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Social statements

Health & safety

Safety programs

The Bekaert safety programs guide all employees toward the same safety mindset and behaviors worldwide.

BeCare: no harm to anyone @Bekaert

It is our goal to create a no-harm-to-anyone working environment at Bekaert. We commit to do whatever is necessary to eliminate accidents in the workplace.
BeCare, the Bekaert global safety program, launched in 2016, is our way to do this. It focuses on creating an interdependent safety culture, promoting strong risk awareness, removing risk tolerance, and investing in the necessary tools and equipment to create a safer working environment.

BeCare has changed the behavior in our plants and offices and in our meetings with business partners.

Bekaert also launched, end of 2021, a new safety and compliance learning program, aligned with BeCare. More information on ‘Compass’ can be found in Part I of this report: Our Performance in 2021: People.
GRI403-2

Safety procedures

Bekaert has developed several safety procedures and standards that are applicable in all our plants worldwide. They aim for a coherent and standardized approach of processes and actions across the group.
GRI403-2

In line with our BeCare safety program, and to put more emphasis on safety in specific situations, our employees must follow the Life Saving Rules. The rules are simple dos and don’ts in 10 hazardous situations that have the highest potential to cause death. They apply to everyone: employees, contractors and visitors. Moreover, they are not only applicable at the workplace, but also highly recommended on the road, at home and in other situations.

Abiding by these rules is a condition of employment at and access to our sites. Following these rules and helping others to do so will save lives. That is why consequence management applies to those who do not follow the Life Saving Rules. 
GRI 403-2, GRI 403-7

Apart from the behavioral component, we realize that equipment safety is also key in our efforts to improve our safety performance. To meet this need, we have an equipment safety standard in place that describes the requirements to which all new and existing equipment should comply. Our Engineering departments start their design process from this standard when they develop a new machine. Existing machinery is evaluated on its safety-related risks via a risk assessment method. The method prioritizes the risks that could have the most severe impact and are most likely to happen.

Bekaert has approved a safety investment program that will be rolled out in the course of 2022 as another enabler to create a safe environment for all people at the workplace.
GRI 403-2

A healthy workplace

In addition to the BeCare and safety investment initiatives aimed at eliminating safety risks, we also want to create and maintain a healthy workplace for our employees.

Workplace conditions

We monitor workplace conditions such as noise, dust and temperature, and are defining and implementing a roadmap to make further improvements. Our new investments consider strict standards with regards to all working conditions.
GRI 403-6

All employees and subcontractors working in the Bekaert plants worldwide wear the safety and health equipment provided to avoid the risks of injuries and health impact. This includes uniforms, dust filters, eye and ear protection, and grippers and hoists to lift and handle spools, coils, and pallets in an ergonomic way.
Bekaert will not purchase or renew the lease contract of diesel-powered forklifts and other internal trucks in the plants, unless there is no alternative, to eliminate the CO₂ emissions.
GRI 403-3

Handling and storing chemicals

Throughout the company, we pay special attention to the safe handling and storage of chemicals. A database records all chemicals used in our plants and strict health and safety guidelines apply to our employees. Employees who are exposed to potentially hazardous materials go through a medical check-up every six months. We are developing and optimizing techniques and processes that eliminate the need for hazardous chemicals during heat treatment processes.
GRI 403-3

Mental health

69% of our employees in the Bekaert subsidiaries have access to a globally deployed employee assistance program that focuses on mental health. In addition, other specific mental health programs run in various entities and are particularly oriented on the impact of the pandemic on well-being. 
20% of our employees followed a training that focused on well-being in 2021. 
GRI 403-3, GRI403-6

More information on the standards we comply with regarding the handling of chemicals and other substances that may cause potential environmental and health risks, are included in Part II: Environmental Statements of this report.

