Modern Slavery Statement Financial Year 2021
STATEMENT UNDER S.54 OF THE MODERN SLAVERY ACT 2015
This our sixth modern slavery statement made in accordance with section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the “Act”) and covers the financial year from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021. We fully support the aims of the Act and are committed to operating free from any form of modern slavery.
Cubico is a global leader in renewable energy, with an operational capacity of over 3 gigawatts (GW), plus more than 2 GW in construction and under development (as at 31 December 2021). Our asset portfolio includes onshore wind, solar photovoltaic, concentrated solar power and transmission line technologies covering the whole energy chain from development and/or construction to operation.
We aim to reshape the future of energy production and we are committed to doing this while protecting the environment and supporting the communities we operate in.
Our organisation is split broadly between corporate activities and operational activities.
Our corporate activities are performed at the following offices: London (where we are headquartered), Sydney and Melbourne (Australia), Fortaleza and São Paulo (Brazil), Bogotá (Colombia), Bordeaux (France), Athens (Greece), Milan (Italy), Mexico City (Mexico), Madrid (Spain), Montevideo (Uruguay) and Stamford (Stamford).
Employees in these offices undertake skilled activities including project origination and execution, managing development and construction activities, managing assets on a day-to-day basis and corporate services (finance, tax, legal, HR).
Our corporate activities have only an occasional dependence on temporary workers and contractors and the nature of that work is of a professional service nature.
Development and Operational Activities
Our development and operational activities constitute the development, construction and operation of renewable energy and transmission / distribution assets ‘on the ground’. We predominantly outsource the construction of new assets to contractors experienced in these areas. Once our assets are in service, we predominantly outsource the operation and maintenance work. Our asset management services, which include providing support and resources to the relevant project companies to enable effective supervision and monitoring of the assets and oversight of contractors, and to provide certain corporate, legal and other back-office services are partially outsourced. All outsourced construction, operation and maintenance and asset management activities are managed through contracts with the various third parties in commercially agreed forms on a medium or long term basis, and include comprehensive compliance clauses.
3. Slavery and trafficking policies
Cubico recognises the inherent role we have as stewards in ensuring that all our investments meet best practice environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards and operating to high ethical standards is central to our organisation. Our General Code of Conduct, Supplier Code of Conduct, Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy and Corporate Compliance Statements make clear that good corporate governance and the professional ethics of our employees and suppliers are the pillars upon which Cubico’s activity is based.
We have welcomed the increased focus brought to bear by the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the Legal and Compliance team implement and review controls to address the risks of modern slavery occurring in our operations and supply chains.
Cubico’s Compliance Policies include explicit references to modern slavery. This includes our Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy, Code of Conduct and Procurement & Business Partner Vetting Policy to which employees can turn for guidance. Our Procurement & Business Partner Vetting Policy has increased the clarity of our approach in assessing whether suppliers, joint venture partners, sellers, developers, acquisition targets and other stakeholders with whom we engage (together referred to as “Third Parties”) maintain appropriate standards with respect to the prevention of modern slavery in their own operations and supply chains.
We continue to commission KYC Reports at certain key points in our relationships with Third Parties that are categorised as medium or high risk. These reports incorporate an assessment of the risks of modern slavery. During 2021 no KYC Reports were generated which raised specific concerns with respect to modern slavery.
We also have a Supplier Code of Conduct which sets out the standards we expect from all those who work for and with us with respect to combating modern slavery, anti-bribery and corruption and health and safety standards. We continue to place a contractual obligation on all medium and high risk Third Parties to adhere to our Supplier Code of Conduct and periodically send our Supplier Code of Conduct to certain Third Parties and ask them to reconfirm that they will comply with the terms thereof. Furthermore, we conduct Compliance audits of our key Third Parties to ensure they operate in line with our ethical standards.
4. Risk assessment
We have assessed that, given our internal operating standards, the risk of modern slavery occurring in our corporate activities is low. However, we remain vigilant to the risks particularly with respect to the limited low skilled outsourced labour that we engage at our offices (e.g. cleaning services). Employees in our corporate offices have undertaken modern slavery training as part of our annual Compliance Training and are aware of how to identify instances of modern slavery were they to arise.
Development and Operational Activities
We have also assessed the risks of modern slavery occurring in our development and operational activities and identified key areas of focus to be:
- Our high-risk jurisdictions: Cubico has a global footprint and operates in a number of jurisdictions. Some of those jurisdiction pose a higher risk than others and are monitored more closely as a result.
- The high levels of outsourcing of operational activities (as described above): Whilst Cubico predominantly contracts with large, well established suppliers we acknowledge that even they do not always have their own directly employed local work forces in the remote locations of some of our projects.
