1.3. Business Ethics and Transparency
We identify this aspect of materiality as the foundation of our company. We are clearly committed to upholding and promoting all our motivations for our business: strong ethics, transparency and full integrity.
Explaining the impact
Business Ethics and Transparency
How business practices are perceived by the public influences the company's reputation and therefore affects the relationship with our investors, employees and customers. The moral principles and values that underpin our business govern the behaviour of our management and our employees, and are designed to mitigate reputational and compliance risks through transparent and honest decision-making.
Business ethics can have a powerful impact on communities and society at large. We aim to develop a responsible business model based on respect for human rights and by developing fair business practices. In this way, we can generate a positive social impact, responding to the needs of our customers, employees and the communities we are part of.
By ethical business conduct we also mean managing the environmental impact of our activities. Through the national and global initiatives to which we subscribe, we transparently monitor and report on the potential and actual impacts that our activities may have on the environment. Failure to meet these commitments defined through environmental policies would jeopardise our progress in mitigating the company's environmental impact.
Managing the impact
Internal policies and procedures have been developed to ensure strict compliance with current national and international legislative regulations and at the same time to adopt the highest standards of environmentally and socially responsible practices. Implementation in the right way is a major priority for our company, i.e., we pay great attention to compliance with all aspects contained in our code of business conduct and in the policies developed by the corporation, as well as transparency in terms of diversity.
We have embedded sustainability in all our structures and have implemented a set of values and principles to guide our work:
- Honesty and integrity are fundamental to the evolution of the company and we implement both a concern for legal compliance and a responsibility for ethical behaviour and integrity in all the actions we take.
- We are adaptable, flexible and fair in the interactions we have, take ownership of the actions and decisions we make and do what is necessary to help our clients.
- Anti-corruption and anti-bribery practice, whereby all relationships with our partners are based on honesty and ethics, fairness, respect for human rights, transparency and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Thus, we prohibit and condemn any form of corruption, bribery or extortion, and are careful about conflicts of interest or personal interests in business operations
To this end, we have developed related policies and a set of procedures to implement them. Communicating these internally and externally is how we prevent non-compliance, and we have several documents to help us implement them:
- Code of Conduct
- Collective labour agreement
- Rules of procedure
- Specific policies such as
Quality – Environmental Protection – OccupationalHealth and Safety, Remuneration Policy, Dividend Policy, Procurement Policy, Whistle-blower Policy and Policy against Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.
The whistle-blower policy sets out how Autonom Services S.A. supports employees and any interested party to make known reported misconduct impacting the company, to be able to safely voice their concerns, to know who to contact, how to report and what rights they have, and what safeguards are in place if they make such a report.
Our policies have been developed with the consensus and involvement of several internal stakeholders and have been approved by management after thorough vetting. They are communicated internally and externally through various methods and business media and can be consulted in the dedicated section of the website: Autonom Policies.
We integrate our commitments in the Autonom Policies by developing internal operational control processes and support. Whether assimilated into processes within the integrated quality, environmental, health and occupational safety management system, these are operationalised and supported by cross-functional mechanisms launched by several departments. Specific commitments related to human resources are supported by departmental leaders, while those involving commitments on activities with external stakeholders come mainly from management and business departments, but also from support departments such as, for example, marketing and communication, sustainability, finance or operations.
Leaders in each department have day-to-day concerns to coordinate activities and support their staff to create responsible business practices so that the organisation does not suffer.
Where there are breaches of policy commitments there are internal mechanisms through which these are addressed and resolved. Whether they come as internal or external complaints they are subject to specific internal analysis and resolution, in which management is actively involved.
Business ethics and transparency
We identify this aspect of materiality as the foundation of our company. We are clearly committed to upholding and promoting all our motivations for our business: strong ethics, transparency and integrity.
We have sought to develop a sustainable business model being fully aware that only through an ethical approach to business, respecting all human rights and developing responsible business practices, can we be close to and respond to the needs of our customers, employees and the communities we are part of.
Transparency is also a core value in Autonom, as 90% of information is accessible in Autonom’s internal systems and every management decision is derived from the company’s values.
The company is committed to conducting its business in compliance with local and international laws and regulations, in accordance with the standards and guidelines of major international bodies such as the United Nations (UN). The issues addressed include honesty, transparency, integrity and professionalism in business dealings, as well as approaches to human rights, working conditions, social and environmental issues, anti-corruption and competition law.
UN Global Compact Initiative
Autonom has joined the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. The company is committed to supporting the initiative’s Ten Principles on human rights, the environment, good governance and anti-corruption, as well as contributing to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals included by the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
P1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
P2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
P3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
P4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
P5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
P6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
P7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
P8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
P9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
P10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
Commitment to the Environment Initiative (Initiativa Angajament pentru mediu)
In June 2022, Autonom joined the Commitment to the Environment initiative, developed by eMAG, Conservation Carpathia Foundation and GreenTech, whereby organisations commit to reducing their carbon footprint and taking specific actions to do so. More details can be found here.
We support the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations to address the major challenges facing humanity worldwide. Over the years, we have focused our community investment on five priority areas: education, environment, sport, culture and business education. The key areas where the company has a major impact are associated with 8 of our 17 goals: clean and affordable energy, industry, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, earth life, quality education, jobs and economic growth and partnerships.
