Committed to the environment and society
Being a responsible corporate citizen, Autoneum wants to make its contribution to a sustainable future. Launched in 2018, the Advance Sustainability Strategy 2025 and its defined set of environmental, social and ethical activities and targets is used as the main instrument to achieve this. Notwithstanding the massive impact of the coronavirus pandemic on all Autoneum locations, the Company once again implemented a large number of projects and measures worldwide in 2020 to protect natural resources and to promote social development.
Eco-efficient production processes
As a manufacturing company, Autoneum works continuously to reduce its environmental footprint. In 2020, over 40 eco-efficiency projects at 22 locations helped to reduce the Company’s energy and water consumption and decrease and recycle manufacturing waste. Besides energy efficiency measures such as switching to LED lighting and more efficient compressors, fans and cooling systems, Autoneum is endeavoring to create closed material loops by fully recycling raw and other materials used in production. To this end, the Company further expanded its recycling capacity in 2020 and new facilities for reclaiming scrap from the production of inner dashes and tufted carpets commenced operations in the USA. In Europe, thanks to comprehensive process optimization, heavy layer production waste from various European plants is now recycled into newly manufactured inner dashes at the sites in Gundernhausen, Germany, and Valldoreix, Spain.
Occupational health and safety
Autoneum is committed to promoting the health of its employees and ensuring a safe working environment at all Company locations. In 2020, this undertaking was more important than ever: To protect employees from the coronavirus, all Autoneum plants around the world implemented additional strict health protocols and measures, which in some cases far exceeded local legal requirements. In order to raise awareness of safety-relevant aspects in manufacturing, “Manufacturing Safety Program” workshops were held, largely virtually, at all plants in 2020. At these two-day training sessions, management teams learned different methods to promptly detect and avoid unsafe practices and conditions. In addition, all plant and shift managers as well as EHS managers in Asia undertook specific training on “Safety Leadership”, which focused on building a proactive safety culture. The Company further improved its ergonomics standards in the reporting year. Process engineers and EHS employees from all plants were trained in the application of the ergonomics manual and the applicable software. Finally, 23 plants were certified according to ISO 45 001, the world’s leading standard for occupational health and safety, in 2020. This brought the number of ISO 45 001-compliant Autoneum plants to 29.
Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, Autoneum continued to offer employees a wide range of opportunities for professional and personal development in 2020. For example, 160 managers from all Company regions took part in a virtual workshop series on the topic of “Accountability” in the fall. As part of this innovative event format, employees analyzed and defined the Company’s guiding value and reflected on how they as managers could best exemplify this value on a day-to-day basis. A special focus was placed on the aspect of strengthening team spirit during phases of remote working. The “Valuing the difference” workshop series, which was also developed for managers, addressed the topic of diversity and inclusive management practices, including identifying unconscious bias so as to prevent it from influencing personnel decisions. In addition, selected managers from all locations around the world took part in training sessions on crisis management and communication.
Autoneum strives to observe the highest ethical standards both within the Company as well as in all its business relations. The value basis for all actions is the Code of Conduct, which is binding for all employees. Its implementation is managed through a comprehensive Compliance Management System (CMS) and the guidelines, processes and objectives defined within it. The global compliance risk assessment, which evaluates the development status of the CMS and identifies potential for improvement, was completed as part of this framework in 2020. Other important measures to raise awareness about compliance such as the “Tone at the Top” program were continued in the reporting year as well. As part of this program, managers are made aware of their role model function and appropriate behavior when interacting with employees. Irrespective of position, regular training sessions are held on the Code of Conduct and on topics such as anti-corruption, sexual harassment in the workplace, competition law, data protection and cybercrime. This is to ensure that Autoneum employees do not put themselves or the Company at risk as a result of inappropriate conduct.
With more than 50 production facilities worldwide, Autoneum has a material economic impact on the communities where it is active. The Company maintains close, long-term ties with local stakeholders in order to make the best possible use of this influence in addressing social and environmental challenges. For instance, our colleagues at the US site in Aiken (South Carolina) worked with the Red Cross in 2020 to conduct a blood drive, thus supporting the health care system during the pandemic. In Shanghai, volunteers from Autoneum’s Asian headquarters organized a day full of activities for 60 disabled young people in the run-up to the Chinese Moon Festival. Employees from the headquarters of the Business Group SAMEA in São Paulo and the attached production plant conducted a winter collection campaign again in 2020 to provide homeless people with weatherproof clothing, food and blankets. Finally, Autoneum was involved in a good cause in Hungary as well: Employees from our site in Komárom planted young birch trees in a nearby forest in a step to improve air quality.