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Case study: How CEZ Group in Romania combats corruption

Worldwide, CEZ Group is among the leaders in the energy sector, operating in Western, Central and South-Eastern European countries, such as Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, France, Turkey, Poland and Slovakia, and mainly involved in the distribution and marketing of electricity and heat, natural gas and mining. Through a compliance system implemented, CEZ Group in Romania has developed actions against corruption both internally and externally  Tweet This!, through the obligations imposed in its relationships with suppliers, subcontractors and clients.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by CEZ Group in Romania 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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Companies within CEZ Group in Romania are governed by the Anti-corruption and Anti-bribery Policies along with ethics and conduct codes, for both employees and partners (clients/suppliers). In order to combat corruption CEZ Group in Romania took action to:

  • implement a compliance system
  • avoid conflicts of interests
  • apply a reporting system
  • inform and train employees

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report CEZ Group in Romania identified a range of material issues, such as communication with customers, occupational health and safety, customer privacy, environmental compliance, customer health and safety. Among these, combatting corruption stands out as a key material issue for CEZ Group in Romania.

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 CEZ Group in Romania engages with: 

Stakeholder Group
Middle Management
Top Management
Representatives of Trade Unions
Central Authorities (including Regulatory Authorities)
Local authorities
Civil society

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics CEZ Group in Romania engaged with its stakeholders through online sustainability questionnaires and organised dedicated meetings.

What actions were taken by CEZ Group in Romania to combat corruption?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report CEZ Group in Romania reports that it took the following actions for combatting corruption:

  • Implementing a compliance system
  • The compliance system of CEZ Group in Romania is drafted so that the Anti-corruption policy, which is managed by the Compliance Department, can be complemented by internal regulations addressed to employees, such as:
    • The conflict of interest policy;
    • The whistleblowing policy;
    • The antitrust policy;
    • The Ethics Code;
    • The Code of Conduct in Business;
    • The Compliance Manual;
    • The Internal Regulation.
  • For an appropriate understanding of the compliance system, CEZ Group in Romania makes available to its employees and partners a brochure introducing information and examples, promoting the ethical values assumed by the companies within CEZ Group in Romania.
  • Avoiding conflicts of interests
  • In order to avoid any conflicts of interests, CEZ Group in Romania has implemented a Statement – Commitment within its Internal Regulation. It is a statement filled in by all employees, both at employment and, subsequently, any time a change is implemented. Employees commit themselves to complying with the Internal Regulation, the Ethics Code and the Code of Conduct in Business and to report any potential conflicts of interest. These statements are subject to annual checks for a better monitoring and implementation of the measures required to prevent any risks. Additionally, the Internal Regulation includes specific provisions related to giving and receiving presents and zero tolerance to bribery attempt/accepting bribery.
  • Applying a reporting system
  • The reporting system “Speak Freely” (whistleblowing) made available to CEZ Group in Romania’s partners/ third parties (on the website and intranet) is the tool to be used to report any concerns regarding ethics/corruption incidents. Since 2017, this system has provided the possibility to submit a reporting anonymously, at the whistleblower’s choice. The reporting channels (“Speak Freely”) are always promoted during training. For its partners, CEZ Group in Romania makes available the Codes of Conduct dedicated specially to clients and suppliers. They can be accessed on the website of CEZ Group in Romania, in the section “Ethics and Integrity”. Moreover, the agreements concluded with suppliers and Tender Books include specific provisions regarding compliance with ethics principles.
  • Informing and training employees
  • Actions in progress carried out by CEZ Group in Romania to inform and train its employees on anti-corruption policies and procedures include the following:
    • Periodically (at least quarterly), the Compliance Department submits a newsletter regarding the ethical values and/ or zero tolerance to corruption;
    • There are annual periods dedicated to direct training (face to face) for employees, in order to raise awareness and assume the ethical principles regarding the anticorruption fight;
    • CEZ Group in Romania submits to its employees periodically, at least quarterly, training materials (ExpressTraining). Subsequently, they are published on CEZ Group in Romania’s intranet page. They promote legal and internal provisions regarding integrity, ethics, anticorruption, etc.;
    • CEZ Group in Romania organises annually the event “Compliance Week”, an initiative of the Compliance Department, carried out for all companies within CEZ Group in Romania;
    • The Compliance Department initiated some articles discussing ethics/integrity in CEZ Group in Romania’s internal magazine ”CEZ News” (quarterly);
    • CEZ Group in Romania has initiated and developed an internal e-learning application which brings plus value to the employees’ training and assessment process and increases the efficiency of resources allocated.

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

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures

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


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1) This case study is based on published information by CEZ Group in Romania, 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:


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