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Governance

Our success depends on the strong, effective and responsive management of all our global operations. We are developing our organization to place a stronger focus on global functionality. While we continue to support efficient decision-making that is responsive to local needs we are also promoting more effective communication between global functional leaders.

Our new organization structure will help share and implement best practices and take us to the next level of Sustainable Operational Excellence throughout Birla Carbon.

How is our governance organized?

Birla Carbon restructured our governance system in 2020 to increase focus on customers, markets, and operational excellence while driving our culture of innovation. Consistent with our Purpose, to Share the Strength, these changes will build on our spirit of collaboration to drive global consistency and rapid adoption of best practices across all aspects of our business.

Birla Carbon transitioned to a global functional organization from one which previously operated in five global geographic regions having responsibility for all business operations. The legal entities that comprise Birla Carbon are governed by a Board of Directors, led by our Senior Management Team (SMT). The SMT is made up of Dr. Santrupt B. Misra, Chief Executive Officer; John Loudermilk, Chief Operating Officer; and eight Chief Functional Officers (Sales & Marketing, Asia Manufacturing, Americas, Europe & Africa Manufacturing, Finance, IT, HR, Legal/Sustainability/SH&E, and Research & Development).

The diagram below illustrates how we organize our governance.

  1. Chief Executive Officer Dr. Santrupt Misra
  2. Chief Operating Officer John Loudermilk
    • Regional Presidents
    • Chief Functional Officers
    • Speciality Blacks Business President

Our business committees ensure we uphold world-class standards

  • Sustainability Steering Committee
  • Enterprise Risk Management & Business Continuity Committee
  • IT Steering Committee
  • Internal Audit Committees

Governance structure

The role of the Chief Sustainability Officer is defined by two elements: firstly, communicating the work of the Sustainability Steering Committee to the SMT, and secondly, acting as the guardian of sustainability principles and best practices, and supporting the SMT to adopt them within its business decisions.

Sustainability Steering Committee

Our sustainability strategy is directed by the Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC), which ensures it is aligned with the sustainability vision and approach of our parent company, the Aditya Birla Group.

The SSC is responsible for reporting on its activities, through the annual Sustainability Report, quarterly meetings with the SMT and ad hoc communications with 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 dedicated working groups. Each working group is made up of the Global Sustainability Director, the Sustainability Manager, subject matter experts, employees with relevant expertise and occasional third-party advisors.

These teams identify areas of opportunity for integrating sustainability further into the business, for which action plans can be developed. The groups maintain contact throughout the year, meeting when needed. Their ideas and plans are ultimately presented to and evaluated by the entire SSC, with final approval or rejection of projects lying with the SMT.

Focusing on what matters

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 FY2020, 17 audits were conducted. Thirteen were global audits focused on plant operations, capital projects and production analysis processes. The remaining four were region specific and covered procure-to-pay feedstock, inventory processes and follow-up on management action plans. Results were shared with the SMT, while the Risk Committee is updated twice a year on the implementation progress of related management action plans.

Mitigating sustainable risk – our Enterprise Risk Management and Business Continuity Program

Serving our customers is the number one priority for Birla Carbon. Any event that interrupts our operations and prevents a constant supply of carbon black to our customers is unacceptable to us. Our robust ERM program helps identify and mitigate these risks, ensuring resilience and safeguarding our vision to be the most respected, sustainable and dynamic global carbon black business.

Through our ERM program we oversee and monitor our company’s risk assessment and mitigation. To create a holistic view, not only do we look at risks from the top down, but we also fully engage our regions and individual sites in our efforts.

Ensuring a constant supply for our customers

COVID‑19 caught everyone off guard. However, the culture of business continuity is well established at Birla Carbon, meaning we were already armed with a guide and the mindset needed to quickly develop a recovery plan.

Our structure

Our Enterprise Risk Management Committee (ERMC) consists of Birla Carbon’s leadership team as well as functional heads of ERM. The implementation of risk management measures is overseen by Regional Risk Officers while site-based subject matter experts are responsible for identifying and managing any risks as they arise. We have developed a Corporate Working Group, a cross-functional committee with members from our financial, legal, IT, HR and other business areas, to identify and mitigate risks which relate to their departments.

Alongside these two groups, employees are encouraged to report any risks they identify. This includes reporting any near-miss safety instances, unethical activities or any other risky activities they observe.

