Welcome to the world of verification!
Tecpetrol's 2021 Global Sustainability Report has just been published—and thanks to a new methodology involving all sectors, it’s now a public document that also serves as an effective management tool.
The much-anticipated day has come! The final version of Tecpetrol's Global Sustainability Report 2021 is now available to download from the web. This is the annual report for the 2021 period, covering environment, social affairs and governance (ESG) which has been enhanced thanks to a range of modifications introduced during its preparation that elevate its status.
The big change in this third global report has been the incorporation of external verification on a voluntary basis, which involved hiring the international professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to take quality measurements based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards. They also worked in coordination with specialized sustainability consultants AG Sustentable (who were responsible for drawing up the report) to show how Tecpetrol has been meeting the Sustainable Development Goals enshrined in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The range of tasks performed by both external agents demanded a far higher commitment from all the sectors responsible for supplying the key data.
All this work has laid the ground for the information-gathering tasks required for the next period, when the management of the Report will be handed over to Tecpetrol’s Admin and Finance Department, as the main party responsible.
"As part of our efforts to ensure this Report is truly global, we included all the countries where we are present, and consulted the major referents in each case so that they could make this report their own," explained Julieta Delorenzi, Senior Manager of Cultural Transformation. The process turned into a virtuous circle, as "the leaders of different sectors became more familiar with the procedures and requirements, leading to improvements in the quality of the information provided by each area.”
Although the task of verification is not about adding extra complexity, it does require proper planning. “This process presented challenges for all of our leaders as everybody had to be involved in the review procedures,” said Pablo Martellotta, CORE Corporate Manager, to Tecpetrol Hoy. "It’s definitely a task for which we must be trained, as we need to understand that it involves quite a different kind of methodology," he added.
Adhering to the audit process lessens any risks of errors in ESG reporting and in the application of standards. It also means that the data reported is standardized and can be compared both with the previous year, and later with the following year. The sectors providing data must be able to prove and show what they are reporting. In this instance, the report is public, and because of this, it’s a document which can serve management as well as being consulted by financing agents. For this period, twenty indicators were chosen on a voluntary basis, although these will at some point will become mandatory, as is the case with other Techint Group companies.
A three-pronged approach
The Sustainability Report covers three areas: environment, social affairs and corporate governance, known as ESG, an umbrella term used to refer to the specific information analyzed by investors to evaluate risks. “When we talk about the environment, we don’t generally take into account that those who have complaints to make about it are actual people, nor that the social side of things exceeds our communities and Human Resources. The issue is that written rules and procedures must also be followed by people,” added Martellotta. The verification process is a critical tool that protects the company against reputational risks and demonstrates integrity in the daily handling of its business.
"As regards the Environment, the data-gathering process was and still is quite challenging," conceded Stephen Wharton, Senior Environmental. Manager. "The improvements introduced by the new PwC verification process were that the internal sectors providing the content, such as HSE, had to be more rigorous in terms of the evidence supporting the data collected."
What's new in this report
The 2021 Global Sustainability Report is over one hundred pages long and reflects the actions carried out during the period, supported by the GRI index and an in-depth presentation of the company’s contribution to the different SDGs. Other innovations include the space given to the developments being spearheaded by the Energy Transition Unit as well as the expansion of the +d program, and the diversification and growth of the actions included in the ProPymes Program and New Business.
Although some shortcomings have been detected along the way, the new procedure provides an opportunity to improve the reporting process by introducing the role of an independent verifier whose view is utterly unbiased. "When you audit, you are making sure that what you are saying is true and supported, and this gives the report that extra layer of credibility in the eyes of the general public," explained Delorenzi, highlighting that, "the standard of what we are reporting has also evolved, and the information is richer and deeper in terms of quality."
The new methodology also adheres to the latest trends in ESG reporting regulations throughout the region as well as locally, commensurate with the highest reporting standards in terms of reporting and the verification obligation present in mature markets. “This is why the SDGs are so important: the objective is for each referent to understand that, whatever task they are working on, what they are doing contributes to achieving these goals,” said Martellotta. He added that, “At the end of the day, it’s important to be proud of what you’ve achieved, to be able to say, see who we are, see what we’re doing at Tecpetrol!”
The experience of Marina Callejo, Business Conduct Compliance Director
“From the BCCO, we contributed to the Ethics section of the Sustainability Report, providing information about our Business Conduct Compliance Program to demonstrate the company's efforts in terms of preventing any non-compliance or violations of anti-corruption regulations. The activities and actions carried out as part of the annual plan are presented in line with the best market practices.”
“For us at the BCCO, the Report is a highly useful tool and we refer to it when our customers, partners or other third parties request information about how our Compliance Program operates. Regardless of the more specific details, our stakeholders place a high value on the fact that the company produces this type of complementary Report, available to the general public, where it openly ratifies its commitment to comply with the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact.”
“We believe that the changes made to the process are very encouraging as they will enable us to continue providing our stakeholders with relevant, accurate and quality information. They also reflect the corporate culture of our company, based on ethical behavior and adherence to standards.”
Vilma Bettini's experience, Chief Audit Executive
“The report is more than just a tool, it’s the company’s presentation card and provides key data about its management, the initiatives developed during the year and its ethical commitment as a whole.”
“At the Audit Department, we work in coordination with the BCCO to contribute to the outreach efforts such as communications and training, focused on fostering a culture of transparency and a structure for business conduct, entwined with the values of our code of conduct. It’s also a vehicle for publicizing our Transparency Hotline, a confidential channel which is available 24/7 for employees and third parties who want to report situations which are contrary to our code of conduct.”
“The change with the greatest impact was the incorporation of the standard requiring the report to be audited by an external third party, which adds greater rigor to the process.”
Download Tecpetrol's 2021 Global Sustainability Report (in Spanish) here.