Statutory report on corporate social responsibility
Core values and basic principles
North Media’s business units are managed and driven by strong core values forming the basis of the Company’s policies, rules and business processes. The Group considers corporate social responsibility a natural element of the different business units’ strategies and daily operations.
One of North Media’s basic principles is to demonstrate accountability to society, customers and employees. We also aim to demonstrate fairness and loyalty in any decision we make.
North Media regularly focuses on CSR-related matters as much as it does on its constant efforts to strengthen working processes and products. Being accountable in all respects is an important element of the Group’s values and therefore a key element of great relevance to the Group’s vision, objectives and strategy.
This means that North Media constantly focuses on not just complying with Danish and international rules and conventions, but also on using responsible behaviour to increase its financial, social and environmental performance through regular control, optimisation, operationalisation and reporting.
It is Group policy to offer all full-time staff a pension and health care plan (within the framework of the collective agreements applicable for each trade group), with related insurance cover in the event of illness or death. It is also group policy to give everybody equal rights – regardless of gender, age or ethnicity.
The Group has identified the following three areas as particular risk areas with respect to human rights and employee conditions:
• Pay and working conditions for the Group’s distributors of newspapers and printed matter
• Health and safety in production
• Non-discrimination of employees upon engagement or promotion
Thanks to its distribution business, North Media is one of Denmark’s largest workplaces for young people. Working as a distributor is often the first source of money earned outside their home. This places heavy demands on North Media as a business and on the organisation, systems and procedures to ensure that each of our employees has a positive and favourable perception of their first job.
The introduction to the job is always given in dialogue with the distributor and his or her parents. Thorough instructions and follow-up are provided, and comprehensive introduction material has been prepared, which – based on many years of experience – is aimed at introducing the young distributor to the job before, during and after having done the work.
The distributors are involved in the planning of their work. From their personal page at www.blivomdeler.nu they can easily plan the delivery sequence they find optimal for visiting the individual households. Then we pack the pro-ducts in the sequence requested.
To ensure that the employee always receives a pay reflecting the effort made on the individual route, various checks are carried out. Their purpose is to ensure that we comply with the working environment rules and that the distributors receive a fair pay reflecting the work they do. The distribution business has dedicated employees, who regularly give instructions and check that North Media meets the targets set.
We believe that we help our young distributors develop basic skills such as organising one’s time and planning an assignment by offering them a job as a distributor. Add to this attitudinal values such as reliability and a sense of responsibility. These are all skills that help develop them as individuals and citizens; specific skills that they will need to have when they begin their studies and later when they enter the job market as adults. The distributors’ sense of responsibility is also underlined by the fact that they perform on the same level as our adult distributors.
The distribution business’ policy is to put conditions in place for a good working environment. A low frequency of industrial injuries and sickness absenteeism for the packing terminals is a measure of success in that respect.
The low frequency of sickness absenteeism is to be maintained on the basis of continued, close staff involvement and visible management, but also by maintaining the systematic efforts to counter and prevent industrial accidents. Industrial injuries are always analysed by the health and safety organisation.
Focus is on sickness absence, and systematic follow-ups are made on the basis of sickness interviews. In that respect, the Company also focuses on long-term healthy employees who have not contracted any sickness over the past 12 months.
In 2017, seven minor injuries occurred in production, which is on a par with 2016. Compared to 2016, sickness absenteeism has declined and totals 3.0 days a year inclusive of employees on long-term sick leave, equalling a sickness absentee rate of 1.32%. This is a record low sickness absenteeism rate at the terminals. The rate of long-term healthy production staff without absence due to sickness is 36% in 2017. The table above shows sickness absenteeism for the period 2013 to 2017 compared to industry figures up to 2016.
The years of service among our production staff average 8.4 years, which should be seen in the light of the terminals only having existed for 13 years.
The Company’s staff policy is based on its strong core values, which aim at providing equal opportunities to everybody, and which require that, as a rule, everybody must meet the same demands.
For example, it is a requirement for being employed with the Group’s packing terminals that the candidate is able to speak and understand Danish. Employees are also instructed to speak only in Danish at the workplace so that everyone can understand all conversations and no one feels left out.
To give employees better job rotation opportunities and thus higher job enrichment, employees not holding a forklift driver’s license are offered training and the opportunity to acquire such license.
This has led to the successful integration of those ap-proximately 75% of the Group’s packaging staff who are non-ethnic Danes. As a result, the supervisory positions are increasingly held by non-ethnic Danes, which in itself has a cumulative effect on successful integration.
In practice, no conflicts seem to exist in the workplace despite the fact that people from different cultures work together at North Media A/S.
