Legal Requirements

Bord na Móna is committed to maintaining the highest legal and ethical standards. For further details on our policy on Access to Information on the Environment, our Code of Conduct policy, Risk Management system, Internal Controls, and Protected disclosures mechanism, see below:

Access to Information on the Environment

Bord Na Móna Plc is a public authority for the purposes of the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007-2018 (the “AIE Regulations”).

What Can I Ask For?

Under the AIE Regulations you are entitled to request access to information on the
environment that is held by or for Bord Na Móna Plc. Environmental Information is defined in the AIE Regulations and determines what is available under the AIE Regulations.

What is the definition of Environmental Information?
“Environmental Information” means any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form on:

  • the state of the elements of the environment, such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms and the interaction among these elements;
  • factors, such as substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment, affecting orlikely to affect the elements of the environment;
  • measures (including administrative measures), such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements;
  • reports on the implementation of environmental legislation;
  • cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in paragraph (c); and
  • the state of human health and safety, including the contamination of the food chain, where relevant, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures in as much as they are, or may be, affected by the state of the elements of the environment referred to in paragraph (a) or, through those elements, by any of the matters referred to in paragraphs (b) and (c).

The AIE Regulations do not apply to Environmental Information that is required to be made available under any other statutory provision.

Please note that certain environmental information relating to Bord Na Móna Plc is already publicly available through the Environmental Protection Agency’s website www.epa.ie or requests can be made directly to the Environmental Protection Agency. Similarly, information submitted by Bord Na Móna Plc as part of the planning process is also publicly available through the relevant local authority’s website or An Bord Pleanála’s website www.pleanala.ie or by contacting the relevant bodies directly.

How to make an AIE request to Bord Na Móna Plc?

Write to: AIE Officer, Bord Na Móna Plc, Main Street, Newbridge, Co. Kildare or email:
informationofficer@bnm.ie
All requests should:

  • be made in writing or electronic form;
  • state that the request is made under the AIE Regulations;
  • state your name, address and any other relevant contact details;
  • state as specifically as possible, the environmental information that you require; and if you require access to the environmental information in a particular form or manner, specify the form or manner of access desired.

When a request is made to Bord Na Móna Plc under the AIE Regulations and the environmental information requested is not held by Bord Na Móna Plc and Bord Na Móna Plc believes that the information is or may be held by another Public Authority under the AIE Regulations, Bord Na Móna Plc will transfer your requests as soon as possible to the relevant Public Authority under Article 7(6) of the AIE Regulations. In these circumstances, you will be informed that your request has been transferred.

As provided for under the AIE Regulations, Bord Na Móna Plc will try to respond to your request as soon as possible. No later than one month after the receipt of your request we will either respond with a decision, notify you of the transfer of your request to another Public Authority or notify you that an extra month is required (as provided under the AIE Regulations) to deal with your request.

Do I have to pay?

No fee is charged for making of the request under the AIE Regulations. No fee is charged for the internal review process. However, Bord Na Móna Plc may charge a reasonable fee for supplying environmental information in accordance with the AIE Regulations.

Fees may be charged for the cost of supplying the information, including the staff costs associated with compiling, copying, printing and posting of the information. The charges will only relate to the supply of the information. Details of the charges, if any will be advised in the final decision letter.

If I’m denied access to information, can I appeal against the decision?

Yes. You may ask Bord Na Móna Plc for an internal review by a person unconnected with the original decision whose rank is the same as, or higher than that of the original decision-maker. Your request should be made within one month of receipt of notification of the decision. The internal reviewer will inform you of the result of the review within one month.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may ask the Commissioner for Environmental Information to review the matter. Your request for appeal must be made within one month of the date that notification of the internal review decision has been, or has required to be, notified to you.

Information Point

This website is an information point for the purpose of the AIE Regulations. If you require additional environmental information, you may send an AIE request or contact the information officer as outlined above.

Further information

Further general information on the AIE Regulations, including background information on the legislation, useful publications and links to other relevant bodies, is available in the AIE section of the website of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government www.environ.ie/en/Environment/AccesstoInformationontheEnvironment and on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website https://www.epa.ie/

Code of Conduct Policy

1. Intent and Scope

The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to set down the general principles and standards which govern the professional activities and conduct of the Directors and Employees of the Bord na Móna Group (collectively referred to as “staff” throughout).

