To help identify and prioritize Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability issues for the Volvo Group, ongoing dialogues with stakeholders are conducted. The dialogues enable us to better understand both internal and external expectations on the Volvo Group, and to ensure that our business operations build value both for the company and society at large.
Round table discussions
During 2012 the Volvo Group began efforts to engage a broad set of stakeholders in the Middle East, Asia and the US. Representatives from various stakeholder groups such as NGOs, employees, investors, academia, government representatives and customers participated. The participants were selected because of their affiliation to one of the stakeholder groups, and for their connection to the Volvo Group’s business. The geographical areas were not ranked by level of importance.
The main focus of the dialogues was to get an overall understanding of how CSR and sustainability is viewed in the region and what challenges and opportunities can be identified. The aim was also to map the expectations on a company operating in this region and, more specifically, what is expected of the Volvo Group when it comes to CSR and sustainability.
The results of these stakeholder dialogues help us to better understand how we should act and how we can better create shared value around the world. During 2013 the Volvo Group will continue the stakeholder dialogues in other regions.
Apart from the discussions described above, ongoing contact with all stakeholder groups is maintained to help us shape our direct business operations and activities. When new operations are started a stakeholder mapping is undertaken and when other major changes are done in the organization, additional contact with the stakeholders is conducted. Stakeholders always have the possibility to convey their questions or opinions via the different contact pages provided on www.volvogroup.com.
Below are a few examples from our stakeholder map.
Products and services are developed in close cooperation with customers to help them improve their own productivity and profitability and support their environmental performance. We have long-term relationships with most of our customers. Customer satisfaction depends not only on the quality and performance of our products, but also on how customers are treated and how service is delivered. More and more of our customers want information about our CSR performance. For some customers, like fleet owners, high CSR and sustainability performance increases our competitiveness in tenders.
Some examples of how we communicate with our customers include:
- Interaction in daily operations
- Dialogue forums such as customer focus groups in the product development phase
- Dialogue via social media
- Customer satisfaction surveys
The Volvo Group follows up on the respective companies’ and brands’ customer satisfaction position and brand image perception in relevant industries and markets. Customer satisfaction and brand image tracking is measured by established industry surveys.
Employees and trade unions
The Volvo Group has formalized forums for employee dialogue and development, such as personal development plans. We believe that open dialogue contributes to personal development as well as more committed employees.
The Volvo Group uses several channels for communication among employees such as:
- In-house magazines
- Team meetings
- Films and webcasts
All employees can ask questions directly to the Group’s CEO and management via the intranet. For top-down communication we often practice cascading to employees through managers. Internally we communicate in many different languages. A survey among all employees, focusing on measuring employee engagement is normally conducted on an annual basis.
An internal survey conducted in 2012 targeting 10,000 employees, concluded that the most important CSR and sustainability areas on which to focus are the Volvo Group’s contribution to community development, followed by fighting corruption and bribery, workplace safety and responsible sourcing.
The Volvo Group maintains close relationships with a number of labor unions both in formal and informal forums.
It is increasingly important for employees that the company they work for has sound values and engage in social matters. Therefore, the Volvo Group also communicates with potential employees, in order to map their areas of interest and make sure that the Group is regarded as a preferred employer.
This is done in such forums as career days at universities and participation in industry conferences and other events.
The Volvo Group works closely with its suppliers. We value long-term relationships and the transfer of knowledge and understanding of each other’s processes, procedures and values. Forums for formal communication are:
- Our web-based supplier portal
- Training sessions
- Dedicated supplier days
We communicate regularly with shareholders, other investors and financial analysts with interest in CSR and sustainability issues. Among those, compliance issues are still of high interest, but the focus has shifted towards the Volvo Group’s strategy on sustainable transport solutions and how CSR and sustainability is integrated in the Group’s business model. We hold regular meetings for investors and issue a number of publications:
- Annual reports
- Interim reports
- Press releases
A Capital market day is held at least once a year.
The Volvo Group communicates with politicians, authorities and institutions on an ongoing basis. This interaction includes responses to requests for comments on proposed legislation and regulations. The Group also communicates with local authorities regarding such issues as employment and working conditions.
Most of the issues related to the regulation of our products are dealt with industry organizations of which the Volvo Group is a member. A Society market day was held for the first time in 2012.
The Volvo Group welcomes dialogue with NGOs. We have approximately 100 cooperative projects with NGOs around the world. The Group has two worldwide strategic partnerships, WWF and Oxfam, but most cooperation is on a local level with local NGOs and aid organizations.
Universities and research institutes
The Volvo Group is involved in a comprehensive series of cooperative ventures with research bodies and academic institutions to advance the technologies needed for future product development. One example is the Volvo Group initiative Academic Partner Program.
Our involvement with universities is also important for creating relationships with students and potential employees and thus for securing access to future competence.