Through the following programmes, we support the relations to our stakeholders. We wish to contribute positively to the societies we are a part of, and naturally local communities expect our investments to generate growth and employment. We need to behave responsibly, and we want to make sure our business partners do the same.
Good business conduct
Good business conduct is a prerequisite for earning the trust of our customers, stakeholders and shareholders. We have ongoing measures aimed at maintaining an ethical company culture, such as training of all employees, management and the Board of Directors.
Our policy on good business conduct is the basis of our work. This policy manifests in our zero tolerance of corruption, fraud and other types of improper business conduct. Control mechanisms ensure compliance with the policy. We have a Compliance Committee and an independent Internal Audit function that closely monitors the area. Employees and business partners can report serious concerns to our whistle-blower hotline. In addition, our employees should always feel free to approach their immediate manager in the event of grey areas for good business conduct.
In 2016, two cases were about conflicts of interest and one case about kickbacks from suppliers. The cases have had consequences for the employment of the implicated persons.
In Ørsted, we work in a competitive and challenging environment, even more so as we expand into new markets. As a company and as individuals, we are faced with financial, technical, commercial and human challenges every single day. In order to ensure lasting success, we must respond to these challenges by acting with integrity in our dealings with our customers, suppliers, agents, colleagues and other stakeholders. Through our Good Business Conduct programme we work to systematically ensure good practices across all of our business dealings and in all countries in which we operate.
We have principles and policies that guide our approach to good business conduct:
- DONG Energy Way: The foundation for all of our work is the five guiding principles in the DONG Energy Way. One of the principles is integrity, which for us means that we are open and trustworthy and uphold high ethical standards in our business activities.
- Sustainability commitment: We have an overarching policy on sustainability, which we call our Sustainability Commitment. In this, we commit to complying with all applicable laws and regulations and to work against corruption and bribery in all their forms.
- Good Business Conduct Policy: We have a policy on good business conduct, which applies to all employees and our board. The policy includes guidelines on anti-corruption, ethical business practices and matters of integrity.
Training and implementationTraining and implementation
We conduct training on the Good Business Conduct Policy, which the board and all employees must complete. The training is based on an e-learning platform and it challenges employees on concrete cases regarding ethical business practices. Leadership Forum, which comprises the 400 top managers in DONG Energy, must complete the training every second year.
Control mechanisms and oversight
Control mechanisms and oversight
We have control mechanisms in place to ensure that our procedures are robust:
- We carry out an annual legal risk assessment of our most significant legal risks that feeds into our group-wide risk assessment as further described in our annual report. This ensures the continuous alignment of our programme.
- Our employees, business partners, suppliers, customers and other persons with an affiliation to us can report serious offences, such as cases of bribery, fraud and other criminal offences, to our whistle-blower hotline. The chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee formed by the Board of Directors of DONG Energy A/S is responsible for the whistle-blower hotline.
- Our internal audit department suggests improvements and ways of streamlining our processes and control environment. The department reports to the Audit and Risk Committee, which means that the department is independent of our general management structures.
Our Compliance Committee, which is chaired by our CEO, performs oversight of the Good Business Conduct Programme. The Committee monitors among other things all legal non-compliance cases related to our Good Business Conduct Programme and whistle-blower cases, sponsorships and donations, material gifts and entertainment offered or received by our employees and our various legal compliance projects twice a year.
Ørsted performance in 2016
Ørsted performance in 2016In 2016, we had three substantiated whistle-blower cases. Two cases concerned conflicts of interest in connection with external business partners, and one case concerned kickbacks from two suppliers. The cases have had consequences for the involved employees and consultants' employment with us.
None of the cases reported were critical to our business, nor have they impacted our financial results. We look very seriously on such cases and do what we can to avoid that similar cases occur again.
Responsible business partner
We work with more than 22,000 suppliers and joint venture partners from all over the world. Some places have less strong practices for compliance with international standards for human and labour rights, the environment and anti-corruption, compared with Denmark. In those places, we help our partners live up to the international standards.
As a first step, business partners must always accept our Code of Conduct. We perform risk screening of contracts to identify the business partners we want to prioritise. We then assess in which areas of our Code they must improve, by means of questionnaire-based surveys or by visiting them. In the identified areas, we work together to prepare and implement an improvement plan.
In 2016 we closed one very significant improvement point concerning anti-corruption. We closed 15 significant improvement points: 14 due to satisfactory improvements by the business partner and one due to discontinuity of the commercial relationship.
The local communities in which we are present expect us to show consideration for local residents and to contribute to growth and employment in the community.
We conduct public consultation processes where this is required and expected before we build new energy infrastructure in an area. Moreover, we are in dialogue with key local players, such as the local authorities, business organisations and NGOs. The dialogue continues for as long as we are present in the area. This enables us to keep tabs on developments and build relations of trust. It also enables us to prevent or address situations that would otherwise generate disagreement.
In 2017, we will establish common local engagement guidelines. This is particularly relevant now as we move into new markets in the US and in Taiwan.
Responsible tax management
Society is dependent on taxes in order to function. And as a company, we depend on social infrastructure, robust judicial systems and a well-educated workforce.
At Ørsted, we have a policy for how we manage tax. We aim to always comply with the letter of the law as well as the legislators’ intention with the law. At the same time, we have a close dialogue with stakeholders and other companies about what responsible tax management means for a company like ours.
We have implemented processes and systems to ensure that our internal invoicing complies with legislation. At the same time, relevant employees are trained in our tax policy, we comply with tax legislation in the markets where we operate, and we continuously assess tax-related risks.
Based on the results of the activities in Denmark and retaxation on the divestment of 50 % of Race Bank and Burbo Bank Extension, we have paid DKK 3,182 million in taxes for 2016.
A good reputation is important for operating our business. We generally enjoy a good reputation in our international markets, whereas it is lower in Denmark. We want to change that. We want to show our stakeholders that we are a trustworthy company that adds value to society.
We have set a target for our reputation score among the Danish population of at least 55 out of 100 in 2020. We have identified four particularly important areas: We must ensure a high level of integrity in our business, continue the green transformation, help our customers save energy and be an attractive place to work.
We launched our 'Make Denmark greener' campaign in 2016. As part of this campaign, we invited the Danes on offshore wind safaris and toured the country with a virtual offshore wind safari experience to bring the Danes even closer to our work.
Our reputation is affected by indicators such as trust and influence on society. In connection with our IPO in June 2016, we saw a brief uptake of +2 points.