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Sustainability

On sustainability, we are ambitious and performance driven with a balanced roadmap focusing on care for people, planet and profit. Safety is our first priority. We want to facilitate the introduction of the sustainable vital products of the future while reducing our own environmental footprint.

Today, the vital products we store are chemicals, oil, gases, biofuels and edible oils. For the future, we are developing new infrastructure solutions to actively contribute to the introduction of new vital products, such as low- and zero-carbon new energies and sustainable feedstocks. While the products in our tanks are crucial to people’s daily lives and the economy, they can endanger their health and the environment if stored or handled inappropriately. This comes with a huge responsibility; our role is to ensure safe, clean and efficient storage. Our commitment to care extends to all our stakeholders, including our own people, our customers and the communities in which we operate.

Our moral compass

Vopak Values

We have five core values that we live by every day, namely Care for Safety, Health & Environment; Integrity; Team Spirit; Commitment; Agility. These values are embedded in our policies and (performance-review) frameworks, including our Code of Conduct. They act as a guide to decision-making, and serve as the company’s moral compass.

Learn more about these values in Who we are

Code of Conduct

Vopak’s Code of Conduct sets out our expectations with regard not only to safety and the environment, but also to human rights, non-discrimination, fraud and corruption. The Code also includes provisions on anti-money laundering and compliance with international sanction laws. These are important topics for Vopak as we operate worldwide, including in countries with high risk of corruption and poorer human rights. The Code is applicable to all Vopak employees and contractors – we provide regular training in the Code to ensure high standards.

Sustainability Policy

Sustainability is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To live up to our purpose, we act to help future generations meet their needs and contribute to a more sustainable economy by developing infrastructure for the introduction of vital products of the future. We are mindful of the potential impact of our business activities on people’s safety, health and well-being and on the environment. Through our care for people, planet and profit, we aim to create value for all our stakeholders, including customers, investors, employees, authorities, local communities and society at large. Our choices today should therefore contribute to our long-term relevance for society and the well-being and development of current and future generations.

Sustainable Development Goals

Vopak supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and specifically embraces five SDGs, where we believe we can create the most value for stakeholders and society as a whole – by supporting the energy and feedstock transitions, in providing a safe working environment, in avoiding air, water and soil pollution in building resilient, sustainable infrastructure at ports around the world.

SDG

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact

Vopak aims to contribute to the dual objective of limiting climate change, while providing access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy and feedstocks for all. We help customers reduce their environmental and carbon footprint and contribute to the energy and feedstocks transition around the world. At the same time, we are taking effective measures to reduce our own environmental and carbon footprint, including CO2.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

In storing vital products with care, safety is our first and foremost priority. This includes ensuring a safe and secure working environment for all people working at and for Vopak and caring for the communities in which we operate.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

To realize our purpose, we develop, maintain and operate reliable, sustainable terminal infrastructure in ports around the world. We adopt and invest in environmentally sound technologies and processes. We explore the introduction of more sustainable technologies and processes and work on the digital transformation of our company.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 12- Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

We work hard to reduce any negative impact of our activities on people’s health and well-being, on the environment and on climate, in particular by reducing emissions to air, water and soil and managing waste and wastewater. Underlying these efforts is our ambition to preserve biodiversity.

More detailed information on our ambitions and targets related to the selected SDG's is published in our annual report.

Our Sustainability Roadmap

sustainability roadmap

Based on our purpose of storing vital products with care, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the priorities indicated by our stakeholders, Vopak defined a balanced Sustainability Roadmap. It contains Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) targets and actions on 12 key sustainability topics that matter most to our stakeholders and where we can have the highest impact for people, planet and profit. More information on these topics is available in our annual report.

