Social responsibility

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A safe environment for our employees and neighbors at all locations is a first priority for Exel Composites.

Exel Composites has an important social role as a local employer and supporter of regional vitality.

Responsible employer - General human resources management

Talent management and Exel as an inspiring and fulfilling workplace

Human resources at Exel Composites focuses on individual and team performance, employee development, increased personal engagement and retention, as well as improved attractiveness as an employer. Human resources are managed through the company’s corporate values, Code of Conduct, the HR policy and the people strategy.

Talent management

The main components of Exel Composites’ talent management include recruitment, on-boarding, performance management and appraisal, succession planning as well as exit processes.

The annual Performance Development Review (PDR) process enables employees together with their manager to identify areas of their professional development. The development of the PDR process continued in 2020, focusing especially on blue-collar employees. A pilot project was initiated in Finland in connection to this.

Technology leadership creates competitive advantage for Exel, and maintaining and developing employees’ expertise is critical especially within R&D. In 2020, an initiative was kicked off to map out and secure key R&D competences required to achieve Exel’s strategic targets. A similar analysis is planned also across other functions.

Professional development in Exel follows a 70-20-10 model where most of the learning is in-house on the job, 20% is through Professional development in Exel follows a 70-20-10 model where most of the learning is in-house on the job, 20% is through role exchange and mentoring, and 10% is learning through external training programs. In 2020, many of the training programs were organized online due to Covid-19 pandemic related travel restrictions. In this manner, Group-wide trainings such as the “My role in OneExel” program nevertheless took place as planned. This two-year program was introduced to deepen the collaboration between R&D and sales teams in their dialogue with the customer. In 2020, all managers in Finland also participated in a leadership training.

exchange and mentoring, and 10% is learning through external training programs. In 2020, many of the training programs were organized online due to Covid-19 pandemic related travel restrictions. In this manner, Group-wide trainings such as the “My role in OneExel”-program took nevertheless place as planned. This two-year program was introduced to deepen the collaboration between R&D and sales teams in their dialogue with the customer. In 2020, all managers in Finland also participated in a leadership training.

Employee development and good on-boarding processes to new employees play a key role in employee retention. The development of on-boarding processes across the Group continued in 2020 with special focus on blue collars. The work included the introduction of buddy programs and detailed process descriptions regarding safety topics. The ambition is to have unified on-boarding processes with common elements Group-wide.

Exel as an inspiring and fulfilling workplace

Exel Composites aims to be an inspiring and fulfilling workplace for its employees. In 2020, Exel Composites conducted an employee satisfaction survey in the business unit in Finland, which represents a third of all Group employees. The purpose was to understand employees’ views concerning Exel as an employer, communication within the company and employee satisfaction in general. The implementation of the action points based on the results started in 2020 and continues in 2021 both in Finland and elsewhere in the Group. The employee satisfaction survey is planned to be conducted also in the remaining Group locations.

Exel Composites’ has an important social role as a local employer and supporter of regional vitality as most of the Group’s manufacturing units are located in small towns. Exel supports local communities for example through small donations to local associations and non-political activities. In 2020, the Joensuu unit in Finland donated old floorball sticks to a local school and collaborated with a local foundation for disabled persons. Through this collaboration a group of disabled persons in rehabilitation were given the assembly of some 60,000 Exel manufactured broom shafts. In return they received a monetary contribution to their recreational activities.

Exel also cooperates with local universities and chambers of commerce, among others, to increase awareness of Exel as a company and as an attractive employer as well as of the composites industry in general. The new manufacturing site in Kapfenberg, Austria, is an important investment and opportunity also for the local community. In 2020, Exel continued its cooperation with universities, research institutes and technology centers in Finland, Belgium, Italy, UK and Austria.

In 2020, Exel Composites updated its visual brand identity, which can be seen for example in the new corporate website. Along the entirely new facility in Austria, also other Group locations received facelifts and interior design elements were incorporated in the spirit of the Circular Economy initiative.

