We believe that by focusing our internal efforts on what is most material to our business, we can lessen our environmental impact and have a positive impact on the world. That’s why we are working on developing a focused sustainability strategy at HARMAN. This process requires strategic planning that mobilizes all cross-functional global teams to identify environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities throughout our operations and value chain. During the past two years, we have relied on this evolving framework to:
- Manage frequent customer ESG and sustainability questionnaires
- Identify energy-saving opportunities within our manufacturing operations—both regionally and globally
- Implement a new, more robust supplier sustainability policy
- Undertake various sustainability initiatives within our global operational teams
- Serve as responsible corporate citizens in our communities
- Advance our workplace related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I)
Being a responsible corporate citizen means balancing the expectations of business, stakeholders, and communities. Driving sustainability is an ongoing challenge that requires constant collaboration between all parties. To address this critical priority, we empower our customers, suppliers, and external resources to help us continuously improve. We actively work with third-party rating agencies and consistently challenge ourselves to ensure that our business strategy is aligned with environmental, social, and governance matters. We use a materiality assessment to prioritize issues and ensure that we focus on what matters most to our business and stakeholders.
The topics of greatest importance to our stakeholders (listed in the table below) play a large role in our planning, and in this report.
- Diversity and Equal Opportunity
- Employee Attraction, Recruitment, Development, and Retention
- Training & Education, and Development
- Human Rights
- Child, Forced, or Compulsory Labor
- Workplace Exposure Risk Management
- Energy and Greenhouse Gas Assessment
- Product Lifecycle Assessment
- Waste/Materials Reduction
- Security Policies & Practices
- Compliance & Transparency
- Customer Privacy, External Reporting
- Occupational Health & Safety
- Procurement Practices
- Supplier Assessment for Labor Practices
- Supplier Human Rights and Environmental Assessments
- Responsible Sourcing
- Economic Performance*
- Market Presence
Global purpose and sustainability are top priorities at HARMAN. There are three overarching qualities we strive for as an organization: to be ethical, inclusive, and accountable in all that we do, and each of these fuel our innovation, diversity of thought and business growth. Our commitment to our communities and promoting a more sustainable future are tied—it is our people who bring these values to life. And, while we acknowledge our success as a global citizen, we also recognize that our work towards creating a more environmentally and economically sustainable future is never complete.
Our philanthropy is centered on our global cause movement, HARMAN Inspired. By supporting and collaborating with partners around the globe, we are steadfast in our mission to empower the next generation of technology leaders through unique, immersive, and meaningful experiences in music, technology, and community service. In collaboration with local schools and universities, nonprofit organizations, and community-focused initiatives, HARMAN Inspired provides opportunities for employees to impact our communities and connects young people to diverse experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). Examples of how this mission comes to life by collaborating with strategic partners and empowering our employees to drive change include the following:
Little Kids Rock helps teachers and schools build, restore, and expand music programs as diverse as the kids they serve. By partnering with public school districts in some of the nation’s most underserved communities, Little Kids Rock helps bring the gift of music-making to students by supplying musical equipment and providing training courses to teachers and educators. HARMAN’s five-year relationship began with the development of the JamZone, an innovative online tool that provides free music instruction to kids and adults of all ages.
The forward-thinking HARMAN Inspired team saw the value of and demand for online music education before the global pandemic forced many in-person activities to transition to online. Web traffic to our virtual JamZone, which has been a valuable resource to music students for years, grew from approximately 24 thousand monthly users in February 2020 to 65 thousand monthly users just six months later, and that trend continues to increase. HARMAN has increased engagement and support through the provision of professional development training, curriculum, and instruments to music teachers in the U.S. states of Texas, Michigan, California, and New York—some of whom can’t be in the classroom because of the pandemic. To help support teachers, parents, and students working and learning from home, HARMAN’s iconic JBL brand also partnered with Little Kids Rock in 2020 on two national efforts that supplied ten thousand headphones to youth in underserved communities.
Make Music Day is a global celebration of music that encourages people of all ages to experience the joy of making music. For the past several years, HARMAN has partnered with the Make Music Alliance as the official sound of Make Music Day Street Studios. These mobile recording studios are equipped with state-of-the-art microphones, speakers, recording equipment and a variety of instruments from HARMAN, all readily available for any passerby to come lay down their own track. Over the course of the day, musicians of all levels—from experts on the guitar to burgeoning drummers – can discover the expressive power of music. In 2019, we supported Street Studios Hungary, Mexico, Russia, New York, California, Michigan, Connecticut, and Washington D.C., U.S. After Make Music Day, the equipment used in the Washington D.C. Street Studio was donated to a local academy and will be used in a new pilot program for young artists to produce electronic and live music. Highlights of HARMAN employee engagement during Make Music Day includes live band performances, meditative yoga to live music, guitar hero and karaoke face offs, children’s art contests, and even a disco party. Due to COVID-19, Street Studios were put on hold in 2020. To continue the celebration, HARMAN highlighted Make Music Day in a special episode of our Audio Matters podcast and released a consumer study on the impact of music, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the U.S., HARMAN partners with the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College on their Formula Hybrid competition. In addition to sponsorship, HARMAN engineers provide their unique expertise in the area of smart and connected vehicles to advise teams at universities situated around the globe.
