Social Responsibility: Investing in People and Communities
Sustainability efforts shouldn’t just revolve around carbon emission reduction and how to maintain a profit, but also around people. It's about creating a balance between people, planet and profit.
Introducing Employee Sustainability Programs
Investing in people can be another way of investing in the environment. Equipping employees with knowledge, skills and mindsets around sustainability can empower them to become more actively involved in sustainability in their professional and personal lives. By 2030, we plan to engage and empower over 50,000 employees to take action on sustainability.
Giving people the opportunity to learn about sustainability issues, participate in training and initiatives, and volunteer for environmental causes outside the organization is a way to embed sustainability at the heart of a business.
Strengthening Commitment to Human Rights and Labor Standards
Responsible business commit to running in an ethical and legal manner—including respecting internationally acknowledged human rights. Having a clear definition of the ethical and social values that you want to uphold is important for all stakeholders including employees, customers, suppliers, investors and the communities you operate in.
Adhering to acknowledged human rights and international, and local, labor standards is just the first step. Through agreements and collaboration, OEMs can strengthen commitments by ensuring the same stringent standards are applied across the full supplier base. By applying the same codes and standards throughout (such as on working hours, occupational health and safety, data protection, non-discrimination, fair renumeration, freedom of association and collective bargaining, and zero tolerance of child and forced labor, etc.) we as an industry can push further to create a safe and secure place where people and communities can thrive.
Improving Our Communities
Commitment to people should extend to the wider community and society, not just employees. Businesses can’t function without the support of communities in which they operate, therefore, it is essential that we invest resources to secure the future viability of those communities and our society.
There isn’t one specific way to go about this as every community and its needs are different. At Henkel, we’ve found success in supporting voluntary activities of employees on over 16,800 projects and in more than 100 countries—with many of those volunteers joining forces to implement larger social projects. Companies can also engage in local social partnerships to support initiatives and public institutions in areas such as digitalization, sustainability and innovation, for example.
Though all of these aspects can be applied to any industry, with huge international attention on the automotive sector, it’s important that the businesses within it set high standards and be leaders for other industries.