- The nature of the work undertaken, including:
- construction of assets and the infrastructure that supports them;
- outsourcing of operation and management activities associated with finished assets; and
- outsourcing of low skilled maintenance work at assets, particularly in higher risk jurisdictions.
- Risks of forced labour in the supply chain of polysilicon (a key component of PV solar panels) originating from Xinjiang, China.
Slavery and trafficking risks are already taken into account in the assessments made when Cubico is deciding whether to acquire or develop assets in a new country. The Legal and Compliance team have a central role in advising the organisation on those risks.
5. Due diligence and actions to address risks
We have a number of controls in place to mitigate the risks of modern slavery in our organisation and supply chains, as follows.
- We commission KYC Reports on medium and high risk Third Parties prior to them being engaged. This helps us identify whether they have previously been involved in, or associated with, any instances of modern slavery.
- Where we acquire a new business or asset, as part of the due diligence process, we request the seller and target to complete a Compliance Questionnaire which includes questions relating to modern slavery and the controls they have in place to mitigate risks.
- Our contracts with medium and high risk Third Parties include Modern Slavery and ABC representations and warranties which give us a right of termination if breached as well as an obligation to comply with Cubico’s Supplier Code of Conduct. We also include a contractual right to audit Third Parties where appropriate.
- We conduct compliance audits of key Third Parties, which includes assessing risks of modern slavery occurring in their business and supply chains.
- All Cubico employees undertake annual Compliance Training, which includes a section on Modern Slavery. Furthermore, certain employees periodically complete Modern Slavery e-learning.
- Our Head of HSE regularly undertakes site visits. During such visits he assesses our modern slavery risks which enhances our risk management practices and controls. The Executive Committee, including the CEO, CFO, General Counsel and Global Head of Asset Management do a number of on-site safety walks every year which include an assessment of compliance and modern slavery risks. The Executive Committee and the Head of HSE did not identify any areas of specific concern which required further action or investigation with respect to modern slavery.
- We maintain a confidential and independent whistleblowing hotline which employees and Third Parties can use to raise concerns in relation to improper, unethical or illegal practices. Cubico is committed to dealing with whistleblowing reports and we ensure that those who speak up are protected from retaliation.
- In response to allegations of forced labour in the solar industry in Xinjiang, China, we took the initiative to track the origin of polysilicon in our solar panel supply chains by engaging an independent auditor to conduct risk assessments of panel manufacturers in Southeast Asia. The assessments determine manufacturers’ own ability to trace the origin of polysilicon used in their panels and have two phases: (i) a desktop documentation review, based on manufacturers’ declarations as to the source of their polysilicon; and (ii) an evidence-based on-site audit where the auditor verifies declarations of the manufacturers through sampling, collection and a final review of the evidence. The results of the assessments enable Cubico to make a more informed decision when selecting panel providers to ensure that there are no forced labour concerns. In addition, Cubico has implemented enhanced governance controls, such as including detailed forced labour contractual protections in panel supply agreements. This extra measure is in place as an additional safeguard to prevent Cubico from obtaining production materials derived using illicit labour practices.
6. Our proposals for 2022 and beyond
We are committed to combating the risks of modern slavery occurring within our organisation and supply chains. Cubico’s Legal and Compliance team, alongside the Internal Auditor and Procurement Manager, have specific remit to further address the risks and will lead initiatives to:
- continue our work in assessing our high and medium risk Third Parties and to develop our risk analysis and selection of suppliers including by conducting ongoing KYC and reviewing, refreshing and, as appropriate, reissuing our Compliance Questionnaire;
- continue to conduct Compliance audits of key Third Parties to ensuring they have appropriate controls to ensure there is no modern slavery within their business or supply chains.
- continue to embed employees’ understanding of modern slavery risks through annual Compliance Training so that they remain vigilant and follow the controls that we have in place to reduce these risks;
- continue to periodically commission specific modern slavery e-learning for relevant employees;
- continue to carry out due diligence and audits on suppliers and our own assets via site visits conducted by our Head of HSE and Executive Committee;
- continue to enforce the requirements of the Supplier Code of Conduct;
- continue to liaise directly with our Head of HSE on issues/risks he identifies and make recommendations to Cubico’s Legal and Compliance team;
- refresh our assessment of our suppliers and identify any Third Parties who we deem high risk; and
- continue to review and respond to the results of the ongoing Supply Chain Exposure Risk Assessment to ensure that we only engage with manufactures of solar panels who can guarantee their products are free from the use of forced labour.
This statement is made by Cubico Sustainable Investments Limited and the board of directors of the company have approved it and will update it annually.