A responsible Group

Anchoring our corporate social responsibility

 
Anchoring our corporate social responsibility
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As a matter of course...

John Cockerill’s longevity speaks for its ability to adapt to its ever-changing environment. Today, it is no longer enough to be professional and profitable, one must also be responsible and take care of the consequences of one’s actions. Better still, companies must create value, not only for their shareholders, but for all their stakeholders: for their customers, of course, but also for their staff, suppliers and partners, communities and the planet.

Since 1817, generations of engineers have succeeded one another at John Cockerill. They all have always sought to innovate in order to support the economic development and prosperity of their time: its steam locomotives promoted the development of transport in Europe, its cannons protected the new country of Belgium, its blast furnaces produced the steel necessary for the construction of new infrastructures, and its ships have caused European know-how to be recognized throughout the world.

In the 60s, John Cockerill made use of this same steam to reduce the energy consumption of gas-fired power stations, positioning itself as a leader in the field of energy efficiency. More recently, and still acting as a pioneer, John Cockerill has developed the equipment to generate continuous solar power. Today, John Cockerill is also a recognized contributor to renewable energies: the maintenance of wind farms, biomass preparation equipment, energy storage and, most recently, pioneering work on the setting up of a production chain for green hydrogen as a substitute for fossil fuels.
Alongside its activities in the energy sector, John Cockerill has developed solutions for reducing the environmental footprint of process industries, for preserving natural resources (water, air, rare metals), for protecting people and infrastructures against threats and for making a contribution to greener mobility through infrastructure linked to rail, urban and river transport.

This evolution of our portfolio of activities goes hand in hand with the awareness of our social ambition, which we have embodied in a reformulation of our Mission Statement. At the same time, we have also questioned our responsibility: are we investing enough in the improvement of our own operating methods and our governance? Are our current initiatives sufficient to reduce the impact of our activity, be it environmental, social or related to governance?

On this basis, the Board of Directors of John Cockerill has decided to further measure its social and environmental contribution and to improve its impact through a structured and proactive approach.

Evolution of the corporate social responsibility of John Cockerill

Following the privatization of the Group in 2002, initiatives have been taken to integrate social and environmental concerns into its governance.

2002

First ISO 14001 certification for activities in Belgium.
Set up of a European Works Council.
Integration of two representatives of the world of work into the Board of Directors.

2004

Set up a profit-sharing plan for Belgian employees.

2011

First internal declaration of intent with a charter for “sustainable industrial progress”

2013

Set up of an Ethics Committee chaired by a member of the Board of Directors.

2014

Implementation of a staff engagement survey.

2016

Signing of the “Belgian SGD Charter” under the impetus of the Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation.

2017

The Group’s bicentenary created a number of benefits for local communities, particularly in terms of heritage enhancement.
Creation of the John Cockerill Foundation.
Implementation of a Corporate Social Responsibility plan in the Indian entity, John Cockerill India.

2018

Creating awareness in the top management of the Group with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals.

2019

CMI becomes John Cockerill, and redefines its mission: the 5 answers to the needs of our time reflect the Group’s social ambition.
Internally, awareness-raising actions to reduce our carbon footprint.

2020

The Board of Directors gives the mandate to strengthen the approach to social and environmental responsibility and sets the objective of providing a first non-financial report at the end of the 2021 fiscal year.

The social ambition of John Cockerill

John Cockerill nurtures the ambition to provide answers to the main challenges of our time. Our added value is mainly technical: we adapt technologies in order to turn them into large-scale, concrete, and sustainable solutions, with the ambition of making their benefits accessible to as many people as possible. In doing so, we want to generate sustainable progress that will benefit all of our stakeholders. As responsible and committed entrepreneurs, we also want to reduce the negative impact that our activity could generate. Finally, our impact is largely based on our innovative strength, which we seek to leverage whenever possible. Acting as a real enabler of opportunities, we build partnerships (in particular with research centers, academia, and other industrial companies) in order to develop complementarities, and to thereby accelerate and strengthen our social impact.

Meeting the needs of our times

The value that John Cockerill brings to its customers is concentrated in five main areas, strongly aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Facilitating access to renewable energy

Developing affordable alternatives to fossil fuel generation by offering our customers solutions for the production, storage, and distribution of energy from the sun, water, biomass, or wind. Thereby contributing to decarbonizing the planet.

Preserving natural resources

Developing solutions to provide access to drinking water, to clean and purify water and air, and, more generally, to reduce the consumption of natural resources. Helping our customers to reduce their consumption of natural resources, and to recycle and re-use them.

Producing sustainably

Targeting the overall performance of production capacities and infrastructures by reducing resource and energy consumption, limiting and treating waste, recovering lost heat, etc. Improving the efficiency of these facilities throughout their life cycle. Developing innovative and sustainable production processes in order to produce without destruction. Reducing the environmental footprint of communities.

