POLICY FOR THE DEFINITION AND COORDINATION OF THE IBERDROLA GROUP AND FOUNDATIONS OF CORPORATE ORGANISATION
A corporate and governance organisation coordinated around Iberdrola and the various country subholding companies and head of business companies
Policy for the Definition and Coordination of the Iberdrola Group and Foundations of Corporate Organisation
17 June 2021
The Board of Directors of IBERDROLA, S.A. (the "Company") has the power to design, assess and continuously revise the Governance and Sustainability System, and specifically to approve and update the corporate policies, which contain the guidelines governing the conduct of the Company and of the companies belonging to the group of which the Company is the controlling entity, within the meaning established by law (the "Group").
In fulfilling these responsibilities, and within the framework of the law and the By-Laws, the guidelines for conduct that take shape in the Purpose and Values of the Iberdrola group, as well as its power to establish the Group's structure and define the organisational model and supervise compliance therewith and the further development thereof, the Board of Directors hereby approves this Policy for the Definition and Coordination of the Iberdrola Group and Foundations of Corporate Organisation (the "Policy").
The purpose of this Policy is to define the corporate and governance structure of the Group, which is based on a recognition of the reality of a multinational, multi-corporate, diversified and efficiently organised and coordinated group for the best development of the corporate object and the achievement of the corporate interest.
2. Scope of Application
This Policy applies to all companies of the Group, as well as to all investees not belonging to the Group over which the Company has effective control, within the limits established by law.
Without prejudice to the provisions of the preceding paragraph, listed country subholding companies and their subsidiaries, based on their own special framework of strengthened autonomy, may establish an equivalent policy, which must be in accord with the principles set forth in this Policy and in the other environmental, social and corporate governance and regulatory compliance policies of the Governance and Sustainability System.
At those companies in which the Company has an interest and to which this Policy does not apply, the Company will promote, through its representatives on the boards of directors of such companies, the alignment of their own policies with those of the Company.
This Policy shall also apply, to the extent relevant, to the joint ventures, temporary joint ventures (uniones temporales de empresas) and other equivalent associations, if the Company assumes the management thereof.
3. General Principles
Pursuant to the provisions of its By-Laws, the Company pursues its corporate object indirectly, by owning shares or membership interests in other companies.
In this respect, the Group is configured on the basis of the separation between the central role of strategy, supervision and control, on the one hand, and that of day-to-day administration and effective management, providing itself in this respect with a decentralized structure inspired by the principle of subsidiarity and respect for the autonomy of the companies that comprise it, which do business in accordance with the highest ethical standards and in compliance with the good governance recommendations generally recognized in international markets, adjusted to their needs and particularities.
Therefore, essential premises for this Policy are the differentiation of the functions corresponding to the Company, as a holding company of the Group, domiciled in Biscay and with Spanish nationality, from the country subholding companies established in the various territories in which the Group does business, and the head of business companies, whether Spanish or foreign.
All of them share the principles reflected in the Purpose and Values of the Iberdrola group and in the Code of Ethics and conceive of the social dividend as the direct, indirect or induced contribution of value of its activities for all Stakeholders, particularly through its contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by the United Nations.
4. Definition of the Corporate and Governance Structure
The corporate organisation of the Group, which forms an essential part of the Governance and Sustainability System, is comprised of:
a) the Company, which is configured as a holding company, the main function of which is to act as the entity owning the equity stakes in the country subholding companies;
b) the country subholding companies, which in turn group together the equity stakes in the Group's head of business companies; and
c) the head of business companies.
All of them have their own human and material resources to autonomously carry out the duties assigned thereto by the Governance and Sustainability System.
This corporate configuration is intended to favour an agile and rapid decision-making process in day-to-day management that is dependent on the head of business companies, while at the same time achieving appropriate coordination at the Group level as a result of the duties of organisation and supervision performed by the Company's country subholding companies.
