Fair and Transparent Business

To meet our strategic objectives and create value for all of our stakeholders, we commit to developing the culture and implementing the programmes needed to conduct our business in a responsible and ethical manner at all times. This is governed by our values and evident in how we manage risk, health, safety and environment.

Our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (the Code) provides a set of principles to guide our employees, while our Sustainable Development Framework outlines best practice standards that drive improvement consistently across all operations.

TRANSPARENT BUSINESS

We integrate a transparent policy framework into all corporate affairs and maintain the highest ethical standards in our dealings with stakeholder groups. To this end, we continually review our systems and processes to achieve excellence in corporate governance, as outlined in our Annual Report.

Our Board of Directors is keenly aware of the need for a strong corporate governance framework in the context of an organically growing business and global social and environmental change. The Board comprises eight Directors, of whom more than 50% are independent.

ETHICS AND INTEGRITY

The Code covers aspects like human rights, insider trading and political contributions, competition, conflicts of interest and confidentiality. It provides guidelines for all businesses to assist employees in meeting high standards of personal and professional integrity. Training in our Code is mandatory for all new hires.

A key focus is absolute intolerance of fraud, bribery and corruption, and we welcome the Indian government’s policy in recent years to confront this. Despite our predominant presence being in India, we are held to account by laws in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe, due to our dual listings. Therefore, if we suspect malpractice anywhere in our operations, we undertake a rigorous investigation under the UK Fraud and Bribery Act. We are supporting the external investigation authorities with reference to the recent Cairn India Petrogate case.

The Vedanta Audit Committee applies rigorous assurance processes. During the year, all business units were reviewed for risks related to corruption and bribery, and employees were trained in our anti-corruption policies and procedures.

Employees and external stakeholders have the opportunity to anonymously report inappropriate behaviour under the Whistle-blowing Policy (available on our website). The email address whistleblower@vedanta.co.in and a 24-hour hotline are dedicated to give our employees and external stakeholders a voice, while protecting their identity.

90

Whistle-blower reports

 

UNGC
PRINCIPLE 10

The Group Director for Management Assurance is responsible for whistle-blowing procedures while the Audit Committee reviews any reports made under the policy twice a year, and ensures that appropriate actions are taken. Outstanding cases are referred to the Ethics Committee for further assessment.

VEDANTA SUSTAINABILITY ASSURANCE PROCESS (VSAP)

VSAP is our sustainability risk assurance tool, which we use to assess the compliance of all our businesses with the Sustainable Development Framework and final recommendations of the Independent Environmental and Social Consultant Report 2013. The assurance model has different modules, which cover environment, health, safety, community and human rights elements. The assurance system works on the premise of tracking corrective and preventive action by our subsidiaries and commissioning periodic formal audits by external experts.

VSAP is an annual process with clear tracking of results by the Sustainability Committee and the Executive Committee, which in turn report to the Board. As per the identified gaps, respective businesses make management plans and undertake corrective gap-filling actions, which are periodically reviewed, evaluated and documented. The successes and failures are identified and highlighted, and cross-learning opportunities are created.

VSAP has been instrumental in helping us embed sustainable development into every activity. For example, our business units now have SMART sustainability objectives that align to our Framework, while their performance is monitored at regular intervals.

During 2014–15, VSAP scores reveal that all businesses increased rigour around implementing resource use, Waste, Water and Biodiversity Management Plans. Today, all planned and unplanned changes follow a detailed procedure, including review and communication to key internal and external stakeholders through structured Management of Change processes.

HOW WE PERFORMED

During the year we provided more than 24,000 hours of training in our Code of Conduct to our employees and contract workforce. We have also strengthened executive-level training in integrity and ethics over the year.

All employees and stakeholders can register their integrity-related concerns either by calling on a toll-free number which provides multiple language options or by reporting to the web-based portal. Between January and December 2014, there were 90 Whistle-blowing cases, of which 34 were upheld, resulting in appropriate disciplinary actions including separation, warning, counselling and transfer against our employees, contract workforce and vendors.

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