Umicore is a publicly listed company. As such, we interact with many parties who have an interest in the way we conduct business. The relationship that we foster with these parties or stakeholders has a direct impact on our success. Stakeholder engagement at Umicore is based on a localised approach whereby all sites are required to identify their respective stakeholders and establish suitable ways of engaging with them. In many cases, such as the dialogue with customers and suppliers, the stakeholder relationships are primarily managed by the business units themselves, in line with our decentralised approach to unit management.
Through employment, Umicore participates in the generation of wealth in the areas where it operates. Although wealth generation is an obvious benefit, the way in which this wealth is generated is also of great importance. Ultimately, Umicore can only continue operating if it has the licence to do so from society. To maintain this licence, Umicore does the utmost to operate in a way that promotes sustainable development. This goes beyond operating within the legally defined boundaries set for all companies. We set our own standards, applicable across the Group, frequently surpassing the legislative demands in many areas where we operate. In addition to this commitment to sound operating practices, Umicore also strives to develop materials that enhance quality of life and, in particular, contribute to addressing certain critical environmental or societal challenges.
Contact with the communities where Umicore operates is the most direct way that we interact with society. Open and transparent dialogue with such communities is an integral part of our stakeholder engagement. Certain civil society groups (non-governmental organisations) also periodically declare a stake in our operations and the way we do business. Umicore welcomes such interest and attempts to engage with such groups in an open and constructive manner.
Umicore makes voluntary contributions at site and Group-level to a range of charitable causes in line with an internal policy and guidelines. We manage Group-level engagement efforts through a Group Donations Committee that has the mandate of engaging with civil society groups and determining the extent of partnerships at Group level. For information on these initiatives in 2018 see page Giving back to society.