Gathering Competitive Intelligence


Gathering competitive intelligence enables us to better understand and anticipate the competitive environment in which Albemarle operates. However, the gathering of such information must be undertaken with care to ensure compliance with contract confidentiality obligations and applicable anti-corruption, competition, trade compliance and state secrets laws.

  • We obtain competitive intelligence in an appropriate and lawful manner.
  • We ask questions and seek guidance if we are unsure if we should ask for, keep, or use competitive intelligence.
  • We accurately document the source of our competitive intelligence.
  • We never obtain competitive intelligence by promises, gifts, bribes, deception, misrepresentations, “half-truths” or theft.
  • We do not gather or accept competitive intelligence from a competitor.
  •  We do not ask a third party to disclose information, or accept such information, if we have reason to believe they are not authorized or contractually permitted to provide it.
  • We do not offer gifts, hospitality or anything else of value in exchange for the inappropriate disclosure of competitive intelligence.
  • We do not ask or permit a third party acting on our behalf to gather competitive intelligence in an inappropriate manner.

Our Code Principles in Action

  • The following types of information may be gathered without limitation:
    • information that is public knowledge, such as information published in trade journals, news articles, on the Internet, in public legal documents; and
    • information obtained by fair means such as experimentation, reverse engineering, or disclosure by someone who has a legal right to disclose the information.
  • Contact the Legal Department or Global Ethics & Compliance:
    • before participating in industry surveys, statistical reporting programs or benchmark surveys;
    • before asking for or receiving competitive intelligence from a current or former employee of a competitor;
    • before having any discussions with a competitor (including with regard to swaps, supply arrangements, or potential transactions);
    • before hiring or retaining a third party to gather competitive intelligence on the Company’s behalf;
    • if a customer offers to provide you the pricing, bid information, or contract terms
    • if a Third Party Sales Representative offers to provide you the confidential pricing, bid information, or contract terms which have been offered to a prospective customer by other competitors
    • if a Third Party Sales Representative offers to provide you with proprietary information, product samples or trade secrets owned by competitors
    • before using or forwarding information that was overheard or received from a third party by mistake or without approval;
    • if you are unsure if you should ask for, keep, use or forward third party information.
    • if you become aware of, or otherwise suspect, the inappropriate gathering of competitive intelligence or other industry data – if something doesn’t feel right, report it.
    • before collecting (directly or indirectly) information in China or Russia that is not public, to make sure we comply with local state secrets laws; or
    • if you receive information in China or Russia that is not public without the approval of the owner or relevant state authority.
  • Record the source and date of receipt on the information received.  
  • Check how and why a customer or third party is providing Albemarle with competitive intelligence: if it not clear or does not make sense, ask questions – even if you receive the information from your supervisor or another Albemarle employee.


Anything Else of Value

Any type of benefit to the recipient, such as:

  • money (all currencies including bitcoin, and method of delivery such as cash, check, wire, electronic, mobile transfer);
  • cash equivalents such as gift, store, discount, mobile phone or stored value cards
  • gifts;
  • meals, entertainment and other hospitality;
  • travel, including flights and accommodation;
  • offers of employment or an internship;
  • a contract for the procurement or sale of goods or services;
  • a contract for the procurement, sale or lease of property;
  • a charitable donation or contribution to a community project;
  • a commercial sponsorship;
  • confidential information;
  • investment opportunity; and
  • any other form of personal favor.

Albemarle competes with third parties in several different ways and each falls into its own category of competitor. The competitor categories include:

Producers and resellers of competing products

Albemarle competes with other producers of lithium, bromine and catalyst products. This includes companies like FMC, Tianqim SQM, Grace, BASF, Lanxess and ICL.

Albemarle also competes with companies engaged in the resale or trading of lithium, bromine and catalyst products, whether those products are produced by Albemarle or a third-party.

Procurement of goods, services and land

The list of Albemarle competitors in the procurement market is potentially much broader than speciality chemical producers.

For example, Albemarle might compete with contractors such as Wood for the procurement of vehicles suitable for our sites.

Broader still is the class of competitors for accounting and legal services, which nearly all companies procure to varying degrees.

Hirers of employees and contractors

Albemarle also competes with a broad range of companies in recruitment and remuneration of employees and contractors

Competitively Sensitive Information

The following types of information are considered to be examples of CSI:

  • marketing plans and proprietary perspectives on the market;
  • ost data less than 12 months old;
  • details of negotiations with individual customers or suppliers;
  • current or recent terms of sale or purchase (price, margins, commission and credit terms);
  • strategic information (site expansion and closure plans);
  • salaries and other terms of employee remuneration less than 12 months old;
  •  innovation plans and intellectual property; and
  • production, export, sales and purchase data less than 12 months old.

CSI does not include:

  • information that is publicly available, including through subscription services;
  • information that is more than 12 months old and would not be considered to give a competitive advantage if shared with, or by, a competitor;
  • health, safety or environmental data; or
  • information relating to the technical performance of equipment.
State Secrets Laws

As a general rule, information is a state secret if its disclosure may harm national security and interests in the area of politics, economy, national defence or foreign relations. Examples could include:

  •  material decisions relating to national affairs (e.g. strategic plan);
  • national defence construction and military activities;
  • foreign relations;
  • reserves data;
  • location and condition of mines, oil or gas wells;
  • unofficial maps of regions;
  • commercial secrets relating to state-owned enterprise; and
  • geological surveys.

In many instances the information will be stamped as a state secret but this will not always be the case. For example, state secrets can also be disclosed verbally. The types of information that may be considered a state secret are very broad and potentially encompass all information having a bearing on state security and national interests that is not in the public domain.


Examples of where you might have potential exposure to state secrets may include:

  • information received from a customer that is a state-owned enterprise (SOE);
  • information gathered through Albemarle direct interactions with relevant government agencies;
  • information gathered by a third party that includes information received from government sources;
  • market surveys involving SOEs; and
  • industry associations and site visits.
Third Party Sales Representative

Agents and resellers.