2020

2019

2018

Number of employees, on average 665 660 647
Number of employees, end of period 674 648 675
Employees’ age, average 43 43 44
Employees with permanent contract, % 97.5 98.8 97.1
Employees with temporary contract, % 2.5 1.2 2.9
Number of years at Exel, average 8.4 8.0 8.8
Employee turnover, % 18.9 25.6 20.4
Male/ female, % 79.3 / 20.7 80.0 / 20.0 78.0 / 22.0
Top management (Board of Directors, Group Management Team), male/female, % 76.9 / 23.1 76.9 / 23.1 83.3 / 16.7

Diversity and non-discrimination

Fair and respectful treatment of all

Exel Composites’ corporate values and Code of Conduct state that everybody shall be treated with fairness, respect and dignity in the workplace and beyond by management and fellow employees. Exel follows a zero tolerance policy for discrimination. All employees are expected to report any discriminant behavior or other Code of Conduct violations using for example the “Report misconduct” channel.

Diversity is encouraged and respected in the work place, all recruiting decisions as well as in the composition of the company’s Board of Directors. The shareholders’ Nomination Board follows the company’s principles of diversity in making their proposal to the Annual General Meeting regarding members to Exel Composites’ Board of Directors, paying attention to the members’ expertise, know-how and viewpoint as well as age and gender. The tasks of the Nomination Board include the annual revision and suggestion of changes, if necessary, to the principles of diversity of the Board of Director.

Health and safety

Safe environment through focus on preventive actions, training, air quality and chemical safety

The health and safety of our employees, customers and business partners is a priority for Exel Composites. The health and safety issues are an integral part of responsible management, and all the sites of the Group have a safety organization with defined responsibilities. It is important for Exel that health and safety issues are taken care of together with the employees, monitored and developed.

The management of health and safety issues is based on identified risks and guided through the global Quality, Environmental, Health and Safety (QEHS) Policy, the company’s Chemical Policy, as well as the ISO 45001 and ISO 26000 standards.

Our response in relation to Covid-19 pandemic

The health and safety of our employees, customers and business partners is a priority for Exel Composites. Across the Group, strict safety and hygiene instructions were implemented early in the year in accordance with the instructions of local health authorities in order to stop the spreading of the Covid-19 pandemic. Online meetings and remote work were preferred, whenever possible. On site measures included keeping safety distances, use of facial masks, body temperature controls, and re-organization of shifts to ensure business continuity in case of infections or quarantines. International travelling, travelling between sites as well as customer visits required management permission and were limited to minimum. External visits to sites were also reduced to minimum. Continuous internal communication on Covid-19 related concerns was emphasized through a variety of channels. Situation updates, safety measures, and best practices were continuously monitored at top management level and between units.

Many of our manufacturing units are located far from densely populated areas, which has reduced the impact of the pandemic on the company. During the year, several employees within our organization have been in official or preventive quarantines, yet there were only a few confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Group.

Given the continued uncertainty related to the Covid-19 pandemic, close monitoring of the situation continues a priority for us.

Safety KPI’s

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

Lost time injuries, LTI 1) 8.1 10.8 16.9 20.1 31.3
Reports on unsafe conditions 976.0 1,175.0 996.0 890.0 1,063.0

1) Number of accidents per million hours worked

Accident prevention and communication

The core of Exel Composites’ health and safety efforts lies on preventive measures and regular safety trainings as well as reporting based on active risk assessments as well as internal and external evaluations.

Reducing lost time injuries (LTI) was in 2020, as in the past years, a focus area. LTI is one of the main key performance indicators used for monitoring health and safety issues. Every LTI is inspected and reported to the top management as well as other units to ensure the lessons learned are used to prevent accidents elsewhere. Near-miss and unsafe condition reporting is used for accident prevention in all factories. In potential accident situations, immediate corrective and protective actions are always done in cooperation with local authorities to minimize harm or danger to the environment or people. Internal LTI targets are always set to be challenging. In 2020, the accident rate continued to improve year on year, and we reached an all-time low. Our unit in the United States celebrated two years with no LTI and also in Belgium, Austria and in one of our Chinese units there were no accidents in 2020.

In 2020, monthly safety audits, daily safety patrols as well as regular internal and external safety inspections at the facilities were carried out across the Group’s production units. In addition to Covid-19 related measures, continuous health and safety improvements were made during the year. These included for example investments in equipment, better cleanliness and order in production areas, improved lighting, more safety instructions, etc. In Finland, lifting methods and equipment were reviewed and replaced to ensure even safer operation. In Austria, new safety containers for safe chemical storing were taken into use with shorter and thus safer handling distances. All local Health & Safety Committees continued their active work with safety topics, preventive wellness and employee wellbeing.

