Our Approach to Sustainability and Governance

Our clients and shareholders place an enormous amount of trust in Link Group. We work hard to earn and maintain this trust through stringent corporate governance practices aimed at minimising and preventing unsound, unethical or criminal behaviour.

At the same time, we strive to understand and manage the risks posed to our business by factors such as globalisation, evolving technology and the rapidly changing business environment – all while endeavouring to capture the opportunities that these create. As a leading player in the sectors in which we operate, we also see it as our responsibility to respond proactively to changes in society and to contribute to the wider community.

We see our investment in technology and innovation as a driver of enhanced sustainability. For example, promoting e-communications and investing in new apps and web-based reporting enables paper consumption to be cut and mail costs reduced, while increasing our use of Skype and video conferencing helps us to reduce emissions and drive down air-travel costs.

Our sustainability performance in the 11 countries where we operate is collated and analysed in our Sustainability Report. To read the full 2017 Sustainability Report, visit www.linkgroup.com.

88% of paper consumed in our offices was environmentally certified.
We recycled 113.2 tonnes of paper that we received.
$418,462 was donated to charitable organisations by the Company and employees.

Our Environment

Link Group is a service-based company. We operate from leased offices, make limited use of physical resources and have a limited waste and energy use footprint compared to companies producing physical products. Nonetheless, we take our environmental responsibilities seriously and, reporting across the whole Company for the first time, are now considering suitable 2020 targets for Link Group’s performance.

Air travel: Our major impact from air travel is emissions from commercial airline flights. We do not purchase offsets on flights, however through an increased use of video technology we aim to reduce the volume of travel.

Energy use: Almost all the energy consumed in our offices comes from the grid. During FY2017, we consolidated three Melbourne offices into Tower 4 at Collins Square and moved our Perth office to QV1 in St Georges Terrace. Both buildings are 5-star NABERS energy-rated. Our Mumbai office also moved into The Park 247, a LEED-certified Gold-rated green building at Vikhroli. Over time, we intend to take more space in energy-efficient buildings.

Emissions: The key types of energy consumed in our offices are electricity and a small amount of gas. Our FY2017 emissions are highlighted above.

Emissions intensity: We have this year reported our emissions intensity for the first time, both in terms of emissions per employee and emissions per $million of revenue. Intensity targets may better show our effectiveness at reducing emissions over time.

Paper, cardboard, plastics: We use paper for mailing, plus a little plastic. We encourage our clients and other stakeholders to migrate to email, to use more recycled and carbon-neutral paper and to recycle more. We aim to reduce paper use in our offices.

Other materials: In future years, we plan to report on our disposal of end-of-life IT hardware and non-paper personal waste.

Our Supply Chain

Suppliers play a crucial role in our business success and can also make a significant contribution to improving the Company’s overall environmental footprint. For this reason, we are now analysing and reporting on our supply chain.

Some 82% of our annual supplier spend is contracted through our largest suppliers. We believe it is our responsibility to seek to understand not only our own suppliers but also their own supply chains, to identify any higher-risk up-stream activities that could pose a potential threat to Link Group.

For this first year of reporting on our supply chain, we have engaged with our largest or material suppliers, representing $133 million or 55% of our total non-labour costs (operating and capital expenditure) of $243 million. We aim to work with suppliers to understand the risks they face that could impact on Link Group, and to support them in managing these risks through continuous improvement.

To this end, our suppliers were asked to complete a sustainability questionnaire covering issues such as company policy, risk management, business continuity planning, management systems, public reporting and labour standards. We will incorporate sustainability requirements into tendering processes as a way of reinforcing the issues that are most important to us.

We expect our suppliers to adopt standards similar to our own and to seek continuous improvement in their sustainability performance, just as we do. Currently, our Vendor Management Framework promotes a structured approach designed to ensure our suppliers meet the standards that we expect.

Our Governance

The Board is committed to maximising performance, generating appropriate levels of shareholder value and financial return, and sustaining the growth and success of Link Group. In conducting business with these objectives, Link Group has created a robust corporate governance framework, to protect and enhance shareholder interests. This framework is respected by the Company, its Directors, officers and personnel. A Corporate Governance Statement compliant with the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s Principles and Recommendations has been approved by the Board and is available on the Link Group website: www.linkgroup.com.

Link Group’s Board:

  • is responsible for the overall strategic direction direction of Link Group;
  • monitors Link Group’s operational and financial position, and its performance; and
  • oversees development and execution of the business strategy.

The Board has adopted a framework that includes internal controls, risk management processes and governance policies. Separate Committees for Human Resources and Remuneration, Risk and Audit, Technology and Innovation, and Nomination provide the Board with detailed oversight of key business risks. These Committees are supported by a number of management Committees.

To further promote the long-term future of Link Group, the Board has established an over-arching sustainability framework that will be included in the Sustainability Statement. The sustainability framework’s features include:

  • making a Board-approved Sustainability Statement available on the Company website: www.linkgroup.com;
  • formalising the policies and management structures and processes designed to manage the greatest short, medium, and long-term material risks to our future success; and
  • identifying key sustainability issues, and reporting how we have performed on each.

Effective risk management, meanwhile, is crucial for a data management service provider like Link Group. We have a range of policies in place to manage our core risks. These risks include:

  • our reliance on effective performance of core and third-party IT infrastructure;
  • security and integrity of sensitive information;
  • our concentrated client base and inherent risk of contract renewal;
  • the political and regulatory environment;
  • our continuing ability to attract and retain key personnel;
  • the integration of acquired businesses and execution of new acquisitions; and
  • increased competition.

During FY2017, the Board approved revisions to the Link Group Risk Management Policy and Risk Management Framework to reflect the risk appetite set by the Board in the Risk Appetite Statement.

The following risk management measures supplement the Link Group Code of Conduct and Ethics that governs employee behaviour:

Information management security: Link Group has gained ISO 27001 accreditation for its information security management systems, in recognition of its best practice approach to managing and protecting sensitive information.

Business continuity and disaster recovery: Our Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans are reviewed and tested annually. We expect that under almost all likely scenarios, we would be able to resume operations from alternative locations within contractually required and agreed timeframes.

Privacy and security: We work to preserve member and investor security through strict policies and procedures and the training of employees.

Policies and procedures: We have strict rules and policies to ensure that all employees do the right thing by our clients and their investors or members, and everyone else with whom they work. Potential employees are subject to police checks and all new and existing employees must understand and comply with policies and procedures and undertake regular training.

Ethics: While we believe that ethical issues such as bribery, corruption and fraud are low order risks to Link Group, we continue to apply our risk management frameworks to prevent or mitigate any such risk.