Corporate social responsibility – Oslo Børs VPS

The companies in Oslo Børs VPS Group offer a wide range of infrastructure services in the securities market. The businesses' stakeholders are many and consist of, among others, owners, investors, securities issuers, broker firms, account managers, employees, public authorities and other parts of the securities chain.

Stakeholder and materiality analysis

The Oslo Børs VPS Group has defined its most important stakeholders as its customers (issuers, investors, investment firms, fund managers and banks), the authorities, its employees, its shareholders, and Norwegian society as a whole.

These groups have largely the same expectations and interests. These same expectations are also important to the Oslo Børs VPS Group from a strategic perspective. The three most important of these expectations are:

  • Infrastructure in which all user groups have confidence

    The existence of a well-ordered system for raising capital is of social importance. High-availability infrastructure (marketplaces, securities registers and settlement systems that operate with high uptimes and few outages) that is secure in terms of personal data protection and information security in general, good listing and registration processes, and high-quality market surveillance are important elements in this regard – both for Norwegian society and for confidence in Oslo Børs VPS and its continuing development. It is also important for Oslo Børs VPS to help increase the Norwegian population's knowledge and expertise regarding the role and function of the securities market in society.

  • Dialogue with customers and development of the infrastructure

    From the perspective of both Norwegian society and the Oslo Børs VPS Group, it is important that Norway’s infrastructure for securities and the service range offered by the Group develop in line with customers’ needs and changes in their circumstances. Oslo Børs VPS seeks to develop the infrastructure and its service range in collaboration with its customers in a way that helps promote innovation and transformation in the Norwegian economy.

  • Workers’ rights and the working environment, equal treatment and diversity, employee development and recruitment.

    As explained below, it is important for the Oslo Børs VPS Group to be an attractive workplace for skilled and dedicated workers, and as an employer it must also protect workers’ rights, ensure diversity and offer a high-quality working environment with trust between managers and employees.

Guidelines for corporate social responsibility

In order to ensure a strong focus on corporate social responsibility throughout its organisation, Oslo Børs VPS has produced guidelines for the companies in the group in respect of various areas that are related to corporate social responsibility. Oslo Børs VPS is committed to making an in-depth awareness of corporate social responsibility part of the group’s corporate culture. Our corporate values - respect, responsibility, team spirit and flexibility – characterise the organisation’s identity, and the group uses its corporate values as a foundation for formal ethical guidelines. The guidelines help to create an ethical operating environment in which employees:

  • contribute to creating an inclusive working environment characterised by taking responsibility and loyalty
  • show respect and consideration for other people
  • avoid confusion over their role and conflicts of interests
  • pay particular attention to the general requirements that apply to employees in a group that plays a central role in the securities chain
  • pay particular attention to the restrictions that apply if they carry out trades in financial instruments, and ensure that they comply with the duty to notify such trades where appropriate
  • report any misconduct or failure to comply with the guidelines

The group arranges regular meetings for its employees to discuss and consider the issues and challenges that arise in respect of ethical conduct and ethical dilemmas.

Oslo Børs VPS has established guidelines for corporate social responsibility that address the following areas:

Openness

Oslo Børs VPS is committed to maintaining open, accurate and transparent communications with all its target groups. The group’s communication strategy includes a definition of the principles to be applied for all external communication.

  • Oslo Børs VPS Holding is a public limited company with freely transferable shares. The company’s shares are not listed on a stock exchange or other regulated market, but for the purposes of the information that it makes public, Oslo Børs VPS Holding has elected to comply with all the requirements that would apply if it were a stock exchange listed company.
  • The group’s shareholder and IR policy is based on striving to meet the standards of best practice for information to shareholders, equal treatment of all shareholders and shareholder influence. Further information is provided on the company's website at www.osloborsvps.no.
  • The Board of Directors of Oslo Børs VPS issues an annual report on corporate governance in accordance with the Norwegian Code of Practice for Corporate Governance. The report is published on the company's website at www.osloborsvps.no.

Oslo Børs VPS as an employer

Oslo Børs VPS is committed as an employer to respecting its employees’ rights, promoting diversity and facilitating a good working environment with a relationship of trust between management and employees. The established guidelines stipulate the following:

  • The group has established guidelines to ensure that no-one is discriminated against in respect of gender, age, religion, nationality etc.
  • Oslo Børs VPS focuses on the personal development of its employees, as well as providing opportunities for a variety of career paths, both within each of the group companies and across the group as a whole.
  • The group has established guidelines and policies for health and safety at work.
  • Oslo Børs VPS has put in place policies and arrangements intended to facilitate a high-quality working environment.
  • A system has been established for employees to report or warn about matters of concern.
  • The group attaches importance to ensuring that employees are able to progress their professional and personal development. The group also attaches importance to flexibility in working conditions, including flexibility in respect of working hours for parents with young children.

By establishing the guidelines mentioned above, the group has ensured that proper attention is paid to these matters. The guidelines are promoted through measures including regular reviews of internal requirements as well as regular discussions of ethical issues and training. The group will continue to implement these measures on a regular basis in the future.

