The integrity of our business depends on how we operate as a company, and the behavior of our people. Birla Carbon expects its employees to conduct business in alignment with our values: Integrity, Commitment, Passion, Seamlessness and Speed. Upholding these values at all levels of how we do business, from our interaction with customers to our protection of our own people, is fundamental to ensuring we remain a trusted business partner.
Birla Carbon’s approach to ethics includes aspects that support our business activities: human rights; antitrust and anti-corruption; grievance measures; and collective bargaining. We ensure that ethical conduct is embedded across our operations, and expect our employees, contracted workers and external partners to follow it at all times.
Our five key values, aligned to the Aditya Birla Group, drive everything we do: Integrity; Commitment; Passion; Seamlessness; and Speed
We respect human rights in all our business activities and strive to comply with the laws and regulations in place wherever we operate, as well as adhering to international standards and our own Group standards. We strive to proactively prevent and address any negative impacts we may have on the rights of people we employ, do business with or interact with.
Birla Carbon is committed to complying with the antitrust and anti-corruption laws of all the locations where we conduct business, and we intend to preserve the competitive, free-enterprise system while prohibiting payments or promises to pay anything of value to officials of any government in order to obtain or retain business. In FY2016, one incident of corruption was raised and investigated within Birla Carbon, which led to the termination of an employee.
We expect our employees, contractors and suppliers to voice any concerns or grievances they have about our operations, our employees or our products, and we offer reporting channels to encourage them to do so. We have a hotline that enables our employees to anonymously report, via text message or email, any illegal or non-compliant behavior they observe. The hotline is run by an independent third party, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and escalates issues to our Internal Audit Department and Chief Legal Officer.
Employees have the opportunity to ask questions concerning actual or potential situations, and calls made to the hotline will be handled in full compliance with local law. Depending upon the type of issues, these are then investigated by a team of auditors and/or human resources professionals. The hotline program is now available at all of our 17 plants.
Birla Carbon received 17 hotline calls in FY2016, 16 of which were investigated (the last did not require further examination). Of those investigated, nine did not require any corrective actions, five were resolved through collective bargaining agreements and two results in appropriate disciplinary actions, up to and including dismissal. No formal community grievances were filed in FY2016.
Grievances may also be filed at the local level through Human Resources, tracked separately from the hotline calls. In FY2016, 15 labor grievances were filed at the local level, four of which were determined to be relevant and resolved. One human rights grievance filed in FY2015 was resolved, and four environmental grievances were filed and resolved.
We are committed to absolute fairness when it comes to employee concerns such as wages, working hours, benefits and conflict resolution processes. As such, we sign legally binding collective bargaining agreements to ensure we operate fairly and consistently with all our staff. In FY2016, the number of unionized Birla Carbon sites remained the same, at 71%. In the event that conflict issues occur, we have communications and conflict resolution measures in place for our employees to make their concerns known.
To embed high ethical standards across our operations, each employee is required to go through our formal online training program and sign a document confirming their compliance with our Code of Global Business Ethics and Compliance Standards (Code of Ethics). The Code of Ethics covers our policies on fair competition, antitrust, freedom from discrimination and harassment or other abusive situations, as well as anti-money laundering. In FY2016, we achieved our target of training 100% of employees in the Code of Ethics.
We expect our external partners to adhere to the same standards and principles of ethics and integrity as we do. It is vital that every member of our supply chain can demonstrate responsibility and transparency. In FY2015, we reached out to our major suppliers and sent them a copy of the Code in their own language. This year, we reviewed the contractual terms and conditions that we expect our suppliers to agree to, which we revised to include a paragraph on business ethics, covering human rights issues, such as child labour, and expected business behaviour, reflecting what is already contained within our Code of Ethics. Read more on how we engage with our suppliers on ethical issues.
“The highest standard anywhere will be the minimum standard everywhere.”
In 2011, Birla Carbon developed a Code of Global Ethics and Compliance Standards (Code of Ethics) to ensure that all of our workforce has a shared set of policies to guide their daily actions and reaffirm our commitment to the highest level of ethical and legal conduct.
In consultation with legal and compliance experts, and together with affiliated companies, our Legal Department devised our Code of Ethics, which was endorsed by the Senior Management Team (SMT) in FY2014.
Our Legal, Audit and Human Resources Departments worked with external compliance experts to develop a new e-learning module in our 11 local languages illustrating the Code of Ethics through anecdotes and hypothetical cases.
The online course was successfully completed in FY2016 by over 2,000 employees, while the remaining participants completed it in a classroom setting.
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
We ensure that human rights are protected and that our employees behave ethically.
We are supported by a robust governance structure based on regional autonomy and fluid communication.
calls received through our hotlines.