9.1 Sustainability Strategy
Sustainability – which essentially means future viability – forms an integral part of our business strategy
. We are convinced that we can only be commercially successful in the long run if we balance economic growth with ecological and social responsibility. In this we are guided by longterm values. Our commitment to sustainability is underlined by clear references to the topic in our mission statement “Bayer: Science For A Better Life,” our pledge to the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact, and our participation in the Global Compact’s new “Corporate Sustainability Leadership – lead” initiative launched in 2011 and the chemical industry’s Responsible Care™ initiative.
The clear goal of our sustainability strategy is to create business opportunities for our company and generate economic, ecological and social benefits. We will realize our goal of balancing ecological and social responsibility with corporate interests at four levels:
1. Dialogue and commitment: Bayer takes into account the expectations of all stakeholders. This applies also to our employee relations and discourse between industry, academia and politicians, and takes in our social commitment.
2. Responsible business practices: Bayer attaches great importance to responsible practices in the areas of compliance, human resources, product stewardship, health, safety and supplier management.
3. Integration into business activities: The sustainability strategy is accepted by all areas of the company and integrated into their business activities. Innovations and products that directly contribute to sustainable development make it a core element of our business activity.
4. Relevant sustainability issues: Bayer’s Sustainability Program comprises solutions to major social challenges. It places special importance on alliances for sustainable health care, innovative partnerships to improve the supply of high-quality food, and new solutions for climate and resource protection.
Targets and indicators serve to operationalize our sustainability strategy. We aim to integrate sustainability even more into our business activities along the entire value chain. In 2011 we defined new and ambitious targets for 2015 that also include stricter long-term goals for greenhouse gas reduction.
Responsibility for steering and aligning our Group-wide sustainability strategy lies with the Group Management Board member for Innovation, Technology and Sustainability and a Group Committee chaired by the Head of Environment & Sustainability in the Corporate Center. This committee defines targets and initiatives, resolves on the relevant Group regulations and monitors their implementation.
To sharpen the focus of our safety commitment, the Group Management Board has established the Bayer Safety Council, which addresses the areas of occupational, process, plant and transport safety. The Bayer Safety Council’s activities in 2011 centered on the Group-wide process and plant safety initiative that was launched in 2010 and on the first global Bayer Safety Day. The measures are designed to expedite the development of our safety culture and standards and improve safety technology.
Sustainability is also something we expect from our suppliers. In 2009 we adopted the Bayer Supplier Code of Conduct to make clear to our suppliers what we mean by sustainability. Our choice of suppliers is made through an evaluation using the fundamental sustainability standards and requirements set forth in the code. We select suppliers for this evaluation according to a country-based strategic risk model. In 2011 we evaluated 361 suppliers on the basis of self-assessment questionnaires and, for the first time, reviewed 15 suppliers using external audits. The results are analyzed in detail and documented. In the event of any shortcomings, action plans are developed in conjunction with the suppliers concerned to improve their social and/or environmental standards.
In the context of our sustainability strategy, we set forth our position on water at the end of 2011. We plan to implement a range of specific, continuous improvements in our own operating procedures with a view to protecting water resources, using water more efficiently and setting water reduction targets for sites particularly affected by water shortage or water quality risks. We also aim to develop innovative products and technologies for the market to improve water efficiency and quality in areas such as agriculture. Another element of the program involves support for projects that ensure our employees and the communities near our sites have access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation.
Details of our achievements in the area of sustainability are published in our annual Sustainable Development Report. The data collection process and the statements made throughout the Sustainable Development Report are subjected to an audit review by an independent auditor and checked for consistency, appropriateness and credibility. The latest edition meets the highest standard (Level A+) under the internationally recognized G3 guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The Sustainable Development Report also outlines the measures and management systems we have in place to implement the ten principles of the U.N. Global Compact and our accomplishments in this area.