The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How Vancouver Airport Authority promotes ethical business practices

Case study: How Vancouver Airport Authority promotes ethical business practices

Vancouver Airport Authority is the community-based, not-for-profit organisation that manages Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Committed to ethical business practices, Vancouver Airport Authority expects its team to uphold the highest ethical standards  Tweet This! and has a range of internal policies and programmes in place to make sure there is a clear understanding across the organisation.

This case study is based on the 2018 Annual & Sustainability Report by Vancouver Airport Authority 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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A strong ethical foundation is essential to Vancouver Airport Authority, because it demonstrates that it is fulfilling its commitment to be a transparent and accountable organisation that provides social and economic benefits for the region. In order to promote ethical business practices Vancouver Airport Authority took action to:

  • implement a Code of Ethics
  • combat corruption
  • apply a Whistleblower Policy
  • implement a Social Policy
  • conduct internal audits

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Annual & Sustainability Report Vancouver Airport Authority identified a range of material issues, such as customer care, security and safety, air services and connections, diversity and equal opportunity, ecosystem health. Among these, promoting ethical business practices stands out as a key material issue for Vancouver Airport Authority.

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 Vancouver Airport Authority engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement



·      Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey

·      Daily frontline Customer Care team

·      Information kiosks

·      Monthly Sea Island newspaper

·      YVR Website

·      Social media

·      Regular airport events



·      Regular meetings, communications

·      Key airport initiatives and events

·      Airline Consultative Committee

Airport Business Partners



·      Regular meetings, communications

·      Annual Public Meeting

·      Key airport initiatives and events

·      Monthly Sea Island newspaper

·      Airline Operations Committee

Local Communities



·      Annual Community Survey

·      Annual Public Meeting

·      Social Media

·      YVR Website

·      News releases, media statements and interviews

·      Consultation and engagement for airport projects (e.g. Master Plan, Templeton area redevelopment)

·      Quarterly meetings with Aeronautical Noise Management Committee and Environmental Advisory Committee

·      Community Investment Programme

·      Summer Festival Series

·      Regular YVR Explorer tours

·      Experiential airport tours

·      Regular meetings with a Relationship Committee, consisting of Airport Authority and Musqueam members

·       YVR-Musqueam newsletter

·      Monthly YVR newsletter

·      Participation in YVR events for Musqueam elders and representatives

Government and Regulators


·      Annual presentations to local municipalities

·      Ongoing one-on-one meetings with government representatives

Industry Associations



·      Industry association meetings, conferences and working groups

·      Industry sponsorship initiatives

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Vancouver Airport Authority and YVR engaged with stakeholders through a Sustainability Survey (1,582 respondents), a series of small to large-scale workshops with invited YVR stakeholders and 13 direct interviews with stakeholders identified as critical in gaining additional qualitative data.

What actions were taken by Vancouver Airport Authority to promote ethical business practices?

In its 2018 Annual & Sustainability Report Vancouver Airport Authority reports that it took the following actions for promoting ethical business practices:

  • Implementing a Code of Ethics
  • Vancouver Airport Authority employees and directors follow a Code of Ethics, while the Board follows a Director Ethics and Code of Conduct. The Code of Ethics plays an important role in making sure Vancouver Airport Authority meets Social Policy objectives, and employees are regularly encouraged to read and report instances of noncompliance. Additionally, employees in certain groups are required to sign an annual Conflict of Interest declaration, confirming their compliance with the Code of Ethics and any potential conflicts of interest in their role at the Airport Authority.
  • Combatting corruption
  • Vancouver Airport Authority takes anti-corruption laws very seriously, with the understanding that violating them may result in severe consequences for both employees and the Airport Authority, recognising that anyone conducting business or otherwise acting for or on behalf of the Airport Authority, is subject to these laws. Vancouver Airport Authority manages anti-corruption practices through its foundational element Governance and Accountability, under the Strategic Plan, and through its Anti-Corruption Policy, Code of Ethics, Whistleblower Policy, Community Investment Policy and Guidelines and Social Management System. The Anti-Corruption Policy applies to all Airport Authority employees, managers, senior managers, consultants, contractors, representatives, agents, officers, directors, and members and directors of the Board, and is communicated to all employees. Vancouver Airport Authority expects all employees to act in accordance with applicable domestic laws, including the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act and the Criminal Code of Canada, and all applicable foreign laws, and has a zero-tolerance approach to corruption. Vancouver Airport Authority’s goal is 100 per cent compliance and, to achieve this target, it provides anti-corruption resources and education for its employees and Board.
  • Applying a Whistleblower Policy
  • Vancouver Airport Authority’s internal Whistleblower Policy provides a framework to report any perceived wrongdoings. Overseen by the Vice President Legal and Chief Governance Officer and the Director Internal Audit, the policy offers several options: reporting to superiors, reporting anonymously through the Safety Management System or calling the Confidence Line, a 24-hour ethics hotline managed by an independent third party. Vancouver Airport Authority shares this policy with employees and contractors working at Airport Authority offices.
  • Implementing a Social Policy
  • Vancouver Airport Authority is committed to being a socially responsible organisation, increasing awareness about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) among employees, stakeholders, customers and communities. In defining its Social Policy, Vancouver Airport Authority embraces the United Nations Global Compact and the ISO26000 standards, measuring, auditing and sharing its performance on CSR practices. The Social Policy and related programmes are the direct responsibility of the President & CEO and the Executive Team and are managed through the Social Management System. The Board of Directors oversees the conduct of the organisation and makes sure the President & CEO and the Executive Team monitor and enforce compliance. Vancouver Airport Authority’s Social Management System is broad and encompasses a large portion of programmes and actions. The Sustainability Working Group, chaired by the Vice President, People and Sustainability, is responsible for overseeing the Social Management System and monitoring the policies and programmes under the Social Policy. The committee sets targets, monitors performance and reports findings and recommendation to the Executive Team. If an area of non-compliance is identified, it is addressed as per its governing policy or system.
  • Conducting internal audits
  • Vancouver Airport Authority’s Internal Audit Department provides independent and objective assurance as to whether risks, internal controls and governance processes are appropriately managed to acceptable levels to enable the Airport Authority to achieve its strategic objectives. The department develops an annual risk-based audit plan that includes assurance on the effectiveness of the Airport Authority’s risk management network. It also provides a core compliance function by carrying out independent investigations of suspected fraudulent activities, internal control audits, compliance audits of core policies, such as the Expense Reimbursement Policy, and assesses the Airport Authority’s compliance with applicable regulations and contractual obligations.

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:

  • 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


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1) This case study is based on published information by Vancouver Airport Authority, 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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