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Case study: How Enel protects and promotes human rights

Enel is a global leader in energy generation and distribution, operating in over 30 countries worldwide. Enel is aware of the fact that a company is responsible for promoting and respecting human rights, not only in the actions and operations which involve it directly but also, more generally, indirectly in the context in which it operates.

This case study is based on the 2016 Sustainability Report by Enel 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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Enel is firmly committed to promoting and protecting human rights in the various areas where the Group operates  Tweet This!, focusing on two fundamental areas: labour practices and relations with communities. In order to protect and promote human rights Enel took action to:
  • implement a new due diligence process
  • carry out a country risk assessment on labour rights
  • organise working groups on human rights

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Enel identified a range of material issues, such as economic and financial value creation, fair corporate conduct, mitigation of environmental impacts, occupational health and safety, sound governance. Among these, protecting and promoting human rights stands out as a key material issue for Enel.

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 organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

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 Enel engages with:   

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Employees

 

 

·      Intranet

·      Forum

·      Interviews

·      Working groups

·      Climate survey

·      Company magazine

·      Newsletter

·      Notification channel

Financial community ·      Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

·      Road shows

·      Investor Day

·      Direct contacts

·      Web channel

Customers

 

 

·      Enel retail outlets and commercial offices

·      Online portal

·      Agents

·      Consumer associations

·      Customer focus centres

·      Surveys

·      Forums and work groups

·      Mobile apps

·      Social network

Business community

 

 

·      Meetings

·      Working groups

·      Forums and dedicated meetings

·      Direct contacts

Suppliers and contractors ·      Online channel

·      Forums and dedicated meetings

·      Working groups

·      Direct contacts

Media ·      Press releases

·      Road shows

·      Direct contacts

·      Dedicated meetings

·      Social network

Civil society and local communities ·      Online

·      Releases

·      Direct contacts

·      Notification channel

·      Social network

Institutions ·      Online

·      Releases

·      Direct contacts

·      Notification channel

·      Social network

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Enel engaged with its stakeholders through 228 initiatives involving stakeholders, to assess the priority assigned by stakeholders to various topics.

What actions were taken by Enel to protect and promote human rights?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Enel reports that it took the following actions for protecting and promoting human rights:

  • Implementing a new due diligence process
  • During 2016 Enel redesigned its due diligence process to align it to international best practice, focusing the analysis at first on the perceived risk assessment for human rights in the various areas where the Group operates. The process involves 5 stages:
    • Assessment of the country risk on labour rights;
    • Assessment of the country risk on rights of the community and the environment;
    • Impact assessment;
    • Development of an action plan;
    • Monitoring of the plan and remedies.
  • During 2016, Enel designed the above-mentioned process through the involvement of representatives of the various countries where the Group operates, after defining the country risk assessment questionnaire and launching two parallel projects in Latin America, to verify its operation.
  • Carrying out a country risk assessment on labour rights
  • On the basis of the statement by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on labour principles and fundamental rights, and in line with the indications of UNICEF and recent regulatory proposals (such as the Modern Slavery Act of 2015), Enel prepared a country risk assessment questionnaire regarding labour rights and in particular: freedom of association, child labour, forced labour, diversity and inclusion. The questionnaire was administered both through local interviews and via an online survey to various stakeholder categories (communities, institutions, customers, etc.), and concerned 5 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. The assessment of perceived risk was based on both the severity of the issue and the likelihood of an actual violation. From the analysis of the results, it emerged that the perception of the risks linked to labour rights in Latin America, albeit taking into consideration the due local differences, tended to be medium to low. For each issue and for each country the areas to be monitored were identified, to guarantee their constant control.
  • Organising working groups on human rights
  • During 2016, Enel continued to organise internal work groups to oversee human rights, such as the activities on diversity and inclusion and those relating to the purchasing process, confirming Enel’s desire to have a preventative and not reactive approach to such issues. Additionally, in 2016 Enel continued to participate in the initiative (UNICEF Business Lab) launched by UNICEF Italia, a platform involving institutions, companies, the academic world, the media and key stakeholders from the Italian economy on issues of business and human rights, children and adolescents.

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

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 406-1 Incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken

2) Disclosure 407-1 Operations and suppliers in which the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining may be at risk

3) Disclosure 408-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of child labor

4) Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor

 

 Disclosure 406-1 Incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Business theme: Non-discrimination
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Non-discrimination
  • 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: Non-discrimination

Disclosure 407-1 Operations and suppliers in which the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining may be at risk corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Freedom of association and collective bargaining

Disclosure 408-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of child labor corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Abolition of child labor
  • 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: Abolition of child labor

Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Elimination of forced or compulsory labor

 

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 Enel, 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) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

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

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