In 2018 we completed a human rights risk assessment for the construction phase of the Singapore refinery expansion. The assessment highlighted the need to implement effective grievance channels and access to remedy for all workers on the site.
Throughout 2020-2021 we implemented these recommendations with a priority to ensure that the entire workforce at the Singapore expansion, including all the employees of our contractors and sub-contractors, are able to raise their concerns directly to Neste.
Understanding that an effective grievance mechanism is one that is trusted and used by the people it intends to serve, we mapped the construction site and placed suggestion boxes in the four locations most accessible to workers. We ensure that all communications about the suggestion boxes and our grievance-handling processes are made available in multiple languages and communicated to the workforce in various ways, including onsite posters, regular safety meetings and training for new workers.
In addition to the suggestion boxes, we also promote the use of Neste’s global whistleblowing channel, Ethics Online, which is made accessible to workers via web, phone and QR codes posted at various locations on site. Workers are also encouraged to raise concerns to their supervisors via email, phone or in-person, if they wish. As of December 2021, we had received a total of 107 submissions via the grievance channels promoted on site, with the majority of these (95%) made via the suggestion boxes. Suggestion box submissions received included local complaints, as well as positive feedback. A summary of the type of complaints received, arranged by topic, is available in the chart below.
When implementing remediative actions for local complaints, we are results-focused and aim to tackle root causes. For example, to remedy issues related to WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) we improved our management system to increase the regularity for monitoring and maintaining basic facilities on the project site, such as drinking water dispensers, lighting and fans.
We have resolved 100% of all the local complaints received to date, with the time needed to resolve issues ranging from one week to several months depending on the scope. Any local complaint that identifies or suspects a misconduct is reported and handled according to the Neste Misconduct Investigation Standard.
In 2021, the effectiveness of the onsite grievance channels and processes were evaluated following one year of full implementation. We found that the suggestion boxes in particular functioned as an effective channel between workers and management, enabling us to field a wide range of questions, inquiries, and complaints. We also noted several areas for improvement, for example, streamlining grievance handling procedures to support more efficient remediation, and communicating to the workforce more regularly on the progress and outcomes associated with our on-site grievance channels.