Safety data

  • The Total Recordable Incident Rate decreased with 8% compared to 2020.
  • The Lost-Time Incident Frequency Rate was 23% lower than last year, driven by the reduction in incidents that led to lost time.
  • The number of incidents leading to life-altering injuries increased from one case in 2020 to eight in 2021. 
  • 14% of all incidents either led or could potentially have led to a life-altering injury, down from 16% in 2020.
  • The number of incidents that happened in high-risk situations (but not necessarily resulting in a serious injury) has increased by 12.5% in 2021. 

47% of the injuries that happen at Bekaert involve hands and fingers. Despite all safety measures, eight of these incidents in 2021 were life-altering, compared to one life-altering incident in 2020. In safety procedures and during safety trainings, special attention is given to the prevention of hand and finger injuries. Other body parts injured were head and neck (16%), upper limbs (13%), lower limbs (9%), feet and toes (6%) and torso, back and organs (7%). 
GRI 403-9

In 2021, Bekaert received a group-wide ISO45001 certificate (the safety management system standard) and 31% of the Bekaert plants worldwide were certified to ISO45001. Increased certification to ISO45001 is an ongoing goal.
GRI 403-1, GRI 403-8

On average, each Bekaert employee received 8 hours of safety-related training in 2021. 
GRI 403-5 

 
Key safety performance indicators Bekaert consolidated  2018 2019 2020  2021
TRIR
7.17
5.62 4.30 3.96
LTIFR
4.41 3.39
2.94
2.27
SI rate
0.13
0.13
0.02
0.10
Key safety performance indicators Bekaert combined (consolidated plants + joint ventures) 2018 2019 2020  2021
TRIR
6.61
5.18 4.02 3.67
LTIFR
3.98 3.08
2.65
2.08
SI rate
0.11
0.13 0.02
0.12

Incident rates per region

Group data per region LTIFR ⁽¹⁾
All (Bekaert payroll employees + contractors
LTIFR ⁽¹⁾
Bekaert payroll employees
LTIFR ⁽¹⁾
Contractor
 
SI rate ⁽²⁾
All (Bekaert payroll employees + contractors
SI rate ⁽²⁾
Bekaert payroll employees

 
SI rate ⁽²⁾
Contracto
r
 

TRIR ⁽³⁾
All (Bekaert payroll employees + contractors
TRIR ⁽³⁾
Bekaert payroll employees

 
TRIR ⁽³⁾
Contractor

 

EMEA
5.88
6.06 4.34 0.32 0.29
0.62
7.23
7.28
6.82
Latin America
1.71 1.82
1.34
0.00
 0.00 0.00
1.71
1.82
1.34
North America
1.48
1.64 0.00
0.30
0.33
0.00
18.91
19.97
 9.11
Asia Pacific
0.62
0.71
0.38
0.00
0.00
0.00
1.14
1.23
0.89
JV’s in Brazil and Colombia
0.95
1.31
0.00
0.21
0.29
0.00
2.10
2.63
0.75

* Contractor: employee of a supplier who performs predefined tasks on a regular base on our premises. This includes but is not limited to employees of cleaning services, security services, temporary employment agencies (interim workers).

GRI 403-9

Incident rates per gender

 

Group data by gender (payroll employees) Male Female

2020
2021 2020 2021
LTIFR ⁽¹⁾
3.27 2.43
2.34
2.31
SI rate ⁽²⁾
0.02
0.11 0.00
0.33
TRIR ⁽³⁾
5.01
4.30 2.88
3.47

¹ LTIFR: Lost Time Incident Frequency Rate: number of lost time incidents per million worked hours.

² SI: real Serious Injuries per million worked hours.

³ TRIR: Total Recordable Incident Rate: all recorded incidents per million worked hours.

GRI 403-9

Communicating with and engaging our employees

People engagement and empowerment have always been important at Bekaert. We empower our teams with responsibility, authority and accountability, and count on the engagement of every Bekaert employee in driving a higher-level performance.

