3.3. Stakeholder engagement
Solvay puts its customers at the heart of its strategy and is becoming increasingly customer-centric. Understanding customer needs is key, and we regularly meet with key players in our markets all around the world, for example at Tech Days. Specialists in R&I, and marketing and business experts from all relevant Group’s activities take part in these events, showing our customers the added value and potential they can derive from Solvay as a multi-specialist with a presence along the entire value chain. This approach allows us to develop innovative and competitive solutions precisely tailored to the present and future demands of our customers’ end-users.
In the last five years, Solvay has held about 25 Group Tech Days with leading European, Asian, and American players in such industries as automotive, aeronautics, oil & gas, agro, and coatings. These events have had a significant impact for the group, with more than 2,500 customer representatives giving rise to tangible business opportunities for the group (e.g. through joint development agreements).
Engagement is fostered by regular dialog between Group managers and employees. More specifically, labor relations cover dialog with employee representative bodies at each of four levels: site, country, Europe, and Group.
For more details about the main topics discussed in 2017, please see the “Labor relations” section of this report.
Planet – via Government and NGO
Solvay engages in a constructive dialog with public authorities on issues of legitimate interest to Solvay. This includes participation in many trade associations at global and regional level, such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the International Council of Chemistry Associations (ICCA), BusinessEurope, and European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic).
Solvay engages in dialog with investors about strategy and performance as measured by both financial and extra-financial indicators, and it responds to the questionnaires of global and European extra-financial rating agencies. These face-to-face interactions are a good opportunity to explain its policies, processes, and practices in terms of how they integrate sustainability considerations.
The 2016 Annual Integrated Report was submitted to the GRI Review, and the feedback was used to improve the content and presentation of the report.
Engagement with suppliers is directly managed at the GBU level.
Engagement with local communities is managed at site level. Every site has a local impact, and that impact can be positive (providing work or internships, for example) or negative (annoyances caused by product transportation). This is why developing and steering relationship with local stakeholders is part of the Solvay Way framework. It is key to building trust with the communities in which sites operate.
Solvay Local Advisory Board (LAB): community interaction in Spinetta
Solvay LAB is a listening and discussion program formed with members of the local community in Spinetta Marengo in the province of Alessandria (Italy), where Solvay has a chemical plant. The program consists of regular meetings between a local residents’ group and the Solvay plant managers, facilitated by a professional. The LAB meets every three months to discuss mutual concerns and safety and environmental issues. The site has the unique opportunity to learn first-hand the needs and concerns of the local community. Conversely, the community has a direct channel of communication with site personnel. They can propose topics to discuss, ask questions, and access information directly from the right people.