This report is our third public sustainability disclosure document using the Global Reporting Initiative™ Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI Standards). New in this report are a set of sustainability targets, which we expect to continue to update in our future reports.

Transition to the GRI Standards

In 2012, we began to align our systems, data tracking mechanisms and strategic intent toward expanding the use of the GRI Framework. This internationally recognized framework provides a comprehensive, standardized process for evaluating the impacts of our business activities across our value chain. It also enables us to share Compass Minerals’ positive contributions and areas where we’re doing well. At the same time, and perhaps more importantly, the process deepens our understanding of sustainable development and helps identify opportunities for improvement related to environmental impacts, economic results and social impact, including human resource practices and community relations.

The 2014 calendar year report, Taking Care of the Essentials (published in July 2015), was prepared as a GRI G4 Core “In Accordance” Report. It established 2013 as the baseline for performance indicators from which we set targets and gauge progress. In 2016, we published an update on progress made in 2015.

For this reporting cycle, we have transitioned to the GRI Standards. Learn about our reporting process, including stakeholder engagement and materiality assessment efforts, and improvements we implemented in Appendix B.

About Our Data

Any dollar amounts listed within the report are in U.S. dollars.

There are inherent limitations to the accuracy of environmental and social data. We recognize that our data will be affected by these limitations and continue to improve data integrity by strengthening our internal controls. Data in this report is collected from third-party sources, surveys with internal and external stakeholders and other internal sources as indicated. We have not independently verified any of the data from third-party sources. Unless otherwise noted, Produquímica and its subsidiaries, which we acquired in October 2016, are not included in this report.

Environmental data in this report pertains to our direct emissions unless otherwise stated. We report in this way, in line with industry practice, because these are the data we can directly manage and affect through operational improvements. We only include data in this report that were confirmed by 2017. If incidents are reclassified or confirmed, or if significant data changes occur after preparation of this report, they will be updated in the following year’s publication. The accuracy of environmental and social data may be lower than that of data obtained through our financial systems.

The information discussed in this report contains statements regarding future sustainability measures, targets and other goals. These goals are disclosed in the limited context of our sustainability efforts and should not be understood to be statements of management's expectations or estimates of financial results or other guidance. We specifically caution investors not to apply these statements to other contexts.

DeepStore, Protassium+ and Wolf Trax are trademarks of Compass Minerals International, Inc. or our subsidiaries in the U.S. and other countries.

The 2016 report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards: Core option. For more information, refer to the GRI Content Index.

Move to Web-based Reporting

We are excited to make the shift to web-based reporting. Sharing our sustainability progress online offers several benefits. We can more efficiently publish updates on our performance metrics on an annual basis while adding updates on the company, our strategy and management approaches, as well as sharing stories and case studies as needed.

We welcome your feedback: Please send comments and questions to


Stakeholder Engagement

We value the views and interests of all of our stakeholders regarding sustainability issues. We define “stakeholders” as those who are impacted by our operations and products, along with those who have an interest in, or can influence, how we manage our businesses.

Ways We Engage

We identify stakeholder groups across the value chain and assess stakeholder relationships (responsibility, dependency, influence and proximity) to understand needs and inform level and methods of engagement. Approaches to engagement vary based on stakeholder group and range from informal conversations to surveys, meetings and events.

The following table summarizes key stakeholder groups and the ways and frequency in which we engage with stakeholders. In addition, written communications such as press releases, annual and sustainability reports, and our corporate website provide ways to share information broadly with multiple stakeholder groups.

Ways We Engage

Stakeholder Group Methods of Engagement Frequency Stakeholder Expectations/Concerns
Current employees* Direct interaction, internal meetings and town halls, internal communications, periodic surveys and intranet Ongoing/daily
  • Business integrity and conduct
  • Financial performance
  • Safe working conditions of Compass Minerals employees
  • Employee training/career development
  • Fair wages/working hours
Prospective employees* Direct interaction, trade shows and industry conferences Varies
  • Business integrity and conduct
  • Financial performance
  • Safe working conditions of Compass Minerals employees
  • Employee training/career development
  • Fair wages/working hours
Customers* Direct sales relationships, trade shows, customer newsletters Ongoing/as needed
  • Business integrity and conduct
  • Safe working conditions of Compass Minerals employees
  • Innovation
  • Compliance with environmental regulations
  • Industry leadership and knowledge transfer
Suppliers* Direct interaction, trade shows Ongoing/as needed
  • Financial performance
  • Business integrity and conduct
  • Growth/expansion
  • Supply chain management
  • Product safety/service responsibility
financial institutions*
Investor calls, conferences, annual reports, periodic perception surveys Quarterly and as needed
  • Financial performance
  • Business integrity and conduct
  • Growth/expansion
Local communities* Site visits, membership/participation in local organizations As needed
  • Compliance with environmental regulations
  • Local investment and employment opportunities
  • Safe working conditions of Compass Minerals employees
  • Business integrity and conduct
Government agencies and regulators* Direct interactions, audits/inspections Varies
  • Compliance with environmental regulations
  • Business integrity and conduct
  • Safe working conditions of Compass Minerals employees
Civil society organizations
Includes organizations of which Compass Minerals is a member (see list of association memberships) plus other civil society organizations in communities in which we operate
Membership/representation, trade shows and industry conferences, partnerships and joint activities, direct interactions Varies
  • Business integrity and conduct
  • Innovation
  • Compliance with environmental regulations
  • Industry leadership and knowledge transfer