The provisions of this Code shall apply to the business of all companies in the Bord na Móna Group. Staff are obliged to comply with policies and procedures, applicable statutory provisions, staff regulations, work rules and any standards and Code of Practice adopted by Bord na Móna. This Code of Conduct is binding on all staff (including those on leave, maternity leave etc).

This policy is part of the appropriate arrangements and structures put in place that are, in the Directors’ opinion, designed to secure material compliance with the company’s “relevant obligations” under the Companies Act 2014.

It is not possible for a set of rules or guidelines to provide for all situations which may arise. Accordingly, the spirit as well as the letter of this Code of Conduct should be observed. It is primarily the responsibility of staff to ensure that all of their activities, whether covered specifically or otherwise in this document, are governed by the ethical considerations implicit in these procedures.

2. Objectives

The objectives of this Code are to:

  • Establish a set of ethical principles for all staff
  • Promote and maintain confidence and trust in Bord na Móna, in all its business and in its staff
  • Prevent the development, continuance or acceptance of unethical practices
  • Ensure that all of Bord na Móna’s business is transacted with integrity

3. Underlying Principles

Integrity — To conduct our business with integrity and professionalism
Loyalty — To demonstrate loyality Bord na Móna and its values and mission
Legality — To operate in a manner that complies with all laws and statutory requirements
Confidentiality — To treat Bord na Móna information confidentially
Fairness — To treat all stakeholders and staff fairly

4. Integrity

Bord na Móna is committed to honesty, integrity and transparency in all its dealings.
Therefore, it is essential that all staff conduct themselves, and are seen to conduct all activities, to the highest standard possible.

Staff should behave with integrity, this will require:

  • Non-disclosure of privileged or confidential information (this obligation does not cease when Board membership or employment in Bord na Móna has ended)
  • Strict compliance with all Bord na Móna policies and procedures
  • Avoidance of the use of Bord na Móna resources or time for any personal gain, for the benefit of persons/organisations unconnected with the body or its activities or for the benefit of competitors
  • Ensuring that all statements, publications and communications issued by Bord na Móna are accurate and truthful and are not misleading or designed to be misleading
  • Commitment not to acquire information or business secrets by improper means

5. Information

Staff should take all reasonable steps to ensure that information is handled responsibly including:

  • Support for the provision of access by Bord na Móna to general information relating to Bord na Móna’s activities in a way that is open and enhances its accountability to the general public
  • Respect the confidentiality of sensitive information held by Bord na Móna. This would constitute material such as:
  • Commercially sensitive information (including, but not limited to, future plans or details of major organisational or other changes such as restructuring),
  • Personal information; and
  • Information received in confidence by Bord na Móna
  • Observance of appropriate prior consultation procedures with third parties where, exceptionally, it is proposed to release sensitive information in the public interest
  • Compliance with relevant statutory provisions (e.g. Data Protection, AIE Directive) Board members should not retain documentation obtained during their term as a Board member and are responsible for the return of such documentation to the Secretary of the Board or otherwise indicate to the Secretary of the Board that all such documentation in their possession has been disposed of in an appropriate manner.

6. Obligations

Bord na Móna acknowledges that all staff have a duty to conform to the highest standards. Staff have an obligation to perform their duties honestly, faithfully and efficiently, respecting the rights of their colleagues and other stakeholders.

Staff should take all reasonable steps to ensure that Bord na Móna:

  • Fulfils all regulatory and statutory obligations imposed on Bord na Móna including compliance with the Companies Act 2014 and the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies
  • Comply with detailed tendering and procurement procedures, as well as complying with prescribed levels of authority for sanctioning any relevant expenditure in line with Bord na Móna policies.
  • Introduce internal controls to prevent fraud and perform such controls effectively in line with Bord na Móna policies
    In addition the following specifically applies to Directors / Designated Positions:
  • Each member of the Board of a State body holding a Designated Board membership and each person occupying a Designated Position of employment with a State body should ensure his/her compliance with relevant provisions of the Ethics in Public Office Acts 1995 and the Standards of Public Office Act 2001 (together the “Ethics Acts”)
  • Directors should endeavor to attend all board and relevant sub-committee meetings

7. Loyalty

Staff are expected to be loyal to Bord na Móna and fully committed to all its business activities while mindful that Bord na Móna must at all times take into account the interests of our shareholders. Staff are also expected to be loyal to the Bord na Móna values and behaviors for success.

