Kensington Swan Responsible Governance Award: Vodafone New Zealand

Such is Vodafone’s corporate commitment to responsible governance that it has been finalist in the Kensington Swan Responsible Governance Award and its predecessor category six times since 2001. It finally won the award last year and repeated its success this year.
Vodafone was finalist in the Top 200 Business Ethics Award in 2001. It returned as finalist in the Kensington Swan Award in 2006 and has been finalist ever since. As the judges said this year, Vodafone provides New Zealand’s “benchmark of best practice” when it comes to responsible governance.
The company’s commitment to responsible governance is total and global. As its entry to this year’s Top 200 award explains, Vodafone’s “founding ethical principles are enshrined within our Business Principles which are set within the Vodafone Code of Conduct”. This code explains how employees should apply the principles in practice. The Code and the Principles are both global Vodafone policies.
As it was last year, Vodafone’s success this year is in large measure based on outstanding examples of applied stakeholder commitment.
Vodafone’s documentation, communication and implementation of organisation-wide performance standards are rigorously led and managed.
The company operates an externally facilitated whistle-blower programme called “Speak Up”, which is coupled with Duty to Report Policy that is included under its Code of Conduct. Speak Up is anonymous and widely promoted via the company’s global internal audit team.
And, says Vodafone CEO Russell
Stanners, the company’s global sustainability reporting is recognised as best practice. The group publishes global sustainability report which is supplemented by local operating market reports.
The judges this year agreed that Vodafone’s approach to dealing with cybersafety and txt bullying combined commercial decision-making with fine balance between precompetitive issues and taking an opportunity to differentiate the company as responsible service provider.
“Txt bullying is serious issue,” said Stanners, and Vodafone approaches the issue on an industry-wide basis “to ensure compliance and consistency between operators”.
In 2006 the company urged data protection company NetSafe to set up working group including itself, Telecom and the police to standardise the approach to txt bullying complaints and agree process for handing over complaints between different mobile networks. Vodafone has since shared this information and its own processes with new mobile operators.
In July this year Vodafone hosted an open forum of New Zealand’s leading experts in e-learning and cybersafety to discuss mobile phone use in schools. The outcomes of the forum have been shared openly and the forum linked to the NetSafe Cyberbullying Taskforce.
An outcome of the company’s commitment to solving the txt bullying problem is the Vodafone Blacklist. process and solution for combating txt bullying, this won the Consumer Service Innovation Award at the Global Telecoms Business Innovation Awards in London in June this year.
Vodafone also won credit this year for its partnership with Parents Inc in helping to up-skill young people on safe and responsible use of technology.
Vodafone openly discloses New Zealand statistics on bullying and harassment complaints from customers. Its Corporate Responsibility report has since 2006 included independently audited statistics and these show dramatic 40 percent reduction in complaints. M


Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe is an outspoken advocate who encourages New Zealand business to take more action to back up the country’s clean, green image. Fyfe has been spokesperson for Pure Advantage which launched in July this year advocating “green growth for greater wealth”.
The Air New Zealand Environmental Trust is an innovative way of dealing with the issue of carbon offsets by offering passengers the opportunity to donate to the Trust’s specified environmental programmes. The airline in turn tops up the fund by calculating the carbon-offset value of its employees’ travel and injecting several hundreds of thousands of dollars year into the Trust.
A Green Team of 3000 employees gets involved in range of clean-up, planting and other environmental projects. Air New Zealand has successfully tested ‘generation two’ non-food bio-fuel in flight. It is changing flight paths and working more closely with air traffic control, substantially reducing fuel burn. Reducing moisture and consequently the weight of aircraft in flight has cut fuel consumption, as has the decision to invest $30 million attaching winglets to its 767s.
Air New Zealand’s environmentally linked decisions have both cut costs and enhanced revenue.

ASB Bank invests more than $10 million year into local communities. This year, this represents 3.8 percent of its pre-tax profit and is more than five times the London Benchmarking Group Australian/New Zealand average of 0.63 percent. This equates to A$1862 per full-time employee against an average of A$322. ASB staff can choose the charities they support with ASB matching fundraising by up to $10,000 per chosen charity.
ASB donated $1.5 million to the Red Cross in response to the Christchurch earthquakes and then led the industry in March with the introduction of $250 million investment to kick-start the Christchurch rebuild.
ASB GetWise, financial literacy programme delivered free to primary and secondary schools, involves independent, trained facilitators delivering interactive workshops on the fundamentals of savings and sound financial decision-making. Begun in 2010 the programme has already reached over 130,000 students nationwide.
ASB’s sustainability report measures and actively targets carbon emissions. It achieved reduction in emissions of 16 percent in 2009 and further 12 percent in 2010.
ASB Bank’s long-term partnership with St John Ambulance is helping to build safer, more caring communities.

Vodafone continues to lead the way in demonstrating exemplary responsible governance. It provides the benchmark in best practice to which other New Zealand businesses might aspire.
Stakeholder commitment is driven from the top with stakeholder engagement as key priority, monitored monthly and formally reported twice year.
Vodafone is this year’s winner both for its commitment to responsible governance and for its work on cybersafety, particularly addressing txt bullying. The company’s performance across all criteria on which companies in this category are measured, stacked up in spades.

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