Quality – environmental protection – occupational health and safety policy
We place a major emphasis on issues of material importance to both Autonomy and stakeholders. Our aim is to provide products/processes/services that are safe for both the human factor and the environment, while meeting the requirements of our customers. At the heart of our concerns is always:
- The quality of the services offered to our customers, to ensure their trust and satisfaction,
- The individual, who has the right to a healthy life in an appropriate environment and
- The environment and its natural resources, which must be protected and used as efficiently as possible.
Thus, to support our commitment to customers, employees and the environment, the organisation implemented an integrated quality-environment-occupational health and safety policy in 2021, which attests to the compliance of the management system with the standards:
- ISO 9001:2015 “Quality Management System”,
- ISO 14001:2015 “Environmental Management System”,
- ISO 45001: 2018 “Occupational health and safety”.
To meet the requirements of our partners and to achieve economic performance, we are committed to periodically reviewing our
quality – environmental protection – occupational health and safety policy to ensure that it is always appropriate to the realities of the organisation. Action plan set for 2022:
- Training of specialised QMS staff;
- Development and submission of customer satisfaction evaluation questionnaires;
- Provision of qualified personnel for SSM;
- Improved emergency response capacity.
Given the high exposure of drivers in our divisions to traffic hazards, our focus has been maintained on the rules of safe driving behaviour. We organise internally a Preventive Driving Course, voluntary for all employees, but mandatory for those who have been involved in a road accident and it is their responsibility to take it on an annual basis.
Anti-corruption and anti-bribery Policy
Autonom has several fundamental principles and values that underpin fair and honest business practices and it is therefore important that these are adhered to, in all its subsidiaries, divisions and affiliated companies. One of these principles is zero tolerance of bribery and corruption, wherever and in whatever form it may occur. In this regard, all our relationships with our partners are based on honesty and ethics, fairness, respect for human rights, transparency and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
At company level, the behaviour we expect from all our employees is part of the Internal Rules of Autonomy and the policy recently defined for this purpose (the policy can be consulted in full by visiting the following link.
In 2022, there were no confirmed incidents involving company employees, incidents leading to the termination of working relationships with business partners or legal action against the company.
Antitrust and Competition
Autonom respects the principles and rules of free and fair competition and complies with competition law, without excluding any anti-competitive behaviour and abuse of dominant market position. We support fair competition and the company does not tolerate in any way violations of the law by its employees or business partners. All business relationships we develop are conducted in compliance with applicable antitrust and competition laws and we choose our contract partners based on quality, price and the fit of their services with our needs.
In 2022, no legal actions were registered that had any incident of infringement of competition law.
Autonom makes every effort to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for all employees and we also encourage suppliers to take all reasonable steps to enforce health and safety policies. We have also included the assessment of supplier performance through the lens of environmental and social impact.
We are also careful about the relationships we develop with suppliers and follow principles of:
- Health and safety
- Labour and Human Rights
- Antitrust and Competition
- Anti-corruption and bribery
- Data Protection
It can be viewed in full at the following link.
Autonom is committed to the highest standards of transparency, ethics, probity and accountability, which are true company values. A key aspect of ensuring these values is a mechanism for staff, i.e. company employees, to voice their concerns about reported misconduct in the working environment, which has already occurred or is likely to occur, in a responsible and effective manner. To this end, a policy has been developed that sets out how reporting any misconduct impacting on the company is supported, how concerns can be expressed safely, how to report and the rights of reporters, and what safeguards are in place in the event of a report. The principles governing the protection of reporting of breaches are legality, accountability, impartiality, good administration and balance.
In order to provide an effective reporting tool, an online reporting channel will be available from 2023 onwards, accessible to anyone interested by accessing the following link. This reporting channel is designed, set up and managed in a secure manner so as to protect the confidentiality of the identity of the reporting person and any third party named in the report, as well as the data subject, and to prevent access by unauthorised members of staff.
Autonom has a Dividend Policy which regulates the method of distribution of dividends to Shareholders and the principles on which payment to Shareholders is based. The Company is committed to comply with the Corporate Governance Principles applicable to issuers whose securities are traded on the Multilateral Trading System operated by the Bucharest Stock Exchange as system operator.
It can be found in full at the following link.
The policy’s main aims and objectives are to respect the principle of fairness and transparency in relation to the guidelines for the remuneration of the persons responsible for the management of the company and contribute to the business strategy of Autonom Services, as well as to the sustainability and long-term interests.
Remuneration reflects the application of the principle of proportionality, so that its amount is related to the size, nature, internal organisation, scope and complexity of the activities carried out. The policy aims to regulate a transparent and objective way of evaluating and remunerating the members of the Board of Directors and the General Manager of the Company in a manner that ensures competitiveness in the market and gives investors the opportunity to have access to information about the internal management structure.
Full details of the remuneration policy can be found in the dedicated section of the website.
Effectiveness of actions taken
Specific trainings or briefings on good business policies and practices are regularly carried out at Autonom level. Some examples of training activities offered internally or externally by various collaborators that employees have done are Seminar on prevention and fight against money laundering, Seminar on taxation, professional ethics, fiscal control and OSH/EMS (Occupational Safety and Health/Emergency Situations) training.