*These stakeholder groups are also involved in our report-specific engagement activities, described in the Defining Report Content section.

Organizational Memberships and Affiliations

Active involvement with a range of associations and organizations reflects our collaborative approach and the value of collective action for shared objectives. This involvement helps strengthen relationships, promote research and knowledge sharing, and support the advancement of best management practices. Level of engagement includes general involvement, formal membership and governance roles.

Organizational Memberships and Affiliations

  General Involvement Formal Membership Governance Body Representation/
North America
Agricultural Retailers Association   x  
Almond Board x    
American Management Association   x  
American Public Works Association (APWA)   x  
Association of Ontario Road Supervisors   x  
Chamber of Marine Commerce     x
Great Salt Lake Advisory Council x    
Great Salt Lake Technical Team x    
Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (new in 2014) x    
Ontario Good Roads Association x    
Ontario Mining Association   x  
Pacific Northwest Snow Fighters x    
Process Industry Practices (PIP)   x  
Road Dust Institute x    
Salt Institute   x  
Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA)   x  
Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) x    
Solution Mining Research Institute   x  
Western Plant Health Association   x x
Willard Spur Water Quality Review Team     x
American Royal   x x
Kansas Chamber of Commerce x    
APSP (Association of Pool and Spa Professionals)   x  
IPSSA (Independent Pool and Spa Service Association)   x  
NPC (National Plasterers Council)   x  
Pacific Water Quality Association   x  
The Fertilizer Institute   x  
Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada   x  
European Union Salt Producers’ Association   x x
Fertilizer Canada   x  
Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) x    
International Fertilizer Association   x  
International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) x    
Water Quality Association x x  
Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA)   x  
United Kingdom
U.K. Highway Term Maintenance Association   x  
U.K. Mining Association   x x
U.K. Salt Association     x

Defining Report Content

Each reporting cycle presents opportunities for improvement. For the 2016 reporting cycle, we built on progress from previous years by implementing a more strategic and process-based approach to managing sustainability issues and reporting. This includes our approach to identifying material topics.

Though we invited a range of relevant internal and external stakeholder groups to participate in the materiality process described below, we directed increased attention on our workforce in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. (Brazil was excluded in this cycle due to onboarding activities), customers, shareholders and community representatives.

Materiality Assessment Process

Below is a description of our process for implementing the GRI reporting principles for defining report content. The approach Compass Minerals took to identify material topics is stakeholder-informed – meaning stakeholder input is evaluated and prioritized to help shape our non-financial reporting efforts. This process identified the key topics or concerns of our stakeholders. Topics of greatest concern as identified directly from the engagement survey were related to governance and business practices, product and service responsibility, occupational health and safety and environmental compliance. Less than 10 percent of respondents provided open-ended input for each topic area. These direct comments have been shared with the company’s senior leadership.

Materiality Assessment Process

Step: Description Stakeholders Engaged Output
Due Diligence: We conducted a comprehensive evaluation to identify medium- and long-term sustainability-related risks, impacts and opportunities. This included:
  • Benchmarking: peers, regulations, enterprise-level risks
  • Input from experts
  • Evaluating sustainability information requests from investors, customers, other stakeholders
  • Executives and managers (internal subject matter experts)
  • By proxy: industry peers, customers, investors
Initial list of potential material topics
Kick-off meeting: We gathered key leaders together to discuss impacts along the value chain, including associated boundaries, and determine key stakeholder groups with which to engage in the materiality process.
  • Evaluate value chain to identify any changes or update critical impacts
  • Identify any changes to key stakeholder groups
Compass Minerals Sustainability Leadership Committee
  • Updated value chain impact assessment including boundaries
  • Updated list of key stakeholders to invite to participate in stakeholder engagement survey
Stakeholder engagement survey: We conducted a survey with internal and external stakeholders to gather input on significance of topics.
  • Surveys
  • Interviews
Internal: Sustainability Leadership Committee and employees
External: Customers, investors, suppliers, government/regulatory representatives and other groups community and environmental groups
Stakeholder input on significance of selected topics, impacts and other areas of importance
Assessment of survey results and selection of material topics: We analyzed survey results, mapped topics and set threshold for materiality, determined list of material topics for reporting, and explained basis for any inclusions and exclusions.

