The Group acknowledges its obligation to ensure the responsible operation of its business at all times, and is fully committed to sound and ethical business conduct in its interaction with key stakeholders (shareholders, employees, customers, business partners and suppliers), governments and regulators, communities and society, and the environment.
The Board has overall responsibility for establishing and maintaining the Group’s policies in this area, and the Chief Executive is accountable to the Board for ensuring that the Group’s businesses adhere to these policies.
The Board recognises that the long term success of the Group will be enhanced by a positive interaction with all of its stakeholders, and has determined that the Group’s corporate responsibility initiatives should be focused on the following key areas:
- Health and safety
- Employee support and development
- Environmental protection
- Ethical business conduct
The Board intends that the Group's corporate responsibility approach will be fully embedded within its businesses, and the senior management bonus plan incorporates specific objectives in the above areas.
Policy on the Sale of Goods and Services
In recent years, the scope of the Group's activities has broadened significantly, particularly with regards to the supply of components and sub-systems for various types of munitions. In addition, demand has increased for the supply of third party products to a number of customers. Consequently, the Board has adopted a Policy on the Sale of Goods and Services, which provides guidance to all stakeholders on the products and services that the Group willy supply, to which customers and to which countries, and sets out a clear definition of what the businesses will not supply All Group businesses are required to comply with this policy, which addresses both legal and ethical considerations with regards to certain products. The policy is reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
Ethics and business conduct
The Group has adopted a Global Code of Business Principles, which requires its employees, its businesses and all third parties who act on the Group's behalf to comply with the Group's standards of acceptable business conduct and applicable laws and regulations in all of the countries in which the Group operates.
Anti-bribery and corruption
Following implementation of the UK Bribery Act 2010, the Group adopted a Bribery Act Compliance Manual, which incorporates all of our anti-corruption policies and procedures. The Group's anti-bribery programme now incorporates the following:
- Requirements for bribery risk assessments to be carried out as part of normal operating procedures.
- Group-wide policies and procedures on the appointment of all sales partners and other third party advisers, stipulating due diligence and contractual requirements, approval levels, and monitoring and review processes.
- Regular training for management and employees working within commercial, sales and marketing, finance and human resource functions.
- Policies and procedures on the giving and receiving of gifts and hospitality.
The Group's US businesses have also adopted an ethical compliance programme to satisfy US Government requirements for ethical training for employees, compliance audits, a confidential reporting line for employees, and related investigation procedures.
The Group has a whistleblowing policy and procedures in place which enable all employees to raise concerns, in confidence, about possible improprieties. These arrangements reflect the requirements of the UK Bribery Act 2010.
The Board recognises the valuable contribution that the Group’s employees continue to make to its success, and aims to provide a working environment that reflects and rewards this. The Group now has 3,306 (2012: 4,193) employees based in four countries.
The Group’s policy is to provide equal opportunities for all employees, irrespective of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or political belief, disability or age. The Group is committed to meeting, at a minimum, the labour rights and legislation requirements in each country in which it operates and, in practice, often exceeds these. Our employment practices policies are introduced at newly-acquired businesses at the earliest opportunity after they join the Group.
The Board currently has two female members and we remain committed to a minimum of at least 25% female representation on the Board. We also recognise the importance of promoting diversity across the Group.
Development and training
The Group continues to address training and development requirements for employees at all levels within the organisation. All of our businesses consider training needs for their employees at a local level, in order to ensure that they have the right skill base to deliver their three year strategic plan. The Board also reviews future management requirements and succession plans on an ongoing basis.
During the year, a Group-wide online performance management process was launched, which will standardise objective setting and performance classifications across the Group, as well as capturing personal development actions for employees.
In the UK, Chemring Technology Solutions continues to operate successful undergraduates placement and graduate development programmes, which have received external recognition.
The Group aims to provide all of our employees with an attractive and competitive benefits package. US employees receive health care, and the Group is continuing to monitor proposed legislative changes to ensure compliance with any revised obligations which may be imposed. In the UK, January 2014 is the Group's staging date to comply with the pension scheme auto-enrolment legislation.
The Board is keen to encourage employees to join share schemes in order that they can share in the future success of the Group, and savings-related share plans are therefore offered to UK and US employees.
The Group pursues a policy of employee communication through meetings (including team briefings and works councils) and in-house magazines by which employees are made aware of the progress of the Group and the companies in which they work. The businesses also engage their employees through representative bodies and trade unions.
The Group has recently completed its first all-employee engagement survey, for which there was a 78% response rate. Results are now being cascaded across the Group and plans formulated in response to the feedback received.
A Group magazine, "chemring-i", is published on a quarterly basis and distributed to all employees.
In the community
The Board recognises that each of the Group’s businesses has an important role to play in its local community.
The Board operates a charitable policy, which confirms its commitment to support selected charitable causes with a focus on the military and armed services, and those linked to the local communities in which the Group’s businesses operate. Each business has its own locally held charity budget, and at a Group level, charitable donations are considered on a monthly basis by the Executive Committee. The Group continues to sponsor the Red Devils.
In addition to making cash donations, the Group also encourages and supports employees who undertake voluntary work in the local community, where appropriate. During the year, employees donated their time and services on a wide range of projects, several of which had an educational bias.
The Group is involved with a number of educational initiatives, notably including the sponsorship of various local schools. The Group has relationships with several universities, whereby funding is provided for students' research activities.
With regards to the impact of the Group's manufacturing activities on the local community, at locations where operations may inconvenience neighbours through product proofing, the businesses liaise with local residents to minimise any impact. The Group is also cognisant of the potential impact of its operations on the local environment, and is addressing this through its environmental strategy.