How our business works

Oversight and governance
The majority of our customers are governments or other large defence primes selling to such governments.

Who we sell to

In the UK, defence equipment is purchased by the UK Ministry of Defence. In the US we sell aerospace, defence and security products and services directly to branches of the armed forces as well as to other nations, through direct international sales or through the US government to allied government Foreign Military Sales agreements. Our non-military products and services - such as commercial flight controls and avionics, electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems, cyber protection services, and maintenance and support contracts – are sold to a range of customers spanning both businesses and governments. 
 

Our sales process

The defence industry is subject to strict regulatory controls. We also maintain stringent internal controls that govern what we sell and to whom we sell. Primarily our Product Trading Policy and Responsible trading principles, help us make informed decisions about the business opportunities we pursue based on our values.
 
Export of controlled goods must be authorised by governments before a sale can proceed. Failure to comply with all relevant laws and regulations could result in serious penalties for BAE Systems and the individuals concerned, and could harm national security and foreign policy interests. Our system for compliance with export controls is designed to ensure compliance, as well as detect and provide timely responses to actual or suspected violations, including prompt investigations and appropriate remedial actions.

 

Our responsible trading principles: 


1. We understand and support our customers’ national security and other requirements 
Earning the trust of our customers is critical to the success of our business. They must trust us to understand their particular circumstances and respond to their requirements including, if applicable, how we can best meet their need to deliver national security.
 
2. We work to BAE Systems’ Values in all that we do 
Our ways of working are underpinned by our Company values – Trusted, Innovative and Bold. Together, these values describe who we are and who we strive to be – they inform our decision making and define our shared culture. We ask all employees to demonstrate the values in their day-to-day work, wherever they are in the world: 

Trusted is…
  • Being committed – giving our best every day
  • Doing what we say we will
  • Doing the right thing
Innovative is…
  • Being curious – seeking out new ways to make things better
  • Learning constantly – from successes and failures
  • Turning ideas into actions
 
Bold is…
  • Being courageous – speaking up, stepping forward
  • Seizing opportunities
  • Realising big ambitions
 
3. We assess carefully our products and services with the objective that neither BAE Systems nor our customers are exposed to significant reputational risk
The Product Trading Policy and accompanying guidance sets out how we identify, evaluate and manage potential reputational risks associated with the sale of products and services.

Line leaders use the principles set out in the policy to determine the appropriate depth of evaluations in different situations.
 
4. We are as open as practicable about the nature of our business 
Being transparent about what we do and how we do it helps us build trust among our stakeholders. We aim to communicate openly and transparently with stakeholders on our business activities. In some cases, we are limited in how much we can say by, for example, confidentiality agreements with customers. If we are unable to provide information where it might normally be expected then we aim to explain why.