Description of the activities
Belron is the worldwide leader in vehicle glass repair and replacement, operating under more than ten major brands, including Carglass®, Safelite® Autoglass and Autoglass®. It also manages vehicle glass and other insurance claims on behalf of insurance customers. Belron looks after around 15 million consumers each year in 34 countries on six continents, with a focus on providing a quality of service that will generate a very high level of customer satisfaction. Belron’s business is built around a clear purpose: “making a difference by solving people’s problems with real care.”
Over the course of 2017, Belron rolled out a new service extension strategy, acquiring businesses that carry out Auto Damage Repair and Replacement (ADRR) and Home Damage Repair and Replacement (HDRR). Given that these acquisitions are very recent, the company is still working on how it will implement its Corporate Social Responsibility approach to these new subsidiaries. This should be in place by the end of 2018.
1. General approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Belron has an ethical code of conduct that it has christened ‘Our Way of Working’. The code sets out the group’s CSR commitments and the expectations of how its people can support it to be a sustainable, responsible and ethical business. The code follows the ten principles set out under the United Nations Global Compact, of which Belron is a signatory.
This code is shared with all business units in their local languages, and local management is responsible for ensuring that it is implemented effectively.
2. Assessing progress towards CSR aspirations
Belron uses the Ecovadis sustainability platform to carry out an external assessment of how each of its businesses is performing in terms of meeting its aspirations. The assessment measures the gap between the aspirations outlined in the principles of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and the current progress of steps taken by each Belron business. It provides a benchmark against other organisations and a scorecard that identifies areas for improvement.
Each Belron business is evaluated on the policies in place, the actions taken to implement those policies, and the overall results of those actions. The evaluation assesses the activities relating to four themes: minimising impact on the environment, labour practices and human rights, customer relations and fair business practices, and sustainable procurement. Once the analysis is completed by Ecovadis, each Belron business receives a full scorecard and a rating between 1 and 100. If they score 37 or more they receive a recognition level of Bronze, Silver or Gold.
At the end of 2017, Belron had 10 businesses rated gold and 12 rated silver. Overall Belron has a score of 58, putting it in the top 20% of over 35,000 companies worldwide assessed by Ecovadis. Belron aims to have all of its 25 businesses gold-rated by 2020, which would put it in the top 10%.
3. Material environmental and social aspects
Climate Impact/CO2 emissions
Belron recognises that the carbon emissions of its businesses have a direct impact on climate change, both locally and globally. It therefore works hard to understand, measure and manage these impacts. Belron monitors the emissions for which it is directly responsible, such as those related to the energy consumption of its branches and its fleet, and takes meaningful steps to steadily reduce the resulting carbon footprint. To achieve this, it has developed and shared a carbon footprint reporting tool across all 25 Belron businesses to help them manage and reduce their carbon footprints, along with a best-practice environmental policy blueprint.
The Group is looking into energy efficiency technologies for its fleet and buildings. This includes developing best practices to increase driver engagement in reducing fuel consumption, and to identify ways to enable the deployment of electric vehicles within its fleet to replace diesel vans in areas of high population density.
Furthermore, Belron will repair a windscreen rather than replace it whenever possible; a strategy that also reduces the environmental impact. Using the GHG Protocol, Belron has calculated that repairing a windscreen has a carbon intensity nearly five times lower than replacing it, saving up to 44kg CO2 per job. Belron carried out 2.9 million repairs in 2017 (a repair rate of 25%), meaning that its ‘Repair First’ strategy saved 128,000 tons of CO2.
The carbon footprint for the Belron Group was calculated as 311,527 tons of CO2 in 2017, giving a carbon intensity of 16.9 kg of CO2 per VGRR job.
Thanks to these initiatives, together with Belron’s waste management initiatives, Belron has obtained a “Confirmed” Ecovadis score (see following paragraph).
Belron’s major waste product is the glass which it disposes of on behalf of its customers. It aims to recycle 100% of its glass waste and is considering innovative approaches and supplier partnerships to achieve this.
Belron is increasing recycling efficiency by eliminating local waste disposal logistics and creating specialist recycling centers. Where recycling resources in its operating countries do not exist or are inadequate, Belron has implemented alternative options such as utilising reverse logistics to collect and centralise the waste glass.
