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Experts Speak on the Compliance & Ethics Challenges in the Energy Sector

Anti-corruption, Compliance and Ethics for Energy Sector 2020

25-27 March 2020, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Energy companies are required to comply with international, national as well as regional rules and regulations on numerous fronts; ranging from environmental compliance, health and safety, labour laws, taxation, market compliance, anti-corruption, privacy and data security, etc. At a time when climate change has become a key factor to be considered for every business decision, energy companies are expected by stakeholders and the general public to go above and beyond just what is required legally when it comes to environmental compliance. Being in breach of environmental norms and regulations could seriously dent the company’s reputation as well as the valuation.

” As the energy sector is very much in the centre of many political discussions, in Germany, but also elsewhere, the behaviour of leaders, managers and employees in energy and environmental service companies become the subject of public debate. So, if these companies fail to comply with regulatory requirements or with their own internal ethical or compliance standards, this can easily damage or even destroy the company's reputation. At the same time, ensuring compliance with constantly changing regulations and establishing and raising awareness for compliance is a challenging task. In this environment, the compliance function is required to simultaneously establish and monitor clear processes and build trust and a culture of compliance,” says Stephan Haase, Chief Compliance Officer of Northern Europe Zone at Veolia.

According to Rafael Fauquie Bernal, Head of Legal Corporate & Compliance at Endesa, “The biggest compliance and ethics pressure points today facing energy companies refer to the Climate Change challenges and the way to accommodate with the SDO. Energy companies need today to go well beyond what is strictly legal and look for all the stakeholders’ interest. This vision is more and more becoming valued by strategic investors. “It is also imperative that organizations have ethics & compliance whistleblowing systems that enables full-time employees as well as contractors and third parties to report issues. At the Anti-corruption, Compliance and Ethics for Energy Sector 2020, Rafael Fauquie Bernal will share his expert knowledge and insights on whistleblowing in the energy sector and explain the 2019 EU whistleblowing directive in the energy sector.

Oil and gas, as well as power companies, due to the nature of their work influence the environment and the public around their areas of operation. Hazards such as electrocution, exposure to toxic substances, inadequate protective equipment for indirectly hired employees, etc. are potential health and safety risks in the power and utility sector. Most large energy corporations work with numerous contractors and vendors at different stages in their value chain and share the responsibility to ensure that the contractors also comply with rules and regulations, especially when it comes to labour laws, human rights and environmental compliance. Establishing sound processes for due diligence as well as vendor and contractor auditing is essential for energy companies to prevent such untoward incidents through third parties. The role of compliance and ethics managers has become more relevant than ever for the energy sector. “Senior compliance managers need to take an active part in the business to effectively engage, communicate and steer behaviour and awareness of ethical and compliance related aspects from the market entry decisions over implementing of business initiatives to actual operations and subsequent monitoring. Internal stakeholders should see the compliance function as enabler rather than the stopper of developments for long-term business success,” says Erik Hauptvogel, Ethics & Compliance Officer at Centrica

We have established our internal procedures to ensure that there is no human rights violation in our operations or on those from our counterparties. We have implemented global “KYC” procedures, various counterparties analysis committees, reinforce the application in our compliance clause and its verification by the internal and external auditors, and constant review of our policies,” says Rafael Fauquie Bernal, Head of Legal Corporate & Compliance at Endesa.

Increased digitalization of the processes in the Energy sector is helping companies better manage their compliance strategies and processes. According to Thomas Högfors, Global Head of Legal and Integrity at ABB Motion, the key compliance challenge for the energy sector is keeping up with new and changing regulations in different fronts, he advocates embracing digital technology tools to better manage compliance challenges as they can reduce human errors.

The future of compliance management is definitely digital. Erik Hauptvogel, Ethics & Compliance Officer at Centrica says, “Effective implementation, utilization and enhancement of analytics and technology are key to keep up with increasingly data-driven developments of businesses and facilitate customized surveillance. This will require companies to invest into upskilling their compliance officers to review, shape and integrate data-analytics models into existing processes and procedures.”

Stephan Haase, Chief Compliance Officer of Northern Europe Zone at Veolia says, “Generally speaking, technology can help to keep up with increasing standards and more and more complex and demanding regulatory requirements which are being continuously updated. It can also help increase efficiency by facilitating the effective deployment of compliance resources to dealing with substantive issues rather than administrative minutiae. Compliance technology systems provide a full range of services (from data analysis and automated systems to AI, machine learning) enabling better management of your compliance system. It can support the compliance organisation in better predicting trends, flagging anomalies and proactively avoiding or mitigating compliance risks. In order to choose the appropriate compliance technology, one should consider the size and complexity and maturity level of the organization and compliance management system as well as business objectives, the desire to scale etc. In summary, you have to find the right technology and the right system which fits best for your organisation, your needs and your strategy.”

The Anti-corruption, Compliance and Ethics forum for Energy Sector 2020 will bring together decision-makers and legal and compliance experts from all the major energy companies in Europe to address global compliance risks and challenges, and strategies to become more digital and responsive.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with us to know more about the speakers and the conference agenda.