Stakeholder engagement

Interacting with our stakeholders, both the people who can affect our business and those who are affected by it, helps us understand their views and structure our perspectives. We seek to better understand the material issues that affect our stakeholders, which is why we are constantly working to improve our engagement processes. It is by engaging with our stakeholders that we can help them while creating and sharing value.

Our stakeholder groups include:

We have identified a sub-group of stakeholders that have the greatest impact on our business. Our engagement with this group can make a difference and we are currently directing our strategy based on what is material to them.

Customers

How we engageExamples in FY2016
Our objective is to develop long-term relationships with customers and become the carbon black provider of choice, based on excellent service and a high quality product. One way in which we achieve this is through engagement on sustainability issues and aligning our sustainability agendas. Our dedicated Global
Engagement Managers (GEMs) regularly engage with customers, which we also do through our Key Account Management (KAM) program. We also conduct an annual Customer Satisfaction Survey.
We regularly engage in one-on-one sustainability discussions with our major customers, such as the Global Stakeholder Dialogue with Pirelli to help them develop their sustainability strategy and prepare for future business trends.
We implemented the Net Promoter Score (NPS) system to assess how our customers perceive our work and where we can improve.
Our customers are welcome to visit our operations, and we invite their comments and feedback. We are routinely visited by our customers, and respond swiftly to all feedback.

Employees

How we engageExamples in FY2016
Our employees provide us with feedback through our bi-annual Vibes survey and we encourage continuous dialogue between managers and employees on a daily basis. We also provide a hotline through which our personnel can air grievances anonymously. Since the FY2015 Vibes survey, Birla Carbon has developed and implemented regional action plans, on career management initiatives, online education and global on-boarding for new employees. Our Safety culture change initiative has made safety a personal commitment across our operations and seen record-breaking results, demonstrating how our employees have adopted safety as their own responsibility.

Suppliers

How we engageExamples in FY2016
As our business depends on suppliers, we work closely with them to develop strong relationships. Our suppliers’ behavior reflects on us; we work with them to ensure they uphold our high ethical standards.  We expect our suppliers to follow our ethical business practices, as reflected in the Code of Ethics commitment in our Terms and Conditions. We regularly review our feedstock suppliers for their sustainability activity.

Aditya Birla Group

How we engageExamples in FY2016
Our parent company, the Aditya Birla Group, follows a three-step sustainability agenda: responsible stewardship; stakeholder engagement; and future-proofing. We have aligned our sustainabiltity strategy with the Group’s three-step agenda. We participate in a weekly sustainability webinar across the Group, in which a business unit presents their progress and initiatives. We regularly communicate our progress through this channel. We also participate in the annual ABG Sustainability Conference to share knowledge and best practices internally.

Communities

How we engageExamples in FY2016
Our approach to community relationships is localized, based on an understanding of the varying regional social and cultural priorities. We focus on delivering long-term socio-economic benefits, such as health, education, social support and charitable giving.  See our Communities section, where we describe our community engagement in greater detail.

NGOs, civil society, academics

How we engageExamples in FY2016
We continue to interact with NGOs and wider social institutions that are particularly relevant for our business. This engagement takes the form of face-to-face meetings or participation in events where we share knowledge with our peers. We engaged in face-to-face meetings with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to extend our understanding of how we should shape our sustainability strategy, which we have described in greater detail in this report. Through the Aditya Birla Group, we have engaged with Forum for the Future, who is helping us to define how we future-proof our business.
We participate in the Sustainable Leadership Forum (SLF), a group representing business leaders from a range of industries who share knowledge on common sustainability issues affecting their business.
As part of the wider dialogue on how companies can help achieve global sustainability targets, we have aligned our SOE strategy to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Through our engagement with the WBCSD, we have committed to participate in a working group on developing the SDG Compass, a five-step guide to understanding how SDGs affect businesses.


Together with Our Peers on a Sustainability Journey

Although Sustainable Operational Excellence (SOE) is at the heart of what we do, Birla Carbon is not alone in pursuing strategic sustainability. As we progress on our sustainability journey, we recognize that there are others on the same road, coming across the same issues.

In this context, the Sustainability Leadership Forum (SLF) offers an ideal platform where companies and sustainability professionals can engage, learn and develop – both relationships and strategies.

As an SLF member since 2010, Birla Carbon actively participates in these small-scale fora, held every two months in one of seven locations in the US and London (UK). Member companies are large corporations representing a wide range of industries, such as financial services, fast moving consumer goods, retail, engineering, chemical, pharmaceutical and service providers.

Before each forum Joseph Dixon, SLF founder, proposes a member as host and works with the company to select an appropriate sustainability topic for roundtable discussion. Dixon then arranges for a recognized external speaker to kick off the subject, distributes relevant background materials and facilitates the sharing of knowledge and best practices. To stimulate openness and guarantee discretion, Dixon ensures that no competitors are present at the same forum.

Birla Carbon has found that the SLF is an excellent opportunity to gain a perspective on what sustainability means for others. The SLF helps us pave the way to different approaches to face common roadblocks. It is by engaging with peers that Birla Carbon can shape a more sustainable future.

“I’m not a sustainability expert, but I take pride through the SLF to bring together private sector leaders, who have the power to influence the sustainability of tomorrow’s world.”

Joseph Dixon, Founder, Sustainability Leadership Forum

United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, the United Nations (UN) adopted a new sustainable development agenda aiming to end poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all – through partnership.

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Birla Carbon is keen to play its part in helping the wider community achieve the new set of sustainable development goals (SDGs). We have mapped each goal to our focus areas, to show how we are working along the same global sustainability agenda.

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    undefinedCommunities

    We seek to help improve the health and well-being of the people living around our sites.

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    undefinedCommunities

    Our education programs aim to impart the skills and knowledge people need to support themselves in the long term.

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    undefinedOur people

    We support the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and signed its WASH pledge regarding access to clean drinking water.

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    undefinedEnvironment

    We recover energy generated by our operations and either use it in our facilities or sell it to end users.

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    undefinedOur people

    We provide direct jobs in 12 countries and our business contributes to economic growth through our entire supply chain.

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    undefinedProduct responsibility

    We innovate our products and processes to be more sustainable through our Technology Roadmap.

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    undefinedCommunities

    Through our social investment, we hope to increase opportunities and build infrastructure, enabling people to be involved in the decisions that will enhance their lives.

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    undefinedCommunities

    We contribute to the sustainable growth of the communities where we operate.

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    undefinedEnvironment

    We minimize the waste that we generate, seek to optimize our oil carbon conversion to carbon black, and endeavor to be as efficient as possible with the resources that we consume, including water.

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    undefinedEnvironment

    We focus on carbon stewardship, being net energy positive and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

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    undefinedGovernance and ethics

    We ensure that human rights are protected and that our employees behave ethically. We are supported by a robust governance structure based on regional autonomy and fluid communication.

    undefinedCustomers and suppliers

    We are supported by a robust governance structure based on regional autonomy and fluid communication.

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    undefinedCustomers and suppliers

    We engage with our customers and work with our suppliers to tackle key sustainability issues together.

To track the progress of our contributions to the SDGs, we have mapped the relevant GRI indicators to each SDG.