I am writing this introductory letter to the 2019 Sustainability Report at a historic period of time that cannot go unmentioned.
The start of 2020 has been marked in every respect by the spread of Covid-19, better known as Coronavirus, an emergency that has swept across the entire world.
We watched the initial phase of what seemed to be a relatively confined epidemic unfold first-hand at our plant in Qingdao, China, which acted swiftly in order to ensure operational continuity while focusing first and foremost on the health and safety of our workers. Nearly all employees at the site began to work from home (smart working), and our personnel in Qingdao restructured the organization of the production phases in order to guarantee correct social distancing.
When the epidemic became a pandemic affecting the entire world, albeit at different levels and intensities, each of us had to change our behaviours in both our private and professional lives. In the same way, our plants have had to adapt the organization of working activities and production areas.
This emergency which, while alarming, should be temporary in nature - although this is difficult to quantify at the time of writing - is leading us to confront new norms that could guide us in the true challenge of our times - balancing the economic and social growth of our planet with respect for our (limited) natural resources and human welfare: in a nutshell, sustainable growth.
First of all it has made us understand that the environment does not adapt to human activity; rather, our actions must mould around the planet and the urgent need to share resources at a global level. When we refer to ‘sustainable growth’ in the industry, we aren’t talking merely about the production phase but rather a comprehensive overview of all activities within the business, starting with product development which, from the outset, must take into account the scarcity of resources (such as our major investments in the electrification of powertrains aimed at improving transmission system efficiency with a focus on reducing energy consumption).
Secondly, we have seen first-hand how future sustainability is unavoidably linked to the use and development of technologies. In this time of forced isolation, smart working and new communications technologies (Skype, video chats, video conferences, etc.), for example, are proving indispensable to our activities and will become even more so in enabling a more sustainable work organization in the future (consider the fall in pollution and consumption due to the reduced need for work commutes or business trips, including overseas, as well as the more rational use of our time).
Furthermore, at production level we have necessarily altered work shifts and separated production areas; in a more sustainable future this approach should be maintained and developed through the adoption of increasingly advanced automation systems managed through fully-integrated IoT systems.
This should not lead to a reduction in the number of human resources employed at our sites, but rather the drastic alteration of our way of working. It should also represent an opportunity to improve ‘how’ we move our activities forward.
Coming back to the key topics discussed in this Report, our Group has implemented a CSR programme aimed at sustainable growth for several years but 2019 marked a step up in our activities in this regard.
We have created an organization that, stemming from the Group’s CSR Committee and with the invaluable support of CSR Champions of each site, involved a vast pool of collaborators. As well as stimulating, developing and monitoring sustainability practices, this new organization has also implemented several initiatives.
Consider the ambitious commitment to substantially reduce the use of plastic, starting with our Italian sites. Or indeed, the ‘Share the Culture’ project which progressively enables our collaborators to share books, audio CDs and DVDs with co-workers. Or the ‘distance adoption’ initiative in India with the Care&Share non-governmental organization aimed at disadvantaged children. Or still, the many computers no longer used by Carraro and donated to schools and associations in Italy and abroad. Or, finally, our ‘Volunteer Day’. These are just a few of the key activities implemented in the last few months, but there are
many more to follow.
In 2020 we will continue our efforts to consolidate CSR culture in the company and, to this end, a percentage of the MBO schemes aimed at senior management will be linked to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) targets. During the year, in line with the values of the Carraro Group, we will continue to place our human resources at the centre of our analyses, in terms of occupational health and safety (long an integral part of our business approach), welfare and well-being, while also considering inclusion, the gender pay gap and human rights in general. We pursue this approach not only in our plants but also in the communities where they are located.
Indeed, the creation of a sustainable future is only possible by focusing first on people and the contexts in which we operate, both now and tomorrow.
Chief CSR Officer