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Continuous dialogue with our stakeholders gives impulses.
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Constructive dialogue with our stakeholders goes beyond the requirements of the materiality analysis and helps ensure timely identification of trends and future challenges and minimizes potential risks. That improves our understanding of how our entrepreneurial action is perceived from various perspectives along the value chain and in society. This dialogue takes place both at operational level – for example, with customers and suppliers – and at Group level through associations and interest groups. The format for our stakeholder dialogue varies depending on topic and target group.
Customers and business partners
We maintain constant contact to our business partners and customers – mainly industrial companies that process our products. Close collaboration between customers and Evonik is one of our strengths. High customer satisfaction and customer retention are important elements in maintaining and expanding our business. To support this, the Marketing & Sales Excellence (MSE) unit bundles Group-wide customer surveys and provides an efficient toolbox for conducting them.
Reliable supply, gaining access to new procurement markets, and ongoing optimization of material costs are key tasks for our procurement function. We are working intensively to extend our strategic relationships with suppliers and to validate new suppliers. In addition, we are involved in purchasing alliances with other companies. The aim is to find further ways of reducing risks and costs. Safety, health, environmental protection, quality and other core aspects of sustainability are firm elements in our procurement strategy. Further, our stakeholders expect steadily rising transparency in the supply chain. Evonik is therefore a founding member of the Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative set up by chemical companies. TfS aims for fostering sustainability in supply chains, global harmonization in the evaluation and auditing of suppliers.
Well trained employees, identifying with the company goals, are key factor in Evonik‘s economic success. We maintain a constant and structured dialogue with our employees. Tools include regular appraisal reviews and our Group-wide employee survey. Alongside personal dialogue, the Chairman of the Executive Board regularly writes to the workforce on the most important events in the company, via the intranet or our employee magazine Folio. In these media, our employees can find up-to-date articles with background information, FAQs, and offers of direct communication with the management. We also organize debates on specific issues such as safety for various employee groups. Round tables and networks are further platforms for discussion within the Group. We provide timely information for our employees on upcoming operational changes.
Owners and lenders
Our owners and lenders, institutional investors, analysts and rating agencies expect timely and extensive information. The Investor Relations division has steadily stepped up dialogue with analysts and investors since Evonik shares were listed for trading in April 2013. The Chairman of the Executive Board and the Chief Financial Officer also take part. Evonik‘s growth strategy, portfolio of specialty chemicals and the latest business trends are presented in many one-on-one sessions, roadshows and field trips. We also get important feedback about our sustainability performance from our talks with sustainability analysts and investors. Alongside financial criteria, more and more investors include ecological, social and governance factors in their investment decisions.
Local residents around our sites play an especially important part in our dialogue with stakeholders. Local residents at all our sites have an elementary interest in experiencing Evonik as a reliable partner and want to be informed about the latest developments. We maintain contact with them, for example, through written communication, invitations to visit our sites and personal discussions.
Industry associations, NGOs and scientific communities
We are an active partner in associations and are in contact with non-governmental organizations. Dialogue and collaboration with the scientific community is of especial significance for Evonik. We cooperate with research institutes, universities and other industrial companies so that the latest findings in chemistry, biology and physics can rapidly be transported into our company. Through strategic partnerships we are linked to leading universities in the USA, China, and Saudi Arabia, and to Singapore‘s state-run research agency (A*STAR). In addition, we regularly organize the Evonik Meets Science forum in Germany, China, Japan and the USA to strengthen collaboration with leading international research scientists. Fostering education and science is a core focus of the Evonik Foundation. Regular meetings with these scholarship students and scientific colloquia give them an early insight into the day-to-day work of a leading specialty chemicals company.
Politics and political decision-makers
The conditions in which we operate are shaped to a large extent by politics and political decision-makers. Here we maintain a constant dialogue with the authorities and ministries and take part in opinion-forming and decision-making processes at regional, national and international level. Our offices in Berlin and Brussels are important for fostering contact.
As a stakeholder, the media builds on trustful cooperation and takes up our offers of dialogue. We encourage this as a basis for open communication and to drive our credibility.