In 2009, WACKER reviewed its sustainability-management structures and processes, adapting them to the company’s continuing globalization. In the future, Corporate Development will be responsible for groupwide coordination of WACKER’s sustainability initiatives (including Responsible Care® and the Global Compact).
Under German law, export-control and hazardous-materials officers must be appointed. In 2009, we made them Group coordinators. They define WACKER standards in the form of goals and processes, which must be implemented by all corporate sectors and sites worldwide. The Group coordinators for export control and hazardous materials report to the CFO, who also holds the position of Group export officer.
WACKER coordinates our operational processes with the help of an integrated management system. To obtain independent third-party confirmation that our Group uniformly meets minimum quality and environmental-protection standards, we are aiming for Group certification to ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environmental protection) by 2011, instead of the former individual certifications. Additionally, we intend to introduce a work and plant safety management system for all sites and have it certified to the internationally recognized OHSAS (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) system in the next few years.
Improving productivity will remain a key topic at WACKER in the future. In 2009, we opened an academy as part of our Wacker Operating System (WOS) productivity program. The WOS ACADEMY trains employees in productivity methods, promotes exchange of knowledge between project teams and assists in change processes.
Environmental Protection and Logistics
In 2007, we introduced our POWER PLUS energy-conservation project at Burghausen and Nünchritz (Germany) – our two sites with the highest energy consumption. The goal is to reduce specific energy consumption by 10% by the end of 2009.
At the Nünchritz site, preparations for a clean-up of contaminated groundwater started in 2009. We have already performed preliminary groundwater-remediation tests and will carry out pilot tests on groundwater runoff to check to what extent pollutants can be degraded with the help of bacteria. The groundwater contamination due to organic solvent residues predates WACKER’s takeover of this production site.
Prompted by the planned public handling terminal for intermodal freight transport, we are designing a new freight gate at the northern part of the Burghausen site. The gate will improve traffic flow and eliminate the nuisance of heavy goods traffic to residents. It will be ready at the same time as the terminal.
Expansion of the A 94 Munich to Passau autobahn – eagerly anticipated by the companies in Bavaria’s Chemical Triangle – is progressing well. In spring 2009, work started on the section between Forstinning and Pastetten (distance: 6 km), scheduled for completion by late 2011. In August 2009, work began on the 4.3-km Ampfing to Heldenstein section, due to be finished by the end of 2012.
The only stretches left to complete the autobahn between Munich and the Bavarian Chemical Triangle run from Pastetten to Dorfen (17.4 km) and Dorfen to Heldenstein (14.9 km). Both projects are awaiting planning approval.
The Bavarian Chemical Triangle’s second major infrastructure project, the electrification of the rail route to Munich and its expansion to two tracks, is making progress, too. Summer 2008 saw work start on the Ampfing to Mühldorf section, due to open in 2010. The bottleneck is the section between Mühldorf and Tüßling, where three rail lines meet; around 1% of German freight traffic passes over these tracks. Planning must start immediately if the 2014/2015 deadline envisaged by German Rail is to be met.
Workplace, Plant and Transport Safety
After its 2007 launch across our German sites, we expanded our Fresh Impetus for Work Safety initiative in 2009 to include sites outside Germany. Our aim is to further reduce our already low accident frequency (number of workplace accidents with missed workdays per one million hours worked) from 3.8 in 2007 to 1.9 by the end of 2011.
In 2009, we started to analyze age patterns at our non-German sites, as part of our demography project. We will use the results to derive necessary measures, just as we did at our German sites.
Age-pattern investigations in Germany prompted us to expand our existing employee-integration management policy from 2009 onward. We want to help employees who have been unable to work for a long time to return to their jobs and offer those with permanent health restrictions positions that are optimally suited to their abilities.
In another program, we are developing measures to continue attracting promising young people. WACKER is also setting up a talent pool for professions critical to success, such as engineering.
After many years of growth with sales and earnings records, WACKER is facing a period of widespread economic uncertainty. Not immune to the significant global economic downturn, we have implemented a series of measures to limit its impact on our company. We decided to cut budgets, for example, and introduced short-time work. In 2009, we also temporarily shut down production plants in both Germany and abroad, and lowered employee numbers.
In 2009, management and employee representatives also agreed on other measures to lower personnel expenses, including a cut in variable salary components. In the case of the Executive Board and upper management, regular compensation has been reduced, too.
In times of economic crisis, we make a special effort to fulfill our responsibility to society and stand by our long-term partnerships. Take, for example, Die Arche – a German charity. WACKER again donated €100,000 to the charity in 2009. Die Arche aims to use this money to further its work with young people.
As a result of demographic analyses, we have set ourselves ten strategic goals for continuing to attract and retain qualified employees. Our efforts include generating enthusiasm for science among children and teenagers. We want to enhance our experiment kit for schools over the coming years. In a pilot project with Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilian University, we are developing student-friendly instructions for high-school experiments alongside handouts for teachers.