Management Approach: EH&S
The top priority at Avient is safety.
At the highest level, Avient’s Board of Directors has a long-standing Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) Committee that oversees and monitors environmental, health, safety, security and product stewardship policies, standards and practices to ensure regulatory compliance and operational excellence globally.
Avient’s EH&S Management System (EH&S MS) is managed by its Corporate Environmental, Health, Safety and Product Stewardship Department, and degreed technical experts employed in all regions and businesses. Avient’s Vice President of EH&S and SVP of Global Operations and Process Improvement are responsible for reporting to the EH&S Committee of the Board of Directors.
The foundation of our Management Approach to EH&S is rooted in ACC Responsible Care®. We established a comprehensive EH&S MS to systemically identify and address any risks. Avient’s EH&S MS is externally certified and based on the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care Management System (RCMS) Standard, which incorporates the principle of continuous improvement. It applies to all Avient sites and our contractors globally.
Avient’s EH&S MS is comprised of global standards for safety, health, security, product safety, and environmental protection, covering the transportation of materials, activities at our sites and warehouses, and distribution of our products, as well as our customers’ use of our products. It covers both regulatory requirements and voluntary actions. The policies and codes that are included in the EH&S MS are:
Our EH&S MS includes both physical security at sites, as well as cybersecurity, the latter of which is managed by the Information Technology department at Avient. Through this system, we identify and assess the risk of all technology related activities, and the potential effects these risks may have on all of our stakeholders. We report any material risks identified by the system, as well as plans to address them, to the Board of Directors EH&S Committee on an annual basis.
Avient is focused on our goal of zero recordable injuries and our ongoing desire to integrate safety into all aspects of our operations. Progress toward this goal is measured at the Business Unit and regional levels, and progress toward zero recordable injuries is communicated globally and linked to a number of recognition mechanisms.
A zero recordable injury goal reflects Avient’s focus on the People aspect of our 4P sustainability cornerstones. In 2020, we maintained world class safety performance and had our safest year ever with a recordable incident rate of 0.50, which is more than 7 times better than the U.S. Rubber and Plastics Manufacturers industry average. Until that number is zero, we have more work to do. Additional detail, systems, and performance metrics are provided in the Occupational Health & Safety section of this report.
Protecting Our People as an Essential Business
As a global organization, Avient recognized the early risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. And we took action. Our early and consistent approach focused on protecting the health and safety of our associates, families, customers and communities.
We consistently monitored and adhered to local government requirements and conditions everywhere we operate. We mobilized regional COVID Task Forces and collaboratively developed procedures then took action accordingly. To ensure our work environment is as safe as possible,
At the same time that we prioritize health and safety, it is essential that Avient continue to produce our materials and serve customers.
Our materials are a key component in the supply chain that allows for food, beverage and medical supplies to continue to be produced, packaged, shipped and used. This includes masks, protective garments, medical tubing and packaging for personal care products. In addition, our materials allow for infrastructure, telecommunications and technology to function.
As the pandemic continues, or should other global challenges arise, we will remain vigilant and committed to this very approach: Prioritize the health and safety of our associates first, while continuing to operate and serve the essential and emerging needs around the world.
Occupational Safety & Health
Occupational safety, health and well-being are paramount at Avient because we understand the value of good performance in these areas to our people, their families, collective morale, operational costs and reputation. As such, we ensure that our operations meet both legal and best-in-class standards.
Our “safety first” culture was built not through words, but through dedication, continuous improvement, and action. Throughout Avient’s history, systems have been in place that underscore our commitment to the occupational health, safety, and well-being of our associates.
Avient believes that only with the active participation of all associates, at all levels of the organization, can risk truly be reduced to acceptable levels. For this reason, we have built an actively caring and attentive culture, where input on safety and health topics is encouraged and expected as a condition of employment.
Each associate has the freedom and expectation to communicate hazards and remove their self from unsafe situations, without the fear of reprisal. Safety committees represent all associates employed in production. Where there is a need for new internal standards or updates to existing ones, working groups comprised of regional and corporate EH&S experts are established. We then develop and communicate the draft to internal stakeholders, soliciting feedback, and considering revisions before the standard is finalized and approved. All standards are then published in the EH&S section of The Loop, Avient’s intranet site available to all associates.
Under our EH&S MS, Avient has rolled out multifaceted trainings and tools to achieve our ultimate goal of zero recordable injuries in the workplace. Examples include Residual Risk Reduction (R3), which incorporates behavioral safety, improvements to safety leadership, various safety suggestion mechanisms, internal and external audit systems, and Global Safety Days. The importance of associate participation in safety management systems is a common thread throughout our training systems at Avient.