  • The Bekaert Intranet is a place where employees can share and obtain knowledge, find relevant information fast, connect with colleagues, collaborate with team members on common development programs, and actively contribute to impactful communications across the company. Moreover, the company’s internal social media platform Yammer and video platform Stream are intensively used tools to share best practices, celebrations and ideas. Our employees regularly receive internal news bulletins with corporate messages and business updates.
  • Every quarter, Bekaert’s CEO and CFO invite all managers and salaried professionals worldwide to join an internal webcast at the occasion of the financial news releases. They share information on Bekaert’s performance and the actions to be taken and answer the questions raised. The sessions are recorded and can be replayed afterwards via our internal online video platform.
  • Next to the quarterly financial updates, employees are also invited to Communication Town Halls, hosted by the CEO and the members of the Bekaert Group Executive. They share insights on market developments, decisions made, and strategies established and implemented. These sessions engage active interaction with all participants.
  • At the end of 2021 Bekaert launched an employee podcast channel, Bekaert Bits & Bytes. The podcast shares stories from colleagues across the globe sharing inspiring ideas and discussions on highly relevant themes. 

GRI 102-43, GRI 102-44

Learning & development

Average hours of training per employee
On average, each employee received 33 hours of training in 2021.

Average hours of training per employee per region 2019 2020
 2021
  Male  Female Male 
Female
Male 
Female
EMEA
         
Blue collars 19 14 12 10 37  37 
Salaried professionals 16 16  15 8 25  26 
Management 8 10  12 16 17  20 
 Latin America            
Blue collars 75  39  150 
Salaried professionals 32  34  23  21 
Management 44  46  11  31  34  43 
 North America            
Blue collars 36  40  35  33  33  14 
Salaried professionals 20  13  22  17 
Management 13  11  20  19 
 Asia Pacific            
Blue collars 49  29  23  31  37  58 
Salaried professionals 22  11  12  13  24  16 
Management 12  12  14  21  39  27 

Note: in 2021, intensive training programs were set up in Latin America to bring more female workers in manufacturing and other operational roles. This clarifies the high average number of training hours for female operators in the region.

GRI 404-1

 

Labor unions and collective bargaining agreements

Communication also includes the information exchange and negotiations with labor unions. We recognize the right of any employee to join or to refrain from joining a labor union. 64% of our employees worldwide are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Agreements with trade unions are locally concluded and include the following elements:

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Right to refuse unsafe work
  • Joint management-employee health and safety committees
  • Participation of worker representatives in health and safety matters
  • Inspections, audits, and accident investigations
  • Training and education
  • Complaints mechanism
  • Periodic inspections

GRI 102-41, GRI 403-4, GRI 407-1

Health and safety committees

Our integral workforce is represented in formal joint management-worker health and safety committees. They help monitor and formulate advice on occupational health and safety programs.
GRI 403-4, GRI 403-3, GRI 403-9

Open Innovation: our partnerships with research and academic institutes

Bekaert has research & innovation partnerships with the following partners: 

Partners Innovation domain
Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Eco2Fuel
University Politecnica Valencia (UPV)
Eco2Fuel
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
Eco2Fuel
Centro Ricerch e FIAT
Eco2Fuel
Flemish Institute for Technological (VITO)
Hyve
IMEC
Hyve
TNO (Toegepast Natuurweterschappelijk Onderzoek)
MooringSense
SINTEF
MooringSense
CTC (Foundacion Centro Tecnologico de Componentes
MooringSense
UCD University College Dublin
Modeling
Imperial College London
Modeling
Universitas Studiorum Zagrabiensis
Modeling
CEIT
Modeling
Ghent University
Modeling
OCAS
Physical Metallurgy
CRM (Centre de Recherches Metallurgie)
Metallic Coatings
INSA Lyon
Physical Metallurgy
Université de Lille (UMET)
Physical Metallurgy
KULeuven
 
Flanders' Make
Digital - engineering
VKI Von Karman Institute
Metallic coatings - hot dip

Highest ethical standards

Code of Conduct

Our hiring policy states that every new employee receives a copy of our Code of Conduct and every year, all salaried professionals and managers worldwide are required to read the Bekaert Code of Conduct, to pass a test on business ethics cases, and to renew their commitment to the principles of the Code via Bekaert’s online global learning platform.
GRI 102-16

As part of the annual commitment process a mandatory training session reminds employees of the principles to follow when confronted with ethical choices. 100% of the managers and 100% of the salaried professionals renewed their commitment to the Code of Conduct in 2021 and it is our goal to maintain full annual commitment results. We already trained the most of our operators on the principles of the Code of Conduct. The isolation procedures imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic prevented us, however, from achieving full training in 2021. We aim to reach our goal by the end of 2022.

