At Con Edison we recognize the need for strong corporate values. Through the years, one of the most important lessons we have learned is that having a strong financial foundation and operational excellence are only part of what it takes to continue a company’s success. We firmly believe that doing business in an open, ethical, and fair manner creates business success that benefits all our stakeholders — our investors, our customers, and our employees.
The Environment, Health, and Safety Committee of the Board of Directors governs Con Edison’s overall EH&S programs. Since its inception in 1995, this committee has met four times per year to review the status of Con Edison’s EH&S efforts. Typically, Con Edison’s chairman, utility presidents, general counsel, and EH&S vice president participate in these meetings.
The vice president of corporate EH&S is responsible for developing programs to ensure compliance, and to work toward EH&S excellence. In addition, corporate EH&S supports the operating departments responsible for maintaining day-to-day compliance with standards. The corporate EH&S vice president reports directly to Con Edison of New York’s president.
Throughout 2014, the EH&S vice president headed an EH&S Committee to oversee and implement the company’s strategic plan. The team consists of the Senior Vice Presidents from operating departments, the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, and leaders from the Law Department, Occupational Health, Human Resources, Auditing, and EH&S. This committee also develops strategic and annual goals that help drive the company’s EH&S and sustainability efforts.
The EH&S vice president and appropriate EH&S leaders meet quarterly with Con Edison’s chairman and monthly with the president of Con Edison of New York to review the status of major EH&S projects and issues.
As a part of senior management’s commitment to EH&S excellence, the following strategic independent oversight functions have been established.
Office of the Corporate Ombudsman – provides employees with an independent office to which they can confidentially refer suspected violations of Con Edison’s Code of Conduct, including EH&S requirements, or ethical and legal concerns. The ombudsman and the deputy ombudsman have the authority to either investigate these matters or refer them to appropriate authorities within the company.
Environment and Safety Review Board– consists of outside consultants who are independent attorneys. The board reports to the chairman on components of EH&S programs and the status of efforts to attain EH&S excellence.
Strong business ethics are a core value of Con Edison. Through the years, one of the most important lessons we have learned is that having a strong financial foundation and operational excellence are only part of what it takes to continue a company’s success. We also recognize that our Standards of Business Conduct are an integral component of a sustainable company. Reflecting the company’s continuing commitment to ethical operations, the Business Ethics and Compliance group was significantly restructured and strengthened in 2012, and further expanded in 2013 and 2014.
Con Edison’s Standards of Business Conduct are founded upon our values of service, honesty, concern, courtesy, excellence and teamwork, and our commitment to our major stakeholders: our customers, fellow employees, communities, and shareholders. The Standards set forth the basic principles that employees must follow in their day-to-day work, which allow the company to carry out our commitments to our customers, our communities, our fellow employees, our shareholders, our business partners, and the public. We completed an update of the Standards of Business Conduct, which was released to all employees of Con Edison of New York, O&R, and the competitive energy businesses in early 2013.
Training on various ethics topics is completed annually by all employees of Con Edison of New York, O&R and the competitive energy businesses. We also conduct ethics and compliance training for new employees, new supervisors, and new managers, and administer FERC-required ethics training.
The department also increases the visibility of our ethics messages among all CEI companies through coordinated, themed communications campaigns. In 2013, Con Edison began the Values in Actions (VIA) Advisors network with 15 representatives. This network of employees, nominated by their officers, assist with the dissemination of ethics and compliance messages and act as a resource for fellow employees regarding integrity-related issues within the business units. In 2014, we expanded the VIA Advisors network to include employees from 27 company organizations and each of our major business units – providing greater representation throughout the company.
We encourage employees to seek advice, ask questions, and report concerns. We provide several resources, including a confidential Ethics Helpline, webform, and email address, for employees to contact their ethics and compliance office. Employees may also contact their supervisors or managers, or the Corporate Ombudsman, among others, to raise issues. A group of individuals within the Business Ethics and Compliance group is dedicated to investigating allegations of employee misconduct.
Department members are active members of the Ethics and Compliance Officers Association, and the FERC group of the Edison Electric Institute. A Con Edison of New York employee has served as chair of the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association’s (ECOA) Utilities Industry Group, and others have presented and participated at the ECOA’s annual conferences. BEC employees are also representatives on the company’s Enterprise Risk Management Committee, the Compliance Risk Management team, the Contractor Compliance Committee and the Contractor Oversight Steering Committee.
Just as we keep our employees knowledgeable of their ethical responsibilities, we also work to educate our vendors and contractors on the Standards of Business Conduct. Our Vendor Outreach Program, launched in 2014, provides assistance to Con Edison vendors in developing their own ethics and compliance programs.