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Business people shaking hands

Stakeholder engagement

Creating value for our stakeholders is why we are in business. Through meaningful dialogue and close cooperation with key stakeholder groups, we work to shape and hone ABB’s positions and policies to reflect the full range of our stakeholders’ perspectives.

In 2020, we conducted a comprehensive external stakeholder engagement process. The goal was to review stakeholder expectations and develop a qualitative basis for each business’ materiality matrix. This process, which was completed in the first half of 2020, contributed to the creation of ABB’s 2030 sustainability strategy. 

stakeholder-engagement

Key areas

In addition to working closely with our stakeholders on the development of our new sustainability focus areas, we regularly interacted with them during the course of 2020. Key stakeholder groups and topics included:

Over the past year, we met regularly with customers to discuss how ABB’s offerings can be used to reduce their CO2 emissions, preserve resources, and meet other specific sustainability requirements. As well as gaining valuable insights into our customers’ operations and learning more about their sustainability challenges, these meetings allowed our experts to share advice, and they served to build and strengthen relationships of trust.

In 2020, we engaged in one-on-one meetings with investors and analysts focused on sustainable investing.. Among the topics of interest were growth prospects for our electrification and automation products and solutions.

We recognize that ABB is only as sustainable as its supply chain. Our Supplier Code of Conduct clearly outlines our expectations, based on the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact, and is updated periodically to address new developments. To help our suppliers improve their sustainability performance, we conduct on-site evaluations, provide training and special projects to support suppliers, and monitor performance through our Supplier Sustainability Development Program.

More than 95,000 ABB employees responded to our 2020 Engagement Survey. The response rate was much higher than the previous year – 73 percent compared with 65 percent – and the Engagement score rose four points to 75. Engagement levels were almost identical in all four Business Areas and Global Business Services, suggesting that levels of engagement have risen across the company. The almost 280,000 comments submitted by our employees provided important insights into what is going well and where we still have to improve to make ABB an even better place to work. Going forward, we will focus even more on creating a Purpose-driven culture in which our values are lived and everyone feels safe, secure and empowered to perform their best and to achieve their full potential. Beyond direct stakeholder consultation, we are active in the public policy arena, in the communities in which we operate, and we contribute to global efforts to improve the lives and conditions of vulnerable people and groups.

Since the Paris Agreement was adopted at the UN climate change conference (COP21) in 2015, we have been present at every annual COP event with expert speakers and technology exhibitions. Our experts are regularly consulted in the development of rules, standards and norms concerning the energy efficiency of electric motors as well as other aspects of industrial policy.

In 2020, we contributed to more than 340 community projects and charities worldwide, as well as a number of initiatives to help employees, contractors and communities get through the COVID-19 crisis. Our employees and businesses donated an estimated $10.1 million and around 2,300 person-days in volunteer work, often in extremely challenging circumstances. More information is available in the Community Engagement chapter of our Sustainability Report.

In 2020, we strengthened our partnerships with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Childhood Foundation to support vulnerable communities and groups. For the ICRC’s COVID-19 relief efforts, we raised CHF 2 million in donations from employees and ABB Group, and ABB donated another CHF 1 million to help vulnerable children worldwide. During the year, we also announced that we would support the ETH Zurich in Switzerland and Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana, to create a new master’s program with scholarships for engineering students from sub-Saharan Africa.

ABB’s external stakeholder panel

Our external stakeholder panel, formed in 2015, provides advice and input on sustainability issues as well as regularly reviewing our materiality matrix and our annual Sustainability Report.

Panel members represent our key stakeholders and are selected according to their level of knowledge and skill in areas that are relevant to ABB, as well as to ensure that genders and geographies are equally represented. There are currently six panel members. No new members were appointed in 2020. The regular meetings of the panel are conducted via conference call and are chaired by an external facilitator. In cases where a panel member is unable to attend a meeting, that member is subsequently interviewed individually to ensure that their views are represented.

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