It is important for North Media A/S that the Group’s newspapers are produced following sustainable methods. This is why the Søndagsavisen, Helsingør Dagblad and Lokalavisen Nordsjælland newspapers have been using only FSC-certified newsprint since late 2011. The FSC Certificate is a global labelling system widely supported by a number of environmental organisations such as WWF, Greenpeace and Nepenthes.
North Media co-operates with some of Denmark’s largest and best printing houses for the printing of the Group’s newspapers. Pressens Fællesindkøb, the procurement association of the Danish press, and the printing houses ensure that the requirements for the traceability of newsprint, among others, are met, which is an important element of FSC certification.
The wood used to produce newsprint is from FSC-certified forests, mainly Nordic forests, where trees are felled as new trees start to grow. In addition, the newsprint is produced from the residues from saw mills as well as recycled paper.
Most of the newsprint already used is collected and recycled through municipal recycling systems and is thus included in the production of new newsprint. This helps reduce the environmental impact as much as possible.
North Media regularly explores avenues of more eco-friendly distribution arrangements, and would in this context particularly underline No Ads+, which holds the potential for revolutionising physical distribution in Denmark and for creating a much greener and sustainable distribution arrangement.
North Media’s subsidiary, FK Distribution, has developed NoAds+, allowing recipients of retail leaflets to choose exactly what printed matter they want to receive and what not to receive. This has led to a reduction in paper consumption by approximately 70% on average per NoAds+ household.
FK Distribution has also refined its digital platform, minetilbud.dk. Via iOS and Android apps, users can look for bargains while on the road and read the latest retail leaflets whether on a train or on their couch at home. minetilbud.dk is seeing substantial growth and will in the long run also contribute to a greener distribution of retail leaflets.
Danes have embraced the new solutions. Consumers still want to read retail leaflets, but the modern consumer also wants to shield the environment against unnecessary waste burdens, and thusly takes a positive view on NoAds+ and minetilbud.dk.
At year-end 2015, the reduced volume of paper from NoAds+ has lowered the consumption of paper by 22,000 tonnes compared to the level before the introduction of this arrangement. Because of this, CO2 emissions have been reduced by approximately 50,000 tones calculated on the basis of a life-cycle analysis of retail leaflets made by the DTU Department of Environmental Engineering for Vestforbrænding.
FK Distribution expects the NoAds+ to grow further because 70% of consumers today accepting all advertisements are interested in the solution, which also receives positive response from an impressive 40% of current No Ads Please households. Consequently, NoAds+ has every possibility of becoming a green game changer in the Danish distribution industry.
NoAds+ has in a very short time gained wide backing from the retail trade. This is because NoAds+ consumers spend more time reading the individual leaflet opted for, but also because NoAds+ enables retailers to enhance their CSR profile vis-à-vis customers, business partners and political stakeholders.
To North Media, social inclusion means that different groups of employees are able to make a career for them-selves without facing cultural or organisational barriers. We admit that ensuring this takes a special effort. For example, we would like to have even more women managers, and we make an active effort to achieve this objective.
At North Media, there is a balance of male employees and female employees. At present the Board of Directors is made up of four members who are all men. At executive board level, the current three members are also all men. The current number of male and female managers is three and three, respectively.
The policy applies to the listed Parent, North Media A/S. The subsidiaries will be drawing up their own policies in so far as they are subject to Danish Act no 1383 of 23 December 2012.
Furthermore, North Media systematically uses employee surveys and performance evaluations to identify any barriers to men’s and women’s equal opportunities to pursue a managerial career. Other measures include emphasis of equal pay for men and women and the drawing-up of job ads appealing to women managers.
North Media’s Board of Directors is currently made up of four persons, who are elected for one year at a time. The current male Board members have been carefully selected based on their competence as well as the challenges and development potential faced by the Group.
When, at a given moment in time, North Media decides to add new skills to the Board of Directors, or if a Board member would like to resign, North Media will seek to have at least 25% of the candidates for the vacant seat(s) on the Board represent the underrepresented gender, meaning women at this point. Over the four-year period from 2017 to 2020, the objective is also for women to make up at least 20% of the Board of Directors. These objective are considered ambitious, but also realistic.
At the Annual General Meeting held on 31 March 2017, the present Board of Directors was re-elected, and the number of Board members was not increased. Thus, no seats on the Board were up for refilling.
So, the objective of at least 25% women candidates for vacant seats on the Board and at least 20% women on the Board has not been fulfilled yet.
North Media’s staff policy is based on the Company’s strong core values that underpin the very foundation of the its policies, rules and business procedures.
Based on the open corporate culture and the fact that, in practice, the Group operates only within Denmark’s borders, it was not found relevant to prepare a policy for human rights and anti-corruption.