Five essential areas of responsibility

VR Group plays an important social role in Finland. The Group carries responsibility both for its economic viability and for the impacts of its operations on the environment and on society more generally.

Corporate responsibility encompasses a broad spectrum. At VR Group, corporate responsibility means looking after finance, customers, personnel, safety and the environment. These five areas of responsibility were identified after a review of the issues relevant for reporting.

  • For customers, the vital issues are safety, the punctuality of rail services and up-to-date information.
  • The most important areas in financial responsibility are maintaining reliable finances and profitability and the appropriate use of the Group’s funds.
  • For personnel, some of the main issues are being a good employer and developing management and the work of supervisory staff.
  • Key matters in safety activities are the work of supervisors and developing the safety culture.
  • A key issue in environmental responsibility is the impact on the environment of transport services, through energy consumption and air emissions for example.

The most relevant points to be reported by VR Group arise from what major stakeholders expect of the company’s operations. When defining which items are relevant, high priority has been given for example to customer feedback, issues raised by the media and wishes expressed at various interactive events, as they are indicative of the general public’s interest in VR.
 
One important viewpoint used to define relevance comprised VR Group’s strategy and the matters that help the Group achieve its strategic objectives or have a significant financial impact.   

Management of responsibility – every day

Corporate responsibility at VR Group is part of normal, every day operations. So the Group does not have a separate strategy for corporate responsibility but has integrated this into the overall Group strategy. VR Group takes into account its corporate responsibility when making strategic decisions.

VR Group’s management model also does not address responsibility as a separate entity, but instead the plans and actions relating to it are the responsibility of each Group division and business unit and an integral part of the company’s objective-oriented operations. Corporate responsibility is also emphasized through various campaigns, projects and training as well as through other ways of exerting influence.
 
Annual reporting plays an important role in the way VR Group manages its responsibilities. The aim is to embed the management of corporate responsibility and monitoring of results as an established element of the Group’s day-to-day operations. 

 

Scope of Annual Report and sources

Objective

The purpose of this annual report is to give the reader a balanced view of VR Group’s business operations in 2012. It aims to report on major events affecting VR Group’s business operations and on its financial results, and to describe the Group’s commitment, policies and the results achieved in the area of corporate responsibility. The annual report examines key themes relating to VR Group’s business operations and corporate responsibility. 

Previous reports

VR Group has previously published four combined annual and corporate responsibility reports for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and three corporate responsibility reports for 2005, 2007 and 2008. Before this the Group published an environmental report every second year from 1998 onwards. The annual report has been published each year. 

Target groups

VR Group’s annual report is intended for all who are interested in the Group and its business. The different sections of the online report contain information that may interest different stakeholders. Many sections of the report are meant primarily for policy makers, the public authorities and the Group’s corporate customers.

Scope

The information in this annual report is for the 2013 financial year. The annual report includes all the business operations of VR Group. The data reported for Pohjolan Liikenne and Avecra in the Passenger Services division, for road logistics in the Logistics division and for Infrastructure Engineering is the information that can be collected with the systems currently in use. This does not have a significant impact on the data for the Group or subsidiaries or on the comparability of the figures.
 
The annual report of VR Group does not include information about the operations of subcontractors and only reports briefly on the activities of associated companies. The report does not cover the rail network or its development or any other operations for which the Finnish Transport Agency or the Finnish Transport Safety Agency is responsible.

Sources

A large number of people from VR Group’s various businesses participates in compiling the figures in the annual report. A coordination team, comprised of experts in the various fields of corporate responsibility, oversees the work and defines which aspects are relevant and in accordance with the strategy. The annual report is submitted to VR Group’s Board of Directors and Supervisory Board

The data for this report has been collected from numerous sources.

  • Information about financial responsibility is derived from the Group’s audited accounts and adopted financial statements.
  • Figures for personnel are based on the Group’s staff statistics.
  • The safety indicators are based on the Group’s safety statistics.
  • The environmental figures for energy consumption, the use of materials and chemicals, and waste are based partly on monitoring data compiled by the business units and partly on supplier reports and invoicing. Data on traffic emissions is obtained using the LIPASTO system of calculations applied by the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). The origin of the electricity and the energy sources used in electricity production are based on data provided by electricity suppliers. 

The different management systems are defined in the ERP systems of the different Group companies, and in the environmental management system, the rail safety management system, the occupational safety management system, the financial security administration and management system, and the data security management system. More detailed information about management systems is given in separate tables under each of the five themes of this report.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 guidelines have been used as the reference framework for this report. In VR Group’s own assessment, the Group has applied the B reporting guidelines. GRI calculation models are not yet fully applied for all indicators. VR Group also reports the GRI supplementary indicators for the transportation sector where applicable.

In its 2011 reporting VR Group switched from the A+ to the B+ standard, since the standard previously applied contained many indicators that are not an integral part of VR Group’s business operations and therefore do not offer the reader any essential extra information about the Group. In its 2012 reporting the Group switched to the B standard, which means that the report has no external verifier.