Environment, Social, and Governance
With over one million skilled contractors worldwide, we are truly a global company. At Appen, we feel it is our responsibility to contribute positive solutions to the social challenges faced by our global community. By leveraging our resources, we have and will continue to demonstrate our commitment to social change and progress.
We are proud of the cultural and ethnic diversity in our workforce, with crowd workers in 130 countries who speak 180 languages and dialects. We have a broadly-based diversity policy.
We celebrate that our employee population is 61% female and 39% male. For the sixth year in a row, Appen has placed in the top 10 in Deloitte’s Fast 50 Australia Awards, in both the Leadership and Technology Fast Female categories. We are one of few tech organizations founded by a woman and continue to incorporate values of gender equality and representation in our culture and hiring practices. We launched a new initiative in 2019 to further develop female leaders. The new initiatives will have both long- and short-term objectives and will include elements for all levels within the organization. We will focus on inclusion and career development to improve diversity among our workforce. Our Board and CEO are committed to enhancing the gender diversity of our senior leadership team.
Our inclusive hiring practices are the building blocks of our success. We are an active supporter of people with disabilities. Through our Philippines operations, we initially onboarded over 50 people with partial or full hearing impairment to support image annotation work, and have now expanded this group to over 200 people. We employ individuals of all abilities and have been recognized by The Philippine Council of Organizations on Disability and Empowerment Inc. for hiring and promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Global Social Responsibility
Appen has an active Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program that supports those in need in the countries that we operate. Participation is encouraged, and community projects are publicized and celebrated via our intranet. On several occasions, we raised funds to support employees in need, with a company match to all money raised. We also support research and provide technical and linguistic resources towards community projects.
Our corporate approach to CSR includes partnerships with organizations such as Translators without Borders and the National Council of Disability Affairs in Manila, Philippines. In fact, we received a 2019 Donor Award from Translators Without Borders for our contributions in translation support. We continue to endorse their mission to provide accessible knowledge to people all around the world in the language they understand best. Employees also have a voice and are able to raise awareness around a need by contacting the CSR committee and asking for it to be a focus for employees around the globe. Funds raised are matched by the company.
We strive to ensure that crowd workers have sustainable conditions, with responsible remuneration at or above local minimum wage. We are a member of the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition (GISC), a group devoted to inclusive hiring practices across the globe. We are proud to provide opportunities for individuals all around the world, regardless of socioeconomic status.
We are a professional, knowledge-based workplace with minimal environmental footprint. Each of our offices includes recycling facilities and encourages thoughtful use of resources.
We have a low carbon footprint with the exception of air travel, which is necessary for some executives given the global nature of our business.
Video and phone conferencing are used to reduce the extent of travel, and the travel budget is managed and monitored.
Our crowd of over one million workers work from home using internet-based tools, with minimal carbon impact. As a result, our rates reliance on carbon as low risk.
Currently, there is no mandatory external reporting on carbon risk, but we will comply with any incoming legislation, regulation, or best practice principles (such as ASX corporate governance principles) which require carbon reporting.
We have a number of Board endorsed policies and statements which focus on company culture including corporate governance statement, code of conduct, and diversity policy. We do not tolerate behaviors which are at odds with the Company’s culture and has taken action to address such behaviors, on the rare occasions that it is needed.
Our Corporate Governance Statement sets out how we meet or exceed the requirements of ASX Corporate Governance Council’s Principles and Recommendations.
The Board and the Board Audit and Risk Committee spend time on ESG issues which include employee and crowd pay rates, privacy, community projects, and, generally, the sustainability of the Appen businesses and business model.
We test our culture through employee annual surveys and root cause analysis of incidents or breaches.
Economic risks – the business is exposed to general economic conditions. Specifically, there is a material risk in customer concentration, however, these customers are active with several separate projects across the business.
Environmental risks – there is no current material exposure to environmental risks, however, the Board monitors these risks and notes initiatives to lower the our carbon footprint where possible by using video and phone conferencing to reduce the extent of travel, and has over one million crowd workers that work from home using internet-based tools.
Social sustainability – there is risk associated with the engagement and conditions of crowd and remote workers to the extent that these workers may be incorrectly classified as employees and thus entitled to employee benefits. We have adopted a Modern Slavery policy in the UK and is in the process of codifying a global policy that incorporates our current practice of monitoring crowd and remote worker payment levels.
The Board notes that part of our business is in the area of artificial intelligence and as such, it continues to monitor the social, ethical, and political context in which we operate.