ArcelorMittal has grown significantly through acquisitions and mergers of diverse companies with widely varying approaches to CSR. The challenge is to develop a consistent, global standard of CSR across all operations while recognising the sensitivities of regional operations.
More specifically, what is the best way to develop practical steps for CSR programme implementation that allows for flexibility in the approach as well as control mechanisms to guarantee compliance?
ArcelorMittal has utilised an internal benchmarking framework-called the "Reality Check"-which as developed by a consulting partner. This benchmarking framework assesses communication, regional CSR governance, policies, control mechanisms (audit, management systems, etc.) and employee empowerment across the range of social issues faced by the company. The benchmarking has been conducted across nine regions with additional regions planned and consists of targeted interviews with internal management and external stakeholders.
The outputs are benchmark reports for each region, detailing the significant social and community risks/opportunities and an assessment of the strong and weak points within each process area. This benchmarking is followed up with regional action plans that give practical suggestions for improvement in each focus area. The results are also shared with the ArcelorMittal Foundation to supplement the information used to support regional and international partnerships for community benefit. These action plans will be supported by specific toolkits and guidance notes for areas where the regions need to focus most. Best practice examples from each benchmark are shared internally with other regions.
The advantage of benchmarking has stemmed primarily from the innovative scope of the assessments. The company believes that process drives performance and is interested in systematic, consistent practice-not one-off benefits. Therefore, more than just performance is assessed. Instead, the company focuses the benchmarking on capacity, the ability to engage stakeholders, integrate stakeholder feedback into regional business decision-making, effectively respond, validate practices and communicate results internally. The company believes that such a process drives performance.
- Internal benchmarking is time consuming requiring multiple days at each region plus time to assess and report the results
- The information out is only as good as the information in. Therefore, skilled interviewers are required as is open and honest communication from our regional management
- An increased "buy-in" for CSR initiatives that has been capitalised on by developing an internal CSR network
- Regions have initiated multiple steps for improvement based on the benchmark reports
- The results have been used to identify 12 group wide macro-objectives