Contributing to greener mobility

Developing rail infrastructure and equipment, contributing to the development of a green hydrogen production sector to replace fossil fuels, facilitating transport by ensuring the maintenance of waterways and engineering structures. And thereby offer more sustainable mobility and transport solutions to citizens, cities, companies, and public authorities.

Fighting against insecurity

Helping states to protect their citizens against threats and to maintain key balances within alliances. Helping operators of sensitive sites to secure their facilities.

Through these 5 types of responses, John Cockerill intends to bring value to its customers and, indirectly, to all the beneficiaries of the solutions implemented.

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Taking care of our Talents

We want to offer diversified careers to our talents in order to maintain their motivation and meet their aspirations. Our talent management policies reflect this ambition.

We also seek to nurture the search for meaning in the work of our employees through constant innovation of our processes and by increasing the added value of the solutions we offer our customers. It is important to us that everyone can measure their contribution to the objectives of the company.

The recognition of everyone’s commitment is another goal, in particular through fair remuneration and compensation, and a desire to share the results of collective efforts with employees. Beyond the financial aspect, we also want to highlight individual and collective successes, and to provide our experts with the external recognition they greatly deserve.

We also want to make John Cockerill a “great place to work” by facilitating work-life balance, giving autonomy and flexibility, providing our employees with user-friendly facilities, and offering them the opportunity to get involved in causes in line with the Group’s values.

Finally, offering quality jobs requires an obsession with health and safety at work and strict compliance with the various laws. Everyone is called upon to adopt ethical and responsible behavior.

These principles are the basis of a quality social dialog and should make John Cockerill an employer of choice in the various regions where it is present.

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Supporting the local development of the communities in which we are established

John Cockerill wants to act as a citizen and to contribute to the development of the communities in which it deploys its activities. In regular contact with local stakeholders, John Cockerill seeks to play an active role in their development by establishing partnerships or by welcoming initiatives from socio-economic associations, academic bodies, research centers or professional associations. We listen attentively to initiatives in education, heritage preservation and the promotion of culture and sport.

Solidarity and humanitarian actions are also supported by the John Cockerill Foundation, or by its equivalent within our Indian subsidiary. We seek to place our skills and expertise, our networks and our infrastructures at the service of these initiatives, in line with the sustainable development objectives of the United Nations.

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Reducing our own environmental footprint

It would be incoherent, indeed inconceivable, not to apply to ourselves the principles that underpin our societal contribution through our five responses to the needs of our time.

John Cockerill therefore intends to pursue a continuous process of reducing its own environmental footprint. ISO 14001 certification, sustainable development audits, carbon balance assessments of sites and products, digitization, remote means of collaboration, staff awareness, and so on are part of the panoply of actions to be pursued in this area.

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Self-renewal to guarantee sustainability

For more than 200 years, John Cockerill has sought to constantly renew itself in order to generate the resources necessary for its long-term development.

From this perspective, John Cockerill is committed to constantly adjusting its governance and management. A strategic master plan, operational excellence, an agile organization, and the dynamic of continuous improvement must be part of the daily life of the teams. And this also applies to corrective improvement plans when, despite everything, we deviate from the target.

The resources made available are largely invested in invested in innovation, either alone or through partnerships, to develop new technological solutions, new business or financing models, and to thereby anticipate future needs

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CSR at John Cockerill: a review

Combining the economic success and the social contribution of a company is a long-term operation that requires changes in practices, systems, governance and culture. John Cockerill is not starting from scratch in this area, although it is aware of how far it still has to go.

Combining the economic success and the social contribution of a company is a long-term operation that requires changes in practices, systems, governance and culture. John Cockerill is not starting from scratch in this area, although it is aware of how far it still has to go.

Because a solid approach begins with a baseline, the second half of 2020 was devoted to taking stock of the Group’s CSR (corporate social responsibility) situation.

Several actions have been launched: an inventory of the initiatives carried out within the Group, an inventory of available policies and indicators, an inventory of requests from our customers or partners, a review of actions in terms of philanthropy, etc.

Benchmarks were also carried out with model companies, in order to understand the way forward and to inspire our roadmap in terms of sustainability. In the same spirit, we took advice from academic specialists. Finally, we submitted our approach to an initial evaluation based on the Ecovadis survey. This evaluation is an objective benchmark to measure our future progress.

Based on this, the Board of Directors has made a commitment to set the ambition of John Cockerill in terms of social contribution, and to set up non-financial reporting, which will be released for the first time in the spring of 2022, based on the 2021 performance. Reducing our CO2 footprint and increasing our contribution to the fight against climate change will be the priorities. This also means complementing our internal management and reporting systems, and investing more in measuring the impact of each solution deployed for our customers.

On this basis, we will be able to demonstrate John Cockerill’s commitment to sustainability more widely, and to involve all of our employees and partners in our efforts, through increased awareness.

Next chapter

Providing answers to the needs of our time

5 priority areas

Anchoring our corporate social responsibility