Based on the corporate structure, the Group's governance model is governed by the principles described below, which duly distinguish between the duties of strategic definition, supervision and control, on the one hand, and day-to-day and effective management, on the other:
a) Vesting within the Company's Board of Directors of powers relating to approval of the strategic goals of the Group, the definition of its organisational model, the supervision of compliance therewith and further development thereof, as well those relating to decisions on matters of strategic importance at the Group level, while fully observing the special framework of strengthened autonomy of the listed country subholding companies referred to in d) below.
b) Assumption by the chairman of the Board of Directors & chief executive officer, with the technical support of the Operating Committee, by the Business CEO (consejero-director general de los negocios del Grupo) appointed by the Board of Directors for this duty, with overall responsibility for all of the businesses of the Group, and by the rest of the management team, of the duty of organisation and strategic coordination within the Group through the dissemination, implementation and monitoring of the overall strategy and the basic management guidelines established by the Board of Directors.
c) The function of strategic organisation and coordination is strengthened through the country subholding companies. These entities group together the equity stakes in the Group's head of business companies and carry out the function of organisation and coordination in relation to such countries and/or businesses as are decided by the Company's Board of Directors, disseminating, implementing and ensuring compliance with the policies, strategies and general guidelines of the Group based on the characteristics and unique aspects of their respective countries and/or businesses.
One of the main functions of the country subholding companies is to centralise the provision of services common to the head of business companies, in accordance with the provisions of applicable law and especially the legal provisions regarding the separation of regulated activities.
In this regard, the country subholding companies facilitate the coordination of companies in which they hold an interest and are given the responsibility of ensuring compliance with legal provisions on the separation of regulated activities.
In order to specify the application of the Governance and Sustainability System based on applicable law in each country, as well as on the characteristics and particular features thereof, and to comply with the responsibilities allocated thereto by the Governance and Sustainability System, the country subholding companies approve rules applicable to their subsidiary head of business companies, and specify the application at the country and/or business level, as applicable, of the content of the basic policies or guidelines approved by the Board of Directors of the Company that cover the Group as a whole.
To best carry out their functions, country subholding companies have within their boards of directors at least one independent director as well as audit and compliance committees, in addition to their own internal audit and regulatory compliance units or divisions.
The CEOs of each country subholding company, appointed by their respective boards of directors, shall promote the specific application of the corporate policies and of the basic management guidelines at the country level, proposing the annual targets and budget, with the ability to represent their respective companies before domestic institutions, and perform such other duties as are determined by each boards of directors, always acting under the supervision thereof.
d) The listed country subholding companies of the Group have a special framework of strengthened autonomy that covers the three areas mentioned below.
In the regulatory area, the boards of directors of the listed country subholding companies are authorised to approve their own corporate policies and other internal codes and procedures that specify, develop or make exceptions from the content of the equivalent rules of the Governance and Sustainability System.
In the related-party transactions area, the boards of directors of listed country subholding companies have a committee of their board of directors comprised exclusively of directors without a connection to the Company and that have the power to approve all transactions between the listed country subholding company and the subsidiaries thereof with the other companies of the Group in addition to the authorisations generally required in each case based on the nature of each transaction.
In the management area, listed country subholding companies enjoy a system of strengthened autonomy vis-à-vis the Company, which prevents the Company and the other companies of the Group from giving to their management team and the management teams of their subsidiaries instructions that interfere with the exercise of the powers vested therein by the Governance and Sustainability System.
The special framework of strengthened autonomy is implemented in the respective contracts signed by the Company with each listed country subholding company.
e) The head of business companies of the Group assume decentralised executive responsibilities, enjoy the independence necessary to carry out the day-to-day administration and effective management of each of the businesses, and are responsible for the day-to-day control thereof.
These head of business companies are organised through their respective boards of directors, which include independent directors where appropriate, and their own management decision-making bodies; they may also have their own audit committees, internal audit areas and compliance units or divisions.
The CEOs of each head of business company are responsible for the effective management thereof under the supervision of its board of directors, to which they shall propose the business objectives and annual budgets within the framework of the Group's general business strategy.
