Governance of sustainability
Responsible governance is fundamental to building a resilient and successful organisation in which sustainability is embedded at all levels.
Strong governance is fundamental to building a resilient and successful organisation in which sustainability is embedded at all levels. We engage openly and transparently with stakeholders across the value chain through our governance processes to create an inclusive and fair business. Robust policies, standards and management systems guide our operations to address risks and opportunities and enable us to measure our performance and meet our commitments.
The Board and committees provide the leadership necessary to implement the principles of good corporate governance across the Mondi Group, ensuring all decisions and actions are based on integrity, responsibility, accountability, fairness and transparency. The Board reviews the performance approach and outcomes.
The Group SD function provides guidance and helps to define the actions required to achieve our goal of growing responsibly. This includes monitoring and assessing material risks and opportunities facing the Group along with emerging changes to the regulatory environment, developments in our social and environmental operating context, and evolving stakeholder needs and expectations. It also informs, challenges and supports our businesses to respond to stakeholder needs and expectations, and shape our long-term response to relevant global trends.
The SD function oversees the management of the Sustainable Development Management System (SDMS) and facilitates all Group sustainability reporting and external assurance. Internal and external engagement is a key responsibility. Internally, this means supporting businesses to better identify, understand and address relevant sustainability-related topics, business risks and opportunities, as well as reporting our positions and performance across the 10 Growing Responsibly Action Areas. Externally, it involves overseeing and fostering collaboration with stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of the SD landscape and tackle the issues no single sector or organisation can solve alone. This engagement leverages Mondi’s influence through sharing best practice, knowledge and resources, and by supporting and collaborating with scientific and academic institutes, underlining our belief that science plays a crucial role in creating a more sustainable and equitable world.
Our Sustainable Development Management System (SDMS) guides the effective governance of our sustainable development activities and the implementation of our policies and standards. It covers all facilities and activities that we manage and operate (including those in which we hold a controlling interest), new developments, and mergers and acquisitions. Activities undertaken by contractors, either on Mondi sites or while under our management, are incorporated into our SDMS. This requires them to comply with our policies, standards and requirements, particularly in relation to safety and health at work.
The Board approved the updated Group SD policies in 2019, including minor updates to meet the evolving needs of our stakeholders and ensure that our policies remain relevant and comprehensive. We continue to review our operating standards and we are now developing draft operating standards and supporting practice notes in response to the findings. These will be thoroughly reviewed internally at several levels. We seek appropriate expert input into the standards the Group should adopt to be in line with industry good practice and to assess our operations’ readiness to meet the upcoming requirements contained in the standards.
Our group-wide risk management framework is designed to address significant strategic, sustainable development, financial, operational and compliance risks that could undermine our ability to achieve our business objectives. We exercise due diligence prior to the introduction of new operations, practices, processes and products.
Our sustainable development risk and change management standard guides the way we identify and mitigate sustainable development risks. Our risk management approach – particularly relating to environmental issues – incorporates the precautionary principle, which implies our responsibility to protect the natural environment from harm where there is a plausible risk.
We update our sustainable development risk register annually to ensure mitigation plans are in place for those risks with a high likelihood of occurrence and/or impact potential. These risks include inherent operational and strategic risks. In addition to the key impacts on our business and our stakeholders, we identify sustainability trends and opportunities and seek to mitigate risks that affect our longer-term prospects and financial performance. Read more about our TCFD disclosure on climate-related risks in our online SD report 2019.
The internal audit function is an integral part of the Group’s governance. Its purpose, as an independent assurance function, is to evaluate whether business risks are being managed effectively within the context of business objectives. A system of internal control is one of the primary means of managing risk and the evaluation of its effectiveness is central to internal audit responsibilities. Mondi’s system of internal control comprises the policies, procedures and practices, as well as organisational culture that collectively supports effective operation in the pursuit of our objectives.
The audit committee oversees the adequacy of Speakout, our Group-wide anonymous whistleblowing system. Internal audit is responsible for the day-to-day monitoring of the Speakout process, ensuring management is appropriately informed about reported issues and related risks are adequately managed.
We are opposed to all forms of corruption and illegal practices. Mondi does not tolerate the giving or receiving of bribes, nor does it condone anti-competitive practices in its dealings with governments or in the marketplace. The Group does not permit contributions or donations for political purposes
Mondi was not the subject of any legal actions for anti-competitive behaviour, anti-trust or monopoly practices during 2018.
During the year Mondi paid fines totalling approximately €37,000 involving five cases. The largest amount, approximately €20,000, was paid by our Richards Bay mill (South Africa) for exceeding effluent quality parameters.