RESPECTING HUMAN RIGHTS
Respect for human rights is a primary value underlying relations both within the ORLEN Group and with our external stakeholders. Guidance on appropriate attitudes and conduct has been compiled in our ‘Code of Ethics’. It is our priority to offer fair treatment to all employees and third parties regardless of their age, sex, job, disability, denomination, nationality or beliefs.
Responsibilities of the HR function include operation of uniform ethics standards and procedures within the ORLEN Group.
The Ethics Officer monitors compliance with the Code of Ethics, guarantees that the employees, the employer and all stakeholders can freely report violations, as well as raises the employees’ awareness of business ethics and ethical standards, and of the importance of their own role in building the ethical corporate culture. The Ethics Officer is elected by PKN ORLEN employees and performs his or her duties without remuneration. The Ethics Officer takes steps to clarify and eliminate behaviours which conflict with the PKN ORLEN values and standards of conduct, and in particular:
- provides ongoing support to Company employees with respect to their questions and concerns regarding ethical issues, including with respect to employee relations;
- guarantees to all Company stakeholders, in particular the employees, an opportunity to freely report violations of the Code of Ethics on an anonymous basis, using the Company’s communication procedures and channels;
- receives, selects and evaluates the notifications;
- informs the parties concerned about the measures taken, with due regard to confidentiality requirements;
- prepares an annual report on the basis of the received notifications and comments.
Other responsibilities of the Ethics Officer include educational activities to foster knowledge of the Code of Ethics across PKN ORLEN, which include lectures on ethics for the management staff and training for all PKN ORLEN employees to promote the ethical values and principles, training during the Onboarding Programme for new hires to familiarise them with the Code of Ethics and the objectives and operation of the corporate ethics system.
In line with global trends relating to compliance with ethical requirements, an Ethics Team has been operating within the Human Resources area since June 1st 2020.
Its key responsibilities include:
- coordination of all ethical issues based on the provisions of the Code of Ethics, in accordance with the assumptions of the ORLEN 2030 strategy and the vision of ORLEN Group growth;
- development, implementation and updates of policies, procedures and tools in alignment with the ORLEN Group’s ethical standards;
- carrying out communication activities promoting the ethics system, a corporate culture based on ethics and the ORLEN values, and behaviours compliant with the adopted principles of conduct;
- cooperation with PKN ORLEN’s and other ORLEN Group companies’ organisational units in the field of ethics, in particular as regards implementation of the Code of Ethics and ethical standards.
The Ethics Officer operates as part of the Ethics Team. However, the autonomous and social nature of the Ethics Officer’s role have remained unchanged. The Ethics Team and the Ethics Officer are tasked with increasing employee involvement in building corporate culture based on ethics and values, which is to be done by enhancing communication and training activities and implementing consistent ethical standards at PKN ORLEN and ORLEN Group companies.
Policies and internalregulations
The policies and internal regulations concerning the human rights area include:
- Code of Ethics – defines the values, principles of conduct and rules that set ethical standards for all ORLEN Group employees, based on a revised approach to understanding ORLEN values: Responsibility, Progress, People, Energy and Dependability, as well as the current scale or operations and operating strategy, the requirements of the Group’s environment, and best practices in the field of business ethics.
It contains provisions concerning, inter alia, respect for diversity, including fair treatment of all employees regardless of their age, gender, position, religion, nationality or beliefs, equal opportunities for personal and professional development, as well as responsibility for building an ethical, safe and friendly workplace. It also includes provisions discussing ethical and responsible attitudes towards all stakeholders, including: employees, consumers, business partners and local communities. Moreover, it is a document supporting the implementation of ORLEN 2030 business strategy.
- Collective Bargaining Agreements – define the conditions which should be met by the substance of an employment relationship, and the rules of remunerating and granting other benefits to employees.
- The ORLEN Group has in place the Rules to Prevent Workplace Bullying, Discrimination, and any Forms of Harassment at PKN ORLEN. Their provisions go beyond legal requirements and also include measures designed to prevent any behaviour that could amount to bullying, discrimination, or other forms of harassment.