In 2021, we rolled out a mandatory anti-bribery and corruption course to all managers at Bekaert and to salaried professionals employed in departments that have frequent contacts with third parties. 100% of the addressees completed the training and passed the test. A dedicated training on anti-trust was assigned to a specific target audience of managers, based on Hay classification level and function. 100% of the addressees completed the training and passed the test.

Training programs on the Code of Conduct and on anti-corruption and anti-bribery policies are also provided to specific, functional groups (e.g., the purchasing function). 

In addition, the Group Internal Audit department regularly audits adherence to the respective policies and procedures and recommends corrective actions where necessary.

All policies are available to personnel on the Bekaert Intranet.
GRI 205-2

Our Code of Conduct contains a (whistleblowing) procedure to raise an integrity concern. Employees have the choice between informing their supervisor, HR manager or the Internal Audit manager, sending an email to integrity@bekaert.com or reporting a concern via the Bekaert website where it can also be done anonymously. 

In 2021, 62 integrity allegations were reported. 23 were considered valid for further investigation. 6 of the 62 allegations related to discrimination or harassment and one related to bribery & corruption. After investigation respectively 2 and 1 case were found substantiated and were dealt with. All concerns and complaints are handled confidentially and Bekaert takes the necessary measures to protect employees against any form of retaliation when reporting a concern. This information, including the follow-up process, is regulated through a formal procedure that follows the European Union’s Directive for the protection of people reporting on breaches of Union law (or ‘Whistleblower Protection Directive’). 

We want to encourage all our employees to ‘Speak Up’ when having factual or suspected integrity concerns and questions. Early 2021 a global ‘Speak Up’ campaign was launched in all our sites. The campaign materials are available in all relevant languages. 
GRI 406-1, GRI 205-3, GRI 418-1

Embracing diversity

All diversity data apply to Bekaert subsidiaries (excluding joint ventures). 

Nationality diversity

Throughout our organization, 430 employees have another nationality than that of the country they work in. The countries where we have the largest foreign employee workforce are Chile (133 foreign employees or 9% of the Chilean workforce), Belgium (67 foreign employees or 5% of the Belgian workforce) and Slovakia (86 foreign employees or 4% of the Slovakian workforce).

NATIONALITY DIVERSITY - 31 December 2021 # People # Nationalities # Non-native ¹
% Non-native
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
13
8 7 54% 
Bekaert Group Executive (BGE)
8 5 5 63%
Senior Vice Presidents (B16-B18) ²
14 5 5 36%
Next leadership level (B13-B15) ²
93
20 47 51%
TOTAL LEADERSHIP TEAM
115
22 57 50%

¹ Non-native = nationality other than the one of the mother company’s social seat (i.e. Belgium)

² Hay classification reference

³ Sum of nationalities across leadership team

GRI 405-1

Gender diversity

GENDER DIVERSITY -  31 December 2021 % Male % Female
Blue collars
93% 7%
Salaried professionals ¹
69% 31%
Management ²
80% 20%
TOTAL BEKAERT EMPLOYEES
87%
13%

¹ In previous reports referred-to as white collars

² B7 and above (Hay classification reference)

GRI 405-1

The manufacturing character of Bekaert’s operations explains the predominantly male population among operators.
Bekaert adopts a recruitment and promotion policy that aims to gradually generate more diversity, including gender diversity. This fits within the Diversity & Inclusion program of the company. 28% of the managers and salaried professionals of the Bekaert subsidiaries are female (as per year-end 2021). We are committed to increase this share in support of gender equality. Our target is to achieve a ratio of 40% by 2030 through an annual improvement of +1.5% in the next coming eight years. This target has also been added, as of 2022 onwards, in the short-term incentives targets for Executive Management.
GRI 405-1

