Sustainability and social responsibility with HSE in focus
Sustainability in everything we do is one of SalMar’s key tenets. For us, sustainability is about the way we operate as a company and how we behave in the areas surrounding our operations. This includes taking care of our employees, the salmon and the environment, while developing the industry and moving society in a more sustainable direction.
SalMar aims to safeguard the seas, while maximising our production at the terms of the salmon. This includes contributing to the development of new technology, so that we can continue to reduce the biological footprint of our production.
The Group recognises the diversity of its corporate social responsibility, as an employer, producer, supplier of healthy food, user of the natural environment and administrator of financial and intellectual capital. Social responsibility is important for us, and we want everything we do to stand the light of day. At the same time, we aim to minimise the impact our operations have on the natural environment.
Our holistic approach rests on awareness of there being the link between caring for people, economy and the environment, which determines whether something is sustainable. This is the core reason for why we think sustainability in everything we do.
In 2020, SalMar continued its sustainability reporting. The sustainability report has been prepared on the basis of the principles set out in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). For a more complete account of HSE, sustainability and social responsibility at SalMar, please see this report. The following text must therefore be seen as an overarching summary of selected issues discussed in that report, which is available in its entirety from SalMar’s website www.salmar.no.
CODE OF CONDUCT AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
To contribute to the development of a healthy corporate culture and maintain the company’s integrity, the board has drawn up a code of conduct. All employees have been made aware of SalMar’s ethical guidelines, which are the subject of discussion at annual seminars at the SalMar School. The code of conduct details SalMar’s attitude to business ethics and corruption, the working environment and community relations. Routines for the notification of wrongdoing are highlighted during internal training sessions. A high ethical standard in all aspects of the business is non-negotiable, and forms the very foundation for SalMar’s entire HSE strategy.
A set of corporate tenets has been drawn up. These tenets describe the behaviours and actions required of all employees. At any given time, the SalMar culture is embodied and shaped by its employees. Their good attitudes and actions have always made a significant contribution to SalMar’s success.
The code of conduct and corporate tenets may be obtained from SalMar’s website www.salmar.no.
Stable environmental conditions are crucial to the health and welfare of the salmon being farmed. To protect the environment and facilitate long-term operations, extensive monitoring and R&D activities are undertaken. Every part of the operation is risk assessed in terms of sustainability, and appropriate measures are set out in procedures and instructions. To monitor compliance with the guidelines that have been drawn up for sound operations, measurements are taken and internal audits performed. SalMar has developed its own standard for best practice. The SalMar Standard sets the bar high, and the number of sites which meet it is ¬published in monthly KPIs.
SalMar fully supports and respects the principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by acting responsibly in all areas of its business. This means that the company respects labour rights, opposes any form of child labour, forced labour or discrimination, avoids corruption and is considerate of the environment.
ORGANISATION, WORKING ENVIRONMENT, HELT AND SAFETY
Strategic approach HSE
SalMar’s HSE activities are based on our values and strategic priorities. SalMar has drawn up a set of overarching objectives, with associated activities and action plans. On the basis of these overarching objectives, each individual division and department has drawn up its own local sub-goals and internal control action plans. Management is committed to realising the goals that have been set.
In 2020, we continued to work on the development of an overarching platform for corporate governance. The system is specially adapted to SalMar’s needs, and we have focused on creating a user-friendly solution with a clear reporting function that is used for evaluation in the appropriate arenas. Emphasis is placed on competence enhancement, surveillance and control of key figures and the evaluation of non-conformances. The system is an important tool in the day-to-day management of the company, and is a useful aid in the monitoring and management of risk.
Risk assessments are carried out in accordance with the Norwegian standard NS 5814, and result in the drawing up of contingency and action plans. Senior personnel have environmental responsibility as part of their job descriptions, and HSE rules and regulations have been drawn up for all employees. All non-conformances are reported, dealt with and evaluated on an ongoing basis. Activities relating to the environment are followed up through systematic weekly and monthly reviews by SalMar’s management teams. Lessons learned and improvement measures are shared across all departments in quality-assured weekly reports. The issue of sustainability, with particular emphasis on the working environment and human safety, is tabled for discussion annually by SalMar ASA’s board of directors.
