We have been commissioned by the Management of Federal Grid Company to complete a review of the 2015 Social Responsibility and Corporate Sustainability Report (hereinafter – the Report) in terms of completeness and materiality of the information disclosed and responsiveness of the Federal Grid management to stakeholder comments and proposals. For this end, the Company gave us an opportunity to participate in the Public hearings on the 2015 Social Responsibility and Corporate Sustainability Report of Federal Grid Company, where we could freely express our opinion on the issues discussed.
Summary of work performed
Our assurance procedures performed are based on based on the comparative analysis of two versions of the Report (draft Report and its final version), on the analysis of speeches, comments, answers to our questions we received from the Federal Grid managers in the course of the hearings. The Report has been evaluated against the following criteria:
- Alignment of the Report with the requirements of the chosen standards and Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (GRI G4 and AA1000SES)
- Adherence to the main reporting principles
- Materiality of the topics reported
- Completeness and information balance, including the coverage of topics under three main areas of sustainable development (economy, environment, social relations)
- Responsiveness to stakeholder requests
- Credibility and consistency of data reported.
The results of our analysis are presented in the form of the external assurance statement. We express our opinions as individual members of the society and not as representatives of the organisations we work. We have not received any remuneration from the Company for the time spent for this work.
In general, our evaluation of the Report in terms of the format and scope of the information provided is positive. We are not aware of any facts that put in doubt the reliability of the reported information.
The Company’s efforts to inform the society on its activities in the field of sustainable development in the form of regular release of non-financial reports (this is the ninth report) merit an approval. To improve the quality of its reports, Federal Grid organises dialogues with stakeholders thus demonstrating its willingness to maintain an open discussion on topical issues of its activities and to increase transparency of the Company and the whole electricity industry.
Highlighting and detalisation of information on the Company’s focus areas in social responsibility and sustainable development is an obvious advantage of the Report. ‘Improving efficiency is a mutual interest of the Company and stakeholders’ became the key topic of the 2015 Report. The Report also describes how the Company manages its corporate social responsibility and economic impacts, contributes to society development and environment protection, what anti-crisis measures it takes and what were the results of anti-corruption activities, innovative development and import substitution policy.
Traditionally, the Report contains the comprehensive information on the scope and geography of the Company activities, corporate governance practice, internal control and risk management systems. It also provides the integrated information on the Company’s approaches and performance in the specific areas of CSR management (ensuring reliability, innovative development, anti-corruption practices), gives a close look at the issues of economic and environmental impact, covers the topics of HR policy and stakeholder engagement. The continuity of the content as against previous reports allows for the readers’ understanding of the Company’s directions for the long-term sustainable development.
We give a positive evaluation of the level of balance achieved in the 2015 Report. Sufficient information is provided on all the key areas of activity in the field of sustainable development, the management approaches in these areas are reported, both the successful aspects of the Company’s activities and those that require improvement are covered.
Our communications with the Company Management were arranged at a high level which, in our opinion, contributed to the improvement of the quality and disclosure of information. In the course of the Public hearings, we were given an opportunity to make comments and proposals on information disclosure and further development of the draft of the Report.
We recommend that the Company should have more active dialogues with stakeholders when preparing non-financial reports in the next reporting cycle, use their results for determining material aspects of sustainable development activities to disclose them in the Report, and involve a broader range of stakeholders in the above dialogues.
The Company Management responded to the comments and proposals of stakeholders both within the Public hearings and by updating and amending the final version of the Report. In particular, the Report includes explanations for a reduction in the accident rate at electric grid facilities, the coverage of the collective bargaining agreements and other issues of social partnership, a list of IUCN Red List species and National Conservation List Species has been updated. In addition, the Company has made commitments to pay a closer attention to the description of non-financial risks, disclose information about its work with contractors in terms of the Company’s requirements for them to manage environmental and health and safety risks, disclose information about staff turnover by employee categories, disclose the number of employees who have taken professional re-training courses by training place, i.e. at highereducation institutions, corporate training centres, include information about co-operation with the higher education institutions when conducting cultural and sports events, disclose information about the average length of employees’ service in the Company, disclose the total size of land under electricity transmission lines instead of the size of land only under towers, as well as to analyse the terminology used for sustainable development, corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility when preparing a report for 2016.
We are also pleased to note that our proposals with regard to future reports made within the discussion on the 2014 non-financial report, were responded in the 2015 Report.
Our comments do not detract from the merit of the 2015 Report. We hope that Federal Grid Company will gradually implement plans and commitments in the field of CSR and sustainable development contained in this Report, and will develop its stakeholder engagement practices.