Gender diversity in the Board of Directors and in the Leadership Team of Bekaert:

GENDER DIVERSITY -  31 December 2021 # People % Male % Female
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
13
62% 38%
Bekaert Group Executive (BGE)
8 87% 13%
Senior & next leadership level ¹
107 81% 19%
TOTAL LEADERSHIP TEAM
115
82% 18%

¹ B13-B18 (Hay classification reference)

More information about gender diversity in the Board of Directors can be found in Part I: Leadership, and in Part II: Governance Statements of this report.

GRI 405-1

By 2030, Bekaert aims to reach a gender diversity ratio of 33% at the leadership level.

Age diversity

AGE DIVERSITY -  31 December 2021 % Under 30 years old % 30-50 Years old % Over 50 years old
Blue collars
19% 67% 14%
Salaried professionals 
12% 70% 18%
Management ²
2% 68% 30% 
TOTAL BEKAERT EMPLOYEES
16%
68% 16%

¹ B7 and above (Hay classification reference)

GRI 405-1

AGE DIVERSITY -  31 December 2021 # People % 30-50 Years old % Over 50 years old
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
13
31% 69%
Bekaert Group Executive (BGE)
8 38% 62%
Senior Vice Presidents (B16-B18) ²
14 21% 79%
Next leadership level (B13-B15) ²
93
42% 58%
TOTAL LEADERSHIP TEAM
115
39% 61%

Age diversity in Bekaert’s highest governance bodies: ¹ Hay classification reference

GRI 405-1

Employment data:

REGION -  31 December 2021 EMEA North America Latin America
Asia Pacific
TOTAL
Blue Collars
6 103
1 089 1 892 8 150 17 234 

Male

5 258 1 029 1 823 7 904 16 015 

Female

845 60 69 246 1 219 
Salaried professionals
1 412
256 1 194 1 819  4 681 

Male

920 159 766 1 399  3 244

 Female

492 97 428 420 1 437
 Management 700 157 188 608 1 653

 Male

571 129 155 473 1 328

 Female

129  28 33 135 325
 Total Male 6 749 1 317 2 745 9 776 20 587
 Total Female 1 466 185  529 801 2 981
 GRAND TOTAL 8 215 1 502 3 274 10 577 23 568

GRI 102-8

87% of people employed by Bekaert have a permanent contract, 13% has a temporary contract. Employees with a temporary contract are usually on the payroll of external organizations and agencies (Special Economic Zones, employment agencies) and are hence not included in the Bekaert payroll numbers. 99% of the Bekaert employees work full-time.

GRI 102-8

New hires

Bekaert consolidated entities

New hires in 2021 Total Male Female
number of new hires
2 767
2 311 456
% new hires on total number of employees
12%
10% 2%
 % new hires on total number of new hires   84% 16%

GRI 401-1

New hires in 2021 per region EMEA Latin America North America
Asia Pacific
number of new hires
996 622 450 685
% new hires on total number of employees
4%
3% 2% 3%
 % new hires on total number of new hires 36% 22% 16% 25%

GRI 401-1

New hires in 2021 per employee category Blue collar Salaried professional Management
% new hires on total number of employees
9%
2% 1%
 % new hires on total number of new hires 75% 20% 5%

GRI 401-1

Number of vacancies in 2021  
# vacancies
980
% vacancies filled within 90 days
70%
% vacancies open longer than 90 days 30%