8. Fairness

Staff shall take all reasonable steps to ensure:

  • Compliance with employment equality and equal status legislation
  • Commitment to fairness in all business dealings
  • That customers and suppliers are valued and all customers and suppliers are treated equitably

9. Work / External Environment

Staff shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that:

  • The highest priority is placed on promoting and preserving the health and safety of employees
  • To ensure that Bord na Móna’s obligations to local communities and at a national level are fully considered and any concerns raised are appropriately addressed
  • Any detrimental impact of Bord na Móna’s operations on the environment is minimized and we continue our commitment to restoration of natural habitats Bord na Móna actively promotes a culture where employees are encouraged to report wrongdoings or concerns identified in a confidential manner. See Bord na Móna’s “Protected Disclosures Policy” for further details regarding this process.

 

10. Conflicts of Interest

To ensure stakeholders continue to have trust and confidence in Bord na Móna the following procedures must be observed in relation to the disclosure of real or perceived conflicts of interest. These are in addition to the requirements under the Ethics Acts

10.1. Employees:
10.1.1. Employees of Bord na Móna should not involve themselves in outside employment or business interests which are in conflict, or in potential conflict, with the business of Bord na Móna, or would prevent them from carrying out their duties.
10.1.2. Where a question arises as to whether or not a case involved a conflict of interest for an employee, the matter should be brought to the attention of his / her immediate superior.
Where such cases warrant it, the Chief Executive shall determine the question and his / her decision shall be final.
10.1.3. Employees of Bord na Móna must declare in writing to their Line Manager – who maintains a confidential record any personal or family interest or possible conflict of interest that might affect their impartiality in carrying out their duties immediately if such exists or as soon as it occurs.
10.2. Directors:
10.2.1. The duty of each director is to act at all times solely in the interests of the Company to the exclusion of all other considerations.
10.2.2. A conflict of interest exists in any situation where the personal or other interest of a director or a connected party might in any way affect the discharge by a director of his/her duties or his/her deliberations in a situation where a director or a connected party could benefit. It makes no difference that the Company does not suffer by the conflict of interest. A director or his/her relatives, friends or associates must not under any circumstances obtain any such benefit. A director must desist from dealing with the situation giving rise to the conflict of interest and may not in any way seek to influence decisions on the matter.

Conflicts of Interest among Directors are governed by the following:

  • Section 20 of the Worker Participation (State Enterprises) Act 1977 which requires Board Members to disclose any interest in any arrangement to which the Company is party and not to vote on the matter;
  • The Ethics Acts; and
  • The Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies

