Employee engagement for effective sustainability reporting: GPIC’s experience

Employee engagement for effective sustainability reporting: GPIC’s experience

The Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC), in the Kingdom of Bahrain, has proudly issued four Sustainability Reports since 2012. Non-financial reporting ensures that GPIC, a manufacturer of fertilizers and petrochemicals, continues to focus on and improve its environmental, health, safety, economic and social performance. In this short interview, Dr. Abdulrahman Jawahery, GPIC President, explains how sustainability reporting has contributed to the goals and objectives of the organization. ​

GRI: You have recently released your Together we do better - 2018 Sustainability Report, in accordance with the GRI Standards. What are the most relevant material topics to you?
GPIC: As we continue to build our sustainability journey, our focus and strategies related to the GRI Standards become more in depth and more extensive.  In this year’s report, Together we do better, we cover some 24 key material topics that have impact and benefit several areas of sustainability. We are proud that our small company continues to create the highest standards in sustainability for other multi-national and international organizations to follow. Of course, for our complex industry in petrochemicals and fertilizers, the most relevant and pertinent areas remain those intricately linked to health and safety, as well as process and product safety.

GRI: And can you share how you chose these specific material topics?
GPIC: Our focus is and continues to be shaped by our company values and the direction of all of our key stakeholders.  As part of the regular materiality exercises that GPIC conducts, we often carry out structured internal and external stakeholder engagement sessions with, of course, our shareholders, as well as our employees, local communities, government and regulators, suppliers, distributors, media, NGOs, customers, Financial institutions and International and regional organizations. Based on these sessions, we plot a typical ‘heat map’ identifying those key material sustainability topics. 

This type of analysis helps us to understand the relationship, the importance and the impact that identified stakeholders have on our processes and our business as a whole.  Once we have built the bigger picture on these interactions and relationships, GPIC develops the appropriate strategy, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Key Performance Activities (KPAs) to enable us to effectively manage those relationships.  We believe that through building this type of Business Integration Model (BIM) with all of our stakeholders, we can ensure sustainability in everything we do. 

GRI: You’ve been engaging in sustainability reporting since 2012. How has your practice evolved?
GPIC: Since 2012, GPIC is proud to say that its GRI Reporting process has incrementally improved year on year. Initially the company began its reporting with GRI 3.1 B level and, building onto GRI 3.1A, G4Core, and GRI Standards Comprehensive.  We have successfully made use of three GRI services: the Materiality disclosures service, the Content index service and the SDG mapping service.

The report that we produce now is extensive and thorough, based on GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Standards and encompasses GPIC’s alignment with United Nations’ global initiatives such as the UNGC COP, WEPs, UNGC FAB 6 and also our Sustainability Development Goal alignment. As we continue to build on our extensive reporting, GPIC is looking forward to using the new GRI Disclosure Review Service for its future reports 

GRI: What was the biggest challenge in preparing your sustainability report? 
GPIC: I think for any company, the challenge is ensuring that the momentum and the involvement of all employees in the process, becomes a matter of process.  During times of economic downturn and market volatility, companies can often slip on their reporting standards.  But, for GPIC we realized that to ensure employee engagement and full involvement by all in the sustainability reporting process, we needed to create the right communication mechanisms and formal interactive processes within our structure.  To that end we formed a Sustainability Reporting Committee, whose full accountability and responsibility it is to engage employees and mainstream sustainability reporting as a corporate priority. Our committee is mandated to report out to our Executive Management Team and our Board of Directors on the progress GPIC is making on all areas of sustainability relevant to us.

GRI: And how do you think GPIC has benefited from the sustainability reporting process the most?
GPIC: The reputation and brand of a company also comes down to the way it lives its values.  GPIC firmly and strongly believes in transparency, accountability and above all, continuously seeking improvement.  The mechanism that sustainability reporting gives an organization allows a company to truly see what value it is adding to the society in which it operates.  It gives the company the key to create a future that is both prosperous and ethically critical to the sustainability of the entire planet.  GPIC will continue to benefit and report on its progress and the company will continue to seek innovative ways to build on its sustainability strategy.

GRI: Can you give us an example? 
GPIC: Through clearly aligning all of our business processes and practices to the Sustainable Development Goals, we fundamentally realize the critical and growing importance sustainability reporting creates for our business. We have used the GRI report very effectively in showing our alignment to the 17 SDGs and this in turn has helped communicate GPIC’s vision not only to all of our employees, but in sharing our philosophy and best practice standards across the region. A second significant benefit in the sustainability reporting process, is conducting the materiality exercises.  We engage more than 100 internal and external stakeholders and rank their sustainability issues in depth.  This type of stakeholder engagement adds immense value to the business and encourages full involvement of our employees through being a part of the process and seeing what strategies the company is looking to achieve. 

GRI: Finally, what are your recommendations to organizations that are developing their first sustainability report?
GPIC: Sustainability reporting is not just a reporting process, it is a way of life.  Organizations are not made up of processes and product, but of people and purpose.  Sustainability can only be achieved for a company when it seeks to continuously improve itself, and improvement is an holistic strategy.  This means improvement on profits can only be achieved when you improve the way you deliver the products sustainably and develop and nurture the people who make your products and business succeed. Sustainability is a tool for benchmarking and it is also the only way forward for businesses and organizations across the world. I would recommend forming a committee to take on the task if you are just starting out in your sustainability reporting journey and this committee can be trained through the GRI Certified training courses.  Above all, whatever you do, just start the journey.
Source : Global Reporting Initiative  (GRI)
Link      : https://www.globalreporting.org/information/news-and-press-center/Pages/internal-engagement-better-reporting.aspx?dm_t=0,0,0,0,0




All, 2018