About This Report

Stakeholder Engagement & Materiality

G4-24, G4-25 ▾

Southwire regularly engages the following stakeholder groups: customers, suppliers, shareholders and board members, regulators, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community members and Southwire employees. We identify stakeholders through interviews with executive leadership, the Southwire environmental leadership committee, the sustainability committee of the Southwire board of directors, and through various other employee interviews. We select stakeholders based on their knowledge and understanding of Southwire’s overall operations, industry positions, regulatory history and community involvement.

G4-26 ▾

Internal Stakeholders

Stakeholder engagement—a business imperative for Southwire—occurs in many ways. We invest in a number of mechanisms to engage our employees:

  • Employee Engagement Survey. Independently administered every 18 months, this voluntary survey delivers a better understanding of our employees’ wants and needs, allowing periodic adjustments to management systems and approaches.
  • Semi-annual Pulse Checks. Administered internally at our manufacturing and service center facilities, these surveys provide status updates on the four lowest-scoring categories in our most recent employee engagement survey.
  • Monthly Sounding Board Meetings. We randomly invite employees to have dinner with Southwire executives—including our chief executive officer, chief operating officer, executive vice president of human resources and other key leaders in the organization—to discuss emerging thoughts, ideas and concerns about how the company is operating.
  • Just Ask. Via online access, paper drop box or call in, employees have the ability to ask questions and/or offer thoughts and suggestions concerning Southwire policies, procedures or practices, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Operational Perfection at Southwire (OPS). This program drives total employee involvement in operational excellence in manufacturing. Through OPS, employees participate regularly in teaming activities that engage them to identify problems and implement solutions that improve our operations.

Learn more about our employee engagement programs.

External Stakeholders

Southwire’s external stakeholder engagement centers on extensive employee involvement and membership in industry organizations and associations as well as various civic, environmental, health and safety organizations across our geographic footprint. Other key external stakeholder engagement opportunities include interactions with customers, suppliers and community members in the following ways:

  • Customer Engagement. We regularly engage our customers through mechanisms such as satisfaction surveys, user forums, trade shows, scorecard reviews and site visits. These interactions help us better align our products and services to meet customer needs.
  • Supplier Relationships. Southwire also regularly engages our suppliers through sustainability surveys, on-site audits and meetings to best understand the risks and opportunities present throughout our value chain.
  • Community Advisory Panel. In Carrollton, Georgia, a core manufacturing site and the location of our corporate headquarters, we garner input from a community advisory panel comprised of key community leaders from a variety of organizations. This panel includes five members from a cross-section of the community who gather to discuss potential partnership opportunities or issues that may pertain to Southwire and our impact on the community.
  • Community Update Meeting. Each year, Southwire’s chief executive officer hosts a luncheon, inviting over 100 community and business leaders in the Carrollton, Georgia area, to discuss the company’s performance, future plans and community impact. This meeting enables the open exchange of questions, answers, thoughts and ideas between community and Southwire leaders.
G4-18 ▾

In 2014, Southwire completed a materiality assessment to identify and prioritize our most significant sustainability topics. As part of this assessment, we conducted extensive industry research and a benchmarking analysis of competitors, customers, suppliers and aspirational peers. We engaged internal and external stakeholders through interviews and surveys to determine the significance of material topics and recommendations for managing sustainability. We then synthesized our findings to identify Southwire’s most material sustainability topics.

As part of our stakeholder engagement for the materiality assessment, we interviewed the following groups:

Internal External
  • Senior Leaders (8)
  • Southwire Board Sustainability Committee (4)
  • Customers (4)
  • Community Members (5)
  • Regulator (1)
  • Industry Specialist (1)

Additionally, we launched two versions of a materiality survey—one for employees and the other for external stakeholders. We sent out 207 internal requests and 137 external requests. Our response rates were high—68 percent internal and 46 percent external—with responses from the following groups:

  • Employees (141)
  • Customers (20)
  • Suppliers (36)
  • Government Officials (7)

Through the materiality assessment process, we identified 22 sustainability topics for consideration. By charting their significance to internal and external stakeholders, we ultimately determined 14 of these topics to be material for Southwire. As a result of developing this report, we decided to combine the two supply chain topics—Sustainable Supply Chain and Supplier Relations—for a more holistic and effective management approach. The remaining 13 topics constitute the foundation of our 2014 and 2015 sustainability reports. We will continue to monitor and communicate our progress on these topics in future reporting.

G4-27 ▾

During Southwire’s materiality assessment interviews, our stakeholders shared comments, feedback and insights about our business. The key topics and concerns raised by the following stakeholders included:

  • Customers. As customers continue to place more resources in creating a sustainable supply chain, Southwire should engage and build relationships with sustainable suppliers, enact a supplier code of conduct, audit key suppliers and identify potential conflict minerals in the supply chain. Customers also would like Southwire to forge strategic partnerships with industry associations and customers to drive sustainability in the wire and cable industry.
  • Community Advisory Board. Southwire should focus on the most challenging production issues, such as energy, water quality and water usage. The Community Advisory Board also believes Southwire’s programs such as 12 for Life, the Southwire Engineering Academy (SWEA) and the Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program strengthen the community by improving the skills and knowledge of individuals entering the local job market.
  • Industry Associations. Southwire should analyze its environmental footprint, including supply chain, greenhouse gas emissions, water use and energy use. Additionally, the company should continue to support its community commitment through time and talent.
  • Southwire Leadership. The executive team and committees identified waste as the most significant environmental issue for the company. Additional topics raised included product innovation, employee health and well-being, and the need to strengthen supply chain management.
  • All stakeholders mentioned that Southwire needs to be more transparent about the work the company is doing and the environmental, social and governance metrics the company tracks.