As such, Belron’s European Distribution Centre in Belgium collects and recycles glass from six neighbouring countries (including the UK). In partnership with a Danish company, Belron also pioneered the recycling of windscreens in the United States by setting up a recycling center on the East coast. In 2017, Belron decided to further invest in a second recycling center on the West coast, so that glass can be recycled from all its operations across the USA.
The ‘Repair First’ strategy (as described above) also plays a role in the company’s ongoing efforts to reduce waste. In 2017, the strategy saved almost 40,000 tonnes of glass waste.
In 2017, Belron recycled 54% of its global glass waste.
These initiatives in energy management, climate impact and waste helped Belron achieve an average Ecovadis score of 61 (level ‘Confirmed’) for its environmental activities, placing it in the top 11% of companies assessed.
Belron seeks to procure quality products from responsible and sustainable sources and to minimise the environmental and negative social impact of its supply chain. The company therefore defines sustainable procurement as a supply network that adheres to the same environmental and social values as those supported by Belron.
Belron has established its own Supplier Code of Conduct, which sets out the underlying principles on which its supply chain relationships are based. To assess suppliers’ adherence to this Code of Conduct, Belron’s Procurement Team has been developing a process that identifies and categorises the risk associated with each supplier. This uses a web-based system to address suppliers’ compliance and where necessary, carry out assessments and audits to manage the resulting risk effectively.
The system enables users to produce reports easily, allowing the company’s purchasers to include sustainability in their evaluation and management of suppliers. Twenty-four out of the 25 wholly-owned Belron businesses have carried out an assessment using the Ecovadis platform, placing Belron in the top 26% of companies assessed with a score of 52 (level ‘Confirmed’) for its sustainable procurement approach.
Maintaining a high standard of customer service is crucial to making Belron the leading company in its industry and beyond. It is closely related to the reputational risk that may be caused by adverse publicity. Belron is committed to being open and honest in all dealings with its customers and ensures that this attitude is reflected in all of its decisions. It constantly monitors how customers feel and uses this to provide an even better service. The company is committed to responding positively and promptly to customer claims, enquiries and complaints made in good faith and does all it can to turn unhappy customers into ambassadors. Belron measures customer loyalty and satisfaction across its business by asking customers to rate on a scale of one to ten, “How likely are you to recommend Belron to a colleague or friend?” following the methodology of the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a recognised loyalty metric. Belron consistently achieves a global NPS score of over 80.
Employee satisfaction is a material aspect of the business as Belron employees are at the very core of its quality of service. Belron’s overall aspiration is for all of its employees to feel that it is “the best place they will ever work”. The company nurtures its strong culture – the Spirit of Belron – around four core values: Care, Driven, Collaborative and Genuine. The Genuine attribute encompasses the company’s core ethical principles of Integrity, Respect and Trust. These principles are described in the Belron Code of Ethics – Our Way of Working – which sets out how Belron’s staff and partners are expected to work with each other, how they work with others and how the business is managed.
A monthly pulse survey, called the Belron People Measure (BPM), asks employees to answer the question “How was work for you last month?” using a rating of 1 to 10 and for verbatim comments on “What was good about it?” and “What could have been better?” The BPM is available in 24 of the 25 wholly-owned businesses and allows the business units to have regular updates on how their employees feel, enabling them to take action if necessary. The average Year-To-Date score of the BPM across Belron’s business units is 7.8 out of 10.
Belron also holds a competition once every two years to communicate, demonstrate and reinforce standards of safety, quality and customer service, as well as to recognise and reward the best technicians. The top technician from each country then competes at an international final where the winner is crowned Best of Belron.
Everyone at Belron is expected to behave in a way that ensures a safe working environment for employees, customers and suppliers. Belron commits to providing everyone with the correct training and skills to feel confident in their role, including stringent safety procedures for technicians so that they can deliver the highest technical standards.
A core risk is injury or harm to an employee or member of the public while repairing or replacing a windscreen, which could lead to reputational damage, legal consequences and economic loss. The business mitigates risk in this area by developing safety standards that are embedded in the Belron ‘Way of Fitting’. These methods, tools, training courses and assessments are developed and implemented across the group by an internal technical team. This includes the STOP, Quality Starts with Safety and 1-2-3-Easy programmes, which reinforce health and safety standards across all Belron operations. In addition, each business is responsible for implementing the necessary measures to comply with their national requirements and many businesses have dedicated Health & Safety and/or Internal Audit personnel to audit their procedures.
