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High sustainability demands on suppliers

EVN places high demands on its suppliers to ensure actions that are socially, economically and ecologically responsible. In some cases, the tenders explicitly include sustainability criteria in the evaluation of offers – for example, the volume of transport-related emissions in connection with a tender for the environmental business in Lower Austria.

Guidelines and monitoring

The integrity clause developed by EVN defines the sustainability-related duties and responsibilities of suppliers in eleven points which include, above all, human rights, labour practices, protection of the environment, resource conservation and business ethics. This clause is a central component of each order and applies to all suppliers of products and services and to all sub-suppliers in the international project business.

Compliance with the integrity clause is monitored through sampling based on a specially developed questionnaire. The most important suppliers are reviewed regularly, and standardised controls covering sustainability and human rights aspects are carried out when major contracts are awarded to new suppliers. The questionnaire is also used when tenders are carried out for risk products, in order to collect additional information on environmental compatibility, product and packaging recycling, and the producer’s certifications. The audits carried out during the reporting year did not lead to any indications of supplier violations of the integrity clause.

EVN, as an international company, also operates in countries with a less developed understanding for human rights or may purchase services, materials or products from such countries through central procurement. In the area of primary energy procurement, the coal supply chain is reviewed on a regular basis. All coal mines that supplied hard coal for EVN’s energy generation in 2015/16 meet wide-ranging international standards and are certified under ISO 14001 (environmental management). One mine in America that supplies EVN with hard coal is also certified under OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety).

In the area of coal procurement, regular on-site inspections and controls are also carried out to ensure compliance with human rights, workers’ rights and living and working conditions. EVN carried out such an on-site inspection of a mine in Poland during 2015/16, which did not reveal any problematic issues. Any objections identified during these inspections are reported directly to the operators who are asked to solve the problems.

  • GRI indicators: Percentage of new suppliers that were screened using ecological criteria (G4-EN32), using human rights criteria (G4-HR10), using labour practices (G4-LA14) and the related impacts on society (G4-SO9)

Labour practices and humane employment

In order to minimise the risks associated with workplace safety, EVN only works with selected partners who are contractually required to employ only skilled personnel. Compliance with the directives for partner companies is reviewed by experienced, well-trained EVN employees who serve, for example, as construction coordinators or supervisors. Subcontractors and suppliers are employed for tasks with a limited period of time, especially for maintenance and repairs and for the construction of new power plants and transmission networks. EVN does not maintain central records on the number of workdays attributable to subcontractors and suppliers because this would not have any significance for their labour practices.

External services relevant for safety and/or health (e.g. in civil engineering and building construction) are performed Group-wide by 58 prequalified companies under general contracts. Point 4 of EVN‘s integrity clause, “Health & Safety at the Workplace”, requires compliance with legal regulations for occupational health and safety protection at the workplace, free access to drinking water and sanitary facilities, appropriate fire protection, lighting, ventilation, suitable personal protective gear and training for its proper use. The companies are also required to instruct their employees in accordance with § 14 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“Arbeitsschutzgesetz”, ASchG) and § 154 of the Construction Worker Safety Regulation (“Bauverordnung”, BauV). The same rules apply to their subcontractors. The relevant training certificates must be provided automatically. If asked to, subcontractors must also confirm that they have the required certifications and qualifications to undertake the contracted work. Comparable regulations are in force at EVN‘s international subsidiaries.

  • GRI indicators: Workdays of subcontractors and suppliers for construction, servicing and maintenance (EU17); Percentage of subcontractors and suppliers who have participated in health and safety training programmes (EU18)

Compliance with sustainability criteria – changes in monitoring

In view of the increasingly stricter requirements, the corporate compliance management department adapted and further formalised the review process for business partners in 2015/16. The EVN Group companies in Austria and WTE Wassertechnik must avoid business relations with companies that have been proven to be directly or indirectly involved in or accused of offences under human rights, corruption, antitrust or commercial law. The review process, which also includes the screening of sanction lists, follows a risk-based approach in order to place a special focus on branch and country risks. Compliance-relevant systems and data from a specialised external service provider are also used in the review. Corresponding risk-minimising measures are implemented if the screening reveals any sensitive issues. Plans call for the implementation of this process in the 2016/17 financial year to review the business partners of EVN’s Bulgarian and Macedonian companies.

The procurement and purchasing department also revised the review process for suppliers during the reporting year. In a first step, a questionnaire on sustainability issues was developed for completion by suppliers. It will become a mandatory part of EVN’s public tenders for all potential suppliers in the future.