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Our sustainable development challenge recognizes our employees’ initiatives

Imerys’ Sustainable Development Challenge, created in 2004, emphasizes the commitment of teams across Imerys to contribute to the Group's sustainability ambitions. Discover this year’s winners!

Imerys initiative in Brazil

Imerys’ Sustainable Development Challenge is a competition giving employees, industrial sites or a whole Business Area the opportunity to submit initiatives linked to various environmental and social categories linked to our Corporate Social Responsibility pillars.

These initiatives are reviewed by a panel of more than 60 experts from different functions and geographies to create a shortlist of the best entries, which are then judged by a jury, composed of members of the Executive Committee as well as other leaders. The initiatives are selected on a range of factors, including their ability to create positive impacts for Imerys, the environment and society over the long term, evidence of sustainability-driven innovation and the degree to which they reflect local conditions.

A record-breaking number of sustainable initiatives

In 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic, a record-breaking 216 Imerys initiatives from around the world were submitted to the competition. CSR Manager Clara Segon says: “This is a huge achievement. More than ever before, it shows that people across our business have innovative ideas, are motivated to drive Imerys forward on our sustainability journey, and are committed to seeing Imerys help overcome the huge environmental and social challenges facing the world.”

In fact, 22 of this year’s initiatives were created as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis.

“The pandemic has made many of us reflect on the sustainability of the global economic system we live and work in. There is now an opportunity to ‘reset’ and prepare the way for a more environmentally conscious and socially inclusive economy”, explains Clara.

By promoting sustainability projects that go beyond the Group’s usual operations or regulatory obligations, the SD Challenge helps employees engage with corporate social responsibility initiatives on an individual level, have a real impact and contribute to Imerys’ commitment.

These initiatives were rolled out locally and now are shared with others across the Group to serve as an inspiration. The winners are awarded trophies for their efforts in the following categories:

Talent & skills management

Our teams in India built a comprehensive well-being program to improve the work-life balance of our employees, taking into consideration physical, emotional, social and professional dimensions that together contribute to employee well-being, engagement and retention. 

Diversity & inclusion

Our teams in Capim, Brazil, developed an internal program to increase female participation in an internship focused on operational continuous improvement, creating opportunities for young women to enter engineering roles in the mineral industry.

Brazil interns

Environmental management

Doreys Pit, in the United Kingdom, set up a partnership with Bournemouth University to improve water monitoring, construct lagoons and reintroduce native fish species in a local stream.

Doreys Pit, United Kingdom

Non-energetic resources efficiency

Our Baltimore plant, USA, managed to decrease the amount of sewer water by 20% in 12 months by increasing the recycling of water.

Climate change strategy

Our Sandersville plant, USA, implemented a comprehensive dust collector project, increasing energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. 

Fair operating practices & responsible supply chain

Our teams in Wankaner, India, shared their technical expertise to support the development of a local strategic supplier, assessing their maturity and working together to strengthen the company’s safety culture and business practices.

Community engagement

In partnership with our customer, Lexil, our teams in Kadthal, India, facilitated the building of sanitation-related infrastructure and raised awareness around hygiene practices and menstrual health for females in 9 schools in the surroundings. 

Product sustainability

Our Technology Center in Toulouse, France, created an ecological alternative for pulp bleaching, called “Ecobright”. This sustainable innovative solution will help the paper market to get more environmentally friendly.

Special jury prize

By launching eight new learning initiatives digitally, our Group Learning and Development team responded resiliently to the challenge presented by Covid-19 and supported our people through this very challenging period. They reached a total of 4,200 learners worldwide, who spent around 8,000 hours in training in total.