Activities of Norilsk Nickel aimed at supporting the employees during the COVID-19 pandemic

During a pandemic, it is very important that the population receives assistance from large city-forming companies. Such an example is shown by the company Norilsk Nickel, which has already allocated $ 150 million to combat COVID-19.

The company’s management is doing everything possible to ensure social stability in all regions where its production divisions operate.

Areas financed by Norilsk Nickel

The distribution of allocated financial resources is already planned for:

  • Acquisition of medical equipment for the treatment of illness and life support of patients (for example, apparatus for pulmonary ventilation);
  • Ordering medicines;
  • Ordering funds that should ensure individual protection of citizens from the spread of the virus.

Finally, a lot is being done by Norilsk Nickel for the social support of people working in its production divisions.

Funds are allocated to support representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises, which is also important since these categories of businesses were severely affected by quarantine restrictions during the pandemic.

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The help of Norilsk Nickel for hospitals

Medical equipment purchased with funds allocated by Norilsk Nickel is needed not only for treatment but also for diagnosis, fighting the effects of the virus, providing emergency care, resuscitation, if such a need arises.

Separately, funds were allocated for the reprofiling of medical facilities.

It is clear that initially many hospitals were not ready for such a phenomenon as the coronavirus pandemic: there was no necessary equipment, there was no test system for detecting infection (even laboratory tests, not to mention express tests).

However, the allocated funds make it possible to deploy several stationary and mobile laboratories at once.

Measures have also been taken to increase hospital capacity. For example, in Norilsk, there were only 45 beds in the infection ward, and after the events, their number increased to 100. Today it is planned to increase the number of beds to 1000.

As mentioned above, the Norilsk Nickel company makes every effort to help the population in all regions where its production units operate.

For example, on the Kola Peninsula, the Kola corporate dispensary was allocated for observation (120 places in total).

In Monchegorsk, the Nornickel company helped organize additional 40 beds for adults and 20 beds for children in the infectious diseases ward. A special infectious department was created on the basis of the Monchegorsk hospital, in which only patients with coronavirus infection will be treated. Capacity is planned for 54 people.

About 30 new beds were organized in the Pechenga district were prepared for 20 additional beds.

Social protection for Norilsk Nickel employees

As one of its main priorities, Norilsk Nickel names the social protection of each of its employees.

During the quarantine period, all employees worked remotely (except for those who ensure the continuity of production). Moreover, the company retained 100% of the salary for all employees (regardless of whether they worked remotely or not). Moreover, employees responsible for the continuity of the production process receive a supplement.

During April, the company kept a salary even to those employees:

  • who did not have remote access to workstations;
  • who were not able to perform labor duties due to the fact that kindergartens were closed and they had to sit with the children.

Norilsk Nickel reimbursed employees for the purchase of corporate vouchers. Because of a pandemic, vacation leaves were suspended, sanitary and spa services were temporarily suspended.

The company also guaranteed compensation for losses that employees may incur due to penalties from air carriers (when returning airline tickets). This rule also applies to airline tickets that were purchased for family members of employees (if a joint trip was planned).

The city administration of Norilsk together with the airline “Nordstar” decided to stop regular passenger flights to Krasnoyarsk, as the unfavorable epidemiological situation remains in this regional city. However, air communication with the regional center was still preserved: by order of the mayor of the city, a special interdepartmental commission was created that decides on each such departure (whether or not to allow it).

What else is done? 

Nornickel set up an operational headquarters to prevent the spread of COVID virus in the enterprise and among its employees, as well as to ensure a continuous production process. Operational headquarters were also established in regional units.

The company’s IT services organized remote access for employees who switched to remote work.

For employees who must be present at the workplace for a continuous production process, Nornickel organized an office taxi.

Employees are promptly informed of all company events through the corporate portal, situation center, and the hotline.

To ensure epidemiological safety at the Bystrinsky Combine, Nornickel purchased certified test systems that are used to test each employee who is on duty. This helps to maintain an approved schedule and prevent the spread of infection in the enterprise.

In each of the divisions of the company there are thermal imagers that recognize the temperature of the human body. Also there are special machines for hand disinfection. Doctors regularly conduct express examinations of employees. All the rooms are sanitized.

