The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

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Case study: How Air Products promotes workplace diversity

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.

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Air Products seeks to build the most diverse and inclusive workforce in the industrial gas industry  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

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:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

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:

Stakeholder Group
Government regulators

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.

What actions were taken by Air Products to promote workplace diversity?

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:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP



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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