Our success depends on strong, effective and responsive management. Our structure supports regional autonomy to allow for efficient decision-making, as well as communication between our global functional leaders. This structure enables the sharing and implementation of best practices, and the integration of Sustainable Operational Excellence throughout Birla Carbon.

How is our governance organized?

Each of the various legal entities that comprise Birla Carbon is governed by a Board of Directors, led by our Senior Management Team (SMT). The SMT is made up of Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Santrupt Misra; Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Boyle; five Regional Presidents; Chief Functional Officers; and a Specialty Blacks Business Head.

The diagram below illustrates how we organize our governance.

Governance structure diagram

Within this structure, the Chief Sustainability Officer’s (CSO) role is twofold. On the one hand, the CSO communicates the work of the Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC) to the SMT; on the other, the CSO acts as the guardian of sustainability principles and best practices, ensuring that the SMT is aware of these when making business decisions.

Sustainability Steering Committee

Our sustainability strategy is directed by the Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC). The SSC is responsible for reporting, which it fulfills through the annual Sustainability Report, quarterly meetings with the SMT, and through ad hoc communications to Birla Carbon employees. Another role of the SSC is to influence the integration of sustainability concepts into the company’s strategic business decisions.

The SSC tackles specific issues through working groups. Each working group is composed of the Global Sustainability Director, the Sustainability Analyst, Subject Matter Experts, employees with relevant expertise and occasional third-party advisors.

Through the working groups, we identify areas of opportunity for integrating sustainability further into the business and develop action plans for implementation. The working groups maintain contact throughout the year and meet when needed. Ideas and plans generated by the working groups are ultimately presented to the entire SSC and evaluated. Final approval or rejection of projects lies with the SMT.

The SSC also ensures that Birla Carbon’s sustainability strategy is aligned with the sustainability vision and approach of our parent company, the Aditya Birla Group.

453 best practices implemented through the newly merged World Class Manufacturing and Best Practices group.

  • Customers and suppliers

    Key topics discussed by SSC in FY2017Decisions madeImpact on business
    Supplier risk assessmentImplemented a third-party due diligence screening application.A more resilient and ethical supply chain will enable us to achieve business continuity.
    Customer engagementInstitutionalize the use of Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) to engage with customers and measure their satisfaction.We aim to develop long-term relationships with our customers.
  • Environment

    Key topics discussed by SSC in FY2017Decisions madeImpact on business
    Solid waste managementDeveloped two new KPIs to better report on our progress in hazardous waste and waste to landfill management.We seek to drive improvements around key stakeholder concerns.
    Water risk assessmentConducted local risk assessment for three priority sites rated as high risk per Aqueduct.
    Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs)Updated our product LCA using FY2017 data.
    Energy and emissions KPIsMaintain KPIs as-is for FY18, but addressed challenges with meeting FY2020 goals.
  • Our product

    Key topics discussed by SSC in FY2017Decisions madeImpact on business
    Product stewardshipDecided to engage the public and share a broader understanding of the social value of carbon black. Formalized and published our Product Stewardship Policy.We seek to engage with the wider public to introduce them to the everyday importance of our product.
  • Governance and ethics

    Key topics discussed by SSC in FY2017Decisions madeImpact on business
    Horizon scanning and scenario planningConducted initial study with Forum for the Future on the external factors which could affect our carbon black business in the coming decades.Through this engagement, we hope to begin the process of future-proofing our business by considering potential future trends and their impacts.
  • Our people

    Key topics discussed by SSC in FY2017Decisions madeImpact on business
    Engaging our employeesEnsured that all sites have safe access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) by the end of FY2018.A motivated workforce is instrumental to business success. We seek to engage our people and support them and their lifestyles.

Internal audit committees

Under the guidance of our Internal Audit Department, we carry out regular audits and investigations across the business, covering financial, compliance and operational reviews.

In FY2017, 30 audits were conducted, covering both global and region perspectives, 20 of which were global and focused on Fixed Assets, Inventory Management, Expenditure and the SAP system and infrastructure. The remaining 10 audits were region specific and covered Procurement, Statutory Compliance, Sales and Marketing and Logistics. Results were shared with the SMT; the Risk Committee is updated quarterly on the implementation progress of the related management action plans.

Enterprise Risk Management and Business Continuity Committee

One of our top priorities is to maintain uninterrupted operations and a constant supply of carbon black to our customers. Our Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) system helps us identify and anticipate risks across our business, enabling preparation for possible disruptions.

ERM Committee

The ERM committee meets three times per year and engages with regional and corporate function directors to identify potential risks and define mitigation strategies. The Chief Risk Officer then presents these risks and strategies to the SMT.