- ORLEN Group Anti-Corruption Policy – designed to raise employee awareness, encourage positive attitudes and behaviour, and streamline procedures and business process oversight. The document underscores the importance of training and awareness-raising among employees and the responsibility of companies’ managements to create conditions that help to prevent and counteract corruption at the ORLEN Group. The person responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Policy objectives in effectively preventing and detecting irregularities and misconduct is the PKN ORLEN Anti-Corruption Compliance Officer.
- Anonymous Misconduct Reporting System – the system provides a framework for identifying potential irregularities and instances of misconduct, which can be reported via different information channels.
- The Supplier Code of Conduct is an integral part of our business relationships with suppliers, including supplier qualification and assessment procedures. The Code supports building awareness of our suppliers and developing responsible business and sustainable development practices. We encourage our trading partners to develop and refine responsible business practices in such areas as health and safety at work, human rights, business ethics, employee matters and environmental protection.
- The ORLEN Group CSR Strategy until 2022 – sets out the directions of social responsibility initiatives. Besides seeking to align business with social objectives, other priorities of the CSR Strategy are to build PKN ORLEN’s image as a leader in CSR and sustainability, generate CSR synergies across the Group, and support the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals and the ‘Accessibility Plus’ programme. The CSR strategy is implemented within five key areas of responsibility: Society, Environment, Employees, Customers, and Business Partners.
- The Integrated Management System Policy– a declaration to assure quality, minimise environmental impacts, ensure employee safety and information security.
Fostering desirable attitudes and behaviours in line withthe ORLEN Group’s Code of Ethics
PKN ORLEN is consistently engaged in building an ethical working environment. Its first Code of Ethics was adopted in 2006, and an Ethics Officer was first appointed at the same time. In May 2021, the ‘Core Values and Standards of Conduct of PKN ORLEN’ that were in place at the Company were replaced by a new Code of Ethics.
The new document presents in simple terms the key considerations relating to ethics at the Company. The Code of Ethics defines the values and standards of conduct which ORLEN Group employees undertake to respect:
These values have not changed.
The ORLEN Group also adopted a new mission statement: ‘By Nature, we Fuel the Future Responsibly.’, and an updated credo: ‘ORLEN. Powering the future. Sustainably.’
As part of our efforts to promote the adopted values and standards of conduct at PKN ORLEN, as well as to foster the desired attitudes and behaviours, we carry out projects addressed to employees, which include the ‘Distinguished PKN ORLEN Employee’ title awarded every year in recognition of outstanding professional and social contributions and ethical behaviour in line with the PKN ORLEN S.A. values and standards of conduct.
It is the highest and most important distinction at the Company, awarded each year to 15 employees in three categories:
- outstanding service;
- special achievements;
- socially responsible attitudes.
As part of educational activities promoting the adopted values and standards of conduct, the Ethics Officer delivered ‘Management by Values’ lectures to management staff as well as business ethics awareness training (themed, in particular, around communication based on ethics and respect) and promoting the ‘Core Values and Standards of Conduct of PKN ORLEN S.A.’ across several functions. 70 people were trained in total in 2020. Since June 2019, the Ethics Officer has also run his own training block as part of the Onboarding Programme.
The largest Group-wide corporate culture building project is ORLEN Olympics , the annual sports games for the Group’s employees, which combine healthy fair play competition and the Company’s core values. Over the past six years, the event attracted thousands of PKN ORLEN employees together with their families. Every year, two thousand employees compete in various sport disciplines, and often more than thirty thousand people participate in picnics (since 2016, as part of the Chemists’ Day the picnic has also been open to the inhabitants of Płock). Due to COVID-19, the 2020 ORLEN Olympics were cancelled.
The employee volunteering programme is another project enhancing the ORLEN Group’s corporate culture. It offers a number of involvement opportunities for all employees, regardless of their job and position.
The ORLEN Group has additionally joined the national ‘Two Hours for the Family’ campaign. On May 15th, the International Day of Families, employees are free to leave two hours early to devote that time to family activities. In 2020, the central theme of the campaign was Two Hours for a HUMAN BEING, an initiative to fight loneliness similar to Two Hours for the Family. In 2020, we held an art contest themed ‘ORLEN – my dad’s or mum’s workplace’ for children of employees of PKN ORLEN and ORLEN Group companies. The contest theme referred to the open day which had become a permanent feature on the corporate calendar, yet it did not take place in 2020 because of the pandemic.