People - Care for our societal impact
- Safety & occupational health (note 4 & 5 annual report)
- Inclusion & diversity (page 50-51 annual report)
- Human rights & decent work (note 6 annual report)
- Being a good neighbor & community engagement (note 10 annual report)

Planet - Care for our environment & climate
- Becoming climate neutral (note 11 annual report)
- VOC and other emissions to air (note 12 annual report)
- Spills to soil and water (note 13 & 14 annual report)
- Waste & wastewater (note 17 & 18 annual report)
- Preserving biodiversity (note 15 annual report)

Profit - Care for our economic impact
- Switch to cleaner conventional fuels and feedstocks (page 54 - 58 annual report)
- New energies & sustainable feedstocks (page 54 - 58 annual report)
- Climate impact on assets and operations (note 22 annual report)

The roadmap provides a sustainability framework to implement the strategic transformation of our portfolio towards cleaner conventional products and low- and zero-carbon new energies & feedstocks and helps us further integrate sustainability into our global processes and investment decisions. Finally, it aims to guide our organization in translating key sustainability topics into clear actions and priorities and integrating them into our annual budget cycles, business agendas, work programs and our daily drive for performance.

Safety and health

We handle hazardous products – so safety is our number one priority. We have company-wide safety principles, the Vopak fundamentals. Care for safety, health and the environment is built into both our Code of Conduct and our Supplier Code. We provide rigorous safety training to those working at Vopak locations. 

Vopak implements in all its terminals globally safety fundamentals that include guidelines on transferring products, managing change, on permits, lock-out – tag-out, excavation, motorized vehicles, and working in confined spaces and at heights – a common cause of accidents in the industry. Alerts are sent out following incidents, and every week terminal management discusses safety performance and lessons learned.

Focus on major accident prevention

Given the nature of our business, there is always the risk of a safety incident. Our Terminal Health Assessment (THA) and Assure program focus on major accident prevention. Terminals are regularly audited to make sure they meet the standards. Our assets – tanks, pipelines, pumps and jetties – are regularly maintained. We have a rolling three-year maintenance program. All assets are properly designed, with safety as a first priority. The program also helps ensure we have employees able to respond quickly to emergencies and a safety-first culture to prevent accidents.

Vopak’s terminals are equipped and tested annually on their emergency and crisis response. At our terminals, a typical Emergency Response Plan (ERP) includes different scenarios, as well as recommended responses and escalation procedures. Local authorities are also involved closely in drawing up these ERPs. During 2021 we carried out a cybersecurity exercise to test our processes and policies in the event of a cyber attack. With our frequent anti-phishing campaigns, we can see an increased awareness as well as greater vigilance of our staff

Environment

We work to minimize damage to the environment and have a clear responsibility to the communities in which we operate. Vopak has a robust environmental management process. We use API RP 754 – the American Petroleum Institute’s recommended practice for the refinery and petrochemical industries. Our Environmental Management System is included in Vopak’s internal standards (as part of our Environmental Impact Assessment and Soil & Groundwater Management). We take measures to realize a reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions in line with our ambition to be climate neutral by 2050.

We have put in place a program of improvements at our terminals to further reduce emissions of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). VOCs can cause air pollution and may pose a health risk, which is why we assess not only the emissions themselves, but also their overall social impact. Worldwide, we are responsible for approximately 1,500 hectares of land. So, it is important that we avoid spills that may contaminate local soil, groundwater, or the sea.  Our aim is to have no uncontained spills. As part of our standards, we require our terminals to have secondary containment, often additional barriers or walls where there is risk of a spill – in tank pits, for example, pumps or loading stations. This secondary containment helps prevent spills seeping into the nearby environment. As a result, spills that do occur are contained and cleaned up as quickly as possible.

With regard to biodiversity, Vopak’s impact assessments cover not only air quality and possible contaminations, but also emissions of light (which can have an effect on bird behavior and migration), as well as noise and possible risks to archeological sites. Hazardous waste is regulated through our Waste Management standard; this applies to all entities

Human & labor rights

We respect international human rights and labor rights . For employees, we provide competitive salaries and benefits – we reward performance and work closely with trade unions and other employee representative groups at our terminals and facilities. In addition to our own staff, we employ thousands of contractors across our operations. During 2021, these contractors outnumbered Vopak employees.

