Collaborating with internal and external stakeholders is intrinsic to Borealis’ ability to create value through innovation and is also evidenced in the Group’s commitment to Responsible Care®.
Regular engagement with a broad range of stakeholders ensures that Borealis can address their concerns and expectations, and better anticipate and respond to business risks and opportunities, thereby supporting the implementation of the Group’s strategy.
Borealis’ business activities involve a diverse and complex range of stakeholders at a global, national and regional level. Mapping and prioritising Borealis’ stakeholders is a continuous and dynamic process. During the year, the Group conducted a comprehensive stakeholder consultation, using both primary and secondary data, to identify matters stakeholders considered material. These matters were then qualified by considering them against a number of criteria: whether the matter related to internal or external factors, had a potential impact on the Group’s bottom line, and was within Borealis’ sphere of influence. Purely financial and operational issues were excluded. The matters identified through this process were those that should form the basis of Borealis’ Sustainability Strategy: product sustainability, plastic waste, Circular Economy and climate change.
Based on its Group-level stakeholder mapping, Borealis has rolled out a stakeholder mapping process and related issue and risk assessment in all of its major locations over the past few years. At the same time, individual departments have carried out stakeholder mapping for specific market segments, such as consumer packaging and mineral fertilizer.
Stakeholder management is done at three levels:
Stakeholder engagement is imperative to Borealis’ business. The aim of engaging with key stakeholders is to drive the best outcome for society, government, the industry and the Group. Borealis recognises that well-designed legislation and regulation can help to tackle issues such as resource efficiency, climate change, waste reduction, improved safety, fair trade and marine littering. Regulators, policy influencers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can all shape regulation and legislation that affect Borealis’ business and its ability to implement its strategy. Borealis therefore needs to understand the policy, regulatory and NGO environment in the EU and ensure that it can contribute its knowledge and insight to discussions about the future of regulation and legislation. In line with the Group’s Ethics Policy, Borealis strictly follows apolitical corporate governance practices in public affairs.
In 2019, the Group reviewed its materiality matrix to ensure it understood the key issues according to its stakeholders.
Borealis has ongoing research and development collaborations with leading universities, regularly participates in symposia, working groups and advisory committees, and supports research studies, such as Circumat (Transfercenter für Kunststofftechnik) or LIT factory (Linz Institute of Technology) at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria.
Borealis has active customer dialogue through numerous channels, including face-to-face meetings, customer visits to Borealis, customer feedback and satisfaction surveys, trade fair activities, customer conferences and product launch events. Most importantly, Borealis partners with selected key customers to jointly develop new products and solutions with sustainability benefits.
Customers are an important part of Borealis’ sustainability approach, as customers have more opportunities for direct contact with end users or society than the Group does, as a raw materials producer. Customers have been very interested in learning about ways to enable the circular economy.
In April 2019, Borealis led a Circular Packaging Industry Event. The event gathered customers, brand owners and other value chain players to discuss the circular economy and find ways to make materials more circular.
In line with its value Respect, Borealis engages with its employees through regular evaluation and feedback from their line manager, within the framework of the Borealis performance management system. Moreover, The Corporate Co-operation Council (CCC) is an important platform for dialogue between management and employee representatives. It is a forum for exchanging information between the works councils at the various Borealis locations, top management and owners. Borealis also has a biennial employee survey, regular town hall meetings, an annual Executive Board tour to all locations, engagement walks by management and many other channels, to ensure continuous feedback and enhance engagement and well-being.
Interactions take place at a European, national and local level and through different channels, such as face-to-face meetings and participation in workshops. The Group also actively supports Government initiatives, such as the development of an EU Plastics Pact.
Borealis is an active member and has leadership positions in numerous national, regional, European and international associations, such as the World Plastics Council, CEFIC, Plastics Europe, Plastics Recyclers Europe and Fertilizers Europe, as well as health, safety and environment (HSE), logistics and industry sector, trade and networking organisations and their affiliated working groups.
This enables Borealis to take part in policy debates, to exchange expertise and experience, and to monitor trends and developments. Memberships also enable Borealis to support industry efforts that will help the Group to implement its sustainability and business strategy. Examples are the Cracker of the Future consortium and the consortium for Collaborative Innovation for Low Carbon Emitting Technologies in the Chemical Industry.
Borealis’ memberships include the following organisations and associations (in alphabetical order; not exhaustive):
Borealis regularly holds Bankers & Investors Days. The Group also actively participates in relevant treasury, funding and investor relations forums and associations.
Borealis maintains an ongoing dialogue with communities in which it has production facilities, through channels best suited to local needs. These include face-to-face meetings with community representatives, regular newsletters and Open Door Days.
Borealis frequently interacts with the media via established channels, including media interviews and events, press releases and the news section of the Borealis website.
Borealis acknowledges the importance of NGOs in increasing awareness of our material topics. For example, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation runs initiatives for making the Circular Economy a reality. In particular, the Foundation’s New Plastics Economy (NPEC) initiative brings together key stakeholders to rethink and redesign the future of plastics, starting with packaging. Borealis provided constructive input to NPEC’s “Reuse – Rethinking Packaging” book, and also pledged a target to increase substantially the quantity of recycled material in its portfolio of solutions.
There are regular Supervisory Board meetings and owners’ controllers meetings, as well as individual face-to-face interactions at executive level, project level (for example, where working on joint projects) or expert level, to exchange experiences or use synergies.
Borealis interacts with the general public through events such as Open Door Days at its plants, and through dialogue with representatives such as consumer associations. The general public has been Borealis’ most vocal stakeholder with regards to their preferences about the plastics industry as a whole, and to polyolefins in respect of topics such as the Circular Economy and plastic waste.
Borealis continuously interacts with suppliers and contractors through the Borealis Supplier Relationship Management programme, as well as regular face-to- face meetings, suppliers' events and annual industry conventions for experience exchange and relationship management. The Group also takes the lead in caring for the sustainability of its suppliers, by actively engaging with them through the Together for Sustainability association, aimed at improving sustainability standards in the chemical industry’s supply chain.
In addition to regular engagement with companies throughout the plastics and fertilizer value chain, including the waste management and plastics recycling industries, Borealis actively participates at petrochemical and chemical industry conferences and events such as the K-Fair in Dusseldorf, the Stockholm World Water Week and GPCA Forum in Abu Dhabi, as well as various HSE conferences such as the EHS Conference in Berlin.
There are regular meetings of the Corporate Co-operation Council, a dialogue platform between employee representatives, works councils and top management, in order to maintain a high level of trust and ensure that employee representatives are well informed and engaged for specific initiatives.