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Case study: How Axiata promotes business integrity

Axiata is one of the leading telecommunications groups in Asia, focused on developing its Triple Core Business: Digital Telco, Digital Businesses and Infrastructure through its operating companies. Axiata is committed to upholding the highest standards of lawful and ethical conduct  Tweet This! by demonstrating honesty, fairness and accountability in all its dealings, always doing the right thing and fulfilling promises made to earn the trust of its stakeholders.

This case study is based on the 2018 Sustainability & National Contribution Report by Axiata published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Compliance with laws, regulations, the Axiata Code of Conduct and internal guidelines are the foundation of Axiata’s value of uncompromising integrity. In order to promote business integrity Axiata took action to:

  • implement a Code of Conduct
  • provide whistle-blowing channels
  • promote transparency on gifts

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Sustainability & National Contribution Report Axiata identified a range of material issues, such as customer service, network quality and coverage, community impact/development, privacy & data protection, talent development. Among these, promoting business integrity stands out as a key material issue for Axiata.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Axiata engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics Axiata engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Customers

 

·      Net Promoter Score

·      Brand Equity Score

·      Social Reputation Score

Employees

 

·      Employee Engagement Survey annually

·      Town Hall Meetings conducted every quarter

·      Digital platform

Shareholders ·      Annual General Meeting

·      Investor Roadshows

·      Analyst Meetings

Regulators & Government

 

·      Working proactively with local regulators and authorities from every jurisdiction as local requirements vary from one country to the next

·      Compliance with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC)

·      Compliance with Bursa Malaysia

·      Payment of taxes

·      National contributions

Suppliers

 

·      Supplier Code of Conduct

·      Vendor Satisfaction Survey

·      Biennial Axiata Supplier Awards

·      Annual Supplier Forum

·      Supplier Performance Management

Media

 

·      Media Meetings

·      Quarterly Media Surveys

·      Media Releases and Press Conferences

·      Media interviews

Community ·      Social requirements

·      Specific feedback on Axiata’s CR programmes and initiatives

·      News media, social media pages and company website

·      Needs assessment of local stakeholders

What actions were taken by Axiata to promote business integrity?

In its 2018 Sustainability & National Contribution Report Axiata reports that it took the following actions for promoting business integrity:

  • Implementing a Code of Conduct
  • The Axiata Code of Conduct outlines the expected behaviour for employees at Axiata Headquarters, OpCos (operating companies) and subsidiaries. The Code of Conduct is adopted and localised at each OpCo, and the management team is responsible for its governance, training and engagement. A percentage of each employee’s KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is determined by demonstrating core values through their behaviour, with the core values of the Code of Conduct extending to Axiata contract staff and vendors.
  • Providing whistle-blowing channels
  • Across Axiata Group, each OpCo and subsidiary has an established Whistle-Blowing channel and mechanism to report unethical and non-compliant behaviour. Cases reported are monitored and investigated independently by each OpCo and subsidiary with respective management and oversight by the Board Audit Committee. Specialists at Axiata Group and OpCos investigate allegations of integrity breaches and, upon investigation and confirmation of a breach, the Disciplinary Committee chaired by the Group CFO (Chief Financial Officer) will take disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or contract termination. Non-compliance among the senior leadership team is referred to the Group CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and the Board Audit Committee.
  • Promoting transparency on gifts
  • Axiata’s Gifts and Entertainment Governance Committee, led by the Group Chief Human Resource Officer, decides on the appropriate disposition of gifts and entertainment. In 2018, Axiata Group updated its guidance on the Gifts and Entertainment Policy and Guidelines for Corporate Centre employees. The guidance provided Corporate Centre employees with further clarity on how to handle matters related to receiving and offering of gifts and entertainment as stated in the Axiata Code of Conduct. More specifically:
    • Employees are strictly prohibited from soliciting, receiving cash, gifts or entertainment
    • Employees should answer six conflict of interest questions before accepting any gifts
    • If an employee is presented with a gift, the value cannot be more than RM100
    • All gifts above RM100 and entertainment accepted, declined or returned must be declared
    • Group HR is to decide on the use of gifts exceeding the threshold for the common good

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 205-1 Operations assessed for risks related to corruption

2) Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures

 

Disclosure 205-1 Operations assessed for risks related to corruption corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme: Anti-corruption

Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme: Anti-corruption

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Axiata, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Axiata: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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