ABB’s Sustainability Report: Committed to a better world

2015-03-19 - ABB has launched its 2014 Sustainability Performance Report which highlights how sustainability principles have been integrated into the Group’s Next Level corporate strategy, and the progress on implementing the company-wide sustainability objectives to accelerate sustainable value creation.

In his foreword to the 2014 report, CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer says: “In the Next Level strategy, we took into account our Sustainability Strategy, endorsed by our Executive Committee at the end of 2013, and see sustainability as an integral part of our overall strategy.”

“Embedding sustainability considerations into our daily business helps us in different ways to create value and to manage risk. In terms of value creation, our ability to innovate and manufacture energy-efficient products has a significant impact on what we can offer customers and on our success. Good risk management strengthens business performance and resilience.”

The report incorporates external stakeholders’ feedback about the key sustainability issues relevant to ABB’s business success. They clearly point to the company’s portfolio of energy-efficient products, systems and services as the most important contribution to a sustainable world.

Key figures
Highlights from 2014 include:
• 51 percent of ABB’s revenues are derived from the company’s energy efficiency and renewable energy portfolio
• 489,000 online job applications were received, underscoring the company’s standing as an employer of choice
• ABB saved 5.2 million cubic meters of water through re-use and recycling
• 79 percent of ABB’s waste was recycled
• ABB donated about $9 million for community projects, while employees volunteered 3,600 person-hours for corporate responsibility work
• ABB won a total of 28 corporate citizenship awards

Nine Group objectives
ABB’s vision is “Power and Productivity for a better world” and the sustainability objectives highlight how ABB does and can contribute to a more sustainable world - through the positive impact of what it produces and how it behaves in society.

The report focuses on ABB’s nine sustainability objectives for 2014-2020, looking back at progress made in 2014, and looking forward to the areas of focus in the years to come. One of the major work areas in 2014 was the development of a series of targets and key performance indicators to underpin the objectives.

The key objective covers ABB’s ambition of being a world leading supplier of innovative, safe and resource-efficient products, systems and services that help customers increase productivity while lowering environmental impact. A target has been set to increase revenue from the energy-efficient portfolio by 20 percent from 2014 to 2020.

In addition, ABB has committed to reducing energy intensity by 20 percent per dollar of revenues in its own operations. Supporting this objective, more than 200 energy efficiency projects were under way at ABB facilities during 2014, as well as a Europe-wide program to assess systematically and reduce energy consumption in ABB’s real estate portfolio.

A set of quantitative targets for other aspects of environmental performance has also been produced. These include cutting water consumption by 25 percent in water scarce/stressed areas, and reducing waste sent for final disposal by 20 percent.

One of the other objectives – to become a best-in-class health and safety performer by 2020 – is more internally focused but has a clear impact on ABB’s relationship with customers. ABB has chosen to use lead rather than lag indicators to measure progress towards a genuine culture change in the company. Therefore targets have been set on issues such as hazard reporting and safety observation tours, as well as providing statistical evidence on incidents.

The company’s safety focus was reinforced with its first global Safety Week, which featured 2,500 training sessions with more than 140,000 participants in more than 40 countries. A CEO Safety Award was also inaugurated to recognize excellence in safety initiatives and to encourage sharing of best practices.

Other key areas, detailed in the report, cover resource efficiency, integrity, responsible sourcing, as well as ABB’s role as an employer and in society. The section on society describes how ABB engages its different stakeholders, attracts and develops employees, and creates value. A dashboard provides an overview of the progress being made, and there are detailed chapters on each objective.

“For the first time we have a comprehensive set of Group-wide sustainability objectives, covering our value chain, driven by our business and functions, and backed by individual targets and KPIs,” said Adam Roscoe, head of ABB Group Sustainability Affairs. “The fact that the objectives are embedded in our daily business activities increases understanding of what sustainability values and considerations are, and how they drive business value.”

Reporting and assurance
Given growing external interest in sustainability issues, ABB has also strengthened its assurance process. ABB’s external assurance providers, DNV GL, has taken a broader look at ABB’s reporting, performance and sites than in previous years. Their assurance statement appears towards the end of the report.

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