The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Outotec promotes ethical business practices

Outotec is a leading technology and service provider for the minerals processing and metallurgical industry, developing technologies and services for the sustainable use of Earth’s natural resources. Outotec fosters good governance and ethical business practices, values integrity in all contexts, and sees ethics and compliance as one of the fundamentals for its sustainability.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Outotec 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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Outotec endorses responsible business practices and seeks to comply, in its operations, with all national and international laws and regulations  Tweet This!, showing zero tolerance and working against corruption in all its forms. In order to promote ethical business practices Outotec took action to:

  • implement a Code of Conduct
  • launch a Compliance Helpline
  • conduct risk assessments
  • provide anti-corruption training

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Outotec identified a range of material issues, such as financial performance, health and safety, sustainable technologies and innovations, responsible supply chain. Among these, promoting ethical business practices stands out as a key material issue for Outotec.

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 Outotec engages with: 

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Employees

 

·      Regular briefings and info sessions

·      Regular meetings with employee representatives

·      Global intranet, collaboration tools and social media

·      Performance development dialogues

·      Outotec Round-Table

·      Employee surveys

·      Compliance helpline and feedback channels

·      Young Professionals network

Customers

 

 

·      Regular meetings held by Outotec’s Account Management, and as part of Sell and Deliver processes

·      Customer satisfaction surveys

·      Joint R&D projects

·      Training, user meetings, workshops

·      Seminars, conferences, trade shows

·      Asset walks

·      Newsletters, website, social media

Suppliers and contractors

 

·      Contacts through Outotec’s Delivery process

·      Supplier Policy and Code of Conduct

·      Supplier assessments and audits

·      Joint continuous improvement of processes

·      Outotec Supplier Days

·      Training events and programmes

Investors, analysts and financiers

 

 

·      Quarterly briefings

·      CEO’s mid-quarter Q&A sessions

·      Audited/assured reporting

·      Capital Markets Day

·      Roadshows, one-on-one meetings, industry seminars

·      Annual General Meeting

·      Excursions to Outotec sites

·      Annual surveys

Academia and students

 

·      Joint programmes

·      Involvement in university courses

·      Seminars, lectures, visits

·      Thesis work

·      Internships

·      Networking

Authorities, regulators and governments

 

·      Memberships and chairmanships in EU’s and national working groups

·      Counselling on expert matters

·      Seminars on sustainable mining and metals processing

Potential future employees ·      Careers website and social media channels

·      Recruitment events

·      Student cooperation

·      Internships

·      Hosting visitor groups

Local communities

 

·      Joint social programmes with customers

·      Support for local initiatives

·      Volunteering programmes

Industry associations and NGOs ·      Active membership in industry associations

·      Employee volunteering work

·      Dialogue on circular economy and sustainable processing of minerals and metals

Media ·      Interviews with Outotec managers and experts

·      Quarterly media briefings

·      Audited/assured reporting

·      Success stories on the website

·      Active use of social media

·      Excursions to Outotec sites

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Outotec engaged with its stakeholders through an online survey on the company’s external website and also interviewed representatives of key stakeholder groups and Outotec employees.

What actions were taken by Outotec to promote ethical business practices?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Outotec reports that it took the following actions for promoting ethical business practices:

  • Implementing a Code of Conduct
  • Outotec’s Code of Conduct sets out the principles of business conduct and gives guidance to its employees and external stakeholders on ethics, compliance with laws and regulations, solid governance and management of sustainability and risks. The Code is approved by the Board of Directors, and all employees and business partners are expected to follow it. Outotec’s target is that employees participate in e-learning on the Code of Conduct or attend the related classroom training on a regular basis. During 2018, 94% of Outotec’s permanent employees with daily access to a computer completed the Code of Conduct training. In 2019, updated Code of Conduct training material was distributed to all employees and contractors with daily access to a computer for self-study.
  • Launching a Compliance Helpline
  • Outotec’s Compliance Helpline on the company website is available for anyone to raise concerns related to corruption, human rights or any unethical behaviour. All concerns raised are treated confidentially, and there is a clear no-retaliation policy. More severe compliance cases may be submitted to Outotec’s Compliance Board, whose members are the Chief Compliance Officer, the General Counsel, the Chief Financial Officer and the Head of Human Resources. In 2019, there were in total 36 compliance cases investigated and received from all channels (website, intranet, email, verbal, etc.). Compliance investigations led to the termination of twelve employment contracts.
  • Conducting risk assessments
  • Outotec makes sure that all projects of a certain size or complexity are subject to a risk assessment, which includes various compliance and ethics queries and escalations for the identified risks. They may involve more detailed investigations internally or through a third party, and may result in Outotec declining to bid for certain projects. In addition, unknown and potential risk customers, suppliers or agents are regularly being assessed for compliance risks using an external tool with escalation paths. Environmental, social and economic sustainability related risks are covered in the project risk assessment tool, which is used to assess all new projects worth at least one million euros. Appropriate follow-up actions are defined based on these findings. In 2019, internal audits were conducted in the Middle East and Southeast Asia Pacific market areas and for agents used by Outotec. Outotec also conducted compliance due diligence checks relating to identified high-risk countries. Outotec has also assessed the human rights risks in its own operations, with the focus on service and manufacturing sites. No significant human rights risks were identified. Based on the assessment, working conditions guidelines regarding blue-collar workers were implemented during 2019, which were aligned with the UN Guiding Principles.
  • Providing anti-corruption training
  • Outotec trains its employees in connection with audit activities at its market area operations regarding anti-corruption policies and procedures for preventing misconduct and crimes. Virtual training, processes and guidelines on anti-corruption are also available to all employees. In 2019, an anti-corruption campaign regarding anti-corruption risks and required business conduct was made available for all employees and contractors.

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

3) Disclosure 205-3 Confirmed incidents of corruption and actions taken

 

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

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

Disclosure 205-3 Confirmed incidents of corruption and actions taken corresponds to:

 

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.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Outotec, 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/

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