Prior to, and including 2020, we have set ambitious internal goals for safety, health, and environmental protection, and we regularly conduct audits to monitor our performance and progress toward these goals. We also track physical security incidents and manage those through the EH&S MS. The management system audits are conducted by leaders from corporate and the various operations, in conjunction with third-party experts where necessary, and consist of site visits to validate compliance to internal standards and regulatory requirements. The audits identify areas where corrective and preventive measures are necessary to further reduce risks. Companies acquired by Avient go through a rigorous EH&S integration process to bring new sites in line with our high standards and policies. Part of this process is to help sites develop their own EH&S Maturity Road Map which guides them through the implementation of our standards through a risk based approach.
After all health, safety, security or environmental incidents, Avient conducts an investigation to identify root causes, implement corrective actions and validate measures to prevent reoccurrence are enduring. Specific investigation methodologies are provided and described in Avient’s Incidents, Accidents & Safety Reporting module of our EtQ information management system. This process ensures that all incidents are fully documented, communicated and properly managed by EH&S and business unit leadership in a timely manner.
EH&S “Maturity Roadmap” Standard
Recognizing that all facilities are not at the same place on their journey to EH&S excellence, Avient uses an EH&S Maturity Road Map. With this standard, facilities are guided through a process of determining if each element of their management system is beginning, developing, performing, highly performing or excelling. Regardless of performance level, a risk-prioritized approach to continuous improvements is outlined. Facility maturity is assessed during each internal audit with actions designed to facilitate increased management system maturity. This tool allowed Avient to minimize facility level risk and facilitate continuous improvements in 2020, despite challenges presented by COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
Performance: Metrics and Monitoring
To quantify risk and reduce it over time, Avient monitors several key performance indicators on a regular basis: Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Lost Time Injury/Illness Rate (LTIR).
These rates are compiled globally and reported on a monthly basis to all leadership personnel in the company. As Avient is focused on its ultimate goal of zero recordable injuries and our ongoing desire to integrate safety into all aspects of our operations, we track annual reduction goals measured at the business unit and regional levels. Progress toward zero recordable injuries is communicated globally and celebrated.
Leading indicators are also tracked to ensure efforts to identify and eliminate risk proactively continue. These leading indicators include the continuous monitoring of progress on corrective and preventive actions, the number of risk assessments performed, details on the amount of risk eliminated or mitigated, the number of internal audits conducted and participation rates of Global Safety Day activities.
Keeping Avient’s operations, infrastructure, and intellectual property protected is a vital task, as a breach in physical security at sites or cybersecurity online could lead to risk to stakeholders and the sustainability of our enterprise.
Avient’s robust security measures are designed to protect our personnel and facilities from operational threats and keep our business safe from cybersecurity attacks. Our security programs are risk-based, flexible and responsive to the environments in which we operate. The security management system module in the EH&S MS is based upon the Responsible Care® Security Code that continuously seeks to improve our processes and systems related to security performance and implement management practices consistent with the Security Code.
The Avient Security and Privacy Council (ASPC) oversees the security-related governance, risk mitigation and regulatory compliance requirements of our company globally. The ASPC has two subcommittees focused on physical security and cybersecurity, with the latter having a global privacy program to help ensure our organization maintains compliance with ever-changing privacy laws, including General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), as well as specific laws in all countries and regions in which Avient operates. We are also a member of the U.S. Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT), the supply chain security program under U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and a member of the Canadian Border Services Agency Partners in Protection (PIP) program. Avient’s Global Trade and EH&S departments share responsibility for supply chain security.
Regarding physical security, facilities undergo periodic analyses to address potential threats. Each assessment considers geographic location, relationships with communities and applicable laws. In higher-risk locations, we maintain detailed security preparedness plans. Our security personnel continuously improve our risk management methodologies, threat-assessment capabilities and technical security management processes through drills, training programs and industry forums.
As cybersecurity risks continue to evolve, we must protect against threats against our data, facilities and operations. Awareness remains one of our best defenses, and cybersecurity education is a priority for our associates and business partners. In 2020, 100% of our required associates completed web-based cybersecurity training to help them identify and respond to potential cybersecurity risks and reinforce safe behaviors. The company maintains cyber security insurance, and a third-party auditor performs a quarterly assessment of our processes, policies and performance as it relates to IT security.