Contractors often work on construction sites, or on maintenance projects.We work directly with contractors on health & safety standards and training, human rights, ethics and integrity; their obligations are set out clearly in our Code of Conduct and Supplier Code.  Contractors and suppliers must comply with this Code, as well as with Vopak’s Sustainability Policy, living wage approach and international human and labor rights standards. We screen major investments for potential human rights issues, in particular related to contractors. With regard to labor rights, we have identified locations most at risk of violations – in these locations, we verify that at least minimum conditions are being met. We are reviewing our governance and due diligence to decide if we need to include more specific checks on conditions on human rights and decent work with regard to contractors and suppliers

Transparency

Our material issues

Vopak carries out periodic ‘materiality’ exercises. These enable us to identify material societal, environmental and economic issues – topics that are most relevant to our stakeholders. The exercise is based on input from various stakeholder groups. with our stakeholders, we have identified the following sustainability topics as being material* to our business:

matrix materiality 2021

* as defined in the materiality matrix within the GRI-4 framework.

Environmental topics Economic topics Societal topics
1. Air quality: VOC and other air emissions 9. Business ethics and integrity 17. Process safety
2. Soil and groundwater pollution 10. Application of best practices 18. Occupational health and safety
3. Water pollution 11. Customer acceptance and continuation 19. Training and education 
4. Waste 12. Financial performance 20. Nuisance
5. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission 13. Innovation 21. Labor conditions
6. Energy use 14. Remuneration 22. Human rights
7. Water management 15. Supplier acceptance and continuation 23. Diversity
8. Biodiversity 16. Taxation 24. Community engagement and charity

 

Risk management

Safety, health and the environment are also built into our approach to risk management. We carry out regular risk surveys – and take action to mitigate risks. For 2021, the principal risks included climate change, an inaccurate anticipation of the energy and feedstock transitions and the risk of a major safety incident. The company’s principal risks remain largely unchanged compared with 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to higher levels of uncertainty in these risk areas. Furthermore, three particular risks – market volatility, movements in oil & gas prices and cyber breaches in IT/OT systems – have become more apparent or have accelerated during 2021 (i.e. they have increased in probability, not impact, compared with the previous year).

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has monitored developments closely. Scenario-based contingency plans and other mitigating actions are ready to be implemented if needed. Fortunately, no significant disruptions to business continuity and limited impact on our operations was observed – all terminals remained operational throughout the year.

Vopak’s Executive Board has ultimate responsibility for risk management – we have an internal control framework, based on three lines of defense: operational controls at our terminals, oversight by divisional and global management, and internal audit, ensuring full compliance. Our internal control framework is regularly reviewed and updated, where necessary.

Climate change and societal developments are becoming increasingly important topics. On environmental controls, we support recommendations from the TCFD (Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures), and use this framework to assess climate-related risks and opportunities, and to stress-test our portfolio and strategy by using scenario analysis.

Responsible tax

Vopak acknowledges that paying tax is part of its corporate social responsibility. In 2021, Vopak paid EUR 65 million in corporate income tax. Vopak complies with both the letter and spirit of the law.  As a matter of principle, we pay tax in countries where we do business. We do not operate businesses purely for tax purposes.

Celebrating diversity

At Vopak, we believe that every individual should be treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive work culture where everyone feels welcome and can contribute. A workplace where diversity is celebrated!

Vopak WeConnect Foundation

Vopak encourages its employees to take an active part in their local communities. Through the Vopak WeConnect Foundation, employees work on projects to help young people, alongside community groups and NGOs. Set up in 2016, Vopak WeConnect has a clear mission: to open up professional horizons for young people, to increase their ‘job readiness’ and to inspire them to work with others across cultures, languages and social backgrounds.