10.2.3. Detailed briefing on all of these obligations is provided to Board members on
appointment.
10.2.4. On appointment to the Board and annually thereafter each member will furnish to the Company Secretary details relating to his / her employment and all other business interests including shareholdings, professional relationships etc., which could involve a conflict of interest or could materially influence the member in relation to the performance of his / her functions as a member of the Board. Any interests of a member’s family of which he / she could reasonably be expected to be aware or of a person or body connected with the member which could involve a conflict of interest or could materially influence the member in the performance of his / her functions should also be disclosed. For this purpose persons and bodies connected with a member should include:
a) a spouse, civil partner, parent, brother, sister, child or step-child;
b) a body corporate with which the member is associated;
c) a person acting as the trustee of any trust, the beneficiaries of which include the member or the persons at (a) above or the body corporate at (b) above; and
d) a person acting as a partner of the member or of any person or body who, by virtue of (a) –
(c) above, is connected with the member.
10.2.5. Each member should furnish to the Company Secretary details of business interests of which he / she becomes aware during the course of his / her directorship.
10.2.6. Where it is relevant in any matter which arises, the member should be required to indicate to the Company Secretary the employment and any other business interests of all persons connected with him / her, as defined above.
10.2.7. The Board may exercise discretion regarding the disclosure by members of minor shareholdings. As a general guideline, shareholdings valued at more than €13,000 or of more than 5 percent of the issued capital of a company should be disclosed.
10.2.8. If a member has a doubt as to whether this Code requires the disclosure of an interest of his / her own or of a connected person, that member should consult the Chairperson.
10.2.9. Details of the above interests shall be kept by the Company Secretary in a special confidential register and should be updated on an annual basis. Changes in the interim should be notified to the Company Secretary as soon as possible. Only the Chairperson, Company Secretary and Chief Executive shall have access to the register.
10.2.10. Should a matter relating to the interests of the Chairperson arise, he / she should depute another Board member to chair the Board meeting and should absent himself / herself when the Board is deliberating or deciding on a matter in which the Chairperson, or a person or body connected with the Chairperson, has an interest.
10.2.11. Board or Company documents on any case which relate to any dealings with the above interests should not be made available to the member concerned prior to a decision being taken. (Such documents should be taken to include those relating to cases involving competitors to the above interests). Decisions once taken should be notified to the member.
10.2.12. As it is recognised that the interests of a member and persons connected with him / her can change at short notice, a member should, in cases where he/ she receives documents relating to his / her interests or of those connected with him / her, return the documents to the Company Secretary at the earliest opportunity.
10.2.13. A member should absent himself / herself when the Board is deliberating or deciding on matters in which he / she (other than in his / her capacity as a member of the Board ) or a person or body connected with him / her has an interest. In such cases a separate record (to which the member would not have access) should be maintained.
10.2.14. Where a question arises as to whether or not a case relates to the interests of a Board member or a person or body connected with that member, the Chairperson of the Board should determine the question. Where a Board member is in doubt as to whether he or she has an obligation under the Ethics Acts, he or she should seek advice from the Standards in Public Office Commission under section 25 of the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995.

11. Non-compliance and Sanctions
Failure to comply with this Code of Conduct will be processed through BnM disciplinary procedures in accordance with Bord na Móna policy, up to and including dismissal.

12. Responsibilities

The operation of the Code of Conduct brings responsibilities to all parties involved. The table below outlines the key responsibilities for each involved party.

Roles & Responsibilities

Company Secretary

  • Responsible for this Code of Conduct and update of the Code for any future amendments
  • Annual review of the Code of Conduct to assess if any updates are required

Board

  • Review and approval of Code of Conduct

Head of Internal Audit

  • Provision of advice regarding the content of the Code of Conduct to ensure compliance with corporate governance requirements

Employees

  • Ensuring you are aware of, comply and adhere to this Code of Conduct, including an understanding of the consequences of breaching it
  • Take corrective action to address non-compliance to this Code of Conduct within their business unit where necessary

Directors

  • Ensuring you are aware of, comply and adhere to this Code of Conduct, including an understanding of the consequences of breaching it
  • Take corrective action to address non-compliance to this Code of Conduct within the Board or Bord na Móna where necessary
Risk Management

The Board has overall responsibility for risk management including determining the nature and extent of significant risks that it is willing to accept in pursuit of its strategic and operational objectives. To address this, the Board has established a risk management system that provides for the continuous identification, assessment, implementation of mitigating actions and controls, and the monitoring and reporting of significant risks within Bord na Móna.

The Risk and Audit Committee (“RAC”) is responsible, under delegated authority, for assisting the Board in fulfilling its obligations with regard to assessing, reviewing and monitoring the risks inherent in the business and the control processes for managing such risks. The RAC is supported by an appointed Chief Risk Officer (“CRO”).

The CRO is responsible for overseeing the day to day risk management activities and has responsibility for ensuring that an effective risk management system, proportionate to the nature, scale and complexity of the Group is developed and maintained. Bord na Móna has an enterprise-wide risk management system that places a strong emphasis on strategic risks at a Group level (strategic risk register) and on strategic risks at the business level (business risk registers). In this risk management system, a strong focus is placed on managing risks that management can influence through the risk process as well as an emphasis on future action items and the responsibility for these is of key importance. Risk management is embedded in each business unit at an operating level.

The risk management system provides appropriate governance structures to support risk management practices, formal assignment of risk responsibilities throughout the Group and the procedures to be used, including relevant mitigation actions and controls.

