Common Ground® - an approach based on open dialog
Through Common Ground® the Arkema group is committed to building local relationships aimed at fostering lasting trust with all of its stakeholders. First launched in France in 2002, Common Ground® is now progressively being extended to all countries in which the Group is based.
The public is more aware of the unpleasant effects and risks related to the activities of the chemical industry than the benefits which this industry provides everyone in their daily lives. For this reason, the Arkema group created Common Ground® - an approach based on open dialog. The purpose of this initiative is help the public better understand its activities and products.
Common Ground® provides a concrete reality of the Group’s core values of simplicity, dialog and solidarity. Through this initiative, the Arkema group also expresses its commitment to progress and innovation.
This approach is based on three main areas:
- Listening to understand expectations: Listening to neighboring communities is central to the Common Ground® process. To this end, opinion surveys are conducted.
- Establishing a dialog and explaining our activities: The Arkema group regularly opens up its industrial facilities to the outside world, and develops contacts with elected officials, local residents, local associations, and the world of education.
- Moving forward together to prevent risks: By promoting a culture of risk prevention, Arkema seeks constant improvements in industrial safety and in environmental and health protection.
Promoting local relationships to foster trust
Each industrial facility is committed to maintaining a dialog with its neighboring communities and to regularly briefing its local partners about the following:
- industrial safety results and objectives,
- environmental performance,
- situation in relation to current norms and regulations,
- incidents or accidents that have occurred, as well as the corrective measures that have been adopted,
- highlights of the facility’s life, or its projects.
The importance of safety-related information
The Common Ground® program includes information about the procedure to be followed in case of an incident or accident. It also describes the procedure for alerts and informing others.
All French sites of the Arkema group apply these procedures. The press is systematically informed of any incident, however minor, which occurs on a SEVESCO II-classified industrial site.
This proactive attitude is part of the immediate communication policy which was initiated in France in 2007 by the Bureau d’analyse des risques et pollutions industriels (Barpi), Union des industries chimiques (UIC) and Groupe d’études de sécurité des industries pétrolières et chimiques (Gesip).
A French initiative which has now been deployed everywhere in the world
An initial opinion survey in 2002 showed the public’s strong expectations to be informed about site operations, potential risks and preventive measures taken to ensure the safety of the public. This survey was conducted with communities neighboring French industrial sites. The conclusions of this survey led to the creation of the Common Ground® initiative and an immediate decision to work with local communities.
Originally created in France, the Common Ground® approach was then deployed in Europe (Germany, Italy and Spain). Today it is also implemented in China and the United States in accordance with specific regulatory requirements and local cultural factors.
An opinion survey realized in 2013 showed the relevance of this program, and the recognition of Arkema's involvement in terms of sustainable development. 81% of the interviewees have a positive opinion on Arkema's commitment to sustainable development.
Implementing a policy of continuous improvement
In order to meet the expectations of society at large, the world chemical industry committed itself to a process of continuous improvement in 1990. This program is known as Responsible Care® and the Arkema group is an active member.