LG Chem released the company’s 10th Sustainability Report on Aug. 3 which charted the last 10 years of the company’s efforts to incorporate new concepts and values related to so-called sustainable management. The report identifies seven core concepts: promotion of R&D, product stewardship, conservation of healthy natural environment, promotion of safety at workplace, contribution to human resource development, fair business partnerships and social contributions. Apart from ordinary profit-making tasks as a market player, the report makes the company’s strong commitment to R&D, human resource development, and healthy management-labor relationship. This year, these sustainability management performances are most noticeable in the sector of the automotive battery business.
In the past two years, LG Chem has increasingly come into the global spotlight for its excellent performance in the global light-duty electric vehicle lithium ion (Li-ion) battery market. In December last year, Navigant Research named LG Chem as a top player, followed by Panasonic and Samsung SDI in the Leaderboard Report. In fact, of the total 3.35 trillion won (US$2.91billion) sales that the LG Chem battery division achieved in 2015, the automotive battery business contributed a whopping 700 billion won (US$ 640 million). The company expects upwards of a 70 percent increase equivalent to 1.2 trillion won (US$1.04 billion) in sales from the automotive battery business for 2016.
Recently, LG Chem successfully introduced high energy density batteries that allow drivers to travel distances of up to 500 km on one charge. LG Chem’s battery energy density and high-speed recharging technology has been recognized as superior to those of its competitors.
Such technological superiorities are facilitated by the company’s extensive investment in human capital and R&D. The number of R&D talents is expected to climb from about 3,300 at present to about 4,200 by end of 2016. The R&D intensity (the ratio of R&D investment to sales) will be expanded to 3.3 percent by the end of 2016, and the ratio of new product sales, which are expected to contribute significantly to total sales, is projected to increase up to 30 percent.
Moreover, a healthy and constructive management-labor relationship, teamwork and good communication also has contributed to the good R&D and innovation performances.
The Sustainability Report indicates the company cultivates a corporate culture that encourages self-initiatives, inter-organizational collaborations for mutual growth, good communication between departments and members. To support good communications, LG Chem actively has utilized such channels as employee satisfaction surveys, convening labor-management committee meetings and publishing in-house magazines.
LG Chem has also incorporated vocational trainings, called “LG Chem Academy,” Featuring mobile and e-learning, LG Chem Academy is easily accessible for workers to complete the training in time. The content features hands-on learning as in-house experts participate and share their on-site experiences.
In the R&D area, LG Chem has run a curriculum exclusively for members of a research committee with a goal to enhance their expertise. In 2015, the company launched a research committee workshop where specialists in different areas are invited to give talks on the topics of commercialization of R&D results and share their insights.