Through this stakeholder engagement process, Southwire has developed and refined our Sustainability Scorecard with goals and metrics to help manage our material topics, and committed to developing this GRI G4 Core report to share our progress in these important areas.


Materiality and Boundary

G4-19, G4-20, G4-21 ▾

Material Topics

We have organized our 13 material topics, shown at the top right of the matrix, in alignment with the five pillars of our corporate sustainability vision. Please see the Materiality Matrix below for the boundary associated with each material topic.

Building Worth
  1. Technology & Innovation
  2. Product Responsibility
  3. Sustainable Supply Chain
  4. Industry Partnerships
Giving Back
  1. Communities
  2. Charitable Partnerships & Donations
  3. Employee Volunteerism
Growing Green
  1. Energy Usage
  2. Waste
  3. Water Quality
  4. Environmental Remediation
  5. Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)
  6. Water Usage
  7. Emissions
  8. Global Climate Change
Living Well
  1. Workplace Safety & Health
  2. Employee Wellness
  3. Employee Engagement
  4. Talent Acquisition & Development
  5. Inclusion
Doing Right
  1. Ethics & Transparency
Southwire_Materiality_Matrix
Building Worth
  1. Technology & Innovation
    Investing resources in sustainable product innovation.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire; Outside – Customers
  2. Product Responsibility
    Prioritizing sustainable attributes in products and packaging; minimizing or eliminating the use of materials with negative health impacts and maximizing reuse of materials at end of life.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire; Outside – Customers; Contractors
  3. Sustainable Supply Chain
    Sustainable sourcing and the procurement of sustainable materials for Southwire’s products and processes; includes communicating Southwire’s sustainability goals with suppliers and setting clear expectations on sustainability performance through assessments and policies.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire; Outside – Suppliers (North America, South America and Asia)
  4. Industry Partnerships
    Partnering to improve access and sustainability of products and services in the industry.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire; Outside – Industry Organizations (United States); Customers
Growing Green
  1. Energy Usage
    Reducing energy intensity and increasing use of alternative and renewable sources.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire; Outside – Customers; Suppliers (North America, South America and Asia)
  2. Waste
    Reducing the amount of waste to landfill and increasing responsible waste management.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire; Outside – Customers; Contractors
  3. Water Quality
    Reducing the release of chemical and physical contaminants into bodies of water such as rivers, streams and lakes.
  4. Environmental Remediation
    Transparency and responsibility with regards to environmental remediation and maintaining remediated sites.
  5. Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)
    Assessing the environmental impact of products while providing buyers/customers with an effective framework for making direct product comparisons.
  6. Water Usage
    Reducing the total water withdrawn and being responsible about the impact on water sources. Using recycled and lower quality water whenever possible.
  7. Emissions
    Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fine particulate matter released into the air and toxic air emissions. Includes emissions as a result of transportation (of product and workforce).
  8. Global Climate Change
    Being an active and constructive participant on this issue, including effective pricing signals to accelerate energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy deployment, and cross-economy GHG emission reductions.
Living Well
  1. Workplace Safety & Health
    Providing a safe working environment for our employees and contractors through the elimination of hazards and the implementation of safety training, procedures and equipment.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire; Outside – Southwire Contractors
  2. Employee Wellness
    Making resources available to promote the health and well-being of employees.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire
  3. Employee Engagement
    Promoting a positive and unified culture by encouraging open communication, collaboration and employee ownership of initiatives and social programs.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire
  4. Talent Acquisition & Development
    Attracting talent through Southwire’s website, sustainability program, competitive benefits and general outreach; providing employees with opportunities to advance their skills, experience and career through training, personal development programs and plans, coaching and more.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire; Outside – Educational Institutions where Southwire has recruiting efforts
  5. Inclusion
    Creating an environment among Southwire’s board and employee population where individuals from diverse backgrounds (ethnic, cultural, generational, economic, etc.) feel included and comfortable expressing varied thoughts and perspectives.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire; Outside – Suppliers (United States); Educational Institutions where Southwire has diversity initiatives
Giving Back
  1. Communities
    Providing meaningful dialogue and engagement, employment and prosperity in the communities in which Southwire operates.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire; Outside – Municipalities where Southwire operates; Educational Institutions where Southwire has partnerships (Carroll County, Georgia and Lauderdale County, Alabama)
  2. Charitable Partnerships & Donations
    Leveraging Southwire’s resources and expertise to create a positive societal impact through partnerships and programs to provide education, products and services to those in need.
  3. Employee Volunteerism
    Fostering opportunities for Southwire employees to “give back” through community involvement, skills-based volunteerism and monetary giving/match programs, while providing a structure for measuring the ROI of these efforts.
Doing Right
  1. Ethics & Transparency
    Ensuring education and policies are in place to promote ethical behavior, as well as the means to safely and anonymously report transgressions; reporting company performance accurately, including challenges and opportunities for improvement.
    Boundary: Inside – Southwire; Outside – General Public