22 December 2023, Israel: A new ESG-CSR report shows how ICL is leading the way with its commitment to achieving an equitable and sustainable future for all.
ICL and ESG
“ We believe in ‘doing the right thing,’ which is more than an aspiration – it’s a guiding compass that permeates every aspect of our business culture. ICL is not following ESG trends – it is setting them!”
ICL is a global corporation whose enterprises cover fields as diverse as agriculture and AgTech, specialty minerals, fertilizers and chemical products, energy, health and personal care, and more. In particular, the company is driving innovation in high-tech sustainable agriculture and energy storage solutions.
The ICL sustainability vision is built into the company’s DNA, along with a passion for innovation and new technology, and a deep-seated belief in fairness, equality of opportunity, and social investment in local communities. This is not a recent policy but is a corporate philosophy that grew out of ICL’s unique history as a pioneering desert minerals producer in an emerging nation.
ICL was one of the first major global companies to really grasp that the requirement for sustainability isn’t a pragmatic response to ESG trends – but is a vital necessity. A fundamental transition to sustainable and equitable business practices is a prerequisite for a safe and stable future.
Lior Schlesinger, ICL Legal Counsel, ESG & Corporate Secretariat Manager tells us, “Our vision at ICL isn’t merely about adhering to rules. While we ensure compliance, we strive to be trailblazers in the ESG arena, establishing ourselves as leaders rather than mere followers.”
The Importance of ESG Reports
It’s easy to talk about the need for sustainability and socially and environmentally responsible corporate practices and policies. Most public companies – and all companies that are in the public eye- need an ESG vision and strategy if they want to attract investors, bid for major contracts, or recruit the best and brightest staff.
A quick look at corporate websites will show a selection of statements and policies relating to issues like sustainability, diversity, environmental impact, etc. Most of these companies have a genuine commitment to these causes and are making a difference on the ground.
ESG reports enable stakeholders to actually evaluate and quantify any organization’s progress towards either mandated ESG requirements or a company’s own targets. ESG reports identify tangible progress and highlight opportunities for further improvement.
ESG reports clearly show which corporations can bring solid sustainability credentials to any strategic partnership. ESG reports also give a clear indication of which companies will have a beneficial effect on the communities where they operate.
The ICL ESG report for 2022 is extremely encouraging. Our commitment to sustainability and ethical corporate practices is a team effort that involves all ICL management and employees. The report recognizes the vision, hard work, enthusiasm, amazing ideas, and initiative shown by individual ICL employees around the world. ICL is at the forefront of ESG best practices and is contributing directly towards making the world a better place.
ESG vs CSR
An understanding of the relationship between CSR and ESG paves the way for successful ESG investing in 2023.
- CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility, is the philosophy that corporations have inherent obligations, both to society as a whole and to individual communities. CSR mandates that not only should companies do no harm, but that they are accountable and should use their resources, expertise, and influence as a force for good.
- ESG – Environmental Social Governance is a business practice that allows companies to translate their CSR policies into effective strategies with defined goals, impacting various stakeholders in its value chain. The goals should be tangible, and quantifiable. Environmental Social Governance translates the concept of being accountable into genuine and checkable public accountability.
ICL’s Innovative Environmental Initiatives
“ICL is not just about adapting to the future; it’s about actively creating it. Our dedication to innovations and sustainable best practices showcases our commitment to shape a sustainable future for generations to come.”
Lior Schlesinger, ICL Legal Counsel, ESG & Corporate Secretariat Manager
Some of ICL’s core businesses include mineral extraction and the manufacture of chemical products and energy storage products. ICL operates 12 major plants at its Sdom site in the Negev alone. The company is deeply conscious of the need to protect the environment and minimize the effects of its operations.
ICL was initially committed to a medium-term target to reduce 30% of its total Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, (vs. a 2018 baseline) and a long-term goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and is now moving the goalpost further and has committed this year to the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) in setting an ambitious decarbonization plan.
Significant milestones we have achieved towards a more sustainable future include the following:
- 18.1% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the 2018 baseline.
- A major increase in the share of renewable energy. This now exceeds 95% in key regions such as Brazil, Europe, and the US.
- ICL leading efforts in the U.S. to develop a sustainable supply chain for energy storage solutions, with a $400 Million Investment in a New LFP battery materials plant.
- New Sustainability-Linked Revolving Credit Facility for $1.55B, including 3 ESG KPIs
Making a Difference with Social Responsibility
We all live and function as part of society and have certain obligations to the community that we are a part of. The same applies to corporations – perhaps even more so. Over the last decade, we’ve seen a major shift in public expectations regarding how companies meet their social responsibilities and the role that they play in communities and other stakeholders.
ICL was always guided by clear cultural attitudes regarding its social responsibilities. ICL management has set targets for community activities and allocates an annual social investment budget that amounts to 1% of ICL’s pre-tax profit.