The risk management system includes the following key elements:

  • A risk strategy that includes objectives and principles;
  • Two risk registers, a strategic risk register and business risk register;
  • Assignment of clear mitigating action items and responsibilities for both the strategic risk register and the business risk register;
  • A framework and reporting cycle to identify, assess, manage, monitor and report on the risks that Bord na Móna is or may be exposed to;
  • A risk monitoring plan that outlines the review, challenge and oversight
    responsibilities of the CRO and the Management team;
  • Reporting procedures that ensure that risk information is actively monitored, managed and appropriately communicated at all levels within Bord na Móna. The procedures outline the reporting responsibilities of management, the CRO, the RAC and the Board;
  • Embed a strong risk management culture across all levels of the Group; and,
  • Develop risk appetite statements in conjunction with the strategic risk process, then monitor and report on these statements.

Principal Risks

The principal risks which have the potential, in the short to medium term, to have a significant impact upon the Group’s strategic objectives are set out below. The Group has developed mitigation measures, to deal with these risks where appropriate.

The list of risks provided below is not exhaustive and will change over time. This represents the Board’s view of the principal risks at the date of this report.

1. Financial (Banking Facilities)
Risk and Impact: The risk of the failure to provide adequate banking facilities to meet refinancing and business needs and the failure to manage interest rate and foreign exchange exposure. It is vital that sufficient funding is provided at an appropriate cost to finance the strategic plan, maintain liquidity to meet future commitments and to provide contingency against unforeseen circumstances.

Mitigating Actions: Group treasury is responsible for the day to day treasury activities across the Group including the placing of specific derivatives. The Board has approved a treasury policy which defines how treasury activities are managed across the Group. The Group takes a risk averse position when deciding foreign exchange and interest rate policy. Certain natural economic hedges exist within the Group and the policy is to match and hedge the currencies across the businesses. In order to ensure stability of cash outflows and hence manage interest rate risk, the Group has a policy of maintaining at least 50 per cent of its long‑term debt at fixed rates. At 25 March 2020, the Group had €125 million of revolving credit facilities in place, none of which was drawn. In the past year, the Group has put non‑recourse project finance in place for wind farms which will become an important source of funding for the Group in the future. Financial instruments are used to manage interest rate and financial risk. The Group does not engage in speculative activity and the treasury operating policy is risk averse.

2. Operational (Climate)
Risk and Impact: The overall risk of the inherent uncertainty of various weather patterns on the operating and financial performance of the Group. These include the impact of mild weather on sales volumes during the winter on the Fuels business, the impact of wet springs on sales volumes in the Horticulture business, the financial impact of low wind yields on the wind farms in the Powergen business and the impact of wet summers affecting the level of peat harvested all impact Group profitability. The uncertainty of weather conditions presents a risk to profits generated by the Group.
Mitigating Actions: Developing a balanced portfolio of businesses has given the Group a “hedge” against any one adverse weather condition in a particular business. The Group has also developed contingency plans to protect profitability across the Group if a particularly adverse weather event occurs. It has worked with its employees and trade unions to develop a more flexible workforce.

3. Operational (Planning permission)
Risk and Impact: The risk of the Group not obtaining planning permission for a number of key infrastructural projects which are included in the strategic plan.
Mitigating Actions: The Group has an experienced management team that have a proven capability in planning, executing and delivering large infrastructure projects and has demonstrated the capability of doing so. A proven process is in place to ensure that all the necessary documentation and information is submitted to the relevant authorities with each planning application. In addition, the Group engages in extensive community consultation processes.

4. Operational (Health and Safety)
Risk and Impact: The risk of the failure to comply with health and safety legislation and policies due to a lack of enforcement across the Group, or management and employees not following the correct procedures or lack of training all leading to potential injury or death of an employee or damage to property resulting in financial sanction, financial loss and reputational damage.
Mitigating Actions: Detailed health and safety procedures are in place across the Group and these systems are operated based on the nature and the scale of the risks in each business. The Health and Safety department also carries out training of all staff and this is also augmented with external audits carried out by third parties. Insurance cover is maintained at Group level for all significant insurable risks and our insurer’s conduct extensive audits. The Group’s operations are subject to an increasingly stringent range of regulations and inspections and robust monitoring procedures have been designed to prevent a material breach of statutory or other regulatory obligations

5. Operational (Cyber Security)
Risk and Impact: The risk that the Bord na Móna information technology and, or banking systems are compromised due to being penetrated, hacked or attacked by external or internal parties which results in financial loss and reputational damage. Cyber security risk is now recognised as one of the fastest growing risks for organisations internationally.
Mitigating Actions: The Group has recognised the importance of managing this risk and continually reviews cyber security across the Group with internal and external expertise engaged. Investments in technology and people are made to maintain security around information technology systems to an appropriate standard.

