The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Vedanta promotes ethical business behaviour

As one of the world’s largest diversified natural resources companies, operating in four continents – with operations centered in India, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Liberia, Ireland and Australia – and with more than 25,200 regular employees, engaging ethically and transparently with all stakeholders is a key priority for Vedanta  Tweet This!.

This case study is based on the 2016-17 Sustainable Development Report by Vedanta 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/ 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

Committed to a zero-tolerance approach to fraud, bribery and corruption, Vedanta tries to operate responsibly, according to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. In order to promote ethical business behaviour Vedanta took action to:

  • encourage employees to adhere to the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (CBCE)
  • promote integrity through the Audit Committee
  • implement a Whistleblower Policy

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016-17 Sustainable Development Report Vedanta identified a range of material issues, such as human rights, employee OHS, labour rights, climate change, community health and safety. Among these, promoting ethical business behaviour stands out as a key material issue for Vedanta.

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 s 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 Vedanta engages with:   

Stakeholder Group
Employees
Shareholders, Investors &Lenders
Civil Society
Industry (suppliers, customers & peers)
Communities
Governments

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritize material sustainability topics Vedanta carried out a ranking exercise among external stakeholders and, to get the management’s perspective, internal leadership and operational management workshops, interviews and ranking exercises.

What actions were taken by Vedanta to promote ethical business behaviour?

In its 2016-17 Sustainable Development Report Vedanta reports that it took the following actions for promoting ethical business behaviour:

  • Encouraging employees to adhere to the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (CBCE)
  • All Vedanta employees are expected to adhere to the CBCE and report possible violations, which are investigated and resolved promptly. Mandatory training on the CBCE is provided for all new employees, along with refresher workshops on the company’s anticorruption policies and processes for relevant employees.
  • Promoting integrity through the Audit Committee
  • Vedanta’s Audit Committee, consisting of four Non-executive Directors, helps the Board of Directors maintain and monitor the integrity of the company’s financial statements, and evaluates the effectiveness of the risk management system and internal controls, as well as the external auditor’s objectivity and independence.
  • Implementing a Whistleblower Policy
  • Through Vedanta’s Whistleblower Policy, both employees and external stakeholders are provided with a means of reporting inappropriate behaviour, confidentially and without any fear of retaliation (as regards employees). In 2016, a total of 129 whistleblower cases were reported and resolved.

Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?

The GRI indicators/Standards addressed in this case are:

1) G4-56: Describe the organization’s values, principles, standards and norms of behavior such as codes of conduct and codes of ethics – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 102-16 Values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior

2) G4-SO4: Communication and training on anti-corruption policies and procedures the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures

 

References:

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

 

Note to Vedanta: 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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