To be a responsible business that ensures the health and safety of our people, and makes a positive impact on our people and communities.

Health and Safety

Sembcorp develops and operates power and water plants as well as other facilities, where extensive health and safety precautions are required. The expansion of our business into developing economies also means we face challenges in building a local workforce that is attuned to our global health and safety standards. It is our priority to ensure that globally, all our employees and contractors are competent and equipped to work safely. We recognise our duty of care to provide a safe workplace for those who step into our premises, and we work hard to fulfil that duty. The health and safety of our customers is also a key priority, especially in our municipal water operations, where any lapse in health and safety protocols could result in a direct impact on people in the community.

 

Our People

Our employees play a vital role in ensuring we achieve our business strategy and goals. The nature of our business is such that we require specialised technical expertise. However, some of the markets in which we operate lack a qualified labour force with the necessary technical skill sets that our business demands. In other markets, these skill sets are highly sought after across several industries. In addition, the commercial and regulatory environments we operate in are also becoming increasingly complex. Therefore, there is a critical need to retain and develop a capable and motivated workforce who possess a deep understanding of the company and its industry sectors. Of the issues relating to our people, our materiality review process has identified employee development, employee compensation and benefits, labour standards, human rights and diversity, as well as employee wellness to be important areas of focus.

 

Community

Sembcorp’s long-term success is premised upon being a valued partner to the communities we are in, and we aim to contribute positively to these local communities. While Sembcorp’s businesses play an important role in supporting economic development and improving the standard of living in our communities, we recognise that there are social and environmental impacts on the communities around us as a result of the development and operation of our plants. Therefore, we view our integration with, support of and contribution to our host communities as part of our licence to operate.

 

Health and Safety

Occupational health and safety
Our vision is to be an organisation with a proactive health and safety culture. We are committed to working towards the goal of zero injuries in our workplace, with a workforce that puts safety first. We benchmark the health and safety performance of our operations against relevant global industry safety statistics, such as the International Oil and Gas Producers Global Safety Performance Indicators, and aim for progressive improvement.

We have put in place structures and processes to meet our goal including:

  • Board review
  • Oversight by the board’s Risk Committee
  • Leadership by our Group President & CEO
  • A Group Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) management system framework comprising
       – A Group HSE Policy; and
       – Group HSE management system guidelines and standards

The Group HSE management system framework provides guidelines and standards detailing expectations and principles relating to different aspects and activities that take place at a plant or site. It is further supported by the Sembcorp 10 Elements for Good HSE.

Assurance

HSE assurance is supported by an on-site validation and verification process which evaluates the effectiveness of the plants’ or sites’ HSE controls. On an annual basis, a validation and verification schedule is formulated using an internal risk-based assessment to ensure that the assurance exercise will focus on higher risk areas. Plants or sites with higher risk ratings will be given priority in the assurance exercise. The results of the assurance form the basis for the development of improvement plans.

Training 

Providing our employees with relevant HSE and technical capability development ensures that we have competent safety practitioners and safety-conscious line managers that support safe operations. Training is specific to the operations’ or sites’ risk profile and local conditions, and is conducted on an ongoing basis. Examples of operations-specific training include defensive driving at our solid waste management unit as well as project commissioning and construction orientations for project development teams. An annual global HSE workshop is held as a platform for the learning and sharing of corporate initiatives and best practices from our different operations.

Product responsibility: safety and quality

Sembcorp is committed to designing, building, operating and maintaining facilities in a manner that safeguards people, property and the environment.

Product safety and compliance is a priority, as non-compliance can result in serious health, safety and operational issues for our customers, many of whom depend on us for basic utilities or require our products for their industrial processes. Compliance testing of our products is done during various stages, from manufacturing to distribution and supply. We implement a robust maintenance and monitoring regime, which includes stringent inspections and the installation of meters and sensors at both our and our customers’ facilities. We also conduct regular laboratory tests to meet regulatory requirements and ensure that the water we produce is safe for our customers and end users.

 

Our People

Our operations span 15 countries across five continents where labour laws, regulations, employment codes and practices differ widely. All our local human resource policies comply with the local laws.

Our human resource practices are guided by the following:

  • Oversight by the board’s Executive Resource & Compensation Committee
  • Oversight by the Senior Management Committee
  • Talent Development Committees
  • Sembcorp Leadership Framework
  • Our Code of Business Conduct
  • Our Employee Code of Conduct
  • Our Grievance Handling Policy

Human capital risk is also monitored as part of our key risk indicators and reported bi-annually to the board’s Risk Committee.

