Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a major issue for Arkema and its stakeholders. Combined with financial performance, it allows us to define the Group’s sustainability model. The Group remains committed to its founding principle of acting in an exemplary manner. It defines its policy to maximize its contribution to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and adopted ambitious new programs and targets in 2019. We hear from Virginie Delcroix, Vice President, Sustainable Development.
BIG BUSINESS HAS AN ESSENTIAL ROLE TO PLAY IN THE TRANSITION OUR SOCIETY MUST ACCOMPLISH.
Virginie Delcroix – Increasingly, our role as a manufacturer is to use our capacity for innovation and value creation to contribute to a more sustainable world. Sustainable development includes social and economic progress for all, particularly to fulfill the essential needs (food, health, mobility, wellbeing) of a growing population, while drastically reducing its impact on the environment and the climate. Business, starting with the big industrial groups, needs to play a major role in energy transition and the adoption of more resource- efficient production methods. This is particularly true in chemicals, which has a direct effect on these problems. With this in mind, we are moving well beyond regulatory requirements and have set our own voluntary targets. This is the purpose of our CSR policy, through three main commitments – to offer sustainable solutions driven by innovation, to be a responsible manufacturer and to cultivate open dialogue and close relations with our stakeholders.
V.D. – Our CSR policy is not fixed; we are constantly adapting it to the expectations of our stakeholders, with whom we are in regular communication. To this end, at the beginning of 2019, Arkema carried out its second “materiality analysis” following the first one in 2016. This took the form of an online survey in seven countries, as well as individual interviews, to question a wide panel of the Group’s internal and external stakeholders – clients, suppliers, partners, investors, employees – on the CSR issues they judge to be most important. This analysis is helping us to focus our actions on priority themes such as climate change, sustainable innovation and safety, and to identify issues of growing importance such as the circular economy and work/life balance for employees.
We have used the findings to shape our CSR policy, set targets and launch programs. On the topic of the circular economy, the Virtucycle® project was defined in 2019 to organize the recycling of our specialty polymers, alongside the MMAtwo project to recycle PMMAs (ed: see p. 44-45). More generally, in 2019 we made significant progress with our Portfolio Sustainability Assessment (ed: see inset opposite). This is a systematic assessment of how our solutions contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which Arkema has been working towards for the past four years.