conditions, Job content, Total remuneration, and Learning and development.The survey is managed by an independent third-party provider in order to guarantee full employee confidentiality. The purpose of this survey is to put in place employee- driven initiatives in all local Azelis companies to improve these drivers and measure the progress made every two years by means of a newsurvey; this approach has been in place since 2014. To cater to the sustainable product demand of our customers, our application labs increasingly strive to offer sustainable innovations and concepts. We firmlybelieve in ‘Innovation through formulation’ and have been investing heavily in our application laboratories to be able to fulfil this brand promise. Innovative formulations that come out of our laboratories have received more than 20 innovation awards from independent industry bodies over the years.

CKH: What other initiatives does the company currently have in place and when were they introduced?Have any new initiatives been added to the company’s sustainability programme recently? What are the objectives of all these current initiatives, do they operate within a certain timescale or are they expected to be in place for the lifetime of the business? How successful have these initiatives been?

MA: “In our ongoing transition process to a more sustainable business model, we have redefined our sustainability strategyand set targets for 2025. To reach these 2025 goals, we will be launching several new initiatives in the coming years, next to intensifying other initiatives which we have already started in the past. One very important target is to identify the sustainable products within our extensive product portfolio. We are doing this complex

Issue 2 • March/April 2021

exercise because we want to bring additional value to customers with our products, to help them achieve their sustainability goals with more environmentally- friendly products, less hazardous products and so on. Through this assessment, we will also make sure our formulation servicesare aligned with sustainable market trends. This identification of the sustainable product portfolio is done in close collaboration with our principals who are equally dedicated to contributing to a sustainable future. “We will also continue having sustainability-driven dialogues with our partners to improve cooperation and ensure our

strategies are aligned, thereby confirming we are all working towards the same goal, ie a more sustainable business. Being a proud member of Together for Sustainability and measuring and reporting our sustainability efforts within the EcoVadis framework, we will keep on with TfS and EcoVadis assessments to help our suppliers in developing sustainability practices, improve the sustainability standards in the value chain and work on the reputation of the chemical industry. It’s crucial to our sustainability ambitions that we are sure we are working with the best partners who respect human rights, environment and

Meet Maria Almenar of Azelis

Maria Jesus Almenar Martin, Group Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) and Sustainability Director at chemical distribution company Azelis, holds a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Barcelona and an Executive Master in Management from the Solvay Business School of Economics and Management. After working for the FECC (European Association of Chemical Distributors) as Responsible Care & Logistics Manager, in 2014 she became Regional SHE & Quality Manager for France & Benelux at Azelis with responsibilities that included the implementation of regional ISO 9001 certification and follow up and implementation of European and local legislation on SHE areas with an impact on the Azelis France and Benelux operations. In 2015, she was appointed Head of Group SHEQ and became responsible for all SHEQ related activities for the Azelis Group, covering EMEA, APAC and Americas regions and in 2020 was appointed Group SHEQ & Sustainability Director.


fair business practices. In 2021, we will continue the process with additional suppliers and work on corrective action plans with the suppliers that were included in the 2020 campaign.2021 also brings a new global CSR indicators collection campaign on which we will report on in our 2020 Sustainability Report.

CKH: How does sustainable operation benefit the company in terms of its reputation, its business success, and as a platform for future growth and development? Presumably sustainable operation is an approach that Azelis would recommend all companies adopt in order to run their businesses successfully?

MA: “Many studies show that embedded sustainability efforts clearly result in a positive impact on business performance. In addition to the financial benefits that come from increased competitive advantage and innovation, companies are realizing significant cost savings through environmental sustainability- related operational efficiencies. Corporate sustainability initiatives aimed at improving ESG performance and proving value to society can also increase employee loyalty, efficiency, and productivity and improve HR statistics related to recruitment, retention, and morale. “We are confident that working together for more sustainable solutions will strengthen the relationships with our business partners who are equally responsible, and equally dedicated, to preserving resources for future generations. Our sustainability reputation and our EcoVadis Gold rating have already positively influenced commercial decisions of some our partners.”

CKH: Can you give some examples of successful projects that contributed to the overall sustainability of Azelis’ business


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