An Evolution to Being More Purpose Driven

In 2018, West conducted our first materiality assessment to gain insight into which ESG topics were the most top-of-mind for our stakeholders. Through a survey of relevant internal stakeholders and customers, we were able to analyze the issues most relevant to our business growth and customers’ goals. To achieve this, we asked respondents when taking the survey to assign value with relevance to the company in mind, as opposed to which were the greatest issues facing the world. 

In 2020, we repeated this process to assess how the ESG landscape had shifted in the past few years.  The 2020 materiality assessment results showed that both internal and external stakeholders remained mostly in agreement with the overall importance of the listed material issues to West’s operations.

Conducting this thorough analysis has helped drive our ESG strategy, better identify where to focus our internal resources, and set the current 2019 – 2023 5-year goals that we are striving to achieve.
The data from the 2020 assessment provided us  with 44 material topics. While each of these topics are important to West, it has become evident that we  are not able to make a significant impact on this many topics without focusing on the most important. 

Therefore, in 2021 we assembled a cross-functional ESG Steering Committee, with the goal of identifying what our long-term ESG strategy should look like. An important outcome of this Committee is to set achievable goals and focus areas within that strategy where we know we’ll be able to make a larger impact  in a shorter amount of time. 

The Committee assessed the 44 topics, using the processes of risk assessment, opportunity analysis, leadership maturity model, and cost/benefit analysis. They looked at each of these topics through the lens of our key guiding principles, which include Customers, Philanthropy, Quality, Safety, Senior Leadership and Transparency.

Out of this assessment, and using these guiding principles, the Committee came up with the priority topics where they feel we should focus most of our  efforts, and where we can have the greatest impact  over the next 3 – 5 years. 

While we will continue to strive towards achieving our current 2023 goals, we will also be working to build our longer-term ESG strategy and goals, based on these newly identified priorities. The Committee also underscored the importance of moving from a bolt-on ESG strategy, to one that is fully integrated into our business processes and corporate strategy, and aligned with our Mission, Vision and Values. 

As we approach our 100-year anniversary in 2023, we realize that we must continue to evolve our ESG strategy and be ambitious, innovative leaders in this area — enabling West to provide a better world for future generations, and look forward to our next 100 years in business.

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