Why responsible business matters, and what CWT is doing about it

In June, CWT published its fifth annual Responsible Business report. The report showed how CWT is evolving in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and celebrates that CWT has achieved the EcoVadis Gold rating in April, making it to the top one percent of all companies worldwide for Responsible Business practices. This is a result of the hard work, dedication and engagement of more than 18,000 employees across nearly 150 countries and a demonstration of the companies’ core values: integrity, caring, leadership and passion.

We spoke with Françoise Grumberg, Vice President Global Responsible Business, to find out more about the importance of Responsible Business practices and why it matters to CWTs customers and suppliers.

Can you tell us why Responsible Business is so important?

“Today Responsible Business (RB) is imperative to how any company conducts business. This is why we see a strong demand from our customers, in fact 100% of our global requests for proposal enquire about CSR.”

“Our clients, prospects and suppliers want to know that when they do business with us, they are partnering with someone who is fully committed to all aspects of RB. And at the same time, choosing a business partner with a sound CSR strategy, helps them achieve their own sustainability goals too. It’s also important for our employees and potential employees to know that we have a firm governance around Responsible Business.”

What does Responsible Business involve?  

“Many people often relate RB to how we minimize our ecological footprint to have the least possible impact on the environment. That is an important dimension but at CWT we take a much more holistic approach to sustainability. We ensure that our program targets the most relevant and important CSR issues to our organization and to our key stakeholders. In total there are seven domains that we focus on; Responsible Business Governance, Ethics & Business Behavior, Human Resources, Human Rights, Environment, Responsible Products and Services and Community Involvement.”

You made significant progress in Responsible Business last year. Which achievement are you most proud of?  

“We finally achieved the EcoVadis Gold rating, making it to the top one percent of all companies worldwide for Responsible Business practices. That is a fantastic collective success that we can all be very proud of.” 

Can you tell us a bit more about the EcoVadis rating? What did we do to climb from last year’s Silver rating to Gold? 

“CWT’s performance in Environment, Labor, Fair Business Practices and Sustainable Procurement was evaluated by looking at our policies, actions and results. We have made significant progress in each of these areas. One area I would like to call out is. Responsible Purchasing.”

“Key stakeholders, such as clients and rating agencies like EcoVadis, regularly ask us to prove that we are engaged with our supply chain to minimize RB risks. In addition, regulations in some countries are increasingly putting pressure on companies to take responsibility for what goes on in their respective supply chains. This explains why Sustainable Procurement accounts for more than one quarter of the EcoVadis rating.”

“One action we put in place that helped achieve our Gold rating was the strengthening of our Responsible Supplier Program, launched in 2014. Other major elements were our excellent set of policies, and trainings in for example the Ethics and compliance domains.” 

And from a personal perspective… What do you do to make sure you live your life responsibly and sustainably? 

“I make sure my professional activities are in line with my own values and never in conflict. This makes me feel comfortable in what I do on a day to day basis. I try to inspire others to do their best in order to always include a CSR dimension to what they do. And last but not least I take all opportunities to educate others and give examples of behaviors that can help make a difference.”


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