The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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

Home / case studies / Case study: How Tenneco promotes product safety

Case study: How Tenneco promotes product safety

Tenneco is one of the world’s leading designers, manufacturers and marketers of automotive products for original equipment and aftermarket customers. Tenneco is committed to ensuring the safety of customers who purchase and use its products  Tweet This!, so as to maintain a successful business, founded on trust and reliability.

This case study is based on the 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report by Tenneco 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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Committed to quality excellence and customer satisfaction with a focus on product safety, Tenneco implements a global quality policy and has made sure that 92 percent of its manufacturing locations are certified in accordance to the industry’s most widely used international standards for quality management. In order to promote product safety Tenneco took action to:

  • establish a Global Warranty Committee
  • implement a Product Safety process
  • carry out risk assessments
  • conduct supplier audits
  • report on materials used

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report Tenneco identified a range of material issues, such as ethics & compliance, global human rights, responsible sourcing, environmental initiatives and goals. Among these, promoting product safety stands out as a key material issue for Tenneco.

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 Tenneco engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics Tenneco engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Team members




·      Town hall and team member meetings, global webcasts, picnics and special events, training and development, and recognition programmes

·      Euroforum

·      Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability Council

·      Enterprise Risk Management

·      Team member engagement surveys





·      Ford’s Partnership for a Cleaner Environment (PACE) programme

·      Host Customer Technology Days and step-level meeting with customers

·      Participation in OEM Sustainability initiatives, e.g. BMW Sustainability Training for Suppliers, Scania Sustainability Supplier Day

·      Participation in Automotive REACH Task Force




·      Annual shareholder meeting

·      Quarterly webcasts to discuss financial results

·      Regular participation in global investor and industry conferences

·      Quarterly/annual Form 10 SEC filings






·      Providing site visits and plant tours, outreach programmes, partnering with local charitable organisations and schools, and environmental stewardship and reforestation projects to communities in which Tenneco’s facilities are located

·      Many of Tenneco’s US-based locations support United Way and Tenneco’s Southfield, Michigan location provides support through a fundraising campaign




·      Participation in Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) and European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) Sustainability/ CSR Expert Group

·      Supplier Diversity Programme

Government and Regulatory Agencies


·      The Clean Air Division is currently working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on emissions reduction strategies
Trade Associations


·      Tenneco participates and has a seat on the board of directors of the AIAG, and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA)

·      Tenneco is active within the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, the AutoCare Association and Women in Autocare, the Original Equipment Suppliers Association and the Manufacturers of Emissions Controls, European Automotive Suppliers Association

What actions were taken by Tenneco to promote product safety?

In its 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report Tenneco reports that it took the following actions for promoting product safety:

  • Establishing a Global Warranty Committee
  • Tenneco established a Global Warranty Committee (GWC), a cross-functional group representing C-suite executives and functional leaders including Engineering, Quality, Operations and Legal, which holds management oversight for Product Safety and Quality issues, at the corporate level. The GWC is governed by a formal policy document, including communication and escalation of warranty and product safety issues. The GWC obtains legal advice from the Legal Department about Tenneco’s regulatory and financial reporting obligations concerning potential Warranty Events, TREAD Events, and Recall Events after soliciting and receiving information from many sources within Tenneco, including information elevated by its business groups.
  • Implementing a Product Safety process
  • Tenneco benchmarked best practices and the current state of product safety to better develop processes for identifying risks and preventing issues, and assessed roadmaps for product risks and opportunities, identifying immediate process improvements in addition to holding several workshops to improve the way it assesses product safety risk in Its engineering process. Additionally, the GWC created and implemented an internal escalation procedure that requires escalation of potential product safety issues. Location managers, quality managers, or designated person(s) are required to notify management of potential issues, which are then reviewed through the escalation process and generally brought to the Quality and/or Legal departments to determine the level of escalation and corrective action process required to address the issue. Tenneco’s Product Safety process works across functions of its business groups through the GWC to improve the relevant business processes that put safe products on the market, aiming to:
    • Reduce risk of future safety defects
    • Reduce risk of launch delay due to compliance
    • Respond to safety issues over the product life cycle
  • Carrying out risk assessments
  • Risk assessments inclusive of safety metrics were incorporated within all Tenneco’s product manufacturing processes, such as its New and Leading Technology Introduction processes. These processes are consistent with ISO 26262. For example, Tenneco’s safety programme was continuously evaluated using the following nine components:
    • Traceable safety decision process
    • Show safety is highest priority
    • Include product safety in PDP
    • Independent auditing
    • Integrate safety upfront
    • Train organisation in product safety
    • Outside eyes/diversity in reviews
    • Continuous improvement
    • Controlled process at all levels
  • Conducting supplier audits
  • Tenneco expects all direct material suppliers to certify to, at minimum, the ISO 9001 quality management system. Additionally, as part of the supplier approval process, new direct material suppliers are audited by Tenneco on Quality Management Systems (QMS) topics to ensure conformance to Tenneco’s QMS requirements as highlighted in its Supplier Manual.
  • Reporting on materials used
  • Tenneco reports on materials used in its products to IMDS (International Material Data System) for traceability and compliance. In addition, Tenneco issued a restricted substance management standard (RSMS) to help make sure that its customers are using parts and components that fully meet applicable legal and customer standards regarding materials used in Tenneco’s products and theirs. This standard seeks to inform Tenneco’s suppliers of the materials that must be excluded from Tenneco’s products altogether and the limits on the amount of certain other materials. These restrictions are primarily based on environmental or other related concerns.

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

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 416-1 Assessment of the health and safety impacts of product and service categories

2) Disclosure 416-2 Incidents of non-compliance concerning the health and safety impacts of products and services


Disclosure 416-1 Assessment of the health and safety impacts of product and service categories does not correspond to any SDG.

Disclosure 416-2 Incidents of non-compliance concerning the health and safety impacts of products and services 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 Tenneco, 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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