2014-04-14 - ABB has launched its annual Group Sustainability Performance Report highlighting the business relevance of sustainability values and considerations in different parts of the value chain, and demonstrating how they contribute to business success.
In his foreword, CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer says: “Nowadays, sustainability for ABB covers our efforts to build a clean, safe, secure and respectful environment through our products and services and the way we behave in all areas of business. Our company slogan is “Power and productivity for a better world” and we believe that what we manufacture for our customers and how we act can and do make a significant contribution to a better, more sustainable world.”
The report - called “Taking a longer-term perspective” - covers a wide range of issues, and follows the roll-out of Group-wide Sustainability Objectives 2014-2020 at the end of last year.
The report focuses on four core areas: ABB products and services, responsible operations and relationships, and “right resources” which covers both the need to abide by national and international regulations on materials compliance, as well as the company’s own efforts to cut down on the use of natural resources and reduce waste and the use of hazardous substances.
Broad range of business issues In line with the company’s sustainability objectives, the report takes a broad sweep across some of the key sustainability-related issues affecting ABB’s business success and license to operate. These include: the resource and energy efficiency of ABB’s products, systems and solutions, and how sustainability considerations permeate all parts of the value chain – from research and development, materials compliance and sourcing through to efforts to reduce energy and water use and waste disposal.
The report also covers a number of other areas in detail, such as risk management, governance, integrity, the efforts under way to attract, develop and retain the right people in the company, as well as focusing on health and safety performance, efforts to strengthen security, how we manage potential human rights issues, and how ABB contributes to the welfare of communities.
Case studies All sections have links to case studies which demonstrate the business and stakeholder benefits of a particular activity. For example, the report highlights the successful efforts to decrease the emission of hazardous substances such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the Transformers Business Unit; or the 14 percent reduction in the use of water since 2011 in facilities that adopted the ABB water analysis tool. There are also stories how ABB has helped suppliers to streamline and strengthen working practices and improve productivity by working with ABB.
As part of the process to develop sustainability objectives for 2014-2020, ABB has been involved in wide-ranging consultations with internal and external stakeholders to look at issues such as how ABB should position itself on sustainability issues, their relevance to the business, and areas of improvement, in particular on how ABB reports on its performance.
Highlighting materiality “For the first time, we go into detail about the materiality of all these issues to our business performance, which marks another step forward,” said Adam Roscoe, head of Sustainability Affairs. “It is what a number of our stakeholders, such as ratings agencies, business partners and certain investors want to see.”
“ABB clearly needs to improve in health and safety but we are making steady progress in many other areas which are embedded in the business. Above all, sustainability is no longer regarded as separate from the business. It is part of what we offer, how we manage risks and create opportunities, and how we work with our many different stakeholders.”
As every year, ABB reports according to the Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines, the internationally-recognized standard for sustainability reporting. Credibility is further enhanced by the assurance provided by an external company, Det Norske Veritas, which examined the environmental and social data in the report.
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