Measure, Manage, Modify

17.08.2018

Measure, Manage, Modify

FUCHS sees sustainability as a core element of good corporate management that harmonizes economic, ecological, and social actions. This successful commitment is enjoying ever more positive feedback in science and industry, as well as among the general public.

"Companies need to closely examine their business. Simply engaging in marketing campaigns is not enough," comments Prof. Laura Marie Edinger-Schons, holder of the Chair for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the University of Mannheim. The academic was appointed to her position at the renowned University of Mannheim in 2016, where she collaborates intensively with the local economy. "Customers, employees, media, the general public, and other stakeholders today expect companies to live up to their social responsibility," she comments with conviction. Companies looking to remain successful in the long term therefore cannot afford to simply avoid finding ways to meet this requirement. The question is no longer whether companies should assume social responsibility, but rather how they can do this prudently and effectively. Her knowledge and advice are in demand and on June 28 she was awarded with the 'Social Market Economy' 2018 Roman Herzog Research Prize, one of the most generously remunerated prizes in this field.

The Endowed Chair was financed by a crowdfunding campaign with companies from the Rhein-Neckar region, including FUCHS. "We consider it extremely important to academically support and underpin the anchoring of sustainability in companies," comments Apu Gosalia, Vice President Sustainability & Global Competitive Intelligence at FUCHS PETROLUB. "We have therefore also been providing financial support to the CSR Foundation Professorship at the University of Mannheim since 2016."

The cooperation with the CSR Chair, where FUCHS is a welcome guest, is therefore just as close as the 'Sustainable Business & Society' seminars that are regularly held at the institute. How can stakeholders from the fields of politics and society be won over to social innovation, sustainable production, and sustainable consumption? This question was the main focus of the event held at the Mannheim Business School Study & Conference Center in June 2018. "Here, I had the opportunity to host a 'Practitioner Roundtable' on the topic of 'Social Impact Valuation' together with the sustainability representatives from BASF, SAP, and Novartis, as well as to discuss approaches for evaluation of social commitment together with the students," comments Gosalia, looking back. "However, I am still skeptical as to whether a ‘M' for monetization of social sustainability is the right approach. I also do not consider this prudent from the perspective of ecological sustainability. Our focus with FUCHS sustainability is on the 3 M's, ‘Measure, Manage, Modify’ – and that is for each of the three sustainability dimensions of economy, ecology, and social aspects separately. “Within the ecological pillar, FUCHS is currently concentrating on quantifying the term sustainability through worldwide standards - something which has recently attracted a great deal of interest in the sector. Gosalia is confident that sustainability will soon become an additional specification component of lubricants – along with performance and price.

Gosalia speaks to Mannheim Business School students about Sustainability.

Like Schons, the sustainability expert at FUCHS feels certain that positive marketing alone cannot form the foundation of a successful sustainability strategy. "This would then simply be 'greenwashing' and I am not a fan of projecting something outwardly that has no inner substance. “Over the last few years, FUCHS has therefore accurately measured the energy and water consumption, as well as the production waste at all production locations worldwide and has significantly reduced these indicators. In the social arena, indicators such as further training hours per employee were recorded and measured. "We invest in the basic and advanced training of our employees and help them to reconcile work and family life - to mention just a few points," adds Gosalia.

 

“The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important. In cooperation with suppliers and customers, FUCHS is working to quantify the term sustainability. The objective is to develop a benchmark that allows our products to be assigned to categories. From this we derive tasks for research and development. We expect the change from qualitative to quantitative assessment of sustainability to bring significant progress. Sustainability will be included in the specifications for lubricants in the future.” – Apu Gosalia, VP of Sustainability & Competitive Intelligence at FUCHS.

FUCHS was presented the German Sustainability Award in 2016 in the category 'Medium-Sized Enterprises' for its sustainability strategy and was therefore the very first representative from the chemicals industry to win the award in this category. In 2017, the Mannheim location and its new test field building were also highlighted as an example of excellence at the 'Resource Efficiency and Recycling Convention' in Baden-Württemberg. The use of high temperature condensate, a waste product from the neighboring production site, to heat the new building and keep an adjacent warehouse frost free facilitated an annual saving of around 18 tons of carbon dioxide – a perfect example of ecological responsibility at FUCHS.

The headquarters in Mannheim is not the only location involved here. In fact, FUCHS companies worldwide are promoting sustainability, for example through scientific, cultural, and social initiatives within the scope of corporate citizenship. In the US, FUCHS supports the 'Toys for Tots Literacy Program', whose aim is to make books and teaching materials available to underprivileged children. In France, FUCHS donates money for the care of children with multiple disabilities, while employees in South Africa provide active support at the 'New Jerusalem Children’s Home' – to name just a few examples. "Our subsidiaries select projects and good causes that best fit with their countries and companies. The social commitment within our Group is therefore highly diverse," adds Gosalia.

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