Performance Highlights

An update on our sustainability efforts from Sean Keohane, president and CEO

sean keohane

At Cabot, we have a long history of focusing intensely on the environmental impacts of our operations and the safety of our employees, partners and communities. We are proud of our industry-leading performance, and this commitment is deeply rooted in our culture. Over time, our approach to sustainability has evolved beyond a foundation of safety, health and the environment to include a greater focus on our broad set of stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers and investors. At Cabot, we believe that long-term success requires a commitment to sustainability in its broadest form as well as a balanced approach to stakeholder management.  

Our 2025 sustainability goals, announced with the publishing of this report, demonstrate our staunch commitment to this broad definition of sustainability. This ambitious but attainable set of targets will drive our actions on a wide range of sustainability themes that we believe are most critical not only to our success but to the world around us. Our effort and goals are focused in three areas: (1) Caring for our people and communities, 2) Acting responsibly for the planet, and (3) Building a better future together. These goals will inspire our teams as they engage in a relentless pursuit of solutions to the sustainability challenges of our customers, our communities and our world.  

While our goals motivate us, goals without measurement and transparency are incomplete. At Cabot, we have published our sustainability reports in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). In an effort to further our commitment to transparency and to provide useful information to our shareholders, we have also aligned our disclosures in this report with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) framework, which sets forth standards for the chemical industry. We also remain a proud signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and are committed to reporting our progress as a key component of our sustainability report.  

Reflecting on 2019, I can confidently say that we advanced the key objectives in our sustainability program. Our safety performance remains in the top quartile of our industry. Innovation is a critical dimension of our sustainability agenda, and we are committed to further embedding sustainability into our product development engagements with customers. A great example of this is the work we are doing to help plastics converters address sustainability challenges from their customers. We recently launched a new black masterbatch series that utilizes postindustrial and reclaimed carbon as well as recycled polymers. These formulations are specifically designed to help the value chain lower its carbon footprint and increase the amount of recycled and secondary content in end products. In line with our sustainability objectives, we also became a signatory to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Initiative. We have also pledged to take actions to reduce plastic waste as part of the Operation Clean Sweep® program.  

We are also excited and proud of our new product innovations for lithium-ion battery and tire applications. Lithium-ion batteries are central to the growth of vehicle electrification and alternative energy storage, and our LITX® family of conductive carbon additives plays an integral role in improving battery performance. In the tire industry, our customers seek to extend product life as well as increase fuel economy. These objectives can be optimized through our transformational Cabot Engineered Elastomer Composites, which use a unique mixing technology that enables greater performance of the rubber, leading to a more sustainable product. This technology was first commercialized with Michelin, and we have since extended the platform more broadly to the tire industry.   

I am particularly proud of the growing third-party recognition we continue to receive for our leading environmental, social and governance performance. We were honored to be ranked by CR Magazine as one of their 100 Best Corporate Citizens. We earned a Gold rating from EcoVadis for the fourth consecutive year, and we were named one of America’s Most Responsible Companies 2020 by Newsweek. Recognition like this further validates our commitment to transparency and our outstanding sustainability performance. 

As part of our sustainability journey, we also recognize that in order to attract, retain and develop a world-class team, we must foster a diverse and inclusive culture that supports our employees’ success, which, in turn, drives our company’s success. I am proud of our continued leadership on this front, led by our strong and diverse board and executive management team. We strive to create a safe and open environment where everyone is supported to contribute to our success, and in 2019 we made significant progress in our diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy through diversity awareness training and the launch of our first Employee Resource Group. We also partnered with American Corporate Partners (ACP) through their mentorship program to assist veterans in their transition from the military to the civilian workforce. I am personally involved in this program, and I have found it immensely fulfilling to help support our brave service members through this important transition. Finally, I was also honored to join CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, a coalition of more than 800 companies pledging to advance D&I in the workplace.

I am encouraged by our sustainability progress and optimistic about our promising future. Of course, none of our achievements would be possible without the hard work and dedication of our employees around the world, who work tirelessly to ensure we are making progress, achieving our goals and living up to our commitments. 

With our 2025 goals as our guide, we will continue our relentless pursuit of opportunities to advance the way we do business — both responsibly and profitably. We are excited to share our achievements and welcome you to further explore our work.