Common Ground®: an initiative of openness and dialog
Through Common Ground®, Arkema has committed to a resolutely innovative approach to building relationships between the Company, its industrial sites and their environment. Community relations through front-line communication enable the Group to open up its plants to the outside world and establish genuine relations of trust with all its stakeholders.
Launched in France in 2002, the Common Ground® program has been gradually extended across the world. It is now implemented in every country in which the Group is present.
Building lasting relationships with stakeholders
Generally speaking, the public at large tend to perceive the nuisances and risks of the chemical industry rather than the benefits it brings to everyday life.
The Common Ground® program is built on exchange and communication:
- It involves each of the Group’s facility in actions such as regular briefings on the nature of their activities, the management and control of risks, and their commitment to innovation;
- It provides concrete answers to the expectations voiced by the general public. In an attempt to correctly evaluate these expectations, the Arkema Group conducts surveys with the people living near its industrial sites.
This grass-roots communication is underpinned by three key principles:
- Listen to understand the expectations of local people,
- Dialog and inform the communities about the Group’s activities,
- Move forward together in the prevention of risk.
Explain the Group’s activities
The general public may have questions or concerns about the daily life of a chemical plant and the actual usefulness of the products it manufactures.
How does a chemical plant operate? What processes are in place to ensure the safety of the site and its surrounding area? Finally, what are the products manufactured on the site used for?
One of the main objectives of Common Ground® is to address these questions. Accordingly, the Group organizes guided tours of its industrial sites. By visiting these sites, the participants are able to discover a world that they often know little about.
Dialog between teams of operators and local people is a main feature of these guided tours. Educational initiatives are also launched. The plants organize exhibitions, trade shows and educational events. These various events illustrate the role played by chemistry and chemicals in our everyday lives: from water treatment to household hygiene, from transport to health, from construction to leisure. Chemistry is the essential ally for our everyday wellbeing.
Moving forward together in the prevention of risk
The Arkema Group works to improve safety and the protection of health and the environment. It regularly discloses indicators to the public on its operations in this area, and has committed to being transparent towards its stakeholders.
Common Ground® includes communication on procedures to be followed in the event of an incident or accident. The industrial sites systematically inform the press of any incident, however minor, at a Seveso-rated industrial facility.
The Group’s actions in this regard are structured and implemented globally under the Safety in Action label. As part of its “ever greener commitment”, the Arkema Group has included environmental protection in its management system. All its industrial sites rigorously monitor their discharges, emissions and wastes. The Group also strives to conserve natural resources: the use of water, energy and raw materials is fully optimized.