Creating Shared Value
Southwire focuses on creating shared value—enhancing our competitiveness while improving the economic and social conditions in the communities where we operate. Through Giving Back opportunities, Southwire seeks to positively affect the communities where we operate; to give time and talent above and beyond financial contributions; and to benefit our customers’ communities where we can. In doing so, we also build goodwill.
Southwire engages with and supports our local communities in a variety of ways. We strategically focus our community efforts on supporting educational opportunities, through which Southwire enhances employment prospects for community residents while identifying a future talent pool for our company.
12 for Life®
Prior to 2007, the opening year of our signature 12 for Life® program, Carroll County’s high school graduation rate hovered at 64 percent, meaning one of three students starting the first grade that year would not go on to graduate from high school. Since Southwire’s employment opportunities require candidates with either a diploma or GED, Southwire devised strategies to reverse this trend in collaboration with Carroll County schools. This partnership spawned our award-winning 12 for Life® program.
This program serves the community by providing opportunity, education and employment for at-risk youth, emphasizing that education opens doors to success. The 12 for Life® program combines traditional classroom instruction with jobs inside a modified Southwire manufacturing environment. Students earn wages for their work and, most importantly, learn skills they will need after graduation. We are pleased to report that the graduation rate in Carroll County was 85.7 percent in 2017.
Since the program’s inception, our partnership expanded to include the Florence City Schools in Alabama, and other companies have replicated the 12 for Life® program model. For example, Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. collaborated with the Richmond County School System on the Reaching Potential Through Manufacturing (RPM) program. The state of Georgia and the White House also adopted 12 for Life® as a model for increasing graduation rates. To learn more visit www.12forlife.com.
12 for Life Graduates (cumulative total)
2021 Sustainability Goal & Targets
We see additional strategic opportunity for Southwire and our employees in developing a signature environmental program. Therefore, in 2016, we set a new 2021 goal to engage with our communities on environmental issues. This 2017 sustainability report provides our initial update on our progress toward this goal.
Today, limited community involvement exists in the areas of environmental stewardship and awareness. Southwire is currently working to develop a signature program, with supporting strategy and timeline, to accomplish the following: engage employees at work and within the community; target areas of community impact; and integrate environmental stewardship into our interactions with the community.
2021 SUSTAINABILITY GOALS & TARGETS
|TARGET||2016 BASELINE||2017 STATUS|
|Launch environmental outreach programs in 100% of the communities in which we operate||4% of communities||4% of communities|
Project GIFT® (Giving Inspiration for Tomorrow)
Southwire’s employee volunteer program, Project GIFT®, celebrated its twelfth anniversary in October 2017. This program, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, serves as the umbrella program for many of Southwire’s charitable- and service-related initiatives, such as disaster relief, Toys for Tots and Back to School.
In 2017, Southwire had 24 Giving Back coordinators who volunteer to lead and organize events across our locations in addition to their full-time role. These passionate coordinators make it possible for Southwire employees to engage in Project GIFT®.
Employees become “Blackshirts”—named for the coveted shirts they earn—by volunteering in two or more community service events per year. Southwire aims to increase volunteerism in the communities where we operate by achieving 50 percent improvement in Project GIFT® Blackshirt participation across Southwire by year-end 2018. We use internal channels as well as social media to connect volunteers and update those interested in Southwire’s giving efforts. We exceeded our 2018 target, with 962 Project GIFT® Blackshirts volunteering 11,992 hours across our communities in 2017.
Southwire provides tremendous aid when it comes to Disaster Relief and reviving our communities across the country, including five natural disasters in 2017—Adel Tornadoes (Georgia), Hurricane Harvey (Texas), Hurricane Irma (Florida), Hurricane Maria (Puerto Rico) and the California Wildfires (Northern California). A total of 14 different Giving Back Communities assisted in the relief effort through hosting community or facility collections to gather much-needed relief supplies that were distributed in some of the hardest hit areas. With 412 volunteers working 1,451 hours of relief service, Southwire filled 28 fifty-three-foot tractor-trailers with relief items, including nonperishable food, hygiene items, cleaning suppliers, paper goods, baby and pet items, bottled water and more. To learn more, watch Southwire’s video.
Back to School
We reached our goal of hosting Back to School events in all 24 of Southwire’s identified communities in North America a year earlier than planned. Together, we distributed more than 22,000 bags of school supplies for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Additionally, some locations provided free eye and allergy screenings. Some community members traveled almost 50 miles to participate in our programs.
Back-to-School Event Locations
Toys for Tots
To brighten the holidays, Southwire collects toys each year for local Toys for Tots chapters. Through the program, we collected 5,610 toys in 2017 and donated them to three different communities in Georgia, Texas, and Alabama. Project GIFT® volunteers now stage a two-day marathon drive open to the community, with a toy collection goal for each year of 5,000. Last year, with the help of our sponsors including Southwire, Associated Credit Union, Metro West Realty, Georgia Power, R&R Enterprises Inc., West Georgia Technical College, Times Georgian, Megabytes Digital, Gradick Communications and the University of West Georgia Foundation, Southwire and members of the community exceeded our goal by collecting more than 5,000 toys.