The provisions of the preceding paragraphs shall be without prejudice to respect for the corporate autonomy of the subsidiaries of the head of business companies domiciled in countries or territories other than that of the parent company. These subsidiaries may be vested with the effective management of their business activities within their country or territory.
The selection of the directors of the country subholding and head of business companies shall endeavour to comply with the Board of Directors Diversity and Member Selection Policy, avoiding any implied bias entailing any kind of discrimination, and, in particular, that hinders the selection of female directors.
In addition, the Company's Appointments Committee reports on or proposes the appointment and removal of the independent directors of both the unlisted country subholding companies and the companies within the Group whose direct or indirect owner is not a country subholding company. In order to report on or propose said resolutions on appointment and removal, it takes into account the independent judgement of the candidate to respond to the corporate interest of the company in which the position will be held. In addition, the Company's Appointments Committee acknowledges the appointment and removal of the independent directors of companies within the Group that are subsidiaries of the unlisted country subholding companies.
In order to facilitate the orderly performance of the duties inherent in its status as a holding entity of the Group, the Company's Board of Directors establishes a number of mechanisms that allow for the exchange of information needed for the strategic coordination of the activities performed by the various country subholding companies and head of business companies, without detracting from independence in decision-making by each of them or the requirements imposed on their directors by law and those deriving from the Governance and Sustainability System, in the interest of all of the companies within the Group.
5. The Group's Business Model
The corporate and governance structure of the Group in turn allows for global integration of the businesses in accordance with the Group's Business Model, which is focused on maximising the operational efficiency of the various business units and ensures the dissemination, implementation and monitoring of the overall strategy and the basic management guidelines established for each business, primarily through the exchange of best practices among the various companies of the Group without detracting from independence in decision-making by each of them and the demands imposed upon their directors by law.
As part of the Group's Business Model, the Company, together with the corporate functions and the supervision and regulatory control functions, promotes the creation and operation of global committees in the interest of each of the businesses in order to maximise the generation of synergies and the exploitation thereof by all of the companies of the Group. These committees are authorised to approve global guidelines and recommendations, propose initiatives for improvement, favour the exchange of best practices and support the Business CEO and those responsible for the businesses in the performance of their duties of coordination and supervision.
6. Operating Committee
Within the Group's corporate and governance structure, the Operating Committee is an internal committee of the Company, the essential function of which is to provide technical, information and management support to the chairman of the Board of Directors & CEO, in order to facilitate the development of the Group's Business Model.
7. Duties of the Board of Directors with respect to the Group's Corporate and Governance Structure
The Board of Directors of the Company in any event has the following duties with respect to the corporate and governance structure of the Group:
a) conform the corporate and governance structure and the Group's Business Model to the requirements of the corporate interest, complying with applicable law, the Governance and Sustainability System and the Compliance System, and acting in accordance with the Purpose and Values of the Iberdrola group and with the commitments made in the Code of Ethics;
b) endeavour to ensure that the corporate and governance structure as well as the Group's business model contribute to the social dividend, reflecting and disseminating the Company's performance in this regard through the statement of non-financial information;
c) foster an egalitarian, diverse and inclusive culture of talent management and promotion as a reflection of the Group's social and cultural reality;
d) include in the corporate governance practices covering the Group, the promotion of innovation and digital transformation through the use of new technologies, while preserving security and privacy in the corporate interest;
e) conform the structure of the Group to the legal requirements applicable in the jurisdictions in which it does business, and particularly to those regarding the rules of each jurisdiction on separation of regulated activities;
f) determine the location of the headquarters of the Company and of the other companies belonging to the Group based on the corporate interest, and make the relevant decisions or when appropriate submit them to the shareholders at a General Shareholders' Meeting for adoption thereof, in all cases respecting the special framework of strengthened autonomy of the country subholding companies;
