Corporate Responsibility Committee
The committee provides guidance on the Company's Corporate Responsibility (‘CR’) programme, reviews the Group’s key non-financial risks and opportunities and monitors performance against a corporate responsibility framework.
The Committee provides Board oversight of our CR framework, strategy and performance relating to our ambitions and essentials. The Committee also regularly reviews reputational risks and non-financial internal audit reports, in addition to any whistleblowing allegations.
Key areas of discussion and review during 2015/16 included the following:
- Our climate change adaptation report. We have delivered significant adaptation action on the ground and have increased our understanding of the risks climate change poses to us, but we still have more to do to build our resilience, which is reflected in our plans going forward.
- Re-launch of our Code of Conduct ‘Doing The Right Thing the Severn Trent Way’ (‘DTRT’) and supporting principles and policies as an integral part of the articulation of our strategic framework, particularly our values and our CR essentials, so that they are consistent and mutually reinforcing.
- An update on ‘Managing our suppliers responsibly’. Good progress has been made to embed DTRT in our supply chain and progress regarding other aspects of managing our supply chain responsibly will be monitored by the Committee going forward.
- Adoption of our CR framework by Business Services. Wherever possible, consistent CR measures will be used, and although we cannot currently report on all measures across all regions, we will be working towards this for 2016/17.
- An update on the expanded scope of our environmental management systems. New requirements from the Environment Agency regarding environmental permit templates require an expansion of our current scope to cover combined sewer overflows, pumping stations and all sewage treatment works. Key deliverables will include an expanded training programme and assurance against compliance. This will be monitored by the standards maintenance team going forward.
- An update on focus areas for diversity. We are focusing on recruitment of BAME applicants and women into leadership roles.
- A review of external news and trends relevant to Severn Trent such as an update on the political landscape following the general election in May 2015 and Paris COP21 – the United Nations conference on climate change.
We have a responsibility to understand our potential impact on human rights and to mitigate or eliminate this impact. We are committed to operating in accordance with the United Nations Global Compact Principles and DTRT supports this commitment. Whilst not having a specific human rights policy, we have Group policies on Human Resources, Anti Bribery and Anti Fraud, Whistleblowing and Procurement. These policies are in turn supported by a broader range of policies within Severn Trent Water Limited and Severn Trent Business Services to support key human rights.
We will not condone the use of child labour and forced labour under any circumstances. The highest risk for Severn Trent is through our supply chain, therefore we work with our suppliers to ensure they operate to the same standards we set ourselves. Our Code of Conduct has been built into the procurement tender process as part of the pre-qualification questionnaire template in Severn Trent Water Limited.
We recognise the right of all employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining. We seek to promote cooperation between employees, our management team and recognised trade unions. We meet with our trade unions on a quarterly basis at the Company forum, and see real benefit in sharing information with our colleagues and seeking their feedback and suggestions. We believe this fosters a joint understanding of business needs and helps to deliver common solutions aimed at making our business successful.
All Severn Trent employees are encouraged to raise concerns at work in the first instance through their line manager or senior management, however, we recognise that employees may feel inhibited in certain circumstances. If this should be the case, employees are encouraged to use our confidential and independent whistleblowing helpline or email service, operated by Safecall, an independent company which specialises in handling concerns at work. The service is available internationally and Safecall provides a translation service, allowing any employee, wherever they are in the world, to access it.
Read our whistleblowing policy for more information.
Our Group-wide Anti Bribery and Anti Fraud Policy prohibits bribery and corruption in all our business dealings, regardless of the country or culture within which we work. Employees identified as high risk through a risk review for Severn Trent Water Limited and all employees of Severn Trent Business Services are required to undertake an online training module and examination to ensure awareness of and compliance with this policy. The Audit Committee carries out an annual review of our systems and controls to detect and prevent bribery and corruption.
Read our anti-bribery and anti-fraud policy for more information.