Through the solutions it makes available to the markets, John Cockerill strives to develop green mobility, to promote renewable energy, to preserve natural resources, to produce in a sustainable manner and to protect against threats. In doing so, it aims to achieve several of the sustainable development goals of the UN. And by fulfilling its mission, John Cockerill also intends to be a responsible player and to promote within its teams the adoption of behavior that is in line with this philosophy. In 2019, the Group has begun to structure an CSR (Corporate and Social Responsibility) approach to amplify the impact of the many local initiatives already in place, whether in environmental, social or economic matters.
Promoting sustainable mobility
Within the Group’s headquarters, which has the highest concentration of staff, soft mobility is the subject of a structured deployment plan: a fleet of cars that is becoming greener, and campaigns to encourage the use of public transport, etc. The use of bicycles has been mainly promoted in 2019: “Various campaigns have been implemented,” explains Pascal, HR Legal and Mobility Manager. Through various incentives, our employees are encouraged to use bicycles to travel around. We have set up a secure and equipped bicycle room, where lockers and charging stations are available to the cyclists. The material is provided free of charge. Financial compensation is also granted per kilometer traveled by bicycle. This dynamic is driven by a small group of ambassadors.”
The ‘FlexiPay’ plan put in place in 2019 includes this ‘soft mobility’ dimension by offering the possibility of acquiring a bike. Carpooling has also been encouraged, with the provision of an application and specific parking spaces. The first electric charging stations were also installed in the parking lot on the site. In one year, the number of users of the platform who are dedicated to soft mobility has increased from 3 to 50. The Public Service of Wallonia has recognized this policy through an award. John Cockerill has also received the ‘All Active Bikes’ label from the Walloon Union of Enterprises.
Reducing the environmental impact of the sites
Single-use consumables have been limited at the Loncin site (Belgium), and a pilot operation was conducted with the site’s 460 regular users in 2019. The reduction of the number of water cups (113 400 cups were used in 2018) has made it possible to avoid the production of the equivalent of 260 kg of waste. In order to make this measure available at all the Group’s sites in 2020, John Cockerill has presented all its employees world-wide with a drinking flask in 2019.
In addition, a series of pilot actions have been deployed in 2019 to reduce the energy consumption related to the lighting of buildings. Several of John Cockerill’s entities have switched to LED lighting. This is the case for John Cockerill Energy and John Cockerill Industry in the United States, and for John Cockerill Services in Chazey (France).
Medical camps in India
For many years now, John Cockerill has invested in the quality of life of the communities in which the Group’s entities are located. This is particularly the case in India, where the Group is developing health, education and sustainable development programs. John Cockerill organized 297 medical camps there in 2019. Nearly 8 100 people, including 4 503 women, have received access to ophthalmology, gynecology, dental services and physiotherapy, and John Cockerill has also provided access to basic medical care for several communities in many villages. Good hygiene practices are instilled in schools and the community at large. And changes in behavior have certainly been observed. The program in India has also enabled the distribution of hygiene kits, of soap in the schools and children’s centers, and clothing and toys.
In Mumbai, John Cockerill also published an educational map of the region in order to raise awareness of nature conservation. 18 natural sites have been identified there. The map, which has been produced in three languages, has been distributed in the schools of Mumbai.
Openness to young people
The John Cockerill Campus, a multidisciplinary training center of the Group based in Commercy (France), hosted various events in 2019 that were designed to introduce young people to the careers available within the Group.
More than 170 students discovered the defense business, for example. The initiative, called ‘They Move for Defense’, has promoted this business to young girls. Carole, the Campus Director, says: “The participants were accompanied by 21 mentors, all women who are active in the defense sector: engineers, an aspiring member of the Navy, an Air Force Captain, an information system manager specializing in cyber-security, and Florence, the head of industrial scheduling at John Cockerill Defense. The girls participated in workshops showcasing the careers offered by the Air Force, the National Navy and the Army. They were also able to discover the simulation activities, as well as the profession of industrial scheduling for the production of defense equipment in the workshops.”
Life balance through teleworking
To take even better care of its talents, John Cockerill has developed a policy of structural teleworking in Belgium and France. Employees whose job allows it can now work from home, for up to two days a week. This new feature at John Cockerill is an additional asset in attracting new talent: tele-working truly meets the aspirations of more and more workers, notably by improving the balance between their private and professional lives. It also enhances efficiency at work, in particular for all those activities that require calm and concentration.
The John Cockerill Foundation
As a responsible Group inspired by the world, John Cockerill deploys its sponsorship policy through the John Cockerill Foundation. Created in 2017, this is based on three axes:
- The preservation and transmission of the legacy of John Cockerill, whether material, immaterial or memorial
- Support for culture and industrial heritage
- Support for social and humanitarian aid
The John Cockerill Foundation implements its actions through partnerships anywhere in the world, be it in kind, in skills, or through services, or financially. In order to successfully carry these good works, it encourages the Group’s employees to become involved by participating in projects in various forms (mentoring, ambassador, volunteering, etc.).
Two projects in particular have marked the year 2019 for the John Cockerill Foundation.
L’Arc Majeur, When Art Challenges Technology
L’Arc Majeur, conceived by Bernar Venet in 1984, became a reality in 2019 thanks to the audacity, expertise and tenacity of the John Cockerill Group. The work was installed near the A4 motorway (Rochefort, Belgium) at the end of October. It was manufactured in the workshops of the Welding Expertise Center (now John Cockerill Welding) in Seraing (Belgium), and consists of two monumental pieces, the main part of which rises to 60 meters. These exceptional dimensions make it the tallest CorTen steel sculpture in the world.
But it’s more than just a work of art: L’Arc Majeur is above all a real technical, technological and human feat: it has taken John Cockerill and its partners almost 20 000 hours to complete this project. The adventure of L’Arc Majeur is currently one of the largest collective public-private partnership operations ever carried out in Belgium.
As a real showcase of Belgian know-how, its implementation and the major media campaign it has benefited from are fully in line with the John Cockerill Foundation’s raison d’être of supporting culture and industrial heritage.
The Nest Home, technology as a response to the needs of the community
The John Cockerill Foundation has supported The Nest Home in Kenya, a children’s shelter in Limuru. The center supports about 100 children whose parents have died or have been imprisoned. The association sets up support processes and social and economic reintegration processes, and is recognized at an international level.
The John Cockerill Foundation intervened in 2019 to enable the association to become self-sufficient in electricity and water. Thanks to the John Cockerill teams in Kenya and O•HUB, a start-up arising from the Group’s Innovation Lab, a solution has been put in place to produce and store energy, as well as a water filtration solution. In practical terms, the energy solution is a system that includes the construction of a photo-voltaic carport composed of 62 panels, and the installation of a container equipped with batteries that are connected to the panels. With regard to water, a system for the filtration of gray water and a water purification system has been set up for the community via the Lifestraw® system.
These facilities provide the 150 residents with a vital access to resources that undeniably improve their living environment. Living in decent conditions helps them to overcome the traumatic burden on a daily basis, and facilitates their social integration.