g) analyse potential conflicts of interest and approve Related-Party Transactions (as this term is defined in the Regulations of the Board of Directors) affecting any company of the Group, unless the power to approve the Related-Party Transaction is vested in the shareholders acting at a General Shareholders' Meeting in accordance with law or there has been a delegation pursuant to the provisions of the Regulations of the Board of Directors. Without prejudice to the foregoing, and as regards those conflicts of interest or Related-Party Transactions affecting listed country subholding companies, the Company's Board of Directors shall ensure compliance with the rules on conflicts of interest and Related-Party Transactions established within the corresponding special framework of strengthened autonomy;
h) endeavour to ensure the reconciliation of the interest of the companies in the Group that have outside shareholders with the policies and strategies of the Group;
i) introduce appropriate strategic coordination mechanisms in the interest of the Company and of the companies within the Group, pursuant to the Group's Business Model;
j) approve the creation or acquisition of equity interests in special purpose entities or entities residing in countries or territories that Spanish legal provisions consider to be tax havens or that are included in the EU blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions, in line with the Corporate Tax Policy, as well as any other transactions of a similar nature that, due to their complexity, might diminish the transparency of the Group; and
k) submit to a decision by the shareholders at a General Shareholders' Meeting the inclusion within controlled entities of core activities theretofore carried out by the Company, even if they are wholly owned thereby.
Furthermore, as regards investee entities that do not form part of the Group, the Board of Directors, in defining the general strategy of the Group, shall respect the particular regulatory aspects affecting such entities due to their nature as a regulated or listed company, their nationality, the jurisdictions in which they do business or any other circumstance that might affect them.
8. Related-Party Transactions
The Board of Directors of the Company, and the Executive Committee in urgent cases, shall be the bodies competent to approve or authorise Related-Party Transactions affecting any company of the Group, and in an amount or value that does not exceed the percentage determined by law to be within the purview of the shareholders acting at a General Shareholders' Meeting, provided that approval thereof has not been delegated pursuant to the provisions of the Regulations of the Board of Directors.
In those instances in which the Related-Party Transaction must be authorised by the Board of Directors or the Executive Committee of the Company, and the Company does not directly participate in such transaction, the scope of approval shall be limited to verification that the Related-Party Transaction is fair and reasonable from the standpoint of the Company and, if applicable, of Company shareholders other than the related party, with the competent body of the company participating in the Related-Party Transaction maintaining its powers to decide on whether or not it is appropriate to carry out the transaction.
As regards those Related-Party Transactions affecting listed country subholding companies, the Company's Board of Directors shall also ensure compliance with the rules on related-party transactions established within the corresponding special framework of strengthened autonomy.
9. Use of the IBERDROLA Brand
The Governance and Sustainability System recognises the IBERDROLA brand as a hallmark of the Company and the principal symbol of the Purpose and Values of the Iberdrola group.
To the extent that the companies of the Group use such brand — owned by the Company — as part of their trade names and distinctive marks used to carry out their businesses, the use thereof shall be governed by the provisions of the Brand Policy and the other internal rules established by the Company.
10. Stakeholder Engagement, Corporate Websites, Presence on Social Media and Digital Transformation
The country subholding and head of business companies of the Group shall have a presence on the internet, and in particular shall actively participate in social media in order to engage with their respective Stakeholders, working together on the innovation and digital transformation strategy of the Group.
For these purposes, the country subholding companies and head of business companies shall have their own identity on social media and their corporate website, the contents of which must be managed in accordance with the guidelines established for such purpose by the Company, and for each country and/or business by the country subholding companies, if applicable.
The country subholding and head of company companies shall adopt the measures necessary to avoid their corporate websites being confused with that of the Company.
The corporate websites of the country subholding companies and of the head of business companies shall be structured around specific sections intended to identify the corresponding company and its activities, describe its relationship with the Group and its environmental, social and corporate governance position, and promote its relations with society in general and with the other relevant Stakeholders, fostering their engagement and strengthening their sense of belonging.
This Policy was initially approved by the Board of Directors on 18 December 2007 and was last amended on 17 June 2021.