Demonstrating good governance

We commit to our values and policies. This is reflected in the way we manage our business and interact with our clients and our people.

GHD has processes to systematically identify, assess and report on both financial and non-financial business risks. A strategic and operational Risk Report is prepared and analysed by both management and the Audit and Risk Committee of the Board four times a year. The report addresses impacts, risks and opportunities with respect to health and safety, reputation, business practices and ethics.

The Board receives regular reports including: risk, corporate responsibility, HSE, diversity and inclusion, unethical practices and other matters that may affect our reputation.

The GHD Board has ultimate authority over the company and regards corporate governance as a critical element in achieving our objectives. Accordingly, the Board has adopted appropriate standards and policies and established a number of committees to discharge its duties. The CEO reports directly to the Board. The Executive Management Group (EMG) is the senior management leadership team for GHD. The EMG advises the CEO with regard to the effective and efficient functioning of our global organisation.

Respective corporate teams (e.g. Business Services Finance, HSE, Quality, etc.) provide independent, objective assurance and advisory services on GHD systems of risk management, internal compliance, and control.

  • Determination of purpose

    Exploration of and approving GHD’s core purpose, goals and strategy to achieve these goals.

  • Governance culture

    Operating within a high performance culture that celebrates debate, thoughtful challenge, commitment, candour and trust. This requires effective relationships within the board, and with management, shareholders and other stakeholders.

  • Accountability

    Effective demarcation of responsibilities through delegated authorities and policies, providing informed, astute and effective oversight of management, and ensuring senior management selection and succession processes are effective.

  • Compliance

    Ensuring the company is and remains solvent, probity of financial reports, compliance with the regulatory environment, operating ethically, and is operating consistent with its risk management framework. The election of both executive and independent non-executive directors is undertaken by GHD shareholders.

GHD Group Board

The Board is made up of eight directors and a company secretary (of which four are women). Together with the CEO they have the appropriate balance of skills, experience and expertise, and bring independent judgement to bear in decision making.

The role of the Board is to add value through furthering the achievement of GHD’s core purpose and it is achieved in four critical areas (left).

When appointing new directors, the Board and its Nominations Committee look to ensure that an appropriate balance of skills, experience, expertise and diversity is maintained.

In 2018, GHD confirmed the election of director Stephen Trainor as a new Board Member. Significantly, women continue to comprise 40 percent of the Board. GHD continues to set a clear cultural, professional and gender diversity standards.

Material Risks and Internal Controls

GHD has processes to systematically identify, assess and report on both financial and non-financial business risks. A strategic and operational Risk Report is prepared and analysed by both management and the Audit and Risk Committee of the Board four times a year. The report addresses impacts, risks and opportunities with respect to health and safety, reputation, business practices and ethics.

The Board receives regular reports including: risk, corporate responsibility, HSE, diversity and inclusion, unethical practices and other matters that may affect our reputation.

Measuring road

Board Committees

The GHD Board Committees (Audit and Risk) are responsible for assisting the Board in fulfilling its corporate governance responsibilities, including:

  • Integrity of GHD’s financial reporting
  • Compliance with legal and regulatory obligations
  • Effectiveness of GHD’s enterprise wide risk management and accountability structures
  • Oversight of the independence of external and internal auditors

The CEO is responsible for the day-to-day management of GHD, with all powers, discretions and delegations authorised from time to time by the Board. GHD’s executive management team is the EMG. The group is chaired by the CEO and meets monthly to review the performance of GHD and make decisions that impact the overall operations of the business.

Transparency and disclosure with our people

Engaged and empowered people are a fundamental strength of GHD’s organisational culture. The last People Survey was conducted in 2017 and GHD will adopt a new approach in the next People Surveys planned for the second half of 2019. Instead of a one-off engagement survey, the surveys will be conducted once a month over a period of time and involve the use of 'chatbot' technology to probe feedback from employees. This approach aims to allow GHD to conduct check-ins with people more regularly, gain a deeper understanding of engagement levels and experiences of employees, as well as to take timely actions.

In the most recent People Survey in 2017, commitment to clients and conduction work safely were seen by our people as two of our greatest strengths and engagement levels were pleasingly high in North America. In other regions, Asia Pacific and the UK/Middle East have continuing high levels of engagement and Australia showed marked improvement from previous years in the areas of vision, communication and empowerment.

Waterloo office

Integrity Management

GHD regards good corporate governance as a critical element in our business practices and culture. GHD is committed to ethical business behaviour. This includes both internal conduct, and our engagement with clients, and the community.

We have an established Integrity Management System. At its core are Integrity Management Policy and Integrity Management Guidelines. The pivotal element of our approach to integrity is a zero tolerance towards unethical or unacceptable business conduct.

GHD’s Integrity Management Guidelines establish our behavioural expectations and conduct requirements. As part of this commitment, we comply with the laws of the countries in which we operate, and promote ethical business and personal behaviour consistent with our core values of Teamwork, Respect and Integrity.

Our Child Protection Statement applies to employees, subcontractors and volunteers engaged within the GHD group of companies on international development assistance projects and its implementation facilities. It reaffirms our commitment not to use – directly or indirectly – forced labour or child labour.

During 2018, GHD implemented integrity management system improvements and communicated expectations in the appropriate manner. We held our annual Integrity Day with the focus on “empowering our people to resist bribery and corruption wherever in the world they are doing business”. We have strengthened our Privacy Policy and employees are now able to lodge an online report of suspected or actual data privacy breaches.

Modern Slavery

GHD is a sitting member on the United Nations Global Compact Modern Slavery Community of Practice. The group’s purpose is two-fold:

  • To discuss the most pressing challenges and obstacles facing business with respect to managing and communicating modern slavery risks and implementing any new legislation and to discuss good practice in responding to these challenges.
  • To help provide a business perspective as appropriate to related external discussions, including for example potentially providing collective input to any consultation around government guidance for any new legislation.

Furthering our commitment, GHD has reviewed its Modern Slavery Statement and is in the process of developing key strategies to ensure that modern slavery does not enter the GHD supply chain.

Safety Performance

Why do we measure Positive Interactions?

Traditionally, predictions about a workplace's ongoing health and safety performance have been made based on past track records (e.g. incidents). Current research suggests that more effective predictions can be made by focusing on the active steps a workplace takes to prevent future incidents.

Referred to as "lead indicators," these active steps towards incident prevention include any action, behaviour, or process undertaken by a workplace to actively improve health and safety.

Industry and policy stakeholders around the world are increasingly using lead indicators to formally predict future workplace health and safety performance, and consequently reduce workplace injury rates.

GHD is ahead of the curve in this respect, having been recording and monitoring lead indicator performance for many years.

GHD’s combined individual “lead indicator” activities (e.g. project reviews, inspections, behavioural observations) are called “Positive Interactions”. We encourage our 10,000+ people to undertake three Positive Interactions per year and achievement against this target is measured monthly. The rate illustrated in the diagram (5.21) is the average per FTE achieved during the reporting period.