6. Operational (General Electricity Pricing & Biomass and Carbon for Edenderry
Power station (EPL))
Risk and Impact: The risk of the non‑operation of the EPL due to the inability of Bord na Móna to source sufficient volumes of indigenous and imported biomass at commercially viable prices. The risk of the impact of high carbon pricing on the ability of the station to operate profitably. The risk of low power prices in the single electricity market and the adverse impact that these prices can have on the Group’s operating results. Each of these risks could result in significant financial loss to the Group.
Mitigating Actions: The Group has been very successful over the past number of years in sourcing biomass for EPL. A dedicated team has been established to source further indigenous biomass and develop a supply chain for imported biomass to supply EPL. This imported biomass will fill a demand while the market develops further indigenous biomass from the private forestry sector to mature and become available. Future carbon pricing is hedged forward on an annual basis and this along with the forward sale of power generated by the station gives certainty of margin. The Group operates a number of different electricity generating assets which utilise different fuels including biomass, wind, gas and peat. The Group has entered 15‑year power purchase agreements for a number of these plants which guarantee the price of power generated for those assets. The Group has consistently developed a diversified portfolio of generating assets to mitigate the risk associated with any one individual fuel. The Group recognises that high carbon pricing in conjunction with low electricity prices could have a serious impact on the profitability and future viability of EPL.

7. Operational (COVID‑19)
Risk and Impact: The risk of the impact of the Corona Virus pandemic on our businesses as a result of significant supply chain disruption, sickness/death of employees, loss of business, recession etc. The true economic impact of these events is not yet known but there is a risk that they will lead to significant financial loss and future implications for the Group.
Mitigating Actions: A cross functional management group has been established to deal with all the issues associated with the COVID‑19 pandemic. Additional investment has taken place on our I.T capability to enable most management and administrative staff to operate from home. Protective equipment has been purchased for staff in various businesses. Some operational equipment has been modified and additional resources deployed to ensure that work practices are safe.

8. Operational (Retaining and attracting staff)
Risk and Impact: The risk of the Group failing to retain, attract and develop the skills, talent and resources required to deliver its business plans, leading to a significant loss of knowledge and potentially gaps in the skill-sets required for delivering the Group strategy, all impacting on the attainment of strategic goals.
Mitigating Actions: The Group maintains a strong focus on this area and has structured succession planning programs in place along with management development programs. A graduate recruitment programme has been in place over the past few years. We are committed to providing quality employment opportunities and are investing in management development programs aimed at achieving greater diversity in senior positions throughout the Group.

9. Operational (New Business Growth)
Risk and Impact: The risk of the Group failing to develop new businesses, markets and infrastructure projects which it requires to replace its traditional businesses which are in decline. This could be due to a lack of management focus, human and financial capital, missed opportunities all leading to a decline in the Group scale, significantly reduced employment levels and financial loss.
Mitigating Actions: A detailed strategy has been approved by the Board for expanding further the new business areas across the Bord na Móna Group. The Group has put in place dedicated teams for business development across its three growth businesses which are Resource Recovery, Powergen Development and New Business. These cross functional teams incorporate engineering, finance, legal and project management. Significant financial capital has been committed to the further development of these existing businesses and the new business division. The Group looks at joint ventures also, as a means to bring in external expertise and share risk.

