Sustainability and social responsibility with HSE in focus
SalMar will safeguard its long-term profitability and growth through sustainable fish farming and industrial operations, and by acting as a responsible corporate citizen. For SalMar, sustainability is about maintaining high ethical and business standards, and contributing to a greater awareness of the environment in which we operate day to day. We protect the environment and ensure that it is managed in a way that benefits future generations.
Sustainability in everything we do is one of SalMar’s most important tenets, and is directly linked to our fundamental principles of leaving a minimal footprint on the areas in which we operate, at the same time as we maximise the value created by our products.
SalMar has a presence in local communities up and down the Norwegian coast and in Iceland, and the development of these villages and municipalities is very important to us. For our employees, it is important that the local communities to which they belong have the necessary infrastructure and offer opportunities for leisure activities. For SalMar, it is crucial that the Group has access to sites offering good conditions for the fish we farm. SalMar engages actively in numerous local projects and considers it important to be present in local arenas to share views and information, and participate in planning processes. The farming of salmon is one of the most sustainable and environment-friendly ways of producing food, but must still be considered a young industry. It is important to ensure that local decision-makers and the general population are informed about our operations and development plans. Through active participation in business organisations and the public debate, SalMar contributes to important processes relating to the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector.
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.
In 2019, SalMar continued its sustainability reporting. This is the sixth report in succession, but the first to be included in the annual report. 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 2019, 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 2019, 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. We will continue developing this platform in 2020 to include additional opportunities for performance management and learning across the different units.
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 GL, 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.
Sickness absence continued to be an area of focus in 2019. Nevertheless, the goal of achieving a sickness absence rate of less than 4.5 per cent was not realised in Norway, although it has fallen. The overall sickness absence rate in Norway came to 5.3 per cent in 2019, compared with 5.5 per cent in 2018. Short-term sickness absence fell slightly from 2.1 per cent in 2018 to 2.0 per cent in 2019. In Iceland, the sickness absence rate stood at 4.1 per cent at the close of 2019.
The Group has many employees working in harvesting and processing operations, and it is this segment that pulls up the sickness absence figures. At the same time, it was pleasing that this is the group that has achieved the largest reduction in the sickness absence figures, along with employees at our hatcheries. Systematic efforts are being made to implement preventive measures and, where necessary, adapt workplaces and workloads to the needs of individual employees.
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 avoid having an undesirable impact on its surroundings. 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.
Aquaculture Stewardship Council- standard (ASC)
By the end of 2019 26 SalMar sites in Norway have achieved certification in accordance with the ASC standard, which is considered to the industry’s most stringent sustainability standard. The main objective of the ASC standard is to ensure transparency, a reduced carbon footprint and compliance with corporate social responsibilities, as well as provide added value to the companies certified.
The ASC standard is extremely demanding with regard to environmental burden, working environment, communication with stakeholders and transparency. In some cases the requirements are stricter than those laid down in Norwegian law. The ASC standard is difficult to achieve, since it requires substantial resources to be devoted to preparation and a considerable focus on the detail. Openness with regard to performance is an important part of the standard, and information is presented on an ongoing basis on our website www.salmar.no. This standard is helping SalMar to take a fresh look at how we do things and stretch ourselves still further to live up to one of our basic tenets: Sustainability in everything we do.