Turnover

Bekaert consolidated entities

Employee turnover in 2021 Total Male Female
turnover (number) taking into account voluntary leave
731
600 131
turnover (number) taking into account all personnel exits (voluntary leave – dismissal – retirement – end of temporary contract – death in service) 1 293 1 073 220
 turnover (%) taking into account voluntary leave 3.6% 3.3% 5.1%
turnover (%) taking into account all personnel exits (voluntary leave – dismissal – retirement – end of temporary contract – death in service) 6.3% 6.0% 8.6%
GRI 401-1
Employee turnover in 2021 per region EMEA Latin America North America
Asia Pacific
turnover (number) taking into account voluntary leave
253 115 157 206
turnover (number) taking into account all personnel exits (voluntary leave – dismissal – retirement – end of temporary contract – death in service)
468
259 233 333
turnover (%) taking into account voluntary leave 3.2% 3.7% 10.3% 2.6%
turnover (%) taking into account all personnel exits (voluntary leave – dismissal – retirement – end of temporary contract – death in service)
6.0% 8.4% 15.2% 4.1%

GRI 401-1

Employee turnover in 2021 per employee category Blue collar Salaried professional Management
turnover (number) taking into account voluntary leave
438
202 91
turnover (number) taking into account all personnel exits (voluntary leave – dismissal – retirement – end of temporary contract – death in service) 826 317 150
turnover (%) taking into account voluntary leave
3.0% 4.7% 5.9%
turnover (%) taking into account all personnel exits (voluntary leave – dismissal – retirement – end of temporary contract – death in service)
5.6% 7.4%

9.8%

GRI 401-1
Employee turnover in 2021 per age category Under 30 years old 30-50 years old Over 50 years old
turnover (number) taking into account voluntary leave
144
478 109
turnover (number) taking into account all personnel exits (voluntary leave – dismissal – retirement – end of temporary contract – death in service) 194 744 355
turnover (%) taking into account voluntary leave
5.5% 3.4% 2.8%
turnover (%) taking into account all personnel exits (voluntary leave – dismissal – retirement – end of temporary contract – death in service)
7.5% 5.3%

9.2%

GRI 401-1

Performance management

Performance reviews

To stimulate high performance, commitment, and the continuous development of all employees, the group targets are deployed into team and personal targets for everyone.

Bekaert has developed and deployed a People Performance Management (PPM) program. PPM is our way of looking at people performance and how we can better achieve our goals in the future. As such, PPM is part of a larger effort to become a much more performance-driven organization.

The performance management process includes two-way personal development reviews, transparency, feedforward and leadership behavior.

Enablers for the people performance management practice are a clear alignment of team and individual goals with business priorities; frequent performance steering and coaching; fair recognition in line with the achieved performance; and better supporting tools that allow employees to keep track of their performance and feedforward actions throughout the year. 

Percentage of employees who received a performance review in 2021(1):

Managers  
Managers
752
Salaried professionals 1 480
Blue collars
4%

¹ Excluding joint ventures

GRI 404-3

Remuneration & benefits

We offer competitive salaries and benefits designed to enhance the financial, physical and overall well-being of our employees and their families. Our offerings differ from country to country and are often adapted to local social security policies. We provide a wide range of employee benefits that may include retirement benefits, healthcare plans, service awards, labor accident disability coverage and paid leave. For detailed information on employee benefits, we refer to Part II Financial Statements section 6.15. 

GRI 201-3

Benefits provided to full-time and part-time employees by significant locations of operation (> 1 000 employees):

BENEFIT Belgium Slovakia China
 Chile US
Indonesia
Life insurance
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yes
Yes
Health care Yes No Yes Yes
Yes
Yes
Disability coverage
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yes
Yes
Parental leave
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yes
Yes
Retirement provision
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Stock ownership
No
No
No
No
No
No

These benefits are not provided to temporary workers (‘interim workers’) who are not on the Bekaert payroll.

GRI 401-2, GRI 403-6

Termination & severance

Bekaert has restructured several sites in 2021. The management only implements such measures when other options to restore the performance in view of securing a sustainable, profitable future, have failed or are non-existent.

In implementing such measures, the management aims at mitigating the social impact for the affected employees by considering re-industrialization, re-employment help and a fair severance package.

GRI 404-2