10. Regulatory (Regulatory/Political)
Risk and Impact: The risk of adverse regulatory changes and the impact that these may have on the financial and business model of the Group. Failure to comply could result in enforcement actions, legal liabilities, damage to the Group’s reputation and loss of shareholder support. Some of the important regulatory risks facing the Group are: the new regulations covering the movement and the extraction of peat, possible imposition of increased carbon taxes on peat briquettes; the trend towards the increased dilution of peat with non‑peat based materials in retail Horticulture products in the UK market; a new Integrated Single Electricity Market (I‑SEM) and the new auction process introduced for capacity payments for power plants; the changing regulatory landscape which is driving increased biomass usage in Edenderry Power station with resulting supply chain and cost implications. The ongoing uncertainty over BREXIT remains a macroeconomic threat to the markets the group operates in.
Mitigating Actions: When developing its strategic plan the Group ensures that plans to deal with the regulatory risks facing the businesses are developed and implemented where possible. Through innovation and supply chain developments, the Group continues to tackle regulatory change that is impacting on the operating performance of the businesses. Capital investment has been approved to address certain regulatory risks. In some cases when dealing with Regulatory risks the Group has no option but to accept these risks. The Group is actively managing any supply chain risks associated with Brexit.

Internal Controls

On behalf of the Company, the Directors acknowledge the Board’s responsibility for ensuring that an effective system of internal controls is maintained and operated. This responsibility takes account of the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies (2016). The system of internal control is designed to manage risk to a tolerable level rather than to eliminate it. The system can therefore only provide reasonable but not absolute assurance that assets are safeguarded, transactions authorised and properly recorded and that material errors or irregularities are either prevented or detected in a timely way. The system of internal control, which accords with guidance issued by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has been in place in Bord na Móna for the period ended 25 March 2020 and up to the date of approval of the financial statements.

The principal procedures which have been put in place by the Board include:

  • an organisation structure with clear operating and reporting procedures,
    authorisation limits, segregation of duties and delegated authorities;
  • a code of conduct that requires all Directors and employees to maintain the highest ethical standards in conducting business;
  • clearly defined management responsibilities have been established throughout the Group and the services of qualified personnel have been secured and duties properly allocated among them;
  • a statement of decisions reserved to the Board;
  • a risk management process which enables the identification and assessment of risks that could impact business performance and objectives and ensures that appropriate mitigation plans are formulated to minimise the residual risk;
  • a comprehensive budgeting process for each business, Lean Centre and business services culminating in an annual Group budget approved by the Board;
  • a comprehensive planning process for each business, Lean Centre and the business services culminating in an annual Group long‑term plan, approved by the Board;
  • a comprehensive financial reporting system with actual performance against budget, prior year, forecasts, performance indicators and significant variances reported monthly to the Senior Leadership Team and Board;
  • a set of policies and procedures relating to operational and financial controls including capital expenditure;
  • a Protected Disclosures Policy to provide employees and others with a confidential means to report any fraud or ethical concerns;
  • procedures for addressing the financial implications of major business risks, including financial instructions, delegation practices, and segregation of duties and these are supported by monitoring procedures;
  • management at all levels are responsible for internal control over its respective business functions and provide annual management assurance statements; and
  • procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of the internal control systems include the work of the Risk and Audit Committee, management reviews, the use of external consultants and Internal Audit.

Internal audit considers the Group’s control systems by examining financial controls, by testing the accuracy of transactions and by otherwise obtaining management’s assurance that the control systems are operating in accordance with the Group’s policies and control requirements. Internal audit report directly to the Risk and Audit Committee on the operation of internal controls and make recommendations on improvements to the control environment if appropriate. Where weaknesses in internal control systems have been identified action plans for strengthening them are put in place and regularly monitored until completed.

The Group has a framework in place to review the adequacy and monitor the effectiveness of internal controls covering financial, operational, risk management and compliance controls. Formal procedures have been established for monitoring control processes and control deficiencies are communicated to those responsible for taking corrective action and to management and the Board, where relevant, in a timely way.

The Directors confirm that the following ongoing monitoring systems are in place:

  • key risks and related controls have been identified and processes have been put in place to monitor the operation of those key controls and report any identified deficiencies;
  • reporting arrangements have been established at all levels where responsibility for financial management has been assigned; and
  • there are regular reviews by senior management of periodic and annual performance and financial reports which indicate performance against budgets/forecasts.

The Directors confirm that Bord na Móna has procedures to monitor the effectiveness of its risk management and control procedures. Bord na Móna’s monitoring and review of the effectiveness of the system of internal control is informed by the work of the internal and external auditors, the Risk and Audit Committee which oversees their work, and the Senior Leadership Team within Bord na Móna responsible for the development and maintenance of the internal control framework.