We stay abreast of the latest developments and best practice for human resource management through our membership and participation in external organisations such as the Singapore National Employers Federation, the Temasek Human Resource Council, The Corporate Executive Board Leadership Council, as well as numerous local roundtable groups.

Memberships include:

  • The Corporate Executive Board Leadership Council, USA
  • The Conference Board, USA
  • ECA (Employment Conditions Abroad International, UK)
  • British Safety Council, UK
  • Temasek Human Resource Council, Singapore
  • Singapore National Employers Federation, Singapore
  • Singapore Business Federation, Singapore

Employee development

Employee development at Sembcorp is managed through the Sembcorp Leadership Framework, which comprises three components with distinct yet interrelated objectives to drive employee development. Workforce Planning supports organisational growth and ambition. The Core Competency component assesses employees’ competencies and identifies capability gaps while setting performance expectations. Learning and Development programmes are then put in place to close the gaps identified.

To complement the Sembcorp Leadership Framework, Talent Development Committees at both group and business unit levels aim to build a strong pipeline of talent to support our organisation. The committees meet at least twice a year to review our talent pipeline for succession management and leadership development.

 

 

Localisation is an important part of our strategy to grow our overseas businesses. When we begin operating in a new market, employees who are seconded from Singapore and other locations to start up the operations are given a clear responsibility to develop local talent. As the capabilities of local employees grow, the team is gradually localised, and the number of secondees progressively reduced.

Employee compensation and benefits
To attract, motivate and retain employees, Sembcorp’s remuneration and reward system is market competitive and performance-based. To determine salary levels and benefits, regular reviews and benchmarking are conducted against local standards and data from global market surveys and consultancy firms. In countries where there is a minimum wage policy, Sembcorp pays above the minimum wage.

Sembcorp adopts an equal pay policy where rewards are based entirely on merit and performance. Salary increases are based on individual performance and relative placement against the external market as well as negotiations with employee unions and guidelines issued by the local government. Annual variable bonuses are based on the Group’s performance as well as employees’ performance against individual targets set jointly with their supervisors.

We recognise that managing performance and development is a continuous process. Performance appraisals are done through informal feedback sessions and online systems where performance, expectations, training needs and targets are discussed and agreed upon by the employee and supervisor. As part of the performance appraisal, employees will be assessed against Sembcorp’s Core Competency Framework. Going through the appraisal process helps inculcate core values in employees, and clearly articulates the competencies and functional skills needed for their development.

Labour standards
We abide by local laws wherever we operate. Examples of regulations our global operations comply with include the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Amendment Act 2013 in South Africa, and localisation requirements as well as local labour laws that do not recognise the right of workers to organise and form trade unions in the Middle East. Sembcorp employees are entitled to practise freedom of association and to be covered by collective bargaining agreements in the workplace, within the regulatory boundaries of each of the jurisdictions. We hold constructive ongoing engagement with employee unions in our various operations. In countries where our operations are covered by collective agreements, we abide by the terms stated in said agreements, including those relating to minimum notice periods. Procedures for grievance handling are also specified in the agreements. Our Grievance Handling Policy seeks to manage employee grievances in a fair and reasonable manner, with an escalation path to the Group President & CEO where necessary. Where collective agreements do not exist, we abide by the terms stated in employment contracts.

Human rights and diversity
We are committed to uphold and respect the spirit of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. We are a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), and have made a public commitment to respect the Ten Principles of the UNGC, one of which is human rights. We abide by the Employers' Pledge of Fair Employment Practices under Singapore's Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices. Our Code of Business Conduct sets out our stance on fairness, opportunity, non-discrimination, dignity, respect and harassment. We do not hire forced or child labour in our operations.

Employee wellness
We recognise the impact of wellness on our employees’ overall effectiveness, and have set aside a dedicated wellness budget in countries of major operations such as Singapore, China, India, Oman and the UAE. The budget is available for department heads to use towards activities that encourage employee well-being and team bonding. Sembcorp was a founding member of the iCare Mental Health Alliance, which made efforts to improve the mental health of workers in Singapore. In addition, we specifically include coverage of treatment for mental health issues in our employee insurance coverage. Besides mandatory medical screenings for employees potentially exposed to occupational health hazards, voluntary annual health screenings are available free of charge to all employees in Singapore, China, Oman and the UAE.

