Working on behalf of people and the environment
Autoneum views its commitment and its efforts to treat the environment, people and society responsibly as part of its long-term obligation to future generations. As part of its Advance Sustainability Strategy 2025, a number of projects and measures were implemented again in 2022 in order to meet the comprehensive Group-wide environmental, social and ethical goals. In 2022, Autoneum joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), setting ambitious, science-based goals to reduce CO2 emissions in the short term.
Eco-efficient production processes
Autoneum works continuously to improve its environmental performance by using less energy and water in its production processes and reducing and recycling any waste materials resulting from these processes. In order to improve the Company’s environmental performance, Autoneum has also undertaken to reduce its Scope 3 emissions from goods and services purchased from suppliers by 20% compared with 2019 by 2027. In 2022, the Company contributed to environmentally-friendly production with 214 eco-efficient projects at 37 locations and introduced further energy efficiency measures and recycling methods for raw goods and materials used in the production process at several locations. In addition, solar panels have been installed at five Chinese plants, which the plants will use in the future to generate electricity from a renewable energy source. In order to improve the Company’s environmental performance with respect to energy management, the certification process has been continued and 30 additional Autoneum plants have been certified in accordance with ISO 50001. As a result, the vast majority of locations are now certified in accordance with ISO 50001. In 2022, Autoneum launched innovative environmentally-friendly carpet systems made entirely of polyester that have a high proportion of recycled materials. The production of these new mono-material needlepunch and tufted carpets requires substantially less energy and absolutely no water, which increases their sustainability level.
Occupational health and safety
Autoneum posted another decline in the number of accidents in 2022, with the accident rate falling sharply, down by 26.5%. In order to ensure the health and safety of employees at all of the Company’s locations, regular training sessions, improvement projects and ergonomic studies were conducted at all plants again in 2022. Particular emphasis was placed on preventive measures to avoid injuries. To this end, quarterly security campaigns addressing 90% of the causes of accidents during the previous year were carried out. The security campaigns provided employees with important information about safe conduct in the workplace. In addition with, project team members were provided with training regarding the implementation of health and safety requirements when starting new customer projects. In 2022, one more plant received the ISO 45001 certificate, the leading international standard for occupational health and safety. Thus, a total of 32 Autoneum plants are ISO 45001 certified.
Employees are Autoneum’s most important resource. An engaged, motivated and culturally diverse workforce is the key to the Company’s long-term business success. Autoneum continued its activities to promote employee engagement and development in 2022. The key areas that affect employee engagement at Autoneum decisively, which were determined on the basis of a global employee survey, are feedback, recognition and development. Workshops were held around the world to train management teams to manage employees on the basis of the Company’s global competency model and to promote engagement through increased feedback and recognition. Training on basic management and communication skills was provided as part of the annual global process to measure performance (performance management). Autoneum offers employees various development opportunities. For example, a new offering of online training sessions in the areas of management, communication, project management, teamwork and collaboration was launched.
Autoneum aims to act in an exemplary and ethical manner both within the Company and in all business relations. The value basis for all actions is the Code of Conduct, which is binding for all employees and whose implementation is managed through a comprehensive Compliance Management System (CMS) and the guidelines, processes and objectives defined within it. The global Compliance Risk Assessment is used to evaluate the development status of the CMS on a continuous basis and to identify potential for improvement. As in the previous year, in 2022 managers were once again made aware of their role as models and the need for appropriate conduct when interacting with employees (“tone at the top”). With regular training for all staff on the Code of Conduct and on topics such as conflicts of interest, sexual harassment in the workplace, competition law, data protection and cybercrime, preventive action was taken again in 2022 to ensure that Autoneum employees do not put themselves or the Company at risk as a result of inappropriate conduct. In 2022, special focus was placed on the duty of care in the supply chain, and on handling conflicts of interest. Internal rules and conduct were strengthened in both areas.
With more than 50 locations in 24 countries, collaborative relationships with local communities are of great importance for Autoneum. With 91 social and environmental projects in 2022, the Company once again helped to make the public aware of sustainability issues and targets and develop long-term relationships with local stakeholders. For example, Autoneum employees in Chennai, India, planted trees near their work location, and in China 25 employees in Yantai cleared trash on a 10-kilometer stretch of beach near the plant, before disposing of the waste properly. Employees at the two Autoneum production facilities in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, collected food for a local nursing home last year. In addition to a number of food donations, the residents also enjoyed an afternoon story hour. Thanks to the efforts of the factory in Behror (Rajasthan), India, students at the local government school received hygienic sanitary facilities and access to running water. Autoneum also helped to renovate the school’s roof, floor and kitchen. Employees at the Gundernhausen location in Germany organized a donation campaign for those affected by flash floods that devastated villages in the Ahr Valley. In the South African city of Rosslyn, Autoneum employees helped a local children’s home by collecting several boxes of useful everyday items, such as baby food, clothing and children’s toys. The donations by employees were doubled at the end of the collection campaign by plant management.
Corporate Responsibility OrganizatioN
The Advance Sustainability Strategy 2025 is an integrative part of Autoneum’s corporate strategy. It defines the Company’s long-term vision in four dimensions of Corporate Responsibility: sustainable products and production processes, responsible supply chain management, good corporate citizenship and fair & attractive workplace. Each dimension contains a set of strategic goals that are supported by operational targets. The Corporate Responsibility Organization is responsible for the operational implementation of the Advance Sustainability Strategy 2025. This includes ensuring achievement of targets by anticipating early actions and monitoring progress. Implementation is carried out systematically in collaboration with corporate functions at the global and regional level. Members of the functional areas Research & Technology; Strategy; Production; Purchasing; Environment, Health & Safety (EHS); Human Resources and Legal & Compliance are represented in the Corporate Responsibility Organization.
The Code of Conduct assigns personal co-responsibility for environmental, social and ethical issues to all employees. The Corporate Communications and Investor Relations departments ensure communication of the Corporate Responsibility strategy to internal and external target groups.
The activities of the Corporate Responsibility Organization are managed by the Corporate Responsibility Steering Committee. This committee is composed of members of the Group Executive Board and meets four times a year under the chairmanship of the CEO. The committee monitors implementation of the Advance Sustainability Strategy 2025, continuously reviews potential risks in the area of Corporate Responsibility and defines important measures.
The Board of Directors has been involved in voting and decision-making (see illustration on the right). The various sustainability topics are prepared in the committees together with the management. In the future, the Strategy and Sustainability Committee will support and accompany the Board of Directors in all sustainability topics that concern the planet. These include sustainable processes, products, technologies, supply chain management, environmental risks and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Risks and issues related to conflict materials and child labor are addressed in the Audit Committee (AC). All topics relating to people, human rights and employee development are referred to the Nomination Committee (NC) and the Compensation Committee (CC). The committees meet at least twice a year. The full Board of Directors decides once a year on the results and proposals of the committees in relation to the Advance Sustainability Strategy 2025.