We understand that our sustainability performance is an important determinant of our relationship with stakeholders. We proactively engage with stakeholders to understand their needs and concerns, and in return ensure we address these in our decision making process.
Transparency is a fundamental concept in our engagement strategy and this underpins our different engagement efforts. We publicly disclose key sustainability information in our annual report and on Vestas.com whilst also entering into more detailed dialogues with key stakeholders. Besides being best practice, this is an integral part of a strategic approach to stakeholder engagement as outlined in the UN Global Compact LEAD blue print .
We actively collaborate with stakeholders to positively influence not only our own sustainability performance but also that of the wider communities we operate in. For example Vestas is taking a leading role in the Global Wind Organisation, developing a standard for Basic Safety Training within the framework of the organisation. We also co-founded WindMade, an initiative leading to the first global consumer label identifying products and companies made with wind energy. This was done together with other global players like WWF and Bloomberg.
Vestas, at the Group level, has both categorised and prioritised stakeholders in an effort to rationalise and focus engagement efforts. Initially stakeholders are categorised based on their relationship with Vestas, for example, customers, NGOs and policy makers. Subsequently each stakeholder is considered in the context of a number of criteria to determine how relevant Vestas’ sustainability performance is to them and conversely how important they are to Vestas’ sustainability performance. Engagement can range from forming active partnerships to address common sustainability issues to a more passive engagement through, for example, the publication of the annual report. The priority given to a stakeholder is used to determine the most appropriate approach to engagement.
Our ambition to build closer partnerships and support our stakeholders has prompted Vestas to initiate a materiality analysis.
Our main stakeholder groupsAt Vestas’ we have many different stakeholder groups with whom we interact. They include customers, shareholders, employees, politicians, suppliers and sub-suppliers, non-governmental organisations and the media.
1. CustomersWe prioritise customers as our number one stakeholder group, and to ensure an open and honest dialogue we have implemented a Customer Loyalty survey. All sales business units have a Sustainability department that are working directly with customers on an on-going basis to address sustainability issues. Vestas also responds to the Carbon-Disclosure Project (CDP) Supplier Survey based on a customer request.
2. ShareholdersTransparency is at the heart of our outreach to the investment community. The stock market experts look at Social, Economic, Environmental and Health & Safety initiatives to rate listed industrial companies.
3. EmployeesEmployees are Vestas’ most important asset and we have a range of offerings aimed at them to ensure continuous learning and development as well as competitive benefits.
We reach out to employees through different channels to ensure that they are engaged and committed to Sustainability issues. One channel is Vestas’ Safety Walks. A Safety Walk is an opportunity for managers in production, service or administration to discuss safe behavior and ways of improving safety with employees in their actual job function. We also use our Employee Survey to measure the employees’ perception of their working environment. The survey is followed up by the drafting of action plans in all departments in order to act on the feedback we receive.
To ensure that employees can report malpractice or ask questions they may need an answer to if faced with ethical dilemmas at work; a Whistle-blower system, named EthicsLine is available. Employees can file a report here in confidentiality. EthicsLine was in 2011 made available to external business partners, like customers and suppliers.
4. PoliticiansAt Vestas, we work closely with political stakeholders to drive the market for clean, renewable wind energy.
We hold regular discussions with political leaders, public servants, interest groups and non-governmental organizations all over the world. We offer advice and information to the public about the potential of wind power, both in individual markets and worldwide. During 2011 Vestas engaged with policy makers in the USA, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, Spain, the UK, India, South Africa, Kenya and numerous other countries, advocating reforms and providing best practice experience.