When Materialise was founded in 1990, our goal was to enable new uses for the extraordinary potential that 3D printing offers. Since then, we have leveraged our experience to create a range of software solutions and 3D printing services, which together form a backbone for the 3D printing industry. Our open and flexible platforms enable players in industries such as healthcare, automotive, aerospace, art and design, and consumer goods, to build innovative 3D printing applications that make the world a better and healthier place. Headquartered in Belgium with a public listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange and approximately 2000 people in nearly 20 countries worldwide, Materialise combines one of the largest groups of software developers in the industry with one of the largest 3D Printing facilities in the world. Ultimately, we empower our customers to transition towards a digital manufacturing process and to launch innovations that have the potential to forever change the faces of their industries.
The Shift helps members to make use of the global framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to map their societal ambitions.
13. Climate action
Materialise runs a company-wide environmental management system (EMS) that seeks to understand and above all minimize our effect on the environment. With this policy in place at our headquarters in Belgium, and our ISO 14001:2015 certificate, we are making a commitment to protect the environment and to comply with European environmental legislation, regulations and customer-specific requirements in all of our operations, processes and services. All Materialise employees receive environmental awareness training and are actively encouraged to participate in our EMS. To ensure engagement, compliance, and continuous improvement, every year, we set relevant targets, measure, review and report our performance. For example, at Materialise HQ, in 2018: 41% of employees used a bike for all or part of their commute; water consumption per full-time employee was consistently below expectations at an average of 20.0 liters per day; our continued focus on quality further ensured waste production was minimized; and our solar panels generated over 160,000 kWh of energy, reducing our dependence on traditional energy sources. In 2018, we also conducted analyses and put plans in place both to support prototype recycling as well as to extend our ISO 14001 certification to our Polish facilities. In 2019, we aim to complete a carbon footprint assessment for Materialise operations worldwide, and implement first actions, such as a new Air Travel Policy. We also aim to continue with plans to extend our ISO 14001 certification and introduce prototype recycling.
12. Responsible consumption and production
In 2018, we began actively pushing strategies to further reduce manufacturing waste through improved machine reliability. As of December 31, 2018, we had invested over 650 thousand Euros in research projects and have another approximately 1.8 million Euros planned for investment in 2019. In addition in 2018, we introduced a Supply Chain Policy which requires that our suppliers also be accountable for both their own impact as well as the impact of their supply chains on not just society and the economy, but also on the environment. Our suppliers should be transparent in any decisions or activities that impact the environment and be able to demonstrate this transparency through their management systems. We encourage a focus on continual improvement. This includes seeking more sustainable alternatives for existing needs and integrating sustainability into all existing procurement practices to maximize sustainable outcomes. In 2019, as indicated above, we aim to further invest in machine and materials-related environmental research. We also aim to develop a technologies ranking system to help guide our customers to more sustainable solutions.
10. Reduced inequalities
Materialise operates offices around the world including in emerging countries such as Colombia, Ukraine, and Malaysia, and is committed to providing equal opportunity and fair treatment to all individuals on the basis of merit, without discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status or other characteristic protected by law. We have a formalized wage band system to ensure ‘equal pay for equal work’. This system conforms to national legal standards and is regularly benchmarked against industry standards. This system is fully in place in our headquarters in Belgium and in 2018 was rolled out to our worldwide operations. In 2018, at Materialise headquarters, 1% of our workforce had a disability, and our approximately 630 employees represented over 38 different nationalities. In addition, on a worldwide basis, women held 35% of all positions, and 31% of people management positions. In 2019, we aim to further develop and launch programs to promote gender and ethnic diversity within our employee base.
8. Decent work and economic growth
To ensure that all employees have the opportunity to shape their career paths, Materialise operates a formal performance evaluation system, with evaluations occurring twice annually. A comprehensive training program is also available to all employees to further support career development and personal growth. In 2018, on a worldwide basis, approximately 66% of employees benefited from additional training. In addition, Materialise supports numerous charitable initiatives around the world. Among these many initiatives is the Benin Summer School project which aims to improve the education levels and employment opportunities for less advantaged young people. The Benin project offers teenagers in West Africa with the opportunity to access higher education scholarships and go on to positions that will enable them to contribute to their communities. Since 2012, 112 students have participated in the Benin Summer School and in 2018, another 3 students received scholarships, taking the total number of scholarships awarded to date to 21. In 2019, we aim to continue supporting charitable initiatives worldwide which are focused on sustainable solutions.