Our markets

better together in the communities where we are active

Bekaert strives to be a loyal and responsible partner in the communities where we are active. We make a point of interacting with local governments in a transparent, constructive way, and we are firmly committed to complying with national legislations and collective labor agreements. Bekaert adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the treaties and recommendations of the International Labor Organization.

Also in acquisition deals, Bekaert attaches great importance to building open and constructive relationships with local government bodies and with social representatives as of the start. This was particularly the case in the communities we entered as part of the Pirelli deal.

Co-creation and open innovation

Bekaert seeks international partnerships with universities and research institutes. In 2014, we continued to cooperate with academic institutions, technology clusters and research partners from different countries in order to bring an outside-in approach.

better together with customers and suppliers

Bekaert has production facilities and sales offices in 40 countries and builds lasting relationships with customers and suppliers wherever we do business.

We are committed and dedicated to creating value for all our valued customers. In pursuit of excellence and value creation to our customers, we will step up our operational performance, service delivery, and innovation focus in 2015; all while drawing on the broad capability and motivated teams of the Bekaert Group around the world.

The purchase of the global Pirelli steel cord activities is the largest acquisition in the history of Bekaert. This acquisition strengthens our status as a preferred supplier to the tire industry and increases our global market share in steel cord for tires to approximately 30%.

Bekaert further strengthened its partnerships with other global players such as with ArcelorMittal in Costa Rica and Ecuador, with Maccaferri in a global selling and distribution network for underground infrastructure works, and with Bekaert’s Chilean partners in establishing a global Bekaert Rope Group.

On 19 November, a fire caused structural damage to part of the Bekaert manufacturing plant in Rome, Georgia (US). All employees were evacuated on time and no one was injured. Bekaert immediately took actions to ensure that customers could rely on continuity of supply, either through product stocks available or through alternative sourcing. Bekaert Rome has been able to rapidly restore part of its operations, and is being reconstructed to restart full operations by June 2015.

Close customer cooperation

We work closely with customers and suppliers by engaging in co-development projects. As part of one of the core strategies, Bekaert remodeled the innovation strategy in order to speed up R&D in co-creation with customers. The purpose is to make our R&D processes and priorities much more customer-driven. Our focus is being oriented toward fewer projects with faster and better innovation results, and to opportunities with bigger impact.
In co-creating new steel wire solutions with and for our customers, we increasingly sharpen our focus on the total value chain and consider disruptive innovations that envision the lowest total cost of ownership in our target markets.

In 2014, we extended the use of numerical modeling  to speed up our time to market. Using computer simulation, our developments are designed even faster thanks to extensive virtual testing. One of the domains where numerical modeling is the most successful is in the development of complex profiled wires which require extensive experience and testing. Using numerical modeling to obtain the required shape of the roll grooves and zero-tolerance product specifications significantly reduces the number of experiments on our production lines. It drives a reduction of the development lead time and costs, and creates unlimited possibilities in intermediate result analyses, together with customers.

Shaping a sustainable value chain

Bekaert also cooperates with customers and suppliers by conducting feedback initiatives and satisfaction surveys, and by performing industry analyses together. Customer surveys are executed annually or bi-annually in all sectors and regions and are based on either standard methodologies or customized on request of the specific customer.

We actively cooperate with global customers, especially from the automotive, construction and energy related markets, in supporting their CSR programs by implementing specific actions in our CSR policies. Acting as a socially responsible supplier helps our customers achieve their sustainability targets.

In 2014, Bekaert’s Purchasing department laid the groundwork for future sustainability targets related to the supply chain. Conversations began with selected suppliers to investigate how progress could be measured on certain sustainability KPI's via integrated value chains.
The first steps to roll out the Suppliers’ Code of Conduct were taken at the end of 2014. In close cooperation with key suppliers, shared targets were set for 2015 in order to drive sustainability forward.

Market place related data

  • Direct economic value generated and distributed (GRI G3 EC1): These data can be found in the Financial Review of our Annual Report 2014 §5.2., § 5.3, § 5.5, § 6.12
  • Anti-corruption policies and procedures (GRI G3 SO3): According to our global policy all employees (100%) receive the " Bekaert Code of Conduct" upon hiring, which describes the Bekaert anti-corruption policy & procedures. This standard policy is coordinated by the regional HR managers and is available in 5 languages. 100% of managerial employees received the Bekaert Code of Conduct and are trained through specific management training programs. 100% of white and blue collar employees received the Code of Conduct (integrated in labor contract). Additional training is foreseen partially depending on the function (eg. Purchasing function 100% trained) and depends on relations with external contacts in general.

    During internal audits, the Group Internal Audit department regularly evaluates the anti-corruption policies and procedures, and advises on modifications where necessary.

    All policies are available to all employees through the Bekaert Intranet. An e-learning module Ethics for supplier relations is available to all employees through the Bekaert Intranet.