Our process – identifying and prioritizing risks

Across our global operations, we have identified over 300 risks. These risks are captured and prioritized through a Risk Register, based on potential financial impacts, probability of occurrence and volatility. Heat maps and dashboards are used to display information in a way that makes it easy to identify the most high-risk situations.

Mitigation of our risks – business continuity

We see our detailed approach to risk mitigation as something that differentiates Birla Carbon from our competitors. We utilize the finest loss-protection engineers to help us identify and minimize risks at our facilities. We use a network of worldwide brokers to identify emerging risks and provide insurance, while assuring we are compliant in the countries where we operate. Our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) program is central to our ERM program, preparing us for issues and providing solutions, protecting our operations and helping prevent unforeseen events.

Over 300 individual site risks have been identified and actively managed through Origami, our risk management information system. We also use this system to manage our Risk Registers, BCPs, reviews, schedules and ownership of risks.

Each of Birla Carbon’s locations has a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan and BCP to ensure it is prepared for interruptions due to natural disasters or disruptions. Our Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) is based on the ISO 22301 standard. The BCMS guides recovery strategies for our most crucial processes and activities to ensure the continuous supply of carbon black to our customers.

Several regions have held intensive BCP workshops during FY2020, using the information gained to standardize business continuity planning processes globally. This includes ensuring a thorough risk identification and assessment process, with each critical business risk accompanied by a comprehensive BCP. Information on material risks identified at the site and regional level is captured on a Risk Register that is maintained at the enterprise level and reviewed during ERMC meetings.

To help site leadership teams respond appropriately during crises, we developed our “In Case of Crisis” application. The app, designed to improve emergency response, provides access to important information such as local numbers, contacts and procedures on users’ smartphones.

BCP statement PDF, 0.08 MB

Hurricane Barry: Our Business Continuity Plan in action

In July 2019, our North Bend, Louisiana facility was impacted by Hurricane Barry, which caused a landslide a few miles from the site. Thankfully, North Bend management not only had a well-vetted, complete BCP, they had also conducted a tabletop exercise, testing the BCP just two months prior. During the exercise, key department heads practiced a scenario in which a hurricane made a direct hit on the plant. This was an excellent opportunity to test the emergency response plan and BCP. Changes were made to both plans based on the exercise, ensuring the site was better prepared for the event.

As a result, our North Bend facility was fully operational and serving our customers within six days of the hurricane, even as neighboring companies were still in the recovery phase.

Keeping employees safe and connecting during COVID‑19

COVID‑19 has posed a series of unprecedented challenges for people and businesses. However, thanks to our BCP for IT, we had already prepared for a scenario in which all our employees would have to work from home. While there were still challenges in transitioning to this new, remote working plan, much of the preparation work had already been done to keep our employees connected even as they continued to work off-site.

IT Steering Committee

Established in FY2018, the IT Steering Committee ensures we leverage the latest innovative technology and provide governance and oversight to make sure our IT strategy and integration is aligned with business and sustainability goals. The IT Steering Committee, which feeds directly into the SMT, is made up of representative leaders from all business functions and the Head of Human Resources.

Committing to online security

As part of Birla Carbon’s commitment to online safety, in FY2019 we initiated a new mandatory training program on information and computer security for all employees. The course represents our information security standards, establishing guidelines to ensure that our day-to-day actions protect the safety and integrity of our IT and intellectual property.

Operational excellence: Building quality mindsets and quality processes

Our sites continuously work towards building operational excellence and world-class manufacturing practices into day-to-day activities through regular external and self-assessments. Tools such as 5S, a lean manufacturing management system for better workplace management, and Kaizen projects by employees and small groups, result in ownership of areas, equipment and processes. This ultimately improves the quality of products and services that we deliver. In FY2020, we increased the focus of our Operational Excellence program in key areas such as Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), Process Efficiency and Quality. While these areas have always been part of our program, we have established new internal metrics for tracking and reporting on performance. We have also created new multi-regional, multi-discipline support teams to help guide the sites we have identified as having the most room for improvement.

Progress towards implementation of best practice is monitored via semi-annual assessments and scorecards detailing the status of each manufacturing facility. Biannual on-site assessments are also conducted to ensure that local management teams fully understand best practice.

Striving for world-class standards in information technology

At Birla Carbon, we strive to leverage world-class IT standards and infrastructure to provide consistent support and advice across our entire global business. This means we can be confident in the information we base our decisions on and that we share with our customers.

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