Dan Smytka | CEO | Zep
For more than eight decades, Zep has combined its expertise in the market and desire to do the right thing to support our customers, employees, the communities in which we live and serve, and the world around us. It’s our purpose to make the planet safer, cleaner and more productive.
At Zep, we believe an environmental, social and governance (ESG) plan is the key to get us there. It’s critical to our business, our society and our planet that we are meeting these opportunities as good stewards and driving positive change.
In 2020, we unveiled our aspirational five-year plan, Vision 2025, to lead Zep toward more growth, greater transparency and an even more sustainable future. Establishing a firm ESG strategy is an integral part of Vision 2025.
With that, I’m proud to announce Zep Stewardship, a strategic commitment to our purpose and a commitment to preserve the environment for future generations.
As part of Zep Stewardship, we are enhancing our processes for greater alignment with our culture and SPEED values: Stewardship, Passion for Problem Solving, Empowerment, Expertise and Doing the Right Thing. In 2020, we conducted a materiality assessment, based on Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, to better serve and understand our stakeholders. This assessment is guiding how we prioritize our ESG efforts for continual growth.
Based on the results of that assessment, Zep Stewardship focuses on the ways we can make a positive impact in five key areas: Health and Safety, Water Usage and Effluents, Diversity and Inclusion, Carbon Emissions, and Marketing and Labeling.
We’ve already taken steps to increase transparency concerning progressive corporate governance and operationalize Zep Stewardship in ways that are consistent with Vision 2025:
- We’re investing in new ways to continue to be our customers’ leading partner in pandemic preparedness and biosecurity innovation.
- Zep leadership has committed to increasing diversity among its employees and suppliers by 20% over the next five years.
- We’ve created and implemented an action plan to reduce Zep’s carbon footprint and establish baseline emissions in our operations.
- Our scientists are enhancing our formulation policies to improve the environmental and safety performance of products.
- We’ve audited our current water pollution plans in all facilities to build more comprehensive, rigorous company-wide standards for water pollution.
I’m excited to see outcomes of these changes in the future, and I hope you are too.
At Zep, we keep our purpose – to make the planet safer, cleaner and more productive – at the center of everything we do. It’s not just good business; it’s doing the right thing. And we’re just getting started. Thank you for your partnership in this journey.
Zep Stewardship Overview
Zep’s purpose is to make the planet safer, cleaner and more productive through sustainable practices and products while making a positive impact on people, our customers and our communities.
To live up to our company purpose, Zep Stewardship focuses on environmental, social and corporate responsibility. We have a duty to be good corporate citizens and caretakers of the world around us. Zep Stewardship is a commitment to our purpose and a commitment to preserve the environment for future generations.
Since 1937, Zep has been creating value for customers by offering a comprehensive selection of top quality industrial and janitorial cleaning products, delivered with unique chemistry formulations, superior service, and unmatched technical support. In 2020, Zep launched Vision 2025 — a roadmap designed to unite our employees around our company’s common purpose and guide our priorities for the future. With Vision 2025 as our true north, our goal is to give our customers, employees and communities a clear understanding of what we value as a company.
Zep Stewardship: Our Priority Areas
To determine the initial areas of focus, Zep conducted a materiality assessment to reveal how we could make the most significant impact early on. The assessment is based on standards from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a world-wide organization dedicated to increasing ESG transparency with the most widely used standards for sustainability reporting.
Based on the results of the assessment, we determined our five priority areas: Health and Safety, Carbon Emissions, Water Usage and Effluents, Marketing and Labeling, and Diversity and Inclusion. As the Zep Stewardship initiative expands, we will seek to widen our impact to other areas.
Health & Safety
Continue to improve health and safety best practices for our customers, employees and communities.
Zep takes pride in helping maintain and improve the health and safety of individuals and businesses, and we want to continue to be an industry leader by innovating and improving our products and practices.
- Help customers achieve biosecurity and secure their environments from infectious diseases, like COVID-19
- Enhance real-time reporting on workplace incidents to reduce future injuries among employees
- Implemented a new company-wide health and wellness outreach program
Reduce Zep’s carbon footprint through targeted, long-term action plans and develop solutions to help customers meet their own emissions goals.
Zep’s commitment to making the world cleaner, safer and more productive includes advanced practices to reduce carbon emissions and enhance our sustainability as a company.
- Collected baseline data to inform long-term carbon emissions reduction strategy
- Reduced carbon emissions through optimized shipment of goods, reduced travel and reduced office space usage
- Increased usage of post-consumer waste (PCW) packaging and continuing to reduce carbon emissions
Water & Effluents
Enhance and maintain processes to reduce water pollution and water usage for both customers and Zep.
Zep’s water usage and wastewater management team prioritizes safety, environmental management practices and stormwater pollution prevention.
- Enhancing long-term steps to reduce water usage internally and at customer sites
- Audited current water pollution plans in all facilities to establish company-wide standards
- Maintain best-in-class standards to reduce water pollution
Marketing & Labeling
Be a trusted partner and resource on new chemical regulations and compliance for customers
Zep is committed to improving our portfolio of cleaning solutions with enhanced product labels to better serve our customers and partners. You can clean with confidence knowing that your Zep products exceed environmental and safety regulations and performance.
- Established plan to boost awareness on new chemical regulations and compliance
- Proposed a company-wide formulation policy to improve environmental and safety performance of products
- Developing long-term steps to continuously improve the environmental profile of our portfolio
Diversity & Inclusion
Foster an inclusive environment that actively reflects the uniqueness of our employees, customers and suppliers.
At Zep, our strength is in our diversity. We understand the importance of an inclusive workplace, and we know true innovation comes from a mix of expertise, backgrounds and experiences. We strive to create an environment where people feel respected and empowered to do their best work.
- Benchmark Zep’s D&I metrics using GRI guidelines, a worldwide standard
- Developing plans to increase gender and ethnic diversity among employees and suppliers by 20%
- Created employee action committees and diversity and inclusion roundtables to foster a more inclusive workplace
Being good stewards and driving positive change is embedded in our values and part of our overall vision to help our customers. It’s our purpose to make the planet safer, cleaner and more productive.
For over 80 years, we’ve focused on developing safe, effective cleaning solutions with a minimal footprint. Looking ahead to the newest chemical recommendations and using a system of continual improvement has been a hallmark of our business.
There is much we hope to accomplish together as we work toward our Vision 2025. Making our world safer, cleaner and more productive begins with Zep’s commitment to our employees, customers, communities and board.