Our Sustainability Journey: Leveling Up a Corporate Sustainability Program

- Monday, October 28, 2019

The following was published on July 24, 2019 as a LinkedIn blog post by Walter van het Hof, Global Industry Affairs & Sustainability Leader at Trinseo.

Our Sustainability Journey Video Thumbnail

Walter van het Hof

Walter van het HofGlobal Industry Affairs & Sustainability Leader

As I’ve written before, Trinseo has been working to build context around sustainability and further embed sustainable practices into our operations. We took an important step in our journey this week with the launch of our 2019 Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility Report, developed in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards Core Option.

Trinseo reported impressive environmental, health, and safety (EH&S) results for 2018, along with a host of new innovative material solutions to drive sustainability for our customers. But what makes this report even more significant is the substantial progress we’re making toward becoming a more sustainable company.

I’ve reflected on what has gotten us to this point, in hopes it might help other companies on a similar journey:

Core Values

Trinseo is a company with a very strong set of core values that effectively guide our company culture and the decisions we make, both as a leadership team and as employees.

Our core value of Responsible Care®, which makes the health and safety of our employees and communities our highest priorities, is intrinsic to everything we do. Another essential core value in this process has been Accountability & Value Creation, which guides our entrepreneurial spirit, short decision lines, and high engagement at all levels.

For a company considering an increased commitment to sustainability, evaluating how your core values can help in your process is a great first step to take.

Engaged Leadership

People are sometimes surprised at how quickly and efficiently Trinseo got our new sustainability efforts off the ground—I always say it’s because we’ve had a tremendously engaged leadership team that has helped us to make sustainability a priority.

Our first step in this process was embedding sustainability in our governance structure through Trinseo’s Sustainability Council. This is a process that in some companies could have taken years; but at Trinseo, it took roughly four months to put the governance structure in place and get the Council up and running. From there, we quickly launched our GRI stakeholder engagement process and made fast progress on our other priorities, including developing a Climate Change Strategy.

Support from leadership—both the board of directors and the executive leadership team—is an important element of this type of work. The more the better!

Operational Excellence

Embedding meaningful sustainability changes requires an adjustment to approach and operations, which is impossible without expert departmental leaders and employers who can develop and implement the appropriate incremental changes necessary to build toward big-picture goals.

This commitment to operational excellence has allowed us to sustain our positive year-over-year results in our sustainability reporting, while taking significant steps across all of our departments—from human resources to procurement—to build a more sustainable future, all working toward a goal that is intrinsic to what we do.

I hope these insights are helpful for any company interested in growing their sustainability efforts; I look forward to continuing to share our journey.

For more information on our commitment to sustainability, please visit Trinseo.com/Sustainability where you can download the full 2019 Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report.

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