Health, Safety and Environment
ABB is committed to achieving excellence in health, safety and environment (HSE). The health and safety of those affected by our activities – particularly our employees, contractors and customers – is a top priority for ABB, and we have worked for many years to manage and reduce the environmental impacts of our own operations. We seek to achieve these objectives through strategic, Group-led programs and business-specific initiatives.
An organizational transformation – from vision to reality
In 2017, we initiated a transformation process to strengthen line accountability and ensure that line managers and country managing directors have appropriate expertise and effective tools and processes to support their leadership of HSE.
Formal Country Sustainability Boards have been established to uphold good governance and assure compliance with local legislation, and ABB’s standards and customer expectations. Meanwhile, we developed a comprehensive group management information system to ensure data accuracy and consistency and to maintain common goals, terminology and standards across ABB. Standardized purchasing processes have also been implemented, and the supplier base has been optimized.
Next, we will focus on closing the gaps in our target operating model by rolling out a competency development program, and standardizing improvement programs and processes.
The importance of safety
While our total recordable incident rates continued to improve in 2017, we recognize that even a single incident is one too many. Our people are the essence of ABB – we cannot rest until we bring our incident rate down to zero and keep it there.
In 2017, we introduced the ABB Way, a group management system that updates all of our management and control standards for safety, as well as those for health, environment and security. The ABB Way is creating clear and common expectations in all our global businesses. It will be implemented across our Group over the next two years, simplifying our approach and improving our shared knowledge and understanding of HSE and sustainability requirements.
This year, we established a global audit program staffed by competent senior and local lead auditors to promote the new standards, help our businesses meet them and assess our current performance.
Our leadership consistently reinforced the message that safety is ABB’s top priority. We further developed our Safety Masterclass to ensure our leaders have the necessary information, skills and tools to promote this value on a daily basis.
We also improved our investigation processes, focusing on high-potential incidents to identify lessons learned and determine how to take action before people are injured. Our endeavors to prevent all injuries will continue.
Health and well-being
A healthy and capable workforce is created by integrating good health practices into the daily life of every employee. We seek to promote health in all aspects of our employees’ lives, both at the workplace and outside of it, through programs that recognize well-being and occupational health as interdependent, and view prevention and risk management as holding equal importance.
In 2017, the sustainability boards in each country were required to develop well-being plans that covered a number of programs and introduced smoking cessation as a cornerstone. The initiatives covered 58 percent of employees in 2017 and we have set ourselves a target to reach 70 percent of employees by 2020.
ABB also partnered in the Global Health Challenge for the first time, as employees teamed up to improve their physical fitness, work-life balance, sleeping habits and nutrition. More than 42,000 employees participated in this friendly behavioral change program.
Lastly, we launched resilience awareness training to increase employees’ capacity to confront adversity, thrive on challenges, reach their full potential and have a positive influence on those around them. This training, delivered to 85 percent of all senior managers, was designed to be disseminated throughout the rest of the organization.
Protecting the environment
ABB remains focused on reducing its environmental footprint. We are working continually to use energy more efficiently and cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across all our operations.
To this end, all our sites are required to identify and undertake energy-efficiency measures. In 2017, we introduced a quarterly KPI at 300 of our manufacturing and office sites to track the progress of our energy-saving programs. These sites represent more than 95 percent of ABB’s total energy use. More than 260 energy saving projects are underway at ABB, contributing to our 2.3 percent energy reduction in 2017.
We have also cut GHG emissions by reducing direct fuel consumption, converting to lower-carbon sources of energy, and improving our handling of sulfur hexafluoride gas. ABB’s GHG emissions (Scope 1 and 2) have decreased by 33 percent since 2013*.
ABB’s target is to reduce the amount of waste sent to final disposal by 20 percent by 2020, from a 2013 baseline. We have already achieved a 15 percent reduction and cut the total amount of waste generated by 12 percent.
In addition, we have strengthened efforts to control and reduce the use of hazardous substances in our operations. In 2017, new training programs were launched, and a global cross-functional team was established to keep better track of chemicals used by ABB.
* This 33 percent reduction includes a methodology change in how we calculate emissions from our vehicle fleet.