The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How CEMEX provides learning and development opportunities for employees

CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high-quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in over 50 countries around the globe. Strategically positioned in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, with over 42,000 employees worldwide, CEMEX wants its people to stay connected, aligned with its goals, and to never stop learning.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2018 Integrated Report by CEMEX 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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Through ongoing training and development opportunities, CEMEX teaches its employees new skills and deepens their expertise in several critical areas, including Health and Safety, customer-centric capabilities, environmental conservation and awareness, leadership development, and stakeholder engagement. In order to provide learning and development opportunities for employees CEMEX took action to:

  • embed a growth mindset through CEMEX University
  • implement leadership development programmes
  • operate academies

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Integrated Report CEMEX identified a range of material issues, such as customer experience and satisfaction, health and safety, product quality and innovation, business ethics and transparency. Among these, providing learning and development opportunities for employees stands out as a key material issue for CEMEX.

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 CEMEX engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement


·      ETHOSLine 24/7

·      Bi-annual Ethics and Compliance campaigns

·      Bi-annual engagement survey

·      Monthly global newsletter

·      Local HR teams on a daily basis and HR process platforms 24/7

·      Open dialogues and meetings with leaders



·      Ongoing relationship management through sales reps

·      Digital platforms

·      Annual commercial events and customer-satisfaction surveys

·      Customer service centres and help lines

·      Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Analysts, investors, shareholders


·      Regular meetings, webcasts. and conference calls

·      Quarterly financial updates and guidance

·      Annual integrated report, annual reports, and mandatory filings

·      Ongoing website updates and press releases

·      Annual CEMEX Day investor event

Academic institutions & NGOs


·      Yearly collaborative research portfolio

·      Bi-weekly “Lighthouses” talks

·      Quarterly whitepapers

·      Yearly best practices and methodologies playbooks

·      Annual event to share the project’s outcomes

·      Hackathons co-organised with Universities



·      Ongoing dialogues with community stakeholders

·      Quarterly community panels, sessions, and meetings

·      Annual open house days at operating sites

·      Ongoing educational programmes and training

·      Participation in local career events

·      Development of community infrastructure, volunteering, and social investment initiatives

·      Development of inclusive business programmes



·      Daily procurement interactions

·      Ongoing capacity building programmes

·      Supplier sustainability guidance

Governments and policy makers ·      Annual integrated report and conservation books

·      Ongoing public policy discussions

·      Long-term partnerships

·      Working groups

·      Periodic plant visits

·      Events and conferences

Business associations


·      Periodic meetings

·      Annual conferences

·      Ongoing working groups

·      Ongoing research studies

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics, CEMEX engaged with its stakeholders through a worldwide survey.

What actions were taken by CEMEX to provide learning and development opportunities for employees?

In its 2018 Integrated Report CEMEX reports that it took the following actions for providing learning and development opportunities for employees:

  • Embedding a growth mindset through CEMEX University
  • CEMEX University aims to become CEMEX’s trusted learning advisor, with a vision of developing a continuous learning ecosystem for employees and acting as a high impact catalyst for CEMEX’s It integrates CEMEX’s leadership development programmes and institutional academies – Commercial, Health & Safety, Supply Chain, and Culture & Values – under the concept of CEMEX University. CEMEX University works together with CEMEX’s Global Networks and its Regional Presidents as executive sponsors to respond to CEMEX’s multi-region, multi-business learning needs, supporting employees by providing the concepts, practices, and tools required to implement CEMEX’s strategy. CEMEX University favours a blended approach to learning that leverages traditional in-person training and new best-in-class digital learning platforms and, in 2018, almost 15,000 participants attended different programmes across 30 business units, while its internal instructor network expanded to 125 trainers.
  • Implementing leadership development programmes
  • CEMEX invests in leadership development programmes at different levels of its organisation, including the following:
    • First launched in 2016, ENVISION encompasses two main themes: the leaders’ own personal course and their role in CEMEX’s course. ENVISION caters to CEMEX’s high potential leaders, enabling them to play a critical role in defining CEMEX’s strategic objectives. Along with deep introspection, leaders must develop specific skills to manage the tension between capitalising on what is known and certain to maximise value for CEMEX’s business today and exploring opportunities to create new sources of value in the future. During 2018, CEMEX launched the second generation of ENVISION, with the participation of 14 global leaders.
    • IGNITE, a new leadership programme launched in 2018, is specifically targeted to top-tier managers and newly appointed directors. Comprised of two cornerstones – customer centricity and leadership capability – it is designed to cultivate essential leadership capabilities and new ways of working to drive success within a digital context. IGNITE provides new opportunities to learn and practice leadership skills on real work projects and to foster peer relationships globally. In 2018, 57 high-potential leaders from across all of CEMEX’s regions and business units participated in this programme.
    • LEADER-TO-LEADER is a unique initiative that connects current and future CEMEX leaders. During 2018, 47 mentors from this programme supported employees who participated in IGNITE, providing their valuable experience and mentoring. CEMEX also takes advantage of this relevant leadership development programme to connect it with its ambition to promote more women to higher positions. As part of it, since 2012 more than 50 of CEMEX’s high potential female talent have participated in LEADER-TO-LEADER’s mentoring conversations.
  • Operating academies
  • CEMEX operates a number of institutional academies, designed to work together with its leadership development programmes to drive CEMEX priorities and help shape its “One CEMEX” culture:
    • The HEALTH & SAFETY ACADEMY is designed to help assure the wellbeing of CEMEX’s team members by ensuring participants understand their responsibility and duties as leaders to transmit H&S practices to their teams. During 2018, 5,432 participants completed the first two modules of this programme.
    • Through CEMEX’s COMMERCIAL ACADEMY participants learn how to deliver against CEMEX’s commitment to customer centricity through a combination of both instructor-led sessions and digital content. During 2018, a total of 1,360 participants underwent the different modules of the Commercial Academy.
    • CEMEX launched the first components of its CULTURE & VALUES ACADEMY, including an updated Ethics Module, a Digital Primer Programme, which includes an overview of emerging technologies and agile, design thinking, and Takeoff, an institutional onboarding programme for new employees. The response to this new Academy was impressive, with 7,126 participants in its modules.
    • Through CEMEX’s SUPPLY CHAIN ACADEMY participants understand how to go from strategy to execution, how to take the mindset and the way CEMEX thinks about its supply chain and turn it into reality, and how to become customer centric every day by working together – across the functional domains of CEMEX’s supply chain, to deliver a superior customer experience.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Employee training and education


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.

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1) This case study is based on published information by CEMEX, 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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