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Beyond Being Green: H.B. Fuller’s Social Sustainability Commitment

Posted 12/08/2017 by Kimberlee Sinclair, Director, Global Communications

Sustainability once was associated exclusively with being green, but today its definition is much broader. It goes beyond minimizing the impact of products and processes on the environment and includes social aspects of sustainability commitments, such as safety, ethics and philanthropy.

While more nuanced, we believe understanding, measuring and building upon our success in these areas is just as important as maintaining a sustainable environmental impact. It’s fundamental to our philosophy of winning the right way, and it is a source of pride for our employees.

Social Sustainability Means Doing the Right Thing
Social responsibility begins with doing the right thing at all times. H.B. Fuller has a 130-year history of conducting business with integrity and innovating responsibly. We firmly believe that winning without integrity is losing.

To ensure our employees follow an ethical path, we are committed to ongoing compliance with a wide range of laws and regulations that govern our business. We also set and communicate a high ethical standard for our employees through our Code of Business Conduct and require all employees to participate in training. And when issues do arise, we make sure employees know the right path to help – their manager, their HR representative and our ethics helpline.

Safety First, Always
Workplace safety is a top priority at H.B. Fuller. Our goal is ZERO injuries because we believe firmly nothing we do is worth getting hurt for. While our injury rates are consistently below the Bureau of Labor Statistics Adhesive Industry Recordable Injury Incidence Rate of 2.5, we strive to do better. For the last five years, H.B. Fuller’s rate has been <1.0; and in 2016, it was 0.81.

With an eye toward improvement, we are always looking for ways to strengthen our safety culture. In 2016, we conducted a safety culture survey, and we are using the results to develop specific action plans. In addition, we identified a core set of safety behaviors, which we call the “9 Principles of Safety,” and we began training all leaders and employees on these principles.

Community Impact and Sustainable Commitment
Making a positive impact on our communities is deeply rooted in our history and culture. One of the major tenets of our philanthropic vision is to help young people grow into productive, successful adults.

In 2016, the H.B. Fuller Company Foundation made a significant investment in programs that promote youth leadership and development. Between the Foundation and other corporate giving programs, we granted $1.2 million in 2016, with nearly $500,000 going to youth-serving nonprofits and schools in communities where our employees live and work.

Our employees are actively engaged in community service, and each year, they volunteer with nonprofit organizations around the world. In 2016, 1,202 employee volunteers provided 8,926 volunteer hours benefiting 223 organizations. That’s more than a year’s worth of service hours!

When it comes to social sustainability, H.B. Fuller has a long track record of producing result – in large part due to engaged employees who are passionate about doing what’s right and making a difference.

To learn more about our social sustainability commitment, see our 2016 Global Responsibility Report.

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