Regular safety awareness, training for all employees and communication across all units continued during the year as part of normal operations. In addition to hygiene and safety instructions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, other regular training topics included fire drills, fire extinguishing, monitoring of breathing air quality, first aid, evacuation, working with dangerous chemicals and communication in accident situations. All new employees are trained on the first day as part of their on-boarding process. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the trainings were provided online or in a video format. In the business unit in the United States, a regular E-Safety training program was implemented for all existing and new team members, including safety information related to the pandemic. All employees and visitors alike are provided with safety instructions and appropriate safety gear whenever in factory premises.

Air quality and chemical safety

A variety of chemicals are used at Exel Composites in the production process, which are strictly controlled by a Group-wide Chemical Policy. More than half of the employees are in daily contact with dangerous or flammable chemicals in their work. The main occupational health and safety risks relate to the possibility of fire or health problems due to allergies or long-term exposure.

The chemical handling processes and personal protection equipment at Exel are designed and allowed for chemicals that are non-toxic, non-carcinogenic and non-mutagenic chemicals only. The Group is continuously vigilant about updates in listings of chemical Substances of Very High Concern, such as in the REACH and RoHS declarations, in order to ensure it stays ahead of regulations. In addition, the use of less hazardous substitutes is proactively researched. In Austria, for example, a suitability study was initiated in 2020 in order to substitute a used hydrogen peroxide by a less-hazardous material.

The manufacturing of composites with generally available raw materials also entails emitting volatile organic compounds (VOC). Exel regularly monitors and conducts tests on its VOC emissions, such as styrene, and invests in reducing them in order to always be within the permitted levels as required by local legislation and regulations. Monitoring air quality and VOC emissions as well as efficient ventilation in all sites is an important part of health and safety. In the new Austrian manufacturing facility, efficient styrene and dust extraction systems, among others, ensure improved performance and less emissions.

Employees use regularly inspected safety gear including safety shoes, a uniform with chemical resistant gloves, ear and eye protection, as well as respiratory protection as necessary. Employees’ health is also monitored through regular medical checks. Styrene exposure is monitored through mandelic acid tests based on urine samples. Necessary measures are taken if any high or increased levels are found. Reviewing personal working methods and ensuring appropriate use of personal protective equipment is usually enough as a corrective measure. Also, other actions such as smaller resin baths have been seen to decrease styrene emissions.

Exel’s suppliers too are required to commit to safety and to taking all necessary steps in their operations in order to avoid damage to people or the environment. Suppliers receive the Supplier Code of Conduct as part of their agreement with Exel.

Human rights in own operations and supply

Support and respect for human rights

Exel Composites’ corporate values and Code of Conduct state that the company supports and respects the protection of human rights in all its operations, including its supply chain, and follows global human and labor rights conventions. No form of forced or child labor is tolerated in the Group, nor from any of its business partners or third parties associated with the Group.

New employees get familiarized with Exel’s Code of Conduct already during the recruitment process and agree to it as part of their employment contract. Employees are encouraged to report any human rights or other Code of Conduct violations using for example the “Report misconduct” channel.

The majority of Exel’s own manufacturing units are located in countries where the risk for human rights violations is generally considered low. The possible risks in relation to these are mitigated through dedicated local supply chain organizations as well as through regular group management members’ visits and reviews.

The Group sources components and materials for its manufacturing processes from multiple sources and multiple countries. Most of the company’s supply chain is composed of large, international manufacturers or their distributors that often have established processes and high sustainability standards and therefore are considered low risk in relation to human rights violations. These suppliers and manufacturers are systematically audited also by several other customers than Exel, as well as other stakeholders. All suppliers are chosen with care and based on objective factors such as quality, reliability, delivery and price, in addition to ethical standards and sustainability.

Exel Composites has a Supplier Code of Conduct which has the purpose of confirming that suppliers comply with Exel’s requirements regarding human rights and other Code of Conduct topics, appropriate legislation and regulations, including chemical safety.

Exel Composites conducts supplier audits primarily through factory visits where an initial self-assessment is verified. The audit topics include human rights, employee health and safety, monitoring of dangerous particles, among others. Audited suppliers are selected based on purchase volume, the criticality of the supplier as well as its location. In case of violations action is taken either to allow time for corrective action or to terminate the relationship. In 2020, a total of nine key suppliers were audited on a global level resulting in some minor feedback items to be followed up. Due to the travel restrictions in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, the audits were conducted mostly online and using verification methods not requiring travel.

There were no reported human rights violations in Exel’s own operations or within the company’s supply chain in 2020.