Sustainability governance

Sustainability principles and considerations are embedded in ABB’s business strategy and guide what we manufacture, how we operate the company and the way we behave towards stakeholders.

Our sustainability strategy is aligned with corporate strategy and is supported by objectives that address ABB’s activities and impacts along the value chain. Progress towards our objectives is driven through all levels of the business, from Executive Committee endorsement, through operational review and target setting in business units and countries to local training and execution at sites, supported by sustainability specialists at Group, country and local level. We rely on every employee to take responsibility to help us achieve our goal: a better world.

Sustainability policies, principles and external initiatives

We have implemented environmental, social, human rights, and health and safety policies and a Supplier Code of Conduct. These policies include references to international standards.

All ABB facilities are encouraged to implement management systems for environmental, health and safety and quality issues, while manufacturing and service locations are required to implement such systems. Globally, we have achieved external certification for environmental management systems at 418 sites and offices and for health and safety management systems at 421 locations and have made significant progress in implementing these systems at our recently-acquired operations. Read our Case study for more details

As a founder member of the United Nations Global Compact, ABB has been closely involved in its development. We have also been working to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and use the recommendations to assess expectations of corporate behavior.

Sustainability Board

Our Sustainability Board, comprising the ABB Executive Committee, oversees sustainability policies and programs, reviews developments and monitors progress towards our targets on an annual basis.

During 2015, the Sustainability Board reviewed the Group sustainability strategy and objectives and confirmed the proposed 2016 focus activities and performance metrics. The Board critically reviewed progress against targets, noted slow progress on some targets, such as energy efficiency, and requested the development of Group-level roadmaps to enable better tracking and forecasting of performance.

locations certified to ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001

Group sustainability team and global network

The ABB Sustainability Affairs organization is responsible for the development and coordination of policies and programs covering health and safety, environment, corporate responsibility and security. Sustainability Affairs reports directly to Executive Committee member and Chief Human Resources Officer, Jean-Christophe Deslarzes.

A network of sustainability specialists worldwide reports to and supports the Sustainability Affairs management team. In countries where ABB entities have or could have significant sustainability impacts, we have appointed health, safety and environment (HSE) managers and country security managers responsible for ABB’s sustainability management program and for gathering the data consolidated in this report. All regions where ABB operates have region HSE managers and corporate security managers.

The country and regional specialists are supported by local HSE officers. Overall, the sustainability network is supported by a team of some 950 employees, full-time and part-time, at headquarters and around the world.

During 2015, we completed a comprehensive workforce mapping and skills inventory to ensure that we have the right sustainability resources and structures in place to support our businesses with the implementation of the corporate Next Level strategy. We are using the results to ensure appropriate allocation of resources at different levels in our businesses and to guide the design of development programs, such as HSE leadership training.

The sustainability network operating model is now being refined to reflect the required resource allocations and the recent changes in ABB Group structure. Group sustainability instructions and standards are being adapted to reflect the organizational changes.

As part of our continuing work to strengthen the capability of our sustainability network, we also launched seven e-learning modules in 2015 covering different aspects of sustainability management.