We believe that responsible behaviour and a strong operational culture based on the principles of sustainable development are crucial to building a long-term business and ensuring maximum benefit for both the Company and all our stakeholders. The CSR Committee analyses all major activities in terms of sustainability and encourages and supports the steps taken by the management to make Uralkali a leader in this area.
For Uralkali, sustainable development means, above all, safety of the production process. As well as education and regular health checks, a key part of our programme is identifying and managing the major health and safety risks to which our employees are exposed. Following extensive analysis, in 2012 we introduced Cardinal Rules for safety across Uralkali’s operations, and in 2013 we began to see the first results. I am pleased to report that last year there were no fatal accidents at our facilities and we saw a marked decrease in the number of work-related injuries and accidents and an improvement in occupational health outcomes. In addition, in 2013 we extended the Cardinal Rules to include our subsidiaries and affiliates across the Group.
The next step is to make these rules obligatory for our contractors. As one of the largest employers in the region, we are aware that we influence the local business environment. As such, we seek to apply global best practices in our own organisation and introduce them into our relations with our business partners.
In addition to health and safety, we are mindful of our environmental impact. In order to minimise this, we continue to replace our equipment with new, more environmentally friendly options and implement projects to reduce our impact from pollution and climate change. We continue with our work within the Carbon Disclosure Project. And above all, and given the specifics of our operations, we exercise comprehensive monitoring of the geological safety and integrity of our open and closed mines.
A further indispensable component of sustainability at Uralkali is the development of leadership and professional talent. In 2012, a talent pool was formed for top and middle-level managers, with comprehensive personal development plans for each individual. In 2013, we expanded the programme to include technical positions.
At the same time, we are continuing our partnerships with educational institutions. Through scholarships and internships, we are searching for talent and motivating students to acquire relevant knowledge and work for the Company on graduation. This will uphold our image as the employer of choice and safeguard the long-term future of the business and the communities that it supports.
Sustainability is about future generations and the opportunities available for them. We seek to help children in Berezniki and Solikamsk stay off the streets and have the opportunity to engage in extra-curricular activities close to their homes. Therefore, we have initiated a basketball sports project in 75 schools in both towns. The project will bring the expertise of one of the world’s best basketball schools to Russia, as we have engaged renowned Serbian professionals to develop programmes and train local coaches and teams.
We also strive to address the most pressing needs of local communities. One of the major challenges for Russian cities is the condition of ageing buildings.In Berezniki, this problem is further exacerbated by unstable geology. In 2013, Uralkali volunteered to support the state programme to re-settle people from dilapidated houses into new ones. This project will enable our employees, their families and the wider town to improve their living conditions and make the region a more attractive place to live and work.
We aim to continue to make strides in the area of sustainability and will uphold our commitment to corporate social responsibility. Once again, I would like to thank everyone at Uralkali for their efforts and hope that the coming year will bring further notable progress in this area.
Sir Robert Margetts
Chairman of the CSR Committee
Senior Independent Director