The Directors confirm that the Board conducted an annual review of the effectiveness of the internal controls for the period ended 25 March 2020 and up to the date of approval of the financial statements.

The process used to review the effectiveness of the system of internal controls includes:

  • review and consideration of the internal audit work programme and consideration of its reports and findings;
  • review of the regular reporting from internal audit on the status of the internal control environment and the status of recommendations raised previously from their own reports and reports from the external auditor;
  • review of reports from the external auditor which contain details of any material internal control issues identified by them in their work as auditors; and,
  • review of the risk register reports, the counter measures in place to mitigate the risk, the remaining residual risk and actions required or being taken to further mitigate the risks.

No material weaknesses in internal control were identified in relation to the reporting period that require disclosure in the financial statements.

Protected Disclosure

As part of our mission to conduct our affairs with openness, honesty, integrity and to observe governance best practice, Bord na Móna has established a formal mechanism to enable those working in Bord na Móna to voice concerns and report wrongdoings, in confidence, in a responsible and effective manner. The new policy reflects changes required by the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 and applies to all Workers including employees, contractors, trainees, agency staff, former employees and interns. The policy is designed to inform Workers of their right to make a Protected Disclosure of any Relevant Wrongdoing. Full details are provided in the policy on safeguards for Workers and their right not to suffer any detriment by virtue of having made such a disclosure. The policy also outlines the addition of a right to make an external disclosure as well as a right to appeal.

It is the duty of all Workers in Bord na Móna to safeguard all Group assets in the normal course of their work. However, all organisations face the risk that certain Workers may engage in conduct that violates the law, regulations or the policies of the organisation itself.

Workers may be concerned that by reporting, or co-operating in investigations of potential misconduct they will be opening themselves up to victimisation, detriment or risking job security. This policy is designed to inform Workers of their right to make a Protected Disclosure of any Relevant Wrongdoing, potential Relevant Wrongdoing or any wilful waste of Group resources. Provided Workers are acting in good faith, they have a right not to suffer any detriment by virtue of having made such a Disclosure. A Worker who makes a Disclosure and has a reasonable belief of wrongdoing will not be penalised by Bord na Móna, even if the concerns or Disclosure turn out to be unfounded.

This policy is intended to assist Workers who believe they have discovered malpractice or impropriety. It supports Workers who have a genuine concern.

It aims to:

  • Foster a culture of openness and honest communication;
  • Ensure the attainment of objectives set out in the Group Mission Statement and Group Code of Business Conduct;
  • Ensure full compliance with all legal, regulatory and other requirements, and
  • Provide a mechanism to uphold the integrity of all Workers.

Protected Disclosures Reports
Section 22 of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 requires the publication of a report each year relating to the number of protected disclosures made in the preceding year and any actions taken in response to such disclosures. The latest years reports follow:

Protected Disclosures Annual Report 2020

Section 22 of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 requires the publication of a report each year relating to the number of protected disclosures made in the preceding year and any actions taken in response to such disclosures.

Bord na Móna received 5 anonymous protected disclosures in the year ended 31 December 2020.  The disclosures were reported and assessed in accordance with our Protected Disclosures Policy. Only one disclosure proceeded to full investigation. The result of that investigation was that no evidence of wrongdoing was shown. Each of the disclosures have been closed and, where recommendations for improvement were made by Internal Audit, appropriate actions have been agreed.

Protected Disclosures Annual Report 2019
Bord na Móna received 2 protected disclosures in the year ended 31 December 2019. The disclosures were reported and assessed, and investigated where required, in accordance with our Protected Disclosures Policy. Both disclosures have been closed and, where required, appropriate actions have been agreed.

Protected Disclosures Annual Report 2018
Bord na Móna received 2 protected disclosures in the year ended 31 December 2018. The disclosures were reported and assessed, and investigated where required, in accordance with our Protected Disclosures Policy. Both disclosures have been closed and, where required, appropriate actions have been agreed.

Protected Disclosures Annual Report 2017
No protected disclosures were received by Bord na Móna in the year ended 31 December
2017.

Download a copy of our Protected Disclosures Policy