Health & Safety indicators are also present in the Ecovadis CSR benchmarking programme regarding labour practices and human rights, including the presence of health & safety committees, hours of training and accident rates. Belron obtained a “Confirmed” level in this area (see paragraph on the respect for human rights). The results of the programme help to highlight areas and opportunities for improvement.
There is a strong tradition of community activity across all of Belron’s business units and the company aims to make a difference through local strategies driven by the passion and energy of its staff. Its businesses are responsible for selecting and managing their community initiatives and charitable partners, thereby enabling them to choose a strategy that best reflects their local needs. Through the work and effort of its people, Belron is able to support charities on a local and national scale through donations and assets such as computers, as well as creating opportunities to fundraise, volunteer and share skills.
Belron also recognises the impact that it can have as a global community by working together to raise money. Since 2002, Belron employees from around the world have raised over EUR 9.7 million by coming together to take part in the annual ‘Spirit of Belron Challenge’. The event, which is in aid of a South African charity, Afrika Tikkun, sees employees from all areas of the business as well as families, friends and business partners, take part in various sporting events. Afrika Tikkun is dedicated to investing in education, health and social services for children, young people and their families through its many programmes and Community Centres of Excellence, helping to break the cycle of poverty. The charity supports over 19,000 people annually in townships near Johannesburg and Cape Town and employs over 600 staff from the local communities.
4. Respect for Human Rights
Human rights are a fundamental pillar of ethics and Belron’s guiding principles. In the same way Belron’s employees respect each other in the workplace, Belron has a responsibility to promote and protect human rights and to ensure that its operations do not contribute directly or indirectly to human rights abuses. Belron adheres to and promotes clear ethical standards for itself and expects similar standards from all third parties who work with the company or on its behalf.
Belron outlaws the use of child labour in any form. It does not employ anyone below the age of 16 or the local legal minimum employment age should this be different in a country it operates in. It will not use suppliers who use child labour. The working conditions of all of its employees, contractors and suppliers must be compliant with national legislation and in cases where this is deemed insufficient, with the relevant International Labour Organisation Standards. In no instance will inhumane treatment of its employees or those in its supply chain be acceptable, including any form of forced labour, physical punishment or other abuse.
Through its Code of Ethics and its CSR benchmarking Ecovadis programme, Belron has systems in place to ensure that the Articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights are assessed, prioritised and implemented as they apply to its sphere of influence. Employees are encouraged to speak up about any ethical concerns they may have, and while Belron encourages any concerns to be raised within the local country, it has an external and independent line available (Speak Up, available through the external provider Expolink).
Twenty-four out of the 25 wholly-owned Belron businesses have used the Ecovadis platform to carry out an assessment on these matters. The businesses are required to provide details of their policies, actions and results in relation to their implementation of health and safety policies, working conditions, measures in place regarding discrimination and human rights, employee rights to join collective bargaining organisations and health and safety indicators such as accident rates and hours of training. This process enables Belron’s businesses to regularly revisit policies and procedures to ensure they are up to date with all relevant legislation and working practices. The results placed Belron in the top 11% of businesses across the world using the Ecovadis measurement, with a score of 60 (level ‘Confirmed’) for labour practices and human rights.
5. Anti-corruption and bribery matters
Belron’s ethical principles act as a reminder that offenses such as bribery and corruption are not tolerated within the business. The Company believes that no one should obtain or retain business through coercion. Even the suggestion of such action could seriously damage the reputation of Belron (see paragraph on Integrity Risk, available on page 99 of this report). Belron does not condone, under any circumstance, the offering or receiving of bribes or any other form of improper payment. Belron will not accept or offer money to any employee of a government organisation or a government official. Similarly, it does not tolerate any such activity by its employees or by those with whom it does business. Twenty-four of the wholly-owned Belron businesses have used the Ecovadis platform to carry out assessments on this matter. The businesses are required to provide details of their policies, actions and results in relation to anti-bribery and corruption, conflict of interest, fraud, money laundering, anti-competitive practices, truthfulness of marketing and advertising messages as well as data protection and privacy. The results placed Belron in the top 11% of businesses across the world using Ecovadis measurement tools, with an average score of 63 (level ‘Confirmed’) for fair business practices.