With more than 17,000 dedicated employees across 750+ operating facilities in 50 countries, Air Products is a world-leading industrial gases company. As Air Products works to be the world’s most diverse industrial gas company, it is building a workforce that reflects the places Air Products does business, fully utilising the diversity of the talent pool and fostering a respective and inclusive culture.
This case study is based on the 2020 Sustainability Report by Air Products published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.Tweet This!, so that employees seek out diverse perspectives and feel empowered to confidently express their viewpoints and mobilise actions to create meaningful change. In order to promote workplace diversity Air Products took action to:
- implement the Leadership Development Programme for Diverse Talent and combat unconscious bias
- sponsor Employee Resource Groups
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With this case study you will see:
- Which are the most important impacts (material issues) Air Products has identified;
- How Air Products proceeded with stakeholder engagement, and
- What actions were taken by Air Products to promote workplace diversity
What are the material issues the company has identified?
In its 2020 Sustainability Report Air Products identified a range of material issues, such as economic growth, climate change, responsible consumption and production, water conservation. Among these, promoting workplace diversity stands out as a key material issue for Air Products.
Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:
Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.
Key stakeholder groups Air Products engages with:
How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues
To identify and prioritise material topics Air Products interviewed and surveyed key stakeholders to understand their concerns and priorities.
In its 2020 Sustainability Report Air Products reports that it took the following actions for promoting workplace diversity:
- Implementing the Leadership Development Programme for Diverse Talent and combating unconscious bias
- Air Products uses innovative recruiting strategies and has long standing partnerships with diversity recruiting organisations that help strengthen the pipeline of diverse talent. In 2019, 55% of Air Products’ college hires were diverse. Air Products continues to invest in the unique needs of diverse talent by providing its “Leadership Development Programme for Diverse Talent,” featuring inclusive leadership modules in its development programmes for new and experienced managers, and through unconscious bias training for leaders and hiring managers. These programmes explore why diversity and inclusion matters, the role of leaders in achieving Air Products’ diversity and inclusion goals, the five key elements of inclusive leadership and how to take intentional action to counteract unconscious bias. Air Products explores, through coaching and video demonstrations, how unconscious bias may influence hiring, coaching and development and who we listen to and praise.
- Sponsoring Employee Resource Groups
- Air Products sponsors Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) throughout the world. The ERGs form an Inclusion Network that partners with Company leadership to create supportive communities that help attract and retain talent, raise cultural awareness and competence, develop critical skills and competencies and contribute to Air Products’ diversity and inclusion objectives. Throughout the year the Inclusion Network and ERGs sponsor activities and programmes for all employees, including workshops, panel discussions, awareness training and professional development sessions. Recently, Air Products’ LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender), Black and Women’s ERGs joined forces to celebrate Black History Month with activities throughout the month and Air Products also celebrated International Women’s Day, with gatherings around the world. Air Products’ ERGs include:
- AERO (Asian Employee Resource Organisation)
- BERG (Black Employee Resource Group)
- EDGE (Ethnically Diverse Gulf Employees)
- Enable (Valuing employees of ALL abilities)
- HOLA (Hispanic Organisation of Latinos and Amigos)
- ISERO (Indian Subcontinent Employee Resource Organisation)
- Spectrum (LGBT+ Resource Group)
- WSN (Women’s Success Network)
Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?
The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees
Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees corresponds to:
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Gender Equality
- Targets: 5.1, 5.5
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Targets: 8.5
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1) This case study is based on published information by Air Products, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:
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