Sustainability and social responsibility with HSE in focus
SalMar intends to secure long-term profitability and growth by operating all aspects of its fish farming and processing activities in a sustainable manner, and by acting as a responsible corporate citizen. For SalMar, sustainability means maintaining high ethical standards and helping to further raise awareness of the environment in which we work every day. We shall protect the environment and ensure it is managed in a way that will benefit future generations.
SalMar has a presence in local communities up and down the Norwegian coast, and therefore has an interest in the continuing welfare of many small towns and rural districts. For our employees, it is important that the local communities to which they belong have the necessary infrastructure and opportunities for an active social life outside of work. For SalMar, it is crucial that the Group is able to operate at sites affording good growing conditions for its fish stocks. SalMar is actively engaged in several local projects. It is also important for SalMar to have a presence in local arenas for the exchange of views and information, as well as participate in planning processes. Salmon farming must still be considered a young industry, and it is important to ensure that local decision-makers and the general public are well informed about its operations and development plans. By actively engaging in industry organisations and the public debate, SalMar contributes to important processes for sustainable development in Norway.
The Group is extremely aware of the diverse nature of its social responsibilities: as an employer, an industrial processor, a producer of healthy food, a user of the natural environment, and as a custodian of financial and intellectual capital. We strive to fulfil our corporate social responsibilities, ensure that everything we do bears public scrutiny, and minimise the impact of our operations on the environment.
In 2017, SalMar continued to publish a separate sustainability report in compliance with the principles of the Global Reporting Initiative. 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
SalMar’s code of conduct and social responsibility has been made known to all employees. The code of conduct, which covers, among other things, SalMar’s policies on business ethics and corruption, the working environment and community relations, is intended to contribute towards the development of a healthy corporate culture and uphold the company’s integrity. Internal training programmes also highlight how employees can report wrongdoing or other causes for concern. A high ethical standard in all aspects of our business is an absolute requirement, and constitutes the very foundation of SalMar’s HSE strategy.
A set of corporate tenets has been drawn up. These tenets describe desired behaviours and provide a shared platform for the actions of all employees. It is the workforce that embodies and develops SalMar’s corporate culture. The employees’ commitment and positive attitudes have always played a key role in SalMar’s success. These issues are discussed at the SalMar School’s annual seminars.
The code of conduct and corporate tenets may be obtained from SalMar’s website www.salmar.no.
In addition to being measured and audited in accordance with statutory regulations and the sustainability requirements of third parties and customers, SalMar has developed its own ‘SalMar Standard’ performance criteria for the various parts of its operation. The standard contains all the requirements with which the operation must comply, and describes how major work processes are to be checked by means of operational audits. The ‘SalMar Standard’ designation is awarded to those departments which score highly in internal audits.
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 2017, 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 2017, 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 2017 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 2017, 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.
There was a marked decrease in sickness absence as a result of individual job facilitation and personal follow-up. The sickness absence rate in 2017 came to 4.76 per cent, compared with 5.25 per cent in 2016, 7.47 per cent in 2015 and 5.79 per cent in 2014. The processing sector drives up the average, through the sickness absence rate here is on a par with the industry average. Short-term sickness absence in 2017 totalled 2.02 per cent, compared with 1.92 per cent in 2016, 2.33 per cent in 2015 and 2.19 per cent in 2014. Long-term sickness absence in 2017 totalled 2.74 per cent, compared with 3.33 per cent in 2016, 5.14 per cent in 2015 and 3.60 per cent in 2014.
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 published clear policies with respect to diversity and equality in its code of conduct. SalMar accepts no discrimination of employees, shareholders, board members, customers or suppliers on the grounds of ethnicity, nationality, age, gender or religion. Respect for the individual is the cornerstone of the company’s policies.
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. To date, SalMar has not been accused of or involved in any cases relating to any form of corruption or bribery. 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)
To date, 18 SalMar sites 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.