The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How Stantec adheres to ethical business practices

Case study: How Stantec adheres to ethical business practices

Stantec provides professional consulting services in engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental services, project management, and project economics, along with construction and construction management services across 23 countries, in 6 continents. Committing to ethical business behaviour is, thus, a top priority.

This case study is based on the 2017 Sustainability Report by Stantec 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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Abstract

Stantec asks employees, partners, subcontractors, and vendors to live Stantec’s values and take personal responsibility for their conduct  Tweet This!, encouraging employees to speak up if they become aware of unethical behaviours. In order to adhere to ethical business practices Stantec took action to:
  • implement a Code of Business Conduct
  • provide employees with an integrity hotline
  • deal with conflicts of interest and corruption risks
  • implement a formal approval process for contributions and sponsorships
  • apply a Partner Code of Business Conduct

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Stantec identified a range of material issues, such as energy use, emissions, occupational health and safety, diversity and equal opportunity, procurement practices, customer privacy. Among these, adhering to ethical business practices stands out as a key material issue for Stantec.

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 Stantec engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Employees

 

 

 

 

·      Employee engagement surveys

·      Focus groups

·      One-on-one meetings

·      Integrity Hotline (third party)

·      Post-acquisition surveys

·      Diversity and Inclusion councils

·      Career Development Performance Reviews

·      Employee Resource Groups

Clients

 

·      Regular meetings with account managers

·      Ad-hoc meetings and calls with account and project managers and senior leaders

·      Brown-bag get-togethers to share lessons
learned and best practices

·      Client surveys, questionnaires, and requests for proposals

·      Debriefs and bidder conferences for proposed projects

·      Informal discussions at industry and professional association events

·      Joint participation on technical committees

Investors

 

 

 

·      Annual General Meetings

·      Earnings conference calls

·      Investor conference presentations

·      Ad-hoc meetings and calls with Investor Relations and Finance teams

·      Investor disclosure requests

·      Industry research and publications

·      Informal discussions at industry and professional association events

Communities ·      Stantec in the Community Week (across the Company)

·      Locally driven engagement initiatives (varies by region and locale)

Subcontractors and business partners ·      Subcontractor prequalifications

·      Joint project work

·      Ad-hoc meetings with project managers and senior leaders

Vendors ·      Contract negotiations

·      Quarterly business reviews

·      Ad-hoc meetings with Procurement team

Regulators ·      Interactions during project work

·      Informal discussions at industry and professional association events

·      Joint participation on technical committees

Industry

 

·      Informal discussions at industry and professional association events

·      Joint participation on technical committees

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Stantec used various tools and processes to ask key stakeholders to focus on their relationship with Stantec, and to identify what sustainability issues mattered most to them.

What actions were taken by Stantec to adhere to ethical business practices?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Stantec reports that it took the following actions for adhering to ethical business practices:

  • Implementing a Code of Business Conduct
  • Stantec’s Code of Business Conduct Policy explains its expectations for employee behaviour and sets global standards to follow in day-to-day work. All employees, officers, directors and contractors must take Ethics and Code of Business Conduct training once a year. Training topics include ethical behaviour, code of conduct, conflicts of interest, global anti-bribery and anti-corruption, government contracting, harassment and discrimination, privacy, political activities, political and charitable contributions, sponsorships, and social responsibility.
  • Providing employees with an integrity hotline
  • Stantec encourages employees to speak up if they notice unethical or unlawful behaviours. Employees can report concerns confidentially and anonymously through the Company’s toll-free Integrity Hotline (managed by a third party). Stantec does not tolerate retaliation against employees voicing concerns.
  • Dealing with conflicts of interest and corruption risks
  • Stantec employees must avoid conflicts of interest at all times when dealing with current or potential clients, subconsultants, vendors, contractors and competitors. To reduce the risk of corruption, Stantec implements appropriate mitigation strategies: all operations are assessed regularly for conflicts of interest and corruption risk, and the economic and political conditions of the markets Stantec serves are closely monitored.
  • Implementing a formal approval process for contributions and sponsorships
  • Stantec’s policies on charitable contributions and sponsorships are covered in employee training. Requests for contributions and sponsorships go through a formal approval process, with legal counsel oversight if needed. Stantec does not make political contributions to individual politicians, nor does it reimburse employees who choose to make them.
  • Applying a Partner Code of Business Conduct
  • In 2017, Stantec implemented a new Partner Code of Business Conduct programme to minimise the potential for problems within its supply chain. Accordingly, vendors, subcontractors, and partners are asked to apply business practices consistent with Stantec’s standards. Before being awarded work, they have to agree to comply with Stantec’s Partner Code of Business Conduct, which covers, among others, employment practices, health and safety, environment, human rights, discrimination, anti-bribery, intellectual property and privacy.

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 415-1 Political contributions

 

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

Disclosure 415-1 Political contributions 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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By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI-Standards Certified and IEMA approved Course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Stantec, 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 Stantec: 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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