- ICL donates resources and encourages employee volunteering and mentoring in dozens of local programs as part of its Think Doing project. ICL employees contributed an astonishing 60,000 volunteer hours across all its community initiatives.
- ICL works actively to create a culture of genuine diversity, opportunity, and well-being within its own operations.
- ICL has contributed a total of $14.5 million to communities, in various fields, among others for helping develop and improve healthcare and education in communities where the company has a presence.
ICL believes that social responsibility is a form of long-term investment in people and communities that is part of our mission and values to act as a beacon, lead our social investment and community relations policy, and inspire our employees and management.
Demonstrating Good Governance and Ethics
Leadership is vitally important in any organization, especially a global corporation that conducts multi-billion dollar enterprises in strategic industries. Strong leadership is only reliable when it functions in balance with a strong corporate governance structure. ICL is committed to maintaining both a clearly defined and accountable system of governance, as well as a corporate culture of good governance that permeates through every level of operations.
ICL’s general approach of doing the right thing, in the right way, every day, and by embracing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as our guiding principles is a fundamental pillar of our governance structure and committed leadership to support the development of a cohesive ESG strategy and the integration of ESG practices across our Company. Some highlights of our governance practice and policies include:
- Transparency and accountability in decision-making at all levels.
- Above 30% of board members are women
- The ICL Board includes 7 out of 11 board members who are considered independent according to the NYSE rules.
- We integrate ESG considerations into all our business activities, including setting annual key performance indicators for our executive management, that incorporate improvement of specific ESG targets.
- As a global company, ICL has clear policies in place to prevent corruption and promote fair business practices.
ICL is committed to maintaining a strong corporate governance structure that ensures full compliance with local laws and regulations in every national and regional jurisdiction where the company operates.
Achievements that Make Us Proud!
We work hard to make ICL a great place to work and to ensure that the company has a positive impact wherever it operates. Implementing a comprehensive ESG strategy allows us to take pride in the 2022 ESG report highlights that indicate just how much we’re moving forward. Here is a selection of the achievements at ICL that make us proud.
100 Years of Accomplishments
The ICL journey began a century ago in a remote desert wilderness, by pioneering and brave vision in the harsh Negev region in search of extractable minerals. 100 years later we are a diverse, global company that is pioneering new frontiers.
Advancing Food Security: United Nations’s SDG 2 Zero Hunger
In line with the United Nations’ SDG 2 for Zero Hunger, ICL is making significant strides in advancing global food security. Our involvement in the food supply chain is not just about producing fertilizers; it’s about nourishing the world. We take pride that our fertilizer business alone sustains 158 million people globally. This remarkable achievement underscores our commitment to fighting hunger and highlights the role of minerals in enhancing agricultural yields and quality.
Fostering Gender Equality and Inclusion
Whether it’s new women directors on the Board, or female site managers and engineers, ICL is committed to creating a true equality and allowing every employee to progress as far as natural ability and hard work will take them. Women hold 23% of the company’s senior management positions and ICL is again ranked in the prestigious Bloomberg Gender Equality Index.
Environmental Performance: Commitment and Progress
ICL is investing significantly- in environmental protection projects and GHG reduction. ICL recently achieved a further 18% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (on its 2018 baseline) and is committed to the SBTI for setting an ambitious decarbonization plan.
Employee of Choice
ICL is ranked in the Top 15 companies by the BDI index and features in the N12 Index’s Top 50. It’s also rated as one of the best places to work in Greater St. Louis.
Giving Back to Our Communities
ICL doesn’t just give back to the communities where it operates. It seeks to actively empower community leaders and volunteers through mentorship and skill sharing. ICL has contributed $14.5 million to communities in addition to its employees donating 60,000 hours of their time. These employees have worked with local people, actively engaging in mentorship and skill-sharing, and learning from the communities in turn.
Greener Energy Solutions
The future of sustainable green energy currently depends on viable storage solutions. ICL is leading the technological drive to deliver cost-effective green energy solutions. The new planned LFP cathode active material plant in St. Louis, Missouri represents a $400 million investment in cleaner energy for everyone. It also positions ICL as a major component of the US sustainable energy supply chain.
ICL and ESG
The company is continuing to monitor ESG trends and intends to remain at the forefront of ESG practices, investing throughout 2024.
There’s no doubt that a transition to a more sustainable future is an ethical imperative, but ICL is systematically proving that the right ESG strategies make clear financial sense too. Employee satisfaction is high and ICL is seen as a desirable place to work. The company is also earning respect and approval for its ESG achievements among potential investors, partners, and major clients.
ICL is using its resources and expertise, as well as its culture of innovation, to create a clear sustainability roadmap that other companies and major organizations can follow in the future. A hundred years after its foundation, ICL remains a true pioneer!
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