Cooperation of Norilsk Nickel with mobile operators

To provide the Norilsk population with high-quality Internet (so that employees can work remotely without problems, and their children study remotely), the «Unity» company (a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel) completely expanded its digital communication channels by 45%.

In order to do it the «Unity» collaborated with mobile operators in the city.

Support by Norilsk Nickel for small and medium-sized enterprises

Norilsk Nickel’s support for small and medium-sized enterprises was expressed, first of all, in the fact that rental vacations were provided for more than a hundred enterprises during the quarantine. We are talking about tenants of facilities owned by the company in Norilsk.

The Kola Mining and Metallurgical Company provided similar benefits to its own partners representing small and medium-sized enterprises.

Norilsk Nickel also provided credit holidays to social entrepreneurs who are participants in the flagship charity project “World of New Opportunities”. Under the terms of this project, they previously received loans from the company for the development of social business. Credit holidays are 6 months.

Collaboration of Norilsk Nickel with volunteers

In each city where the production department of the Norilsk Nickel company operates, volunteer teams were formed. As a result, more than a hundred volunteers take part in a charity event called “Volunteers are in a hurry to help”.

According to the terms of this promotion, they help with the delivery of products, medicines and necessary goods  to everyone who is in need. Volunteers also train elderly  people to use the Internet to order certain services (this is excessively important during the quarantine period when everything works remotely).

Finally, volunteers are engaged in the manufacture of gauze face masks for citizens belonging to the “risk group”, as well as for doctors.

Vladimir Potanin, the head of Norilsk Nickel, noted that the company responsibly approached this crisis and made every effort to protect its employees and all residents of Norilsk (as well as all other cities where the company operates).

Support for small and medium-sized enterprises was also important.

It is worth noting the company’s assistance provided to local administrations.

Vladimir Potanin noted that “only together can we adequately withstand such a test as a pandemic.”

Norilsk Nickel reporting: environmental care and social assistance

Over the past years, the following areas have remained among the main priorities of Norilsk Nickel:

  • Taking care of  the environment;
  • Social help.

In the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company showed its best side, providing support not only to employees but also to other people.

As for the environmental projects of Norilsk Nickel, for example, in the reporting document for 2019, the program for addressing of climate change is mentioned. In this program, the impact of climate change on the activities of the enterprise was evaluated, existing risks were analyzed.

It also indicates the active use of Norilsk Nickel metals in technologies aimed at reducing the negative impact of emissions on the climate.

Today, Norilsk Nickel has one of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions (when compared with other global mining and metallurgical companies).

The company takes almost 45% of the electricity generated by renewable sources.

All this indicates the integrated nature of environmental projects. One vivid example is the Sulfur Project, which aims to phase out SO2.

The company’s management does everything possible to adhere to its main priorities: it guarantees the fulfillment of obligations to its employees and shareholders. But besides this, one should not forget about the scale of activity of Norilsk Nickel, its city-forming role for Norilsk.

The company does a lot for all the cities where its production units are located, provides all possible assistance to local administrations.

The above figures indicate the following figures that reveal the level of social support for employees from the company: in particular, an increase in the average monthly salary by 6.5%.

And in 2020, the company demonstrated social support, while retaining 100% of the salary for all employees, including those ones who:

  • worked remotely;
  • could not work remotely due to lack of technical capabilities for this;
  • could not work due to forced sitting at home with children (because pre-school institutions were also closed due to quarantine).

And the workers who were in the workplace to support the continuous production process received significant wage increases.

In general, it is not surprising that in 2019 Norilsk Nickel was included in the Global 2000: The World’s Best Employers international ranking, which was organized by Forbes magazine. This rating includes only 2000 of the best employers from around the world, and Norilsk Nickel took 36th place.

The company’s spending on charity in 2019 amounted to 18 billion rubles. At least $ 150 million was spent on combating COVID-19.

Assessment of the Experts

Experts highly appreciate the efforts of Norilsk Nickel in the social sphere and praise the results.

In particular, the above report was checked by independent experts (including the Grand Thornton Foundation) for compliance with GRI standards (these are standards for preparing reports on company development). The result of such verification is full compliance with the declared level of information disclosure.

