Nokia Siemens Networks recently published its 2011 sustainability report. Sustainability, anti-corruption drives and other western ideals all sound good, but how relevant are they to us in developing countries?
One initiative piloted in India was a system to employee gift claims, hospitality and travel, explained Sari Sarin, head of sustainability and health and safety at NSN.
“Cultural differences on hospitality are very different. What is the acceptable value of a gift? When and how do you report? Is this a normal business gift?
“The system is now global and allows regional legal teams one step higher than countries to check on these expense claims,” she said.
Human rights risk management and and due diligence in supply chain awareness and compliance is similarly very relevant given NSN’s manufacturing operations in China and India.
Audits are carried out and the first reaction from the factories are always, “do you know how much this will cost?” But Sarin says that they soon learn that better risk management equals better planning, better execution and ultimately higher quality.
“They don’t always understand what accidents cost,” she explained.
This year, NSN’s Chennai operations have won a number of awards from the Electronics Industry Association of India for quality and environment management.
But on the demand side, I asked her if Asian operators were less demanding on workers’ rights than those in the west?
“Asian customers are very strict, it’s a global trend. We have also done due diligence and have refused to sell to certain countries,” she said, not expanding on specifics.