In 2021, PKN ORLEN was for the eighth time listed in the elite group of the most ethical companies in the world. We are the only company from Poland and Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the only European company operating in the ‘Oil and Gas, Renewable Energy Sources’ sector, which can boast the distinction of The World’s Most Ethical Company. The title highlights our commitment to prioritising ethical business practices. For years, we have maintained the highest global standards in ethics, as we base all our operations and activities on our fundamental values: Responsibility, Progress, People, Energy and Dependability.
The distinction is granted by an international independent panel of experts of the US-based Ethisphere Institute, the world leader in defining and promoting ethical standards in business. This year’s World's Most Ethical Companies ranking features 135 companies representing 47 industries from 22 countries.
The name of the award refers to ethics, but the candidate must also demonstrate a track record of effective and proven initiatives in such areas as:
- corporate governance;
- compliance, i.e. compliance and risk management;
- sustainable development;
- corporate social responsibility;
- supplier verification;
- anti-bribery and corruption.
Ethisphere Institute pays special attention to activities designed to build value-based organisational culture and evaluates HR management practices, including:
- equality in employment;
- countering bullying, discrimination and harassment;
- training and communication programmes;
- employee programmes;
- activities to foster employee engagement;
- business ethics structures, processes and documents.
Given the coronavirus pandemic, the certification process this year placed particular emphasis on demonstrating companies’ actual social responsibility efforts. Total expenditure incurred by PKN ORLEN and other ORLEN Group companies on activities related to counteracting the pandemic exceeded PLN 120 million and included:
- production of sanitiser;
- co-financing of purchases of medical equipment for hospitals and rescue services;
- reduction of fuel prices;
- creation of temporary hospitals in Płock and Ostrołęka in cooperation with the Polish government.
Internal and external mechanismsto obtain advice on how to report a violation or suspected violation
The values, principles and standards defined in the Code of Ethics apply to each ORLEN Group employee from their first day of work, regardless of their position or form of contract. Even if some of the standards of conduct contained in the Code of Ethics do not apply to a given job, this does not relieve the employee of the obligation to respond to or report violations of the Code.
A variant path is defined for reporting and analysing information on actual or suspected breaches, depending on the severity and complexity of the problem and on the confidence of the parties involved.
At PKN ORLEN, a suspected breach of the values, principles and standards of conduct or any ethical dilemmas may be reported to:
- The line manager;
- The Ethics Officer;
- The Human Capital Committee Secretary.
Reports may also be made through the Anonymous Misconduct Reporting System (ASZN) to the Control and Safety Office.
Most of the reports received by the Ethics Officer in 2020 related to cooperation issues, inappropriate communication or poor interpersonal relations. No incidents involving theft of company assets, a conflict of interest or alcohol abuse were reported. Most of the cases involved infringement of a specific provision of the document ‘Core Values and Standards of Conduct’, which was still in force in 2020 (it was replaced by the Code of Ethics in May 2021). Most of the reported issues were investigated, with corrective measures implemented.
PKN ORLEN has in place effective functional control, risk management and compliance supervision systems, as well as an internal audit and control function. The simultaneous operation of all these elements allows the Group to exercise ongoing and effective anti-corruption supervision. The Group has an organised management control system comprising a set of comprehensive procedures.
The ‘ORLEN Group Anti-Corruption Policy’ and an internal order on ‘Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing’ were adopted in 2018. The Rules to Prevent Workplace Bullying, Discrimination, and any Forms of Harassment at PKN ORLEN are also in place, setting out the rules to be followed when a case of bullying is reported, as well as the rights and obligations of employees in such situations. The Rules have been implemented to ensure high standards in developing a supportive work environment based on mutual respect and trust. Every employee across the organisation is responsible for active promotion of the right behaviours, fostering healthy relationships between employees and upholding the team spirit. It is vital to continue efforts to bring behaviours in line with the core values and standards of conduct and to ensure that managers stay alert.
Description of material risks relating to respect for human rights and of the risk management methods is included in the ‘Non-financial statement of the ORLEN Group and PKN ORLEN S.A.’ .