In addition to risk assessments, evaluations and through analyses of all incidents and non-conformances, the training of all staff, internal audits, safety inspections and meets of staff health and safety representatives are all important initiatives to improve safety at work.
All new employees receive HSE training through induction courses, operational seminars and the SalMar School.
Corporate governance platform
In 2020, we worked to further develop our corporate governance platform (called EQS). The system is specially adapted to SalMar’s needs, and we have focused on creating an effective and user-friendly reporting solution. The system has now become an important tool in the day-to-day management of the company, and is a useful aid in the monitoring and management of risk.
SalMar’s new employees receive HSE training though initiatives such as induction courses, operational seminars and the SalMar School. All employees have received training in how to report potential wrongdoing or other causes for concern, and know that internal whistleblowers are protected from any reprisals. The procedure for such notification is described in the corporate governance system, which is available to all employees.
In conjunction with experts from DNV, we developed and carried out a customised training programme for our staff health and safety representatives (a so-called 40-hour course). This has raised the quality of the training given, and ensures equally good training for all staff health and safety representatives, regardless of their geographic local or organisational position.
The SalMar School comprises a series of workshops for all employees, which focus on relevant work-related topics as well as business ethics and attitudes. The SalMar School encourages and develops the entire workforce. By revitalising the SalMar School, the Group wishes to ensure the exchange of experience and knowledge between the various divisions.
The risks associated with the various day-to-day operational activities at SalMar mean that training and the correct competences are vital. Training is given both on the job and in the form of external courses. Day-to-day follow-up and professional development within the individual’s team of co-workers are nevertheless the most important sources of personal growth.
Accidents and injuries
SalMar intends to be a safe place to work. The company works systematically with risk assessment and training to safeguard its employees.
The sickness absence rate continued to be an area of intense focus in 2020, a year when Covid-19 created a great deal of uncertainty about how it might develop. We are therefore very pleased to note that the sickness absence rate in 2020 remained on a par with the year before even though we failed to reach our goal of <4.5 per cent, and ended at 5.3 per cent in Norway. Short-term absence in Norway came to 2.2 per cent in 2020, up from 2.0 per cent in 2019.
In Iceland, the operation achieved its goal of keeping the sickness absence rate below 4.5 per cent. At the close of the year, it stood at 4.3 per cent, though that was slightly up on the year before.
The sickness absence rate is slightly higher in SalMar’s harvesting and processing operations. For this reason, the Group is working systematically to reduce sickness absence in this part of the value chain.
Diversity and equality
The Group has made its policy plain with respect to the promotion of diversity and equality. SalMar accepts no discrimination, abuse or harassment of our workers or partners, and we treat everyone with courtesy and respect no matter what their ethnicity, gender, national or social background, age, functional capacity, sexual orientation, religious faith, political convictions or other status. Respect for the individual is the cornerstone of the company’s policy. Everyone shall be treated with dignity and respect, and shall not be unfairly prevented from carrying out their duties and responsibilities. This attitude springs from acknowledgement that diversity contributes to a better working environment, greater adaptability and better results in the long term.
SalMar accepts no forms of corruption. No SalMar employee shall, directly or indirectly, offer, promise, give or receive any bribe, unlawful or inappropriate benefit or remuneration in order to achieve advantage for themselves or the company. As part of its anti-corruption measures, SalMar has adopted guidelines with respect to gifts. The board and management are not aware of any violations of the company’s code of conduct in this respect.
SalMar works systematically to minimize its environmental footprint. This means protecting the seas, reducing energy consumption and minimising greenhouse gas emissions from our operations. By using new technologies and innovations, we are constantly striving to minimise our biological footprint, in a way that allows us to produce as much salmon as possible on the salmon’s terms. This includes the day-to-day actions of its employees, involvement in research and development, as well as collaboration with government and regulatory authorities, interest groups, other aquaculture companies and suppliers of goods and services.