Moreover, the Moscow Exchange regularly holds reports competitions and the reports of Norilsk Nickel have been recognized as the winner of these competitions several times because it represents the best example of such work.

This can be explained by the fact that there is a consistent development of reporting practices over the years. It tries to follow all the latest trends in this area.

For example, in the above report of 2019, all the recommendations of TCFD were complied with (the so-called working group dealing with financial disclosures related to climate change).

In addition, the timelines for preparing reports were reduced – it was commissioned much earlier than originally planned. Experts appreciated this positively.

Norilsk Nickel analyzed activities in relation to its own development at the level of financial indicators. Thus, the report displays all the main development goals of the company, indicating all costs in these areas, with a detailed description of each completed project.

Experts note that other companies do this infrequently.

The company focuses on international standards, preparing reports. A large number of indicators are noted, which is very remarkable for such a large company since it is needed to collect, integrate and analyze, and then release a lot of information in the form of reports. And so over the course of 16 years, such activities of Norilsk Nickel have become systematic and regular. Sustainable Development Goals are gradually being integrated into the business strategy.

On the benefits and relevance of the reporting

Thanks to this data analysis, this company can be easily compared with other market players, other industries, and the activities of foreign companies.

Such information is of undoubted interest to investors, analysts, exchanges, partners, suppliers, and the state.

According to experts’ evaluations, it is impossible to draw up such a report if you sit in your office and do not go anywhere. It will require communication with each interested party, the collection of information with its subsequent analysis.

According to the AA1000SES standard, which provides for interaction with all interested parties, the company is obliged to rank all its interested parties with the identification of their interests and forming adequate communication channels.

Norilsk Nickel has done serious work with internal stakeholders (referring to personnel, directorate, functional units) and external stakeholders (in each region where the company is present – these may be non-profit organizations, youth organizations, journalists, the local administration, etc. )

The company has been successfully communicating with internal and external stakeholders for many years. Projects related to the development of social trends and local initiatives are constantly being improved.

The company report can be evaluated from different points of view:

  • Formal criteria (compliance with international standards);
  • Interpretation of statistical information received (facts and figures).

If you study this report, you can get a complete picture of the company’s work and see that Norilsk Nickel is doing everything necessary to correctly measure and evaluate the effectiveness of its own activities. In particular, this refers to the social and environmental activities of the enterprise.

Negative effects are gradually minimized and positive effects increase. All social and environmental risks are taken into account without fail, and appropriate strategic management of them is selected. This is not superficial, but very deep understanding of the global agenda. The implementation of these actions requires a large amount of corporate investment.

Thanks to the report, the public gets open access to such information as how successfully the company integrates finances and efforts, provides interactions between all types of its capital – materials, production, intellectual resources, personnel, natural resources.

One of the main reporting topics is digitalization, which means innovation. An innovative breakthrough and progress are needed, starting with the modernization of consciousness and systemic approaches.

This report indicates the main priorities of Norilsk Nickel, which it adheres to in recent years and which were already mentioned in this article above – environmental protection (the fight for a clean ecology) and social support of the population. Moreover, this is not the first, but already the sixteenth document of this kind.

It even displays injuries during production processes, which at Norilsk Nickel are significantly lower than the industry average. Moreover, the company was able to achieve a noticeable improvement in these indicators compared to what it was in previous years since the total amount of earlier injuries had been higher than in 2019.

The conclusions

All of the above indicates that Norilsk Nickel is serious about resolving not only production issues, but also issues such as environmental protection, support for workers and the rest of the population, and assistance to medical facilities.

During a coronavirus pandemic, it is especially important that large companies allocate resources to support their employees, their families, and the cities in which their manufacturing units operate.

Norilsk Nickel is an excellent example of such a company, and its management made every effort to ensure that the company, its workers, residents of Norilsk and other cities in the regions where the company operates, survive the pandemic without any significant losses.

It is hoped that the time of difficult trials for the country and the whole world will soon end. The pandemic seriously hit the economy and other sectors, exposed many “painful places” and at the same time demonstrated which representatives of large business and industry are truly ready to take care of people, not just in words.

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