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Product responsibility

Similar to the corporate policy statement and the environmental policy statement, the principles of product responsibility represent an integral part of EVN’s central mission statements, which underscores their key importance. The EVN key values – Ensure, Encourage, Enable – also highlight the importance of the EVN brand promise, which can only be met with the commitment of all employees.

EVN‘s product and service portfolio – which includes electricity, natural gas, heat, drinking water, cable TV and telecommunications as well as environmental services – plays an important role in supplying customers with basic services and improving their quality of life. The projects for drinking water purification, wastewater disposal and thermal waste utilisation carried out by the international environmental services business make a significant contribution to the sustainability of EVN‘s business model through their positive influence on society and the environment. In public opinion, the production and sale of electricity from nuclear power plants is controversial. EVN’s energy mix has therefore not contained any nuclear-generated or grey electricity for many years.

Protecting the high quality of EVN’s products and services and compliance with the strict regulations for safeguarding customer data are given the same careful attention. EVN also places great importance on transparent and informative market, product and service communications as well as social responsibility toward disadvantaged groups and active climate protection.

The electricity and natural gas networks operated by EVN are certified for compliance with the security standards issued in the form of guidelines by “Oesterreichs Energie“ and the Austrian Association for Gas and Water (“Österreichische Vereinigung für das Gas- und Wasserfach”, ÖVGW). Regular reviews by an independent external auditing team ensure a high level of quality, among others in the following areas:

  • Planning, construction, operation and maintenance of grids and plants
  • Organisational structures, procedures and processes
  • Responsibilities, specialised know-how and decision-making expertise
  • Training, personnel and operating costs

In planning and designing its advertising and marketing campaigns, EVN not only focuses on its own strategic goals but also on sustainability. The central aspects of energy supply, energy saving tips and energy services receive adequate treatment in all communications. EVN rejects advertising that does not conform to generally accepted ethical or cultural standards, which encroaches on privacy or which attempts to influence particularly vulnerable target groups such as children. There were no incidents of non-compliance with legal regulations or voluntary conduct rules related to advertising in the 2013/14 financial year.

  • GRI indicator: Total number of incidents of non-compliance with regulations and voluntary codes for advertising (PR7)

The responsible approach followed by EVN along the entire value chain minimises the potential risks associated with the impact of the company’s products on health and safety. Quality management plays an important role in this process through its focus on the definition of and compliance with high standards for the (further) development of the product portfolio, innovation, research and development activities as well as processes for the certification, manufacture, production, distribution, marketing, sales promotion, use, maintenance, disposal and recycling of products. Recycling within the Group is based on Austrian standards and is considered exemplary in many areas, particularly in the foreign operations of EVN and its subsidiaries. This applies, above all, to the sustainable planning, production and distribution of electricity as well as quality assurance for the networks and electricity supplies in the regions where EVN operates. All categories of products and services are continuously monitored with respect to customer satisfaction, health and safety based on comprehensive quality assurance procedures.

  • GRI indicator: Effects on health and safety throughout the product life cycle (PR1)

PR2 Violation of health and safety regulations

The Executive Agency of the Bulgarian General Labour Inspectorate conducted six audits at EVN Bulgaria EP and one audit at EVN Bulgaria TP during the period from October 2013 to October 2014. These audits resulted in two directives for EVN Bulgaria TP, which were met within the required timeframe, and twelve directives for EVN Bulgaria EP, which are currently being implemented. Ten of these directives involve requirements for the buildings used by EVN Bulgaria EP, while a further directive requires an updated risk evaluation for two client energy centres (“KEC”).

No fines were imposed on the member companies of the EVN Bulgaria Group by the Executive Agency of the Bulgarian General Labour Inspectorate for violations of health or safety regulations during the period from October 2013 to October 2014.

PR8 Justified data protection complaints

In January 2013 the Bulgarian Commission in charge issued directives to EVN Bulgaria TP and EVN Bulgaria EP, which require both companies to modify their internal procedures for changing customer profiles in order to avoid possible violations of data protection regulations. EVN TP and EVN EP have already met these requirements.

In Macedonia, a special audit by the Macedonian Personal Data Protection Directorate (with minutes No.07-271 dated 29 November 2013) found that EVN Macedonia breached customers’ data protection rights by sending email reminders for delayed payments containing the addresses of the customers. This led to a fine of EUR 1,000 for EVN Macedonia as a company and EUR 300 for the responsible staff member.

PR9 Fines due to violations of product and service regulations

As explained in the chapter “Society” under “Fines/sanctions as a result of illegal activities” (SO8), the Bulgarian regulatory authority imposed 50 fines on EVN Bulgaria EP as of 10 October 2014. Each of these fines equals BGN 20,000 (in total, BGN 1.0m). Most of the fines involve violations of the replacement of protocols for commercial metering devices (CMDs). The reasons for the alleged violations include missing signatures by customers, witnesses, company employees of EVN Bulgaria EP, etc. EVN Bulgaria EP has filed appeals against all of these fines with the responsible Bulgarian court, and the proceedings are currently pending.



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