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 therefore 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 has on the environment.

SalMar takes a holistic approach to its fish farming activities, and works continuously throughout the organisation to reduce its energy consumption and adopt climate-friendly solutions. SalMar is the world’s largest producer of organic farmed salmon, and its conventionally produced salmon is certified in accordance with high HSE standards (GlobalG.A.P., IWAY, Tesco, etc). In 2015 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.

SalMar’s code of conduct and social responsibility has been made known to all employees. The code of conduct, which also covers 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.

Read more about the code of conduct and corporate tenets here.

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 ‘SalMar Standard’ designation is awarded to those departments which score highly in internal audits. SalMar’s internal audits are holistic assessments covering the most important aspects of the statutory regulations, as well as international and customer-specific requirements, on which SalMar bases its production.

SalMar fully supports and respects internationally recognised 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.

Strategic approach HSE
SalMar’s HSE activities are based on our values and our 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. Management is committed to realising the goals that have been set.

In 2015 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 that are regularly reviewed. 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 monthly reviews by SalMar’s management teams. Twice a year, the issue of sustainability, with particular emphasis on the working environment and human safety, is tabled for discussion by SalMar ASA’s board of directors.

In addition to risk assessments, evaluations and the thorough analysis of incidents and non-conformances, employee training, internal auditors, safety inspections and seminars for safety representatives are important measures to increase safety in the workplace. Internal consultants are used actively to further raise the quality of the company’s improvement efforts. All new employees receive HSE training through induction courses, operational seminars and the SalMar School.

New corporate governance platform
In 2015 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 to develop this platform in 2016 to include additional opportunities for performance management and learning across the different units.

Competence development
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.

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
Working at SalMar shall be safe. The company works systematically with risk management and training to protect its workforce. Nevertheless, the company experienced some serious incidents in 2015 that led to permanent injuries, but none that led to fatalities or the risk thereof.

A total of 45 lost time injuries (LTIs) were recorded in 2015, compared with 42 LTIs in 2014. The majority of these injuries occurred in our harvesting and processing facilities. Continued focus on industrial safety initiatives is important to reduce the number of injuries in 2016.

Sickness absence
Sickness absence has remained relatively stable in recent years. The sickness absence rate in 2015 came to 7.47 per cent, compared with 5.79 per cent in 2014 and 5.00 per cent in 2013. The processing sector drives up the average, but here too the sickness absence rate is on a par with the industry as a whole. Short-term sickness absence in 2015 totalled 2.33 per cent, compared with 2.19 per cent in 2014 and 2.12 per cent in 2013. Long-term sickness absence totalled 5.14 per cent, compared with 3.60 per cent in 2014 and 2.88 per cent in 2013.

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. Everyone shall be treated with dignity and respect, and shall not be improperly prevented from performing their duties and responsibilities. This position is based on acknowledgement of the fact that a relatively even balance between the sexes and ethnic diversity contribute to a better working environment, greater adaptability and better long-term results.

In 2015 the SalMar Group’s workforce corresponded to a total of 1,182 full-time equivalents, a rise of 100 full-time equivalents from 2014.

Women made up 24,5 per cent of the SalMar Group’s workforce in 2015. Group management comprises five people, of whom one is a woman. The proportion of women is considerably higher in the Group’s processing and harvesting plants (InnovaMar and Vikenco) than out at its fish farming and hatchery facilities.

SalMar has employees from 25 different countries with a variety of languages and cultures. Norwegian language tuition in the workplace is strongly emphasised as a way of encouraging well-functioning and cohesive working units.

For employees or job applicants with reduced functional abilities, workplaces and workloads are adapted to meet individual needs.

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.

Environmental responsibility
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.

In addition to focusing on preventing high levels of salmon lice and the escape of salmon from our facilities, particular attention is being paid to sustainable feed, with the emphasis on digestibility, conversion rate and carbon footprint.

SalMar has a clear goal of 0 escaped fish. There were no major incidents involving the escape of fish at SalMar in 2015, but two reported incidents. All escapes occurred in connection with the handling of fish. One escaped fish is one too many, and SalMar will continue to work extremely hard to keep the number as low as possible. Success in escape prevention efforts derives primarily from effective day-to-day operation of the sites. However, investments in R&D and more secure equipment have also played a part.

SalMar did not exceed the intervention threshold for salmon lice at any time in 2015.

SalMar has previously reported its greenhouse gas emissions. In recent years the company has growth sharply and undergone major changes. As a result, we find it appropriate to take 2013 as a base line for our future efforts to monitor and reduce our impact on the climate.