How does our commitment to UN Global Compact impact our work?
Elkem is a signatory to UN Global Compact, and Elkem’s definition of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is based on the ten UN Global Compact principles. Companies that sign the Global Compact undertake to support 10 principles on human rights, labour standards, the environment and the fight against corruption.
Our commitment is expressed in the annual Communication of Progress (CoP) and a commitment letter from our CEO.
Below we explain how our work impact to the ten principles of the UN Global Compact. For more information about the UN Global Compact go to their website.
Principle 1-2: Human rights
Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.
Elkem’s respect for the universal recognised human rights is written in our Code of Conduct that all our employees must sign. We expect our colleagues to behave according to and promote the UN declaration in the organisation. Our suppliers are also expected to support and respect human rights, so no breaches are committed in the supply chain. The suppliers must sign our Business Partner Code of Coduct.
Principle 2: Business should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Elkem follows up human rights issues through risk assessments and audit programmes, at own facilities and in supply chain. All significant investment contracts, of more than NOK 15 million, are screened using human rights criteria as well as other social and environmental impact criteria.
Principles 3-6: Labour
Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
Elkem supports the right to exercise freedom of association and collective bargaining and has in general good cooperation with the unions. This also includes our supplier’s employees, were information about this is found in contractual agreements.
Elkem has had employee representatives on its board since 1974 and been an active promoter of corporate democracy in Norway. Pursuant to the provisions of the Norwegian Companies Act, employees have thre representatives on the board of Elkem ASA.
Principle 4: Business should uphold the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour.
No one in Elkem should be subjected to any form of forced labour. Our policies say that we refuse to hire anyone against their will and/or by force. We document all employment with written contracts that describe the conditions of employment in a language understood by the employee, signed by both parties. Elkem must comply with public working hour regulations and pay fair wages that minimum cover the local cost of living. We require our suppliers and contractors to engage their employees on fair terms.
Principle 5: Business should uphold the effective abolition of child labour.
Any form of forced or child labour is not acceptable at Elkem’s locations or in our supply chain. We know that working at some supplier production sites or at some of our own plants is considered with high risk and must only be done by trained and qualified adults.
The age limit for working at Elkem is 18 years of age, except for some vacation substitutes and vocational students who can be 16. They can only do light work that does not conflict with school participation.
Elkem’s suppliers have contractual obligations to ensure no children under 15 (and 14 in some selected countries) work at our supplier’s plants, with a clear limitation of hazardous work and night work to persons over 18 years old.
Principle 6: Business should uphold the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Elkem is committed to equal opportunities for all our employees, in an inclusive environment. We appreciate and recognise that every individual is unique and valuable. We do not accept discrimination in any form, based on based on skin colour, race, nationality, social background, disability, sexual orientation, political or religious conviction, gender or age or other personal characteristics.
Principles 7-9: Environment
Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.
Environmental impact is one of Elkem’s key focus areas, due to the nature of our operations. Our environmental philosophy is based on zero-harm. We shall minimise our negative impact on the environment, through out the value chain. Each step of the process has its environmental challenges that we believe can be managed in a sustainable manner. This also includes not destroying the resource and income base of marginalised population groups throughout the withdrawal of raw materials or manufacturing. We are committed to full compliance with all applicable environmental regulations wherever we operate.
Principle 8: Business should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.
Our energy efficiency and sustainable use of energy is of upmost importance to secure necessary supply while at the same time reduce our global energy and green house footprint. Elkem uses great amounts of energy annually. Measures are being taken when it comes to energy efficiency, energy recovery and switch from fossil to sustainable reduction material.
Principle 9: Business should encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
Our commitment to research & development (R&D) upholds our reputation as a leader in our field and we continuously lead the way to pioneering technologies that ask more from chemistry and metallurgy. Today, Elkem operates thirteen R&D facilities with more than 450 employees and R&D is an integrated part of Elkem's operations through all operating divisions. Elkem's R&D facilities and researchers cooperate with notable research institutions around the world, such as University of Toulouse, University of Oxford, KTH in Stockholm and NTNU in Trondheim, to develop more efficient, sustainable and advanced manufacturing processes and products. Elkem’s R&D is focused on:
• Market driven R&D by generating innovative speciality products for markets such as renewable energy and electric mobility.
• Operational excellence and sustainable specialisation through environmentally responsible and energy efficient production technologies, reduction of energy consumption and optimisation of the raw material base.
Principle 10: Anti-corruption
Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
For Elkem, governance and compliance are prerequisites for value creation and trustworthiness. Full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations wherever we operate in the world is expected. We promote free and fair competition without corruption, bribery or money laundering. It also means transparent management of contracts and accounts internally and with external stakeholders.