The board of directors has overall responsibility for the management of Sinch, including matters related to sustainability. The board is responsible for the policies and control documents related to the sustainability topics reported here.
The main principle for sustainability management at Sinch is to minimize the potential negative impacts of the business and to benefit from the opportunities brought by sustainable business. Sinch therefore has policies in the areas related to sustainability and an internal Code of Conduct for employees. Adopted in 2016, this Code of Conduct applies and is reviewed with all new employees when they join Sinch. It is based on the UN Global Compact’s 10 principles for sustainable business, with emphasis on clarifying the company’s positions on issues related to respect to human rights, anti-corruption, diversity, equal opportunity and the importance of sound business relationships.
Sinch also adopts an external Code of Contact for suppliers.
This section outlines how Sinch combats material risks related to sustainability, describing our risk management processes.
Sinch continuously monitors political developments and potential new legislation in the countries in which we collaborate.
As we have identified that our greatest environmental impact is through air travel, we have a travel policy that must be followed by all employees, and all travel is booked through the same travel agency to make it easier to track how much we travel and determine how we can reduce traveling.
Sinch applies a recruitment model that is always used in recruitment to ensure that the collective skills and expertise of Sinch maintain a high standard. Sinch employees and their line managers jointly prepare a personal development plan each year, which is the basis of performance assessment. Sinch annually measures employee engagement through an employee survey to get feedback on how employees perceive their work and Sinch as an employer.
Sinch has zero tolerance for discrimination on any basis and strives for a culture characterized by diversity and equal opportunity. This is clearly expressed in our Code of Conduct, which is communicated to employees. We are making a constant effort to increase the percentage of women in the company and have two recruiters, one man and one woman, present at every recruitment interview to ensure a wider perspective in that context. Employees involved in recruitment are also trained to make the process as unbiased as possible.
HR also works according to a carefully-designed recruitment process to ensure that no one is excluded based on gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, with one of the most important consideration being the right skills for the job.
Sinch promotes a healthy work-life balance and works continuously with employees on these issues. Through close dialogue between employees and managers, indications that an employee may be struggling are picked up in time and Sinch works with an external party that can offer supportive counseling to the individual. The goal is to identify signs of burnout, for example, at an early stage and in so doing prevent long-term sick leave.
We also continuously evaluate the results of our employee surveys and performance reviews to determine how we can improve the work environment and employee well-being. We offer our employees in Sweden fitness and wellness benefits, massage and private health insurance. In other countries, we have ongoing health initiatives aimed at enhancing employee well-being.
All Sinch employees must read and understand our Code of Conduct, in which our ethical guidelines are set forth, and is available on our intranet. We also engage in constant dialogue about how we do business. We attach a Code of Conduct to every customer contract that sets out rules of conduct and we ask our suppliers to show us their internal Code of Conduct and ask them to sign ours.
Our Code of Conduct is based partly on the 10 principles of human rights adopted by the UN, which must be followed by all employees. When we enter into contracts with operators in high-risk countries, we include an additional clause covering human rights, corruption and bribery.
We also have a Code of Conduct that we send as an appendix with every contract to our suppliers, which covers aspects including respect for human rights.
The Code of Conduct includes guidelines pertaining to bribery and corruption and the Code has been communicated to all employees and suppliers. The Code is appended to all new contracts with suppliers and, as of 2018, they are expected to confirm in writing that they intend to apply the Code. If we discover a breach of our Code of Conduct by supplier, we discuss this with them and terminate, if necessary, our dealings with them.
Targets, Outcomes and Evaluation
This section outlines how Sinch have performed in areas related to sustainability during the last financial year.
Working at Sinch means coming every day to a workplace where passion is the main ingredient – something we are very proud of. We are energetic, pragmatic, humble and we get things done. Working for us, as a truly global company, means having the freedom and independence you need to succeed. We constantly challenge ourselves and each other to be the best at what we do. We motivate and encourage our people to be the best they can be, every single day.
To us, a strong company culture is a key prerequisite for success. The culture is inevitably affected by the relatively large number of acquisitions we have made. But the essence of what makes us Sinch is so strong that we have maintained its vibrancy through structural changes and acquisitions.
We value and reward our employees’ deep expertise in their fields, and we have developed a thorough and effective recruitment process to ensure that we attract and select the top talents. We are very careful in the selection process and put a lot of energy into interviewing applicants to make sure this is the start of a long and mutually-rewarding relationship.
