Stakeholder engagement

To share the strength, we engage and collaborate across cultures and around the globe, because progress is built on the learnings of others. We are stronger when we work together, sharing our knowledge and making new experiences out of new and old ideas.

As we have reached a level of maturity in our responsible stewardship, we are engaging with key stakeholders to align our sustainability strategy and approach with theirs. We have built strong relationships and improved our understanding of the externalities and trends that could affect us in the future by engaging with our stakeholders, conducting Life Cycle Assessments of our products, and sharing information with peers.

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 is important for our success and we are shaping our strategy based on what is material to them.

  • Customers

    How we engageExamples in FY2018

    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 by engaging with customers about key sustainability issues and aligning our sustainability agenda with theirs.

    Our Global Engagement Managers (GEMs) engage with customers regularly through our Key Account Management (KAM) program.

    We perform satisfaction surveys using the Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) methodology, through which we compare our performance with our peers.

    We hold periodic customer dialogue events, through which we align our sustainability strategy with our partners.

  • Employees

    How we engageExamples in FY2018
    Our employees provide us with feedback through biannual surveys. We encourage continuous dialogue between managers and employees and we also provide a hotline through which our people can anonymously report grievances and concerns.

    We conducted our latest Team Vibes survey in September 2017, achieving a 98% response rate. The results show significantly increased engagement scores over FY2016 across the parameters of leadership, and manager and team effectiveness. Areas that require focus in the coming years to drive continuous improvement include recognition and communication between departments.

    We carried out our second One Voice employee survey in April 2017, covering 100% of employees.

    As of FY2018, all our employees have safe access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

  • Suppliers

    How we engageExamples in FY2018
    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.

    Our Code of Ethics includes contractual terms and conditions that we expect every supplier to sign up to.

    We review our global feedstock suppliers and encourage our suppliers to audit our own operations. In FY2018, we worked on a new supplier due diligence system.

  • Aditya Birla Group

    How we engageExamples in FY2018
    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, during 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 and Group-wide working groups such as the ABG Water Working Group, which we lead, and the ABG Waste Working Group.

  • Communities

    How we engageExamples in FY2018
    Our approach to building community relationships is led locally to ensure the best understanding of social and cultural priorities. We focus on delivering long-term socioeconomic benefits through our engagement with communities, namely 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 FY2018

    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 and participation in events where we share knowledge with our peers.

    Through the Aditya Birla Group, we have engaged with Forum for the Future with current work focused on defining how we future-proof our business.

    We participate in the Sustainability 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).

    Many of our facilities are involved in local chemical industry associations. For example, in Brazil we participate in several Brazilian Chemical Industry Association (ABIQUIM) committees covering topics such as health and safety, sustainability, emergency response and the environment.

    Our Corporate Risk Manager participates in the Risk Management Society (RIMS) Atlanta Chapter in the USA and their annual conference, which provides education and engagement opportunities for risk professionals.

    Our Corporate Health and Safety Managers participate in the American Society of Safety Engineers, the largest professional safety society in the world. In FY2018, we presented at the Region IV Professional Development Conference where we shared our experience around safety perception surveys. We also presented at the GDS Health, Safety and Environmental Summit.

Engaging employees on sustainability

In May 2018, we carried out our first survey of employees to understand how they perceive sustainability and their level of awareness of sustainability issues, in order to inform our future activities.

Around a third of colleagues globally took part in sharing their views on sustainability, with 60% of respondents being based in our production facilities – demonstrating the widespread commitment to supporting sustainability.

The results showed that, of those who completed the survey:

  • 98% agree that it is important to think in terms of sustainability;
  • 97% consider that they have a general understanding of sustainability;
  • 84% of respondents perceive Birla Carbon as a leader in terms of sustainability; and
  • 84% read the sustainability report at least selectively.

Using the insights gained through the survey, we are now in the process of preparing an e-learning module that builds understanding of our key sustainability issues among all our employees.

  • Employee Engagement