Southwire is a leading manufacturer of wire and cable used in the transmission and distribution of electricity, delivering power to millions of people around the world. Southwire’s heritage as a family-owned company inspires it to treat its nearly 8,000 full- and part-time employees like family Tweet This!, and contribute to their overall physical and emotional well-being.
This case study is based on the 2018 Sustainability Report by Southwire 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.
Healthy workers are essential to maintaining Southwire’s competitive advantage and an attractive culture. Accordingly, making resources available to promote the physical, emotional and financial well-being of employees, is a top priority for Southwire. In order to promote employee well-being Southwire took action to:
- offer rewards to support employees’ needs
- provide on-site support
- help employees make healthy choices
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With this case study you will see:
- Which are the most important impacts (material issues) Southwire has identified;
- How Southwire proceeded with stakeholder engagement, and
- What actions were taken by Southwire to promote employee well-being
What are the material issues the company has identified?
In its 2018 Sustainability Report Southwire identified a range of material issues, such as financial performance, product quality and safety, ethics, anti-corruption and transparency, energy, air emissions, water and wastewater. Among these, promoting employee well-being stands out as a key material issue for Southwire.
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 Southwire engages with:
|Stakeholder Group||Method of engagement|
|· Employee Engagement Survey
· Roundtable Discussions
· Town Hall Meetings
· Operational Perfection at Southwire (OPS)
· Ethics Hotline
· Just Ask
|· Voice of the Customer survey
· Satisfaction surveys
· User forums
· Trade shows
· Scorecard reviews
· Site visits
· Customer Support Centre hotline
· Materiality assessment interviews
|· Sustainability surveys
· On-site audits
· Materiality assessment interviews and surveys
|Shareholders and Board Members||· Board meetings
· Materiality assessment interviews
|· Pre-application meetings
· Progress updates
· Voluntary programme audits
· Compliance inspections and inquiries
|· Product feedback requests
· Apprentice training
· Memberships and participation
|Community Members (Carrollton, Georgia area)||· Update meeting
|Community Members||· Materiality assessment interviews|
How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues
To identify and prioritise material topics Southwire interviewed 23 internal and external stakeholders, including senior company leaders, shareholders, members of Southwire’s board of directors, customers, suppliers and representatives of communities/nongovernmental organisations (NGOs).
In its 2018 Sustainability Report Southwire reports that it took the following actions for promoting employee well-being:
- Offering rewards to support employees’ needs
- Southwire Total Rewards offers an extensive range of rewards to support diverse family needs and structures, extending into Southwire’s inclusivity strategy of providing choices. To better connect Southwire families to these rewards, Southwire created a comprehensive offering that connects actions to benefits for employees. For example, rather than simply offering medical benefits, Southwire encourages “Focusing on my Health.” Instead of paying for time off, Southwire promotes “Living my Life.” This approach focuses on the “Employee Experience” for each Total Reward category. In 2018, Southwire expanded benefits and offered new choices for employees, which included:
- Medical decision support to help employees navigate medical problems
- 10 days of paid parental leave (expanded in 2018) for mothers and fathers for the birth or adoption of a child and flexible work schedule policy for maternity transition (salaried employees)
- Introduction of critical illness, accident and identity theft protection to all employees
- In 2018, Southwire measured the overall participation rate in Total Rewards as an indicator of its ability to meet employees’ diverse and changing needs and, again, achieved its target of reaching over 90 percent participation in the Total Rewards choices, proving choice is valued.
- Providing on-site support
- To encourage employee and contractor health and create a health-oriented environment, Southwire maintains a tobacco-free policy and provides tobacco cessation support for employees and their families, free of charge. All Southwire locations prohibit smoking and other use of tobacco on company property.
- Helping employees make healthy choices
- Southwire gives employees the opportunity to make healthy choices through:
- Medical Facilities: In the Carrollton, Georgia area, home to approximately 40 percent of Southwire’s workforce, Southwire offers an on-site medical centre and pharmacy that has operated for more than 25 years, whose services are comprehensive and cost-effective.
- Nutrition Programmes: Southwire presents nutritious options in its on-site cafeterias in Carrollton and vending machines at most locations. Southwire lists healthy cafeteria options at a reduced price to encourage their consumption and offers payroll deduction at vending locations, to improve access.
- Exercise Programmes: Southwire has on-site fitness centres and subsidises fitness club memberships where on-site centres are not available. In addition to exercise equipment, Southwire’s newly updated fitness centre in Carrollton also coordinates group fitness and education classes, team sports and company athletic leagues. Intramurals include volleyball, softball, basketball, flag football and more. Southwire tracks employee participation to better understand the effectiveness of its efforts to engage employees in physical fitness and, in 2018, Southwire facilities’ employee utilisation rate was 40 percent, with some variation by season. This utilisation rate does not include other family members such as retirees, spouses and dependents who also joined Southwire in 2018.
- Activation Events: These events are one of many new opportunities introduced to provide a personalised, one-on-one experience, to create awareness and commitment to overall well-being. In 2018, Southwire expanded its footprint and held activation events in Huntersville, North Carolina, El Paso, Texas, Houston, Texas and Hawesville, Kentucky. During each event, Southwire asked employees to commit to improving an area of their well-being.
Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?
The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 403-6 Promotion of worker health
Disclosure 403-6 Promotion of worker health does not correspond to any SDG.
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1) This case study is based on published information by Southwire, 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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