Reviewing internal and external stakeholder views helps confirm selected topics and identify any missing topics; it validates the broader due diligence activities at the beginning of the process.
  • Mapping to materiality matrix based on importance to internal and external stakeholders
  • Prioritization of material topics
  • Validation of topics and boundaries with senior leadership
  • Sustainability Leadership Committee
  • Senior leadership
  • Materiality Matrix
  • List of material topics and associated boundaries for inclusion in the report

Materiality Matrix

The materiality matrix below charts Compass Minerals’ significant direct or indirect economic, environmental and social impacts against those that have been identified by our stakeholder as relevant through our materiality assessment process.

Threshold 1: On or above radius of 3.5
Threshold 2: Beyond radius of 4
*Reflects the top 10 in ranking of top 5 selected topics

Material Topics

The following table lists the topics selected for inclusion in the report along with a brief description of where the impacts occur. Our ability to fully manage and control outcomes within any issue area is based on whether the impacts occur inside or outside our organizational control.

Material Topics

Categories & Topics Boundary
Threshold #
Governance & Business Practices Organization    
Business integrity and ethics Organization   2
Financial performance and economic impact     2
Transparency and accountability     2
Risk and reputation management     2
Industry leadership and knowledge transfer     2
Compliance with regulations, laws and international trade practices     2
Respecting client privacy and protecting intellectual property   Customers 2
Compliance with customer codes of conduct   Customers 2
Fair business, advertising and competition   Customers 2
Economic Impacts Organization    
Building long-term relationships with suppliers Organization Suppliers 1
Investments in production capacity and new plants   Customers, Communities 1
Supply chain interruption due to upstream disasters, depletion of resources, etc.   Customers 1
Indirect economic impact on local communities   Communities 1
Product/Service Responsibility Organization    
Product safety Development Mining Sites Customers, Suppliers 2
Product quality   Customers, Suppliers 2
Customer satisfaction and retention Organization Customers 2
Accurate product labeling     2
Production costs and price competitiveness Logistics   2
Delivery time     1
Supplier compliance with Compass Minerals terms and conditions   Suppliers 1
Product innovation - working on sustainable products     1
Supply chain traceability   Customers, Suppliers 1
Product innovation - introducing new products that meet customer needs Organization Customers 1
Accurate production planning Organization, Development Mining Sites, Logistics   1
Environmental Impacts Organization    
Environmental Compliance
Compliance with environmental regulation
Organization   2
Energy and Air Emissions
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from harvesting, drying or mining minerals
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from production
Reducing energy use in facilities
Organization Customers, Suppliers 1
Reducing water consumption
Reducing risks of salt contamination of aquatic ecosystems
Development Mining sites Communities, Customers 1
Minimizing use of chemical and hazardous materials
Responsible procurement practices - e.g. input materials
Improving packaging design for transport optimization
Organization Suppliers 1
Reducing waste
Increasing waste diversion from landfills
Organization Customers, Suppliers 1
Protection of biodiversity
Development Mining sites Communities, Customers 1
Social Impacts      
Occupational health and safety
Occupational health and safety for Compass Minerals employees
Security practices at Compass Minerals facilities
Organization   2
Prevention of corruption throughout our business practices Organization   2
Employment conditions
Working conditions for Compass Minerals employees
Fair wages and working hours
Diversity, equal opportunity and non-discrimination
Employee engagement and well-being
Employee recruitment and retention
Work interruption at Compass Minerals facilities
Organization   1
Occupational health and safety in the supply chain
Working conditions in the supply chain
  Suppliers 1
Protection of human rights Organization   1
Training and development Organization   *


iCompli External Assurance Statement

In an effort to provide transparency and make certain the data we have provided in this report is correct and in keeping with general environmental data standards, we sought independent third party assurance using the ISO14064-3 standard for the following metrics for 2017 from iCompli Sustainability.

  • Scope 1 GHG emissions (Global Reporting Initiative Indicator 305-1)
  • Scope 2 GHG emissions (Global Reporting Initiative Indicator 305-2)
  • Energy consumption (Global Reporting Initiative Indicator 302)
  • Water withdrawal by source (Global Reporting Initiative Indicator 303)
  • Scope 3 GHG emissions (Global Reporting Initiative indicator 305-3) from upstream transportation and distribution, and downstream transportation and distribution

Please find their verification statements here.


Non-GAAP Reconciliation (in millions)

(Twelve months ended December 31) 2016 2015
Operating earnings $174.6 $221.4
Business acquisition-related items1 $8.4
Indefinite-lived intangible asset impairment $3.1
Adjusted operating earnings $186.1 $221.4

1 Primarily includes additional expense recognized from the sale of finished goods inventory, which had its cost basis increased to fair value as a result of the acquisition of Produquímica.