on a voluntary basis.

c. Diversity and inclusion

Any discrimination in recruitment and employment is prohibited. The same rules are applied to all employees – regardless of ethnic and social origin, religion, age, political views, gender, sexual orientation, membership of an employee organisation, caste, nationality or other personal characteristics. Differences in treatment of employees may only be tolerated on the basis of clearly communicated employment and performance-related criteria that are in accordance with laws/regulations/standards.

d. Freedom of association and collective bargaining

Employees must be protected from any discrimination relating to their employment and that violates their freedom of association. Their right to form, join or leave associations and organisations of their own choosing, the aim of which is to promote and protect employees, and to work for them must be respected. This must not affect their employment. Where these freedoms are restricted by law, employees should be given equivalent opportunities to exercise these rights within the company.

e. Working conditions

Wages and any other benefits, in particular social security contributions, must at least meet the national and industry standards and be adequate to cover the basic needs of employees. Illegal and unauthorised wage deductions, in whatever form, are prohibited. Employees must be informed about the composition of their remuneration in a comprehensible way. A normal working week must be defined at least in accordance with local labour laws. In any case, the regular working week should not exceed 48 hours; weekly overtime should not exceed twelve hours and must be paid at least at the statutory rate. Overtime must be worked on a voluntary basis, but can be ordered within the framework of negotiated collective agreements. Employees must be guaranteed at least one day off work (24 hours) per week. The conditions in the workplace and the production building must not pose an immediate risk to the life and limb of the employee. The national regulations on health and safety at work must be met. Industry-specific risks to the health and safety of employees must be avoided or minimised. Employees must receive appropriate training on a regular basis. Clean toilets and access to drinking water in sufficient quantities must be provided. If sleeping quarters are also provided, they must be clean and safe.

f. Data protection

The protection of personal data is very important to us. It is only used and processed to the extent permitted by laws and regulations and internal guidelines. This ensures uniform data protection and a consistent data security standard and creates the necessary framework conditions. Our information security policy forms the basis for responsible, legally compliant and ethically correct handling of all data and information and sets out objectives, principles, organisational structures and measures.

g. Environment

We strive to achieve an exemplary environmental and energy balance worldwide and are committed to an environmentally friendly approach to all our activities.  We intend to reduce the consumption of resources in the value chain of our products by means of a circular economy and the use of recycled materials. In this way, we promote careful use of resources and efficient and economical extraction of raw materials in order to avoid or continuously minimise any negative impact on the environment. Suppliers and producers are requested to meet the legal requirements for environmental protection as a minimum.


If a risk is identified that our business activities are causing or contributing to negative impacts on human rights or the environment, we act immediately. Our employees must report known or suspected violations of human rights, environmental protection, ethics and compliance through the channels known to them. Our employees and partners can contact our compliance department or an external organisation (Navex Global) or report violations via the website of our parent company (www.brk-hotline.com).


In the event of reports of violations, we take appropriate measures for proper clarification.  Civil and criminal penalties depend on how and under what circumstances a person has violated this policy statement. If a violation of legal provisions is proven, we reserve the right to forward the matter to the responsible authorities to be pursued further. If a situation requires protection of identity, anonymity is ensured to the greatest extent possible in accordance with the company’s legal obligations.


The principles of this policy statement are anchored in the way we conduct ourselves and are discussed regularly with new and existing employees. We are in particularly close dialogue with employees whose activities are the focus of the risks mentioned here.


In accordance with our reporting obligations and as part of our culture of continuous improvement, we regularly evaluate and review implementation of this policy statement in our business activities.

Hamburg, version of 12/2023, misprints and errors excepted.

If you have any questions about the policy statement, please feel free to contact our compliance team at compliance@louis.de

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