HARMAN also invests in innovative programs and competitions with leaders such as the XPrize, the Wadhwani Foundation and the Society of Women Engineers.
All efforts aim to create a level-playing field and sound policy, to help members succeed and compete while supporting their energy and environmental goals.
- As the importance and development of technology continues to rise, so does the production of electronic waste (e-waste). E-waste is the world’s fastest growing domestic waste stream, and only approximately 17.4% of e-wastes are recycled or repurposed. In 2019, inspired by Earth Month, HARMAN held our first E-Waste Recycling Event. Employees were encouraged to bring unwanted electronics, such as old cell phones, batteries, and laptops to their local office to be recycled and repurposed. Lack of information and concerns over data security are both barriers towards the proper disposal of e-waste. HARMAN’s global technology hubs were used to destroy sensitive data and properly recycle or refurbish donated items to after-school programs and libraries. HARMAN suppliers were also encouraged to participate in the initiative. During HARMAN’s Earth Month E-waste Recycling Event, the seven tons of e-waste items collected at HARMAN sites around the world were categorized and responsibly recycled, repurposed or donated to a local charity, such as a library or after school program.
- At our facilities in Brazil, Mexico, and Hungary, employees and their families receive awareness training and are invited to participate in annual reforestation campaigns.
- Every HARMAN site has individual campaigns for the protection and care of natural resources, on a variety of global topics. Topics include water care and conservation, protecting endemic species, and involve employees at all levels.
One financial contribution program HARMAN supports is the 1,000 Dreams Fund (1DF). This fund provides scholarships to young women of high school and college-age in the U.S. to cover the costs of training, exam fees, tutoring services, technology, and books for school. HARMAN is proud to continue to support the “#NewFaceofTech” campaign, which promotes and funds extraordinary female college students pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. The program has grown since its inauguration, where only two of ten finalists received grants. In 2019, 15 outstanding women each received career coaching from HARMAN executives. Over 100 grants have been provided through this program. The fourth iteration of the competition, which launched in October 2020 amidst a global pandemic when support was particularly critical, went a step further still by helping build a pipeline of employment opportunities for all program applicants interested in tech careers—not just the winners.
Through our partnership with the 1DF, HARMAN also participated in the first “BroadcastHER Academy Challenge – Powered by HARMAN”. This competition awarded nine young women pursuing careers in e-sports and gaming with a microgrant each from HARMAN to further their professional development and an all-expense paid trip to Allied Esports’ global flagship venue, the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas. The challenge winners also received mentoring sessions with HARMAN and HyperX and shadowed the Allied Esports team members for a day.
HARMAN engages with community organizations in several ways, both through trade associations as well as government bodies. HARMAN works with the Consumer Technology Association, Business Roundtable, and U.S.-India Business Council to provide education on the environmental and sustainability benefits related to autonomous vehicle testing and deployment. HARMAN also works with trade associations to develop and execute autonomous vehicle advocacy activities and programming.
In addition, HARMAN engages with local, state, and federal regulators and legislators. We are active members of the Coalition for Future Mobility, a multi-stakeholder group focused on the advancement of automated vehicle legislation, and the encouragement of consumer awareness related to the environmental benefits of automation and more efficient methods of mobility. Additionally, our experts serve as committee members on the Alliance for Automotive Innovation’s Energy and Environment Committee. This group employs a collaborative, strategic, and forward-looking approach to address critical near-term policy and technical challenges. All efforts aim to create a level playing field and sound policy that helps members succeed and compete while supporting their energy and environmental goals.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges for people, businesses, and economies throughout the globe. As such, HARMAN identified new ways to provide support, mitigate the spread of the virus and weather its impact through our global cause platform, HARMAN Inspired. Through HARMAN Inspired, we are continuing to embrace the spirit of generosity and support our communities by:
- Donating on a global level to the World Health Organization and UNICEF’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. HARMAN also donated to Feeding America, the nonprofit organization and largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S., to help deliver meals to families that normally rely on school systems to help provide food or who are otherwise unable to secure reliable meals for their families. HARMAN teams in Romania, India, and other countries have also donated to local community organizations.
- Donating protective face masks. HARMAN’s automotive teams partnered with local volunteers and suppliers to 3D-print protective face masks to help replenish the supply of PPE and protect healthcare workers who are treating coronavirus patients. The teams provided enough supply for several hundred hospital workers who were struggling to meet the demand for protective gear. Employees based out of HARMAN’s Dandong, China office also spearheaded relief efforts to provide additional medical supplies across the region and proactively donated protective face masks to the Dandong government.
- JBL partnered with Little Kids Rock to deliver more than 6,000 headphones to underserved communities across the U.S. to support those working and learning from home. With further support from brand ambassadors Aaron Judge, Julius Randle, Kenny Smith, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Kemba Walker, Zach LaVine, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Andre Drummond, and Bam Abedayo, JBL and Little Kids Rock are reaching teachers and students across cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Miami.
- In entertainment, our experience has shifted from traditional venues to streaming and viewing from home to accommodate music professionals whose jobs have been affected or lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.