Stakeholder Engagement

We must consider and take necessary action to meet the needs and expectations of our stakeholders. By understanding the sustainability issues that are of greatest concern to them, we can make sure that we focus on the issues that will be most important to the future of our Business, and our long-term sustainable growth, through the management of our sustainability programme.

To achieve this, we maintain a culture of open communication with our internal and external stakeholders, regularly holding face to face meetings, hosting webinars and training sessions, attending events and seeking feedback. Throughout the year, we engaged in direct communication with the following stakeholder groups:

  • Customers & Consumers
  • Investors
  • Suppliers
  • Employees
  • Community
  • Non-Government Organisations
  • Governance & Regulatory

Further information on our approach to stakeholder engagement can be found in the Sustainability Report.

Partial reporting

We ensure our policies are consistent with the spirit and intent of ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at work, where applicable to business. Our Group Policy on Trade Union Membership states that Croda International Plc recognises that all its employees have the right to freedom of association. The Company will not interfere in the legitimate activities of Trades Unions at Croda sites.

The Company recognises that every employee has the right to join or remain a member of a Trade Union if they wish to do so. Equally the Company recognises that every employee has the right not to join or to leave a Trade Union if they wish to do so. The Company will not seek to persuade any employee, potential or otherwise, to join or leave any Trade Union or other workers’ association.

Collective bargaining agreements are managed individually at each manufacturing site between the site and the corresponding unions.  As such, the Company does not hold a central record of how many employees are covered by such agreements.

Key stakeholder engagement areas are:

  • working closely with our customers to meet their current and future needs;
  • close interaction with suppliers to deliver high performance sustainable products
  • regular engagement with our employees on performance, policies and issues relating to meeting personal and business needs

  • engagement with neighbours close to all of our operations and open discussion regarding safety with those who live- around our manufacturing sites
  • ensuring that our investors are satisfied not only with our short term performance, but also our long term sustainability strategy; and
  • a proactive approach to working with many external organisations, both within and outside our industry, to contribute and aid our understanding of the issues affecting the sustainability of our business.

Further information on who we have engaged with throughout the year can be found in the Sustainability Report.

In 2014, we conducted an external stakeholder survey with our employees, customers, suppliers and local communities, which focused on the issues addressed our sustainability programme and a supplementary internal survey took place in 2015. The outcome of the survey was used to determine the relevance and robustness of our Material Areas and informed our updated Materiality Matrix. Please see GRI General Disclosure 102-44 for more information.

Additional stakeholder engagement activities this year included:

  • Customers and consumers: We held 33,986 meetings with our customers
  • Suppliers: We held over 2000 face-to-face meetings with raw material suppliers
  • Local communities: Our employees recorded 5,073 hours supporting the wider societies we are a part of through our 1% club in 2017
  • Employees: We held face to face employee cascades across our operations throughout the year, with many locations meeting at least twice a year
  • Non-government organisations: We continue to work closely with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, sitting on the RSPO Claims & Communications Standing Committee and frequently presenting at RSPO meetings
  • Governments and regulatory bodies: We are active members of over 190 national and international industry associations. A full list of associations which Croda is a member of can be found in GRI General Disclosure GRI 102-13.

Further information on our engagement activities throughout the year can be found on page 30 of the 2017 Sustainability Report.

Our Materiality was established in 2011 and then revised in 2012 following our first external sustainability survey. In 2014, we conducted another external stakeholder survey with our employees, customers, suppliers and local communities to determine the relevance and robustness of our Material Areas and inform our Priority Matrix. We supplemented these findings with another internal survey in 2015.

Some key highlights for our surveys include:

  • Quality and safety are the most important themes to all stakeholders
  • 100% of customers believe we are very transparent/transparent in communicating our sustainability programme
  • 100% of customers and 67.7% of suppliers consider our sustainability programme to be a very important/ important     reason to engage with us
  • Process safety and employee safety are the priorities for the local communities in which we operate
  • 57.3% of employees say our sustainability programme is a very important/important reason for working for us

The surveys allow us to gain a greater understanding of our customers’ sustainability priorities, and the results confirmed that our approaches and focus areas are largely aligned. However, the survey did highlight some key areas for development, which have been actioned accordingly.

This demonstrates that by asking and listening to our stakeholders, we can ensure that we are focusing on the topics of most interest and importance to them.

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