In order to retain skills and expertise in the company, it is important that Sinch provides opportunities for advancement. We therefore advertise all available jobs internally first and, as policy, all internal applicants are interviewed and given the chance to advance within the company.
Diversity is an important factor within Sinch, and we believe our different competences and experiences are what make us successful. English is the corporate language of Sinch, and employees are not required to speak Swedish. We have employees in more than 20 countries and together our people speak more than 40 languages, as a native language or at a professional level.
Sinch works in a male-dominated industry and we are working hard to bring more women into the business. The average number of employees in 2017 was 340, of whom 69 were women. We strive for gender equality based on competence and our goal is to always recruit the best skills regardless of gender.
Employee health and well-being is critically important to Sinch. We had a health and safety training program in Sweden in 2017 that focused on the social work environment. We talk about this a lot within the organization and try to prevent absenteeism by identifying signs at an early stage that an employee is struggling. Sick leave in 2017 was relatively low, less that 1% of the year’s working hours.
Sinch conducts an employee survey every year, in which employees’ perceived engagement is measured on a scale of one to ten. The score declined during to 8.1 in 2017 from the 8.6 we achieved in 2016. Reasons for this include our rapid growth through acquisitions and the synonymous change processes. The target is to rebound to at least 8.6 out of ten once more.
Sinch operates in more than 40 countries and has a supply chain that extends across the world. Maintaining control of all aspects in all countries is a challenge for Sinch, but we communicate with our suppliers daily through face-to-face meetings and by email and telephone.
At present, we do not evaluate or screen our suppliers because we are just beginning our sustainability management program and have not yet had the opportunity to do so. We are, however, discussing how we can improve supply chain management in the future.
As we work all over the world, including in high-risk countries, preventing corruption is a material concern for us. We have a Code of Conduct that includes guidelines on corruption that our suppliers must sign upon entering into a contract. The guidelines are also included in our internal Code of Conduct, which employees are required to sign. Corruption is any form, such as bribes or business on non-market terms, is prohibited within the Sinch organization.
Protecting human rights in commerce is Sinch’s top priority. In some of the countries where we operate, there may be a risk of human rights abuses by the supplies and customers we work with. It is difficult to control this in all aspects and at all levels. We make every effort to manage this by requiring all new suppliers to sign a Code of Conduct in which human rights are covered.
We continuously evaluate our IT systems to ensure that they uphold a high standard of quality and process data in a secure manner. In order to determine whether our systems leak information or do not securely process customer data, Sinch has an internal system in which employees can report any non-conformances they have identified. There were no confirmed cases of loss of customer data in 2017.
It is important to Sinch that business is conducted in a due and proper manner. We must keep our promises to our customers and not use dubious methods to lower costs in an industry of heavy price pressure. We aim to be trustworthy and we must perform the services our customers expect to receive. The ethical compass is part of our corporate culture.
Compliance with the laws and regulations that apply in all countries that we work with is a steadfast principle at Sinch. We therefore have legal advisors covering all countries in which we operate, to understand local legislation. We also have our own legal affairs department in Sweden that construes agreements and ensures that we comply with laws and regulations and manage the situations that occur on an ongoing basis.
Environment impact is not Sinch’s most material sustainability topic, but we still believe it is important to reduce the impact that we do have. Sinch shall run its business responsibly with consideration for the environment, the company’s customers and its employees. The company aspires to steadily reduce the negative environmental impact of its operations. Since the aim of Sinch’s business is for users of the company’s product and services to communicate virtually to a greater extent, Sinch is helping reduce the use of paper and help cut the need for travel and transport in a variety of ways, through delivery of cloud services. Air travel currently generates the largest emissions of greenhouse gases in the world and if we can contribute to reducing air travel, it is good for us and our customers.
We have a travel policy to gain control and reduce our travel. We seek to use our own products to the greatest extent possible and hold meetings via our services instead of traveling to reduce the negative environmental impact of flying. We also installing new printers during 2017, that will reduce our use of paper and we are working with efficient product solutions to reduce our use of electricity and other energy.
Our materiality analysis did not show charitable work to be a material topic for Sinch. Nevertheless, helping and doing what we can to make the world a better place is important to us as a company. In Sweden, we support Hand in Hand, an organization that is working to eradicate poverty by supporting women in developing countries to start their own businesses. In the United States, we work with Habitat for Humanity. One day a year, US employees help build houses for people who do not have homes of their own.