Participants from other business areas may be invited to attend ERM committee meetings to clarify and provide input on specific issues that require expert views. On a rotational basis, a Regional President is invited to attend each meeting to identify and discuss regional risks; those identified are now included in the ERM committee meetings agenda.

Two areas have been the subject of greater focus in FY2017:

  • Cyber risks – the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) developed a cyber risk map, which is discussed regularly at the ERM Committee meetings;
  • Water risks – a subcommittee working group was set up to assess water risks, focusing on economics, flooding and recycling in our production cycle at each plant location. The group produced a map to chart overall risks.

Business Continuity Planning

Each of Birla Carbon’s locations has a comprehensive Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to prepare for interruptions due to natural disasters or disruptions. Our BCP approach has been developed over the years with a built-in local aspect: each plant focuses on key prevention elements and the ability to maintain our supply. Read more in our BCP statement (pdf, 83KB).

Since FY2015, we have been rolling out a Business Continuity Management System (BCMS), based on ISO 22301. The BCMS guides our specific recovery strategies for the most crucial processes and activities for our business, ensuring the continuous supply of carbon black to our customers. In FY2018, it is our intention to upgrade and standardize across all sites our recovery strategies in the BCP documents following the ISO 22301 standard.

World Class Manufacturing: empowering our people and sharing best practices

We expect our facilities to reach the highest standards – both externally and internally. One internal certification is the Aditya Birla Group’s Corporate World Class Manufacturing (WCM) standard. The WCM initiative promotes and supports the highest standards in manufacturing and production. Its framework deals with all aspects of business excellence, focusing on leadership, stakeholders, operational and financial performance, customers and markets, processes, employees and society.

WCM began in the Aditya Birla Group in 1996, and has since matured, allowing all our sites to gain a greater understanding of the significance of business excellence. Four new plants have achieved bronze level certification and one has achieved gold in the previous Chairman’s award process. These award-winning plants and previous award winners are working toward achieving higher levels of accomplishment, while others incorporate WCM concepts in their day to day operations.

Previously, WCM existed in support of our Best Practice Group: a system through which sites identified, developed, refined and shared proven techniques. This methodology, which helps enable SOE, has now been integrated within the WCM system – which pushes Birla Carbon to be a more responsible steward, globally.

Through FY2017, 27 new best practices have been implemented, bringing the total to 453. These new best practices were developed primarily to start incorporating WCM concepts into the existing process. To facilitate this change, two existing Best Practice categories (Maintenance and HSE) were modified, and two new categories (Work Environment and Quality) were developed and implemented. We plan to systematically incorporate WCM criteria into all the Best Practices until full integration is achieved.

Progress on implementation of the Best Practices is monitored via semi-annual assessments and scorecards detailing the status of implementation by each manufacturing facility. Bi-annual on-site assessments are also conducted to ensure that local management fully understands the Best Practices by.

Dealing with disaster in Gummidipoondi

An extreme example of our business continuity in action occurred at our facility in Gummidipoondi, India, in December 2016. The area, which is close to Chennai in Tamil Nadu state, was hit by Cyclone Vardah, a severe storm with winds reaching a peak of 135 km/h for six hours. The cyclone, which was the worst seen in the area in 25 years, flattened homes, snapped communication lines and damaged water and electricity supplies. Our facility was also affected; buildings shook, roofs fell and 1680 trees planted at our facility over 15 years were torn out of the ground.

Faced with these adverse conditions, our team reacted remarkably to ensure that our operations and shipments to customers continued unabated. This started by switching power supplies from electricity to steam, installing high capacity generators to keep operational water supplies running and maintain our high-quality standards.

With our product still in high demand, we needed to keep in close contact with our other facilities in India – with little communication and only one operating phone. Our team pooled together modems, converting the office boardroom into the center of operations and running our business from there, with workstations established for our Quality, Logistics and Warehouses departments. Our employees understood the situation and were fully supportive at all times, which enabled our success; they were supported with transport to and from distant locations, a 24-hour canteen and the swift removal of all fallen trees from access points to the facility.

The facility also provided remedial care to residents in nearby villages: after the cyclone had ended, we provided drinking water, food, and temporary medical camps, the latter benefitting more than 200 villagers. We supported other industries in the vicinity, supplying water to ensure that these industries could continue operating.

This situation continued for a week, until conditions were normalized. Despite its long and challenging duration, our team kept up a consistent supply of high quality carbon black to customers. This was only possible due to the commitment and dedication of our people and the preparedness of our unit.

  • Business continuity