Environment/climate

Oslo Børs VPS strives to minimise the impact of its activities on the environment and climate by maintaining a close focus on environmental efficiency and environmentally friendly technology. The group has an established practice in this area that involves the following:

  • The group operates its premises in the most energy-efficient manner possible, including the use of techniques such as power management, district heating and free cooling for air conditioning.
  • The waste from all the group’s buildings is sorted, with reuse and recycling where appropriate (including paper waste, IT equipment etc).
  • The group uses electronic systems for document storage and does not keep archives of paper documents.
  • The group’s annual report is produced and published electronically. VPS strives to reduce the volume of printed communication with investors by encouraging greater use of electronic messages.
  • As of September 2014, the default distribution method of investor messages from VPS is electronic. Investors that still wish to receive investor messages by surface mail, may order this in VPS Client Services.

Relationships with customers and suppliers

Oslo Børs VPS attaches importance to its business partners’ showing a commitment to corporate social responsibility. The established guidelines stipulate the following:

  • When making purchasing decisions for goods and services, the group takes into account the corporate social responsibility of the suppliers in question.
  • The group’s purchasing routines stipulate that the suppliers it uses must comply with all legal and regulatory requirements for working conditions and employment policies.
  • Employees of Oslo Børs VPS are expected to comply with both general ethical values and norms as well as good business ethics. The group is committed to competing/operating in a manner that does not give rise to any question in respect of its commitment to business ethics. Equally, the group avoids collaborating with any parties that do not comply with general ethical values and norms and good business ethics.
  • Employees and officers must not make use of their position or seek to gain personal benefit at the expense of others, and must avoid any situation that may cause confusion over their role or a conflict of interest.
  • The group has written guidelines on the types of business entertainment, gifts etc. that may be accepted by employees.

The overwhelming majority of the group's customers are required to be authorised by Norwegian or foreign authorities and are subject to official supervision. Accordingly, the group does not impose any further requirements on its customers  in respect of corporate social responsibility other than its normal terms and conditions of business.

By establishing the guidelines mentioned above, the group has ensured that proper attention is paid to these matters. The guidelines are promoted through measures including regular reviews of internal requirements as well as regular discussions of ethical issues. The group will continue to implement these measures on a regular basis in the future.

Contribution to society as a whole

The securities market plays an important role for society as a whole by providing a source of capital that helps companies and businesses to create value and thereby contribute to economic growth and prosperity for society as a whole.

Confidence, integrity and trustworthiness are key aspects for a securities market, and Oslo Børs VPS is committed to ensuring that all the activities carried out by the group maintain high standards of both quality and ethical compliance, as well as being commercially sustainable. Oslo Børs VPS believes that paying proper attention to corporate social responsibility will contribute to long-term profitability.

Oslo Børs VPS is responsible for a number of key functions in the Norwegian securities market, and is therefore committed to setting a good example for other participants in the market. Oslo Børs VPS occupies a unique position in the business sector, and carries out a variety of activities intended to encourage greater focus on corporate social responsibility. This includes membership of the Norwegian Corporate Governance Board (NCGB).

Oslo Børs VPS is committed to disseminating information about the role and function of the securities markets for society as a whole, and is actively involved in increasing the level of knowledge and understanding in this area among the Norwegian public.

Oslo Børs VPS has a long-standing partnership with AksjeNorge, a foundation established to encourage interest in and understanding of the way in which the stock market and the business sector contribute to value creation for society as a whole. AksjeNorge carries out a range of activities in this respect, including teaching material for use in schools and universities.

In addition, Oslo Børs is a member of the Norwegian Corporate Governance Board. Through this involvement, together with its participation in debates and conferences, the group promotes requirements for, and focus on, the conduct of Norwegian businesses in relation to matters including corporate social responsibility.

In 2015, Oslo Børs became a partner in the United Nations’ Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative (SSE). The aim of SSE is that exchanges, in collaboration with investors, regulators, and companies, encourage sustainable investment and enhance corporate transparency on environmental, social and corporate governance issues. In 2016, Oslo Børs became one of the first stock exchanges in the world to publish guidance on the reporting of corporate responsibility. Oslo Børs’ guidance on the reporting of corporate responsibility was produced in collaboration with the Norwegian Forum for Responsible and Sustainable Investment (Norsif). The guidance is intended to be a useful and practical tool to encourage efficient, comprehensive and relevant corporate responsibility reporting.

In 2015, Oslo Børs became one of the first stock exchanges in the world to launch separate lists for green bonds. The funds raised by issuing green bonds or certificates must be used for environmentally friendly purposes, and a second opinion on the project has to be sought in order for the issue to feature on the green list.

Oslo Børs VPS is actively involved in supporting the less advantaged members of society in its local area, and contributes to the work of the Church City Mission in Central Oslo. This takes the form of an annual event for less advantaged members of society as well as financial assistance.

Contact us

Geir Heggem

Geir Heggem

Group Chief Financial Officer
+47 22 34 17 22
+47 95 23 88 11