As a global Group with strong regional business operations, we act according to the principle “think global – act local”. Our business operations also create added value for the communities at our locations across the world. Beyond our business activities, we are also committed to protecting the environment and promoting social progress.

Good cooperative relationships with the communities in the areas where we are active are indispensable for our business operations and one of the keys to our business success. In these areas, we establish business contacts, capitalise on local know-how, and maintain a dialogue with our neighbours. By making this voluntary commitment to society, we strengthen the exchange of ideas and achieve long-term socio-economical added value for local communities.


Being a good neighbour” means tying the knot between business and social development. This creates win-win situations for HeidelbergCement and local communities. 

Tobias Hartmann, CSR-Manager


We have made an explicit commitment to social responsibility in the Leadership Principles adopted by our Managing Board. Taking social responsibility and maintaining good relationships with our stakeholders are therefore management tasks. Together with the site managers, all country managers are responsible for these tasks in their respective countries. This also includes analysing local requirements as well as selecting, implementing, and monitoring charitable projects. Given the decentralised nature of these responsibilities, it is not possible at present to make a statement as to the financial scope of this Group-wide social involvement.

Funding

Funding decisions for individual countries and locations are made at a local level by the country managers within their budgetary framework. The financial dimension of social engagement across the Group is around €10 million per year, broken down as follows:

 

Community Investment

Donations

Sponsoring

2020

60%

28%

12%

 

Monetary Donations

In-kind Donations

 

2020

73%

27%

 
Community Engagement Plans
Introduction

Our license to operate largely depends on the good and trusting relationship with our local stakeholders. Therefore, as part of our Sustainability Commitments 2030 and in line with our commitment of “being a good neighbour”, HeidelbergCement has set itself the goal to have “Community Engagement Plans” that include tools and strategies for engaging regularly with local key stakeholders for all sites by 2023.

The Group supports the country management, who ultimately are responsible for stakeholder management on a local level, in achieving these goals.

Community engagement plan

We consider a CEP best practice to structure and sustain our engagement with local stakeholders. It should be used to understand the actual situation, potential risks and opportunities and instruments to maintain a trusting relationship with the communities we are operating in. The steps described below are part of an internal guidance.

Stakeholder identification

It is essential to understand and describe the status quo of the operations. Key stakeholders, key issues and existing community engagement should be described here. To understand the issues that are key to the local communities it is first necessary to obtain an overview of the most important stakeholders. These stakeholders can be locals who are directly or indirectly affected by our operations or their interest may be impacted. Consequently, the engagement needs to be tailored to take the different types of impacts into account.

There are several approaches to developing a representative list of stakeholders. Communities directly adjacent to our sites should be considered a priority. Such local communities can be affected in various ways: potential effects of air and water emissions, on and off-site transportation or the socio-economic effects of job creation throughout the supply chain. It is important to keep in mind that the situation is dynamic. Stakeholders and their interests can change over time, both in terms of relevance to the project and the need to actively engage them at various stages. Not all stakeholders in a group or sub-group will necessarily share the same concerns or have unified opinions or priorities. This requires prioritizing the stakeholders and, depending on who they are and what interests they might have, determining the most appropriate ways to engage with them. Regularly updating the list of key stakeholders will allow the operations to manage relationships according to their needs, degree of influence, level of interest etc.

Method of engagement

Depending on the objective of engagement, the respective stakeholder group and the issue at hand, different options of engagement are available as outlined in the table below (1). 

Objective

Tool

Purpose

Sharing information

  • Public displays, briefings, information sessions and public meetings
  • Impromptu discussions and informal conversations
  • Open days and site visits
  • Contact points (for example, hotlines, websites, shopfronts)
  • Websites, direct mail/email/SMS, fact sheets, newsletters and webinars
  • Identifying affected and interested people, groups, organisations and communities
  • Helping people to understand the proposal and the social impact assessment
  • Addressing questions, concerns and complaints
  • Demonstrating early engagement

Consulting to collect information and insights

  • Surveys and interviews Community Consultative Committee, or
  • community liaison and advisory groups
  • Online forums
  • Social media
  • Identifying and predicting social impacts
  • Collecting data, evidence and insights
  • Demonstrating early engagement
  • Confirming data, assumptions and findings
  • Involving marginalised groups

Collaborating in decision-making

  • Workshops and focus groups
  • Deliberative forums/workshops
  • Citizen panels
  • Collaborating in the design of project elements
  • Identifying and predicting social impacts
  • Collaborating in the development of monitoring, mitigation and management measures and actions
  • Involving marginalised groups

In choosing the method it is necessary to keep the capacities of the stakeholder group in mind and to make engagement with HeidelbergCement as easy as possible. At the same time, engagement cannot be forced upon the stakeholder groups, therefore risks such as participation fatigue must to be considered. 

Monitoring & Reporting

Measuring and evaluating the impacts of community engagement will help us to determine the extent to which the engagement is helping to shape the company’s relationship with the communities and the results should be clearly communicated. To facilitate the dissemination of best practices we have set up suitable structures to exchange learnings between operations.

(1) New South Wales Department of Planning – Social impact assessment guideline (2017)

Employees of Ciments du Maroc organised activities as part of the “Clean Beaches” campaign on the beach of Safi, Morocco.

Corporate Citizenship

We involve local communities in our business activities, for example through various dialogue formats, as well as through local community engagement plans and councils. This also includes long-term partnerships with local non-governmental organisations. Moreover, we keep the communities at our locations informed via newsletters or at open days. The Group Handbook for Community Relationship Management is a useful source of design and implementation strategies for dialogue formats, partnerships, and charitable commitments.

In addition, the Group-wide Corporate Citizenship Policy defines the general criteria and objectives related to our social responsibility. There are three areas of focus in which our core competences enable us to make a particularly strong contribution and achieve noticeable improvements:

  • Building, architecture, and infrastructure: we provide practical help in construction projects by providing products, financial means, time, and expertise.
  • Environment, climate, and biodiversity: we support initiatives that address the most significant environmental impacts associated with our business operations.
  • Education, training, and culture: in this area, we are guided by the specific needs of our locations.

Social engagement at our locations

We have also defined evaluation criteria in order to ensure that our activities are both transparent and effective. We support projects, initiatives, and organisations that are active at our locations or to which we have a direct link. We attach great importance to ensuring that the guidelines and principles of these organisations align with our own corporate philosophy.

“Being a good neighbour” is also one of the goals we published in 2017 as part of our Sustainability Commitments 2030. That is why we aim to make our social responsibility more strategically oriented in the future. This will be based on transparency and efficiency when identifying relevant topics, selecting and carrying out suitable projects, and assessing the contribution made after the completion of a project.

As part of the Sustainability Commitments 2030, we set the following concrete goals that will allow us to measure the quality of our relationships with the communities at our locations:

  • Creation of an annual community engagement plan for every location
  • One hour of voluntary charitable work per full-time employee per year (60,000 hours)

We are currently developing a management and reporting system for this area so that in the future we will be able to record relevant measures, progress, and performance indicators more effectively.