Around the world, employee-led committees within our operations organise a range of recreational activities as well as nutrition and stress management programmes to support employees’ physical and mental well-being.

Employee engagement
We have various platforms through which we communicate with and receive feedback from our employees. These platforms include employee town halls, regular learning and sharing sessions, department briefings and team building activities. We hold an annual group-wide employee forum, attended by managers from Sembcorp offices all over the world, with detailed briefings from top management and external experts on our Group's operating environment, performance, outlook and strategy, as well as a question and answer session. Over the course of the year, we continue to communicate corporate updates and business milestones to all employees through employee emails and bimonthly e-newsletters, as well as via the company intranet.

Our employee grievance procedures set out our approach for the fair handling of employee grievance, and employees have confidential channels to submit feedback. Feedback from the employee will be escalated to different tiers of management according to the severity of grievances. Typically, it starts from the employee’s supervisor, then to the Human Resources department and lastly to the Group President & CEO.

Our group-wide Whistle-blowing Policy complements the Grievance Handling Policy by encouraging all employees to report any possible improprieties on a confidential basis, without fear of recrimination. The company intranet has an easily accessible whistle-blowing link, and employees may also provide feedback via email, mail or fax.

 

Community

As we build successful, sustainable businesses, societies and communities benefit. Our operations generate employment, contracts for local suppliers and tax revenues for governments and result in infrastructure development in our host communities. The direct economic value generated and distributed by our businesses can be found here. We believe that our local operations are best placed to not only understand the needs of the community, but also to forge partnerships with local stakeholders. Therefore, while the Group provides the strategic framework, tools and guidelines to ensure consistency and acceptable standards, community assessments and engagements as well as contributions are managed at the local level.

Assessment and engagement
The assessment and engagement of the community is guided by our Group Stakeholder and Community Engagement Policy as well as our Group Community Grievance Policy. Environmental and social impact studies are carried out in accordance with international and / or national standards for major new projects and expansions. These studies typically include social management plans that are implemented by the operations teams through the various stages of the site's development.

Community contribution
Sembcorp's global corporate social responsibility (CSR) framework provides a strategic and consistent approach for our charitable contributions and community investments. We focus on fostering environmental stewardship and improving the quality of life of the communities we are in.

Our CSR framework aligns the tracking and reporting of our community contributions with guidelines set by the London Benchmarking Group. This allows us to account for our total community giving – or the amount disbursed through sponsorships or donations – using standard definitions and valuations, and helps us ensure that the contributions recorded are meaningfully spent on community investment activities. More information on our key programmes may be found below.

 

Key programmes

The Sembcorp Water Initiative
In many of the emerging markets where we have operations, communities surrounding our sites lack access to clean water. The Sembcorp Water Initiative was established in 2013 to address this need. Under the initiative, we work with local authorities to implement solutions or develop facilities to improve access to water for communities in the immediate vicinity of our operations. To date, the Sembcorp Water Initiative has been launched for communities in Quang Ngai and Nghe An in Vietnam, where we are developing urban development and power projects, as well as in Andhra Pradesh in India, where we have two thermal power projects. So far, these initiatives have benefited more than 23,000 people.

The Sembcorp Garden City Fund
The Sembcorp Garden City Fund was established in 2010 to support the conservation of Singapore's natural heritage. Through the fund, we have sponsored the establishment of the Sembcorp Forest of Giants, a living gallery of rare giant tree species under threat. The fund has also supported public green education programmes such as the Festival of Biodiversity. In celebration of Singapore's golden jubilee in 2015, Sembcorp pledged S$10 million through the fund to expand and enhance the Cool House in the National Orchid Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a temperature-controlled glasshouse where visitors can view rare and beautiful orchids from Asia, the Americas and Africa.

The Sembcorp Youth Education Initiative
Established in 2010 and 2014 respectively, these competitions give young people exposure to the water and energy challenges faced by countries and governments, and aim to inspire bright young minds to consider a career in the water and energy industries. The Sembcorp Water Technology Prize is an annual competition co-organised with Singapore's national water agency PUB for secondary school and junior college students, while the Sembcorp-EMA Energy Challenge is co-organised by Sembcorp and the Energy Market Authority for students from institutes of technical education, polytechnics and universities.

Sembcorp Gives Back
Sembcorp's operations all over the world actively contribute to a range of causes, whether in cash, in-kind or through lending its employees' time and expertise. Sembcorp encourages employee volunteerism by organising regular volunteering events and by giving volunteers time off from work to help out with local worthy causes.

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