GRI 205-1, GRI 308-1, GRI 308-2, GRI 414-1
50Hertz acknowledges its responsibility with regard to respect for human rights and naturally respects the right to privacy, personal safety, freedom of expression and property rights of employees as well as local residents and customers. 50Hertz also assumes responsibility for compliance with social standards in the supply chain. For this reason, 50Hertz is not only a member of the United Nations Global Compact, but is also committed to the core labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO). This commitment is underlined not least by ourDeclaration of Principles on Human Rights Due Diligence in accordance with the legally required human rights and environmental due diligence in supply chains (LkSG).
In order to ensure that our business partners also comply with internationally binding rules related to human rights - such as the prohibition of forced and child labour - sustainability and ethics are essential components of our evaluation of suppliers and service providers. Elia Group suppliers commit to a common and binding Supplier Code of Conduct (SCOC), which is a key part of all Elia Group supplier contracts. Suppliers must accept the SCOC when submitting a bid and are obliged to comply with it. Human rights are also included in the clauses of the General Purchasing Conditions. Further developments in this area are currently being discussed at Group level. For example, in future, suppliers will be asked about their approach to sustainability, including human rights due diligence, via an external service provider; their responses will be recorded on a balanced score card. The project is currently in its start-up phase and initial proposals are expected during the course of 2022. In addition, 50Hertz raises awareness about sustainable actions to take in regular discussions with stakeholders across the supply chain, furthering their understanding of compliance with ethical principles and guidelines related to sustainable development.
All procurement at 50Hertz is undertaken in accordance with specific guidelines. These state that all procurement activities above €100,000 are carried out centrally via the Purchasing Department. A multi-level strategy prevents any misuse and increases control. The ‘four eyes principle’ is guaranteed at all times. The procurement guidelines, purchasing manual and the General Purchasing Conditions form a framework which aims to prevent corruption across all of our locations.
Based on the human rights due diligence requirements anchored in the German National Action Plan (NAP), 50Hertz conducted an analysis of its direct and indirect supply chains. As a result, four human rights risks were identified as a priority:
• occupational health and safety;
• environmental protection and health;
• employment and working conditions;
• freedom of association and expression.
50Hertz examined these as part of an in-depth analysis of the submarine cable value chain, which is complex. Additionally, the construction of such cables requires high levels of investment. This analysis included interviews with 50Hertz’s direct suppliers in order to determine and track the risk potential of steps along the value chain and to develop suitable measures to address any issues that might be uncovered.
During the spring of 2021, an intensive stakeholder discussion about the enforcement of human rights along the submarine cable supply chain was held with key production and construction suppliers. Suppliers adopt a risk-based approach and process to mitigate the risk of human rights violations across their supply chains (these include adhering to a mandatory Code of Conduct, undertaking supplier assessments and audits, and the use of a whistleblower system). 50Hertz’s model approach for determining their own risks across the supply chain was outlined.
Sustainability-related changes will continue to be embedded into the supply chain management process over the coming years.
In accordance with the requirements of the German Supply Chain Safety Obligations Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz - LkSG), in addition to conducting annual and ad hoc risk analyses of its own business unit and its direct suppliers, a complaints procedure based on the following rules of procedure has been established.
The Elia Group has set itself the primary goal of respecting human rights, the rights of employees and their representatives, protecting the environment and behaving ethically. Violations of legal provisions as well as internal regulations can have serious consequences and must therefore be recognised at an early stage in order to initiate appropriate countermeasures in good time and thus avert possible damage. Against this background, the reporting channels already established at 50Hertz Transmission GmbH for submitting (anonymous) information on legal violations have been supplemented by a group-wide electronic reporting channel, which can be used in particular to submit human rights and environmental complaints in accordance with the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (LkSG).
Regardless of whether you work for us or not, report known or suspected violations of legal provisions and binding regulations. In accordance with the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG), reporting persons are protected from reprisals and the confidentiality of all parties involved is guaranteed at all times. Reports can therefore also be made anonymously.
First of all, there must be a reportable fact. This is the case if there is either a general violation of the law or a human rights or environmental violation in the company's own business or in the supply chain.
All employees and external persons, such as suppliers or business partners, can submit notices and reports via the following channels:
• Electronic whistleblower system
At https://eliagroup.ethicsalerting.com/#/ you can reach the online reporting channel of the Elia Group. The input masks are available in different languages and are first forwarded to the internal reporting office (according to HinSchG).
• Legal Ombudsman
You can reach our external and independent ombudsman at the following contact details:
Dr. Rainer Frank
Potsdamer Platz 8
Tel: +49 (0) 30-3186-853
Fax: +49 (0) 30-3186-8555
Regardless of the choice of communication channel, all reports will be treated confidentially. The confidentiality of the identity of the person providing the information as well as other information will be maintained throughout the entire process. However, legal obligations to provide information to authorities and legal exceptions to the confidentiality requirement must be taken into account.
All incoming information is initially processed exclusively by the internal reporting office (in accordance with the HinSchG) on the basis of a defined authorisation concept. The internal reporting office is impartial, independent and bound to secrecy in the performance of its duties. If you have any questions, please contact our Compliance Coordinator, Boris Rogowski, telephone: 030-5150-2787.
Protecting whistleblowers from being discriminated against or punished on the basis of whistleblowing is an important part of our complaints procedure. Repression against a whistleblower is prohibited.
If you feel that you are suffering intimidation or repression as a result of your whistleblowing, please contact our Compliance Coordinator, Boris Rogowski, telephone: 030-5150-2787.
After receipt of the tip, the person providing the tip receives an acknowledgement of receipt within 7 days.
If the report is deemed inadmissible or unspecific, a reasoned rejection will be issued. If the wrong reporting channel was used by mistake, a referral to the corresponding channel will be made.
If the report is admissible, the next steps follow.
If the suspicion is confirmed during an initial check, the relevant facts are investigated in detail. Depending on the information available, further information is obtained if necessary and, if the case is highly urgent, appropriate immediate measures are taken. If a case has a specific investigation mandate, it can be assigned to a corresponding investigation unit (e.g. data protection, auditing, legal department, purchasing, human resources).
If human rights and environmental risks or violations of human rights or environmental obligations are confirmed in the own business unit or at suppliers, either appropriate remedial measures are initiated immediately or, if applicable, existing preventive measures are reviewed in detail. If contact details are available, the person making the report can be included in the process. The implementation of the measures is followed up and centrally coordinated by the responsible unit.
The whistleblower will be informed of the case closure and the final decision within three months, unless he or she remains anonymous.