At Ascend, we believe in being better every day. This looks different for every person and department, but for our sustainability team, being better every day is marked through the progress made on our sustainability goals. Recently, the team celebrated a huge win when a year of hard work paid off, resulting in a significant increase in Ascend’s EcoVadis score.
Sustainability is accomplished through accountability and progress. It’s a formula that Ascend has utilized since the beginning of our sustainability journey.
When looking at the highlight reel of Ascend’s sustainability story, the progress we have made is clear. From launching ReDefyne™ sustainable polyamides to building cogeneration units at our Decatur site, we continue to invest in projects that reflect our vision for sustainability. What might not be as clear, however, is the accountability part of the equation.
“The milestones we have reached are a testament to our commitment to sustainability,” says Valina Sefa, sustainability engineer. “But, when you are trying to show that commitment to the world, there is a level of accountability and transparency that you should have. One way we do this is through EcoVadis.”
EcoVadis is a third-party auditor that reviews how sustainably a company operates by analyzing and scoring across four different segments: environment, labor and human rights, ethics and procurement – this overall score is shared and made public for suppliers and customers to view, and sometimes influences how they will make business decisions.
Providing EcoVadis with the metrics and performance data needed to create a scorecard requires high levels of transparency. Additionally, our sustainability team dedicates hours to answering rigorous lists of questions on our policies, practices and conduct.
In 2021, Ascend scored 55 out of 100 on the EcoVadis scorecard, putting the company in the 71st percentile. While impressive, being ahead of the curve is not our goal.
“At Ascend, we want to be a top decile company,” says Chris Johnson, director of sustainability. “It’s easy to stop when you see you’re ahead of others, but sustainability is only accomplished through continuous improvement.”
Over the past year, the sustainability team worked closely with human resources, procurement, ESSH, legal and other departments to find ways to incorporate real change. In addition to this, an added focus was put on being as transparent as possible with our metrics and performance data.
In 2022, in a huge win for our sustainability team, Ascend’s EcoVadis score raised by 10 points to 65/100, landing us in the 89th percentile and earning the company a silver medal.
“Our EcoVadis score shows that we have a program in place to hold us accountable and help improve our sustainability performance,” says Chris. “This reporting system encourages us to have better documentation and showcases our efforts to put processes in place that ensure we are living our values. The jump in our score reflects how we are truly becoming better every day.”
For 2023, our sustainability team has already mapped out the ways we will continue to advance in our sustainability performance.
“Next year, we will work on updating some of our policies and will be even more intentional about demonstrating our sustainability efforts,” says Valina. “Most importantly, our 2030 sustainability vision will be laid out in our upcoming annual report – publishing these goals will paint a clear picture of how we plan to advance in sustainability.”