Ethics

Achieving our purpose depends on our operational integrity and how our people behave. We expect all our employees to align with our values: Integrity; Commitment; Passion; Seamlessness; and Speed. It is fundamental that we uphold these values at all levels and that we adopt the fair business and labor practices our stakeholders expect.

Conducting business with ethics

Our ethics approach 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 we expect all of our employees, contracted workers and external partners to do the same.

Our five key values, aligned to the Aditya Birla Group, drive everything we do: Integrity; Commitment; Passion; Seamlessness; and Speed.

To embed high ethical standards across our entire operations, we formally train every employee, who must then 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.

Progress towards target

Target: 100% of active employees to receive Combined Code of Ethics training.

FY2015FY2016FY2017FY2018FY2030 target
100%100%100%100%100%

Human rights

Human rights are of increasing importance for all businesses and we recognize the valuable role we can play in the protection of human rights. It is crucial to our reputation and our license to operate that respect for human rights is embedded across all our activities and relationships, including our supply chain, and we are committed to respecting the human rights of our workforce, communities, contractors, suppliers and those affected by our operations, in line with internationally recognized frameworks. As a global business, it is a complex challenge requiring collaboration and investment of resources and time.

We engage at every level of Birla Carbon to ensure our commitment to human rights is applied to all our business activities. We strive to comply with laws and regulations wherever we operate, as well as adhering to international standards and those of our own Group. We seek to proactively prevent and address any negative impacts we may have on the rights of people we employ, do business with or interact with. In FY2018, we published a new Human Rights Policy (pdf, 0.8 MB), setting out our commitments to upholding human rights. It covers key issues such as due diligence, employee and stakeholder engagement, diversity and equal opportunities, and forced and child labor.

Antitrust and anti-corruption

We are committed to complying with antitrust and anti-corruption laws in all locations where we conduct business, and we intend to uphold competitive free enterprise while prohibiting payments or promises to pay anything of value to obtain or retain business. In FY2018, no allegations of corruption were raised.

Grievance measures

We require our employees to voice any concerns or grievances they have about our operations, our employees or our products, and we expect contractors and suppliers to do the same. To this end, we provide reporting channels to enable them to do so. Our hotline is available for employees to anonymously report, via telephone, text message or email, any illegal or noncompliant 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 may ask questions concerning actual or potential situations, and calls made to the hotline are handled in full compliance with local law. Depending upon the issues, these are then investigated by a team of auditors and/or human resources professionals. The hotline is available at all our plants and offices.

Grievances received

 FY2017FY2018
Hotline calls (total)528
Calls investigated419
No further action needed414
Resolved through collective bargaining00
Disciplinary actions05
Formal community grievances00

Labor, human rights and environment grievances

 FY2017FY2018
Labor grievances at the local level1616
Labor grievances resolved1315
Human rights grievances filed and resolved60
Environmental grievances filed and resolved10

Collective bargaining agreements

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 FY2018, the number of unionized Birla Carbon sites was 75%. If conflict issues occur, we have communications and conflict resolution measures in place for our employees to make their concerns known.

Suppliers

Not only do we enjoy our company, but the company we choose to keep. We understand the importance of building a sustainable supply chain and 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. All major suppliers receive a copy of our Code of Ethics in their own language; in FY2016, we reviewed the contractual Terms and Conditions (pdf, 0.14 MB) that we expect our suppliers to agree to. In FY2017, we worked with legal advisors in each region to tailor our standard Terms and Conditions of Purchase to local requirements. In FY2018, we followed this by conducting a similar process for our Terms and Conditions of Sale.

Read more on how we engage with our suppliers on ethical issues.

SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Peace, justice and strong institutions

Through our internal governance mechanisms, we prevent corruption and bribery from taking place in our business, and reinforce our own institutional accountability and transparency.

28 calls received through our hotline.