Trust-based and long term dialogue with our stakeholders are vital to our licence to operate.
As a global company, Elkem’s operations have significant impact on society throughout the value chain. It is important for us that the dialogue with our stakeholders is based on trust and reliability, both ways.
Elkem’s operations have significant impact on society throughout the value chain. First, our own operations have a considerable impact through local employment and tax payments, but also through negative factors such as emissions and traffic noise. Next, our suppliers of raw materials and capital goods have significant social and environmental impact that Elkem strives to keep to high standards. This involves contracting and following up our suppliers on parameters such as human rights, child labour, and health and safety. Finally, Elkem has an impact on society through our products and the properties and benefits they create for our customers and their customers.
Every year we conduct an internal stakeholder survey, where we ask ca. 100 of key management officials about their relationship to their main stakeholders, including who they are, types of contact and the relationship between Elkem and the stakeholder.
These are Elkem’s main stakeholders and types of engagement:
Based on our 2018 Stakeholder survey
Based on the 2018 Stakeholder survey
We seek to be a good neighbour and a valuable community member wherever we operate in the world. Many of Elkem’s plants are cornerstone employers and of great importance to local communities, in terms of tax incomes, jobs and community development. As a long-term partner, we focus on maintaining a good dialogue with neighbours and local communities.
Input from local communities is considered valuable information that helps us improve. Important topics for dialogue with local communities are community development projects, job security, safe operations, emissions and other environmental issues, and traffic generated by the plant. Complaints raised by local communities, and traffic incidents related to our operations are registered and managed in accordance with good practices for incident and deviation management. There are clear expectations that the pant or site manager is responsible for community contact when it comes to environmental, health and safety issues in the area around the plant, on a day-to-day basis and if a specific issue occurs.
Dialogue with local communities is the responsibility of each plant or site manager and is carried out both formally and on an informal day-to-day basis. Typical stakeholder activities at plants are open days, town hall meetings, information through local media, in addition to incident management tools.
Whenever starting up new operations, Elkem conducts due diligence in accordance with our procedures that includes risk assessment for impacts on indigenous people. Where indigenous people are present, Elkem seeks advise from local authorities as well as international and local consultants and NGOs with relevant competence to seek to understand the situation in each country and what issues Elkem must focus on to limit our possible negative impacts on indigenous populations.
Elkem has applied for a permit to extract quarts from a new mine in northern Norway, the Nasafjell quarts mine. The area around Nasafjell is used for reindeer herding by both Norwegian and Swedish families of Sami origin. The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation approved the zoning plan for Nasafjell in February 2016. A consultation process was conducted as part of the permit process and the Ministry made changes to the proposed project to ensure that the impacts on the reindeer herding activities in the area would be as limited as possible. Since the permit was given, Elkem has moved forward with the project.
When Elkem started the operations in Paraguay in 2018, it was after a process of due diligence including risk assessment for impact on indigenous people and local environmental conditions. South America has rich resources of raw material, such as biocarbon, but is also subjected to deforestation in the rainforest areas. It is vital for Elkem’s license to operate and business conduct that we make sure that our raw materials are sourced in a sustainable way. Strict requirements apply to become our supplier. For more information see under supplier dialogue.
A number of Elkem plants have local initiatives and support programmes. There are clear guidelines for what is permitted to avoid corruption. Any financial support shall be given in a fully open and transparent manner according with local legislation. In our internal stakeholder survey for 2018, 81,6 % answered that the plant or unit they worked supported community events and programmes. It is up to the local plant or unit to set goals or evaluate the support to local community programmes.
Examples of events or programmes that Elkem support locally or regionally:
- Local sports clubs, both children and adults
- Scholarships, high school and universities
- School programmes with focus on building technology skills
- Summer school/camps
- Cancer research programme
- Safety training and first aid kits to local organisations
- Poor family support programmes
Elkem sources large amounts of raw materials and capital goods for our operations around the world. Elkem sets high ethical, environmental and social standards that companies must meet to become our suppliers. All new suppliers of raw materials, goods and services are subject to pre-qualification based on corporate requirements within environment, health and safety, social responsibility, anti-corruption and compliance with laws and regulations. A risk assessment is also undertaken. Suppliers that fall into ‘high risk’ categories during the risk assessment are met with specific requirements included in their contracts. Risk-exposed suppliers are subject to detailed requirements from Elkem. Elkem also asks suppliers to influence their sub-contractors and suppliers to follow Elkem’s principles. Elkem is developing database and contract management systems to ensure compliance and governance throughout supplies.
Elkem has developed detailed requirements for the health, safety and environmental standards of all our suppliers of operations like mining, transportation, storage and loading, and is actively involved in the promotion and monitoring of safe and decent working conditions at high-risk suppliers and contractors. This includes health and safety training and providing correct personal protection equipment for suppliers’ employees when necessary. Age control to prevent child labour and ensure responsible working conditions for young employees is also carried out. Elkem requires suppliers and contractors to engage their employees on fair terms, and that they give them information about the ability to organise and collectively bargain with management where this is legally possible.
Elkem’s requirements are regularly discussed in meetings with suppliers. High-risk suppliers must document their understanding of legal requirements and hazards in their operations and present plans showing how risk will be eliminated or controlled while working for Elkem. Elkem performs audits and inspections, both regarding normal visits for sampling and as unannounced site visits. External auditors also conduct supplier audits on Elkem’s behalf.
Violations of Elkem’s requirements are registered, and addressed with verbal or written warnings and requests for improvements. Repeated violations lead to requirements for speedy implementation of improvement plans written by Elkem, financial penalties, or termination of contracts with immediate effect.
Regional and national networks
Suppliers, customers, local and national authorities are important stakeholders for Elkem, because they are vital to secure our licence to operate. Regional and national networks are an important arena for us to meet stakeholders. In our stakeholder survey for 2018, 64,9% answered that their unit is part of local and regional networks, like business networks, research networks, knowledge-sharing networks and innovation networks.
In addition, Elkem is an active member of national and European industry organisations such as Euroalliages, Eurometaux, the European chemical industry council (CEFIC) and industry associations in Norway and France.
Elkem is a signatory to UN Global Compact, and Elkem’s definition of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is based on the ten UN Global Compact principles. We support the Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs) and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Elkem’s silicones division is a member of Responsible Care Global Charter, the chemical industry’s global initiative to drive continuous improvement in environment, health, safety and security performance. This entails a commitment to managing chemicals safely throughout their life cycle.
The group intends to follow the principles of the Norwegian Code of Practice for Corporate Governance, where applicable.
Elkem is committed to complying with international regulatory requirements and provides safety data sheets (SDS) for all its products in accordance with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) or its National implementations.
You can find more information about our expectations to stakeholder dialogue in our Policy for Corporate Social Responsibility.