The Umicore way
The Umicore Way is the cornerstone of everything we do at Umicore.
Our strategy sets out our business goals and growth ambitions for the coming years, as well as our sustainability and broad environmental, social and governance objectives. The Umicore Way outlines our values and the way in which we wish to achieve these goals as well as our overall commitment to the principles of sustainable development. We believe that the broad values and aspirations captured in this document should be applicable in all contexts – in different regions, cultures and business situations. The Umicore Way is not only for Umicore employees but also covers our relationships with all our stakeholders.
The Umicore Way is supplemented by detailed company codes and charters including the Umicore Code of Conduct, the 2020 Belgian Code on Corporate Governance, the Umicore Corporate Governance Charter and the Umicore Dealing Code.
Materials for a better life
We believe that materials have been a key element in furthering the progress of mankind, that they are at the core of today’s life and will continue to be enablers for future value creation. We believe that metal related materials have a vital role, as they can be efficiently and infinitely recycled, which makes them the basis for sustainable products and services. We want Umicore to be a leader in providing and creating material based solutions which contribute to fundamental improvements in the quality of life.
Customers are at the core of our mission
We develop, produce, apply, market and recycle metal-related materials and we contribute to material-based solutions. We combine our competences in metallurgy, chemistry and materials science with a thorough understanding of our customers’ needs, applications and systems. We focus on three business areas where we can attain leadership positions which are recognized by our customers and which allow us to create value: Catalysis, Energy & Surface Technologies, and Recycling. Our ambition is to be the preferred partner of our customers. We are committed to the growth of our business through the competence of our people, excellence in operations and technological innovation.
The values of openness, innovation, respect, teamwork and commitment are crucial to our success. We promote these values and ensure that deficiencies in living up to these values are addressed in an appropriate way.
We communicate openly, accurately and with enthusiasm. We provide reliable and relevant information on our activities in a timely, regular manner within the limits of commercial confidentiality. We consider interaction important and therefore have a positive attitude towards constructive dialogues with all of our stakeholders.
We believe in continuously searching for better ways of doing things. We believe that innovation is the ultimate driver for long-term profitability and growth. We are open to new ideas and ready to take considered risks.
We show respect for each other and for cultures, customs and values in our dealings with employees and others who have a stake in our activities. We do not compromise on occupational health and safety and act in an environmentally responsible manner.
We believe in teamwork to achieve our goals. We encourage a flow of information across divisional, functional and geographical borders to make full use of all our knowledge and experience. By working together towards shared goals, we expect our people to derive pride, satisfaction and fun from their work.
We believe in keeping our promises, adhering to high performance standards and continuously searching for the best solutions we can possibly deliver.
As part of our commitment to sustainability, we take into account the environmental impact of our operations. In this respect:
- We strive to minimize our environmental impact, including on climate and natural resources.
- We actively participate in the management and remediation of risks that are the result of historical operations.
- We implement risk management and resilience strategies based on valid data and sound science.
- We seek to offer products with the lowest possible climate and environmental impacts from production, use and at end-of-life
- We facilitate and encourage responsible design, use, re-use, recycling and disposal of our products.
We act and operate in line with the expectations of society:
- We uphold fundamental human rights and respect those rights in conducting the Group’s operations throughout the world.
- We actively seek sustainable and ethical supply and advocate for best practices in the value chain.
- We engage with the communities around our operations and seek to make a positive contribution to these communities.
- We engage in effective and transparent communication with all our stakeholders and use this dialogue to further improve our performance.
As we strive to be a preferred employer of both current and potential employees, and are committed to their wellbeing, we are guided by the following principles:
- We do not compromise on safety and seek to create an accident-free working environment for all.
- We aim to ensure Umicore is a healthy place to work and we seek to continually improve our occupational health performance.
- We empower all our employees to contribute to our success. Performance is appraised regularly and rewarded equitably.
- We support our employees, offer them training and challenge them with development possibilities.
- We believe in equal opportunities, fairness, inclusion and diversity. We recruit and promote on the basis of qualifications for the work to be performed.
- We support the right to collective bargaining and engage in constructive dialogue with our employees and their representatives.
We aim for shareholder value creation with a primary focus on the medium and longer term (3 to 5 years and beyond). We seek sustainable growth – growth which takes into consideration financial, environmental and social aspects. Our key measure of value creation is Return on Capital Employed. We seek returns from each of our activities that are in excess of the cost of the capital needed to sustain the activity. In our communication with the financial markets, we strive to give an accurate, fair and comprehensive picture of the company.
Umicore believes in decentralization and in entrusting a large degree of autonomy to each of its business units. The business units in turn are accountable for their contribution to the group’s value creation and for their adherence to group strategies, policies, standards and sustainable development approach. Business units are clustered in business groups according to strategic business development themes. Shared operational functions are organized in areas where economies of scale or the advantages of a centralized expertise are significant. Corporate departments manage specific companywide tasks and common resources, set general policies and exercise a control function.
The management board - led by the CEO - is responsible for the management of the company, including proposing the overall strategy of Umicore to the supervisory board, operational and day-today management, screening and addressing the various risks and opportunities that Umicore may encounter in the short, medium or long term, defining and applying Umicore’s ESG approach, and legal representation of the company with respect to third parties. The management board approves the strategies of individual business units and corporate divisions and monitors their implementation. Final accountability for all aspects of Umicore’s business and performance lies with the management board.
The management board has set up four tactical boards that develop part of the corporate strategy and monitor its implementation. They are each led by a member of the management board, with representatives from each business group, and managed by an internal expert:
- People & Organization Board (managed by the SVP Human Resources)
- Digital & Operational Excellence Board (managed by the SVP Digitalization)
- ESG Board (managed by the ESG Director)
- Technology & Innovation Board (managed by the SVP Corporate R&D)
The supervisory board is responsible for Umicore’s general policy and strategy. It supervises the management board and is also vested with specific, reserved powers, such as establishing the annual accounts, drafting the annual report and paying an interim dividend. The supervisory board is assisted in its role by an audit committee and a nomination & remuneration committee.
Wherever we operate, our reputation is a valuable asset, and it is determined by how we act. We avoid any action that would jeopardize respect for Umicore:
- We have high standards of business and personal ethics; we adhere to our internal policies, and follow all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where we operate.
- We support and strive for fair competition, and thus refuse to enter into unlawful discussions or agreements with competitors concerning pricing, market sharing, or other similar activities.
- We avoid all situations that create or have the potential to create a conflict between the interests of Umicore and our personal interests. We refuse to offer any improper financial advantage for the purpose of obtaining business or other services.
- We respect and safeguard all company assets, whether tangible or intangible, including all proprietary information, intellectual property and innovative ideas.
- We seek business partners whose policies and practices regarding ethical, social and environmental issues are consistent with our own.
Umicore has a global commitment to integrity in everything we do. Read more here on reporting any concerns or questions.