Picture of dave

Why be different?

Sometimes we forget or take for granted the advantages of working at a different kind of company.

Because Koch Industries is privately held, short-term constraints such as quarterly earnings estimates and annual budgets are not a driver for us. We’re free to focus on creating long-term value in a responsible way. We also have shareholders who are eager to reinvest 90% of our earnings rather than paying out big dividends. That helps us fund all sorts of new growth and opportunities.

We promote innovation — and not just the technical kind. We value new ways of thinking that will help remove barriers and enable more and more people to succeed. We don’t mind being in the minority when it comes to opposing cronyism, special treatment and government favors for the few. Koch has lobbied for changes we knew would hurt our bottom line short term — such as eliminating special tax credits and subsidies — because we believe society will be better off long term without them.

Our Vision and Guiding Principles emphasize that the key to personal and corporate success is self-actualization. We do everything we can to create an environment where all employees can contribute in their own unique way. That’s why we try to align roles and responsibilities with individual strengths and passions.

Quotation Mark

“At Koch, stewardship is about more than just the environment.”

Dave Robertson, president and COO, KII

All these things — and more — not only make Koch different, they make us successful. And we want to continue that trend.

Like many other companies, we have recently been pressured to implement or accept ESG (environment, social and governance) goals devised by special interest groups. It’s hard to ignore the growing number of companies that are adopting these top-down mandates and rules that aren’t rooted in mutual benefit.

We prefer to address these issues by using a principles-based approach toward stewardship. We're all about bottom-up solutions and empowering individuals.

Here’s what our Guiding Principle 2 says: Act with proper regard for the rights of others. Put safety first. Drive environmental excellence and comply with all laws and regulations. Stop, think and ask.

As you’ll see in this issue of Discovery, following Principle 2 has helped us improve the environment, enable human progress and create real value for society.

In particular, I want to emphasize how stewardship is reflected in our work to help individuals self-actualize, to become the best they can be. Real stewardship requires a genuine appreciation for the dignity of every individual, something we reinforce with Guiding Principle 7 – Respect: Treat everyone with honesty, dignity, respect and sensitivity. Embrace different perspectives, experiences, aptitudes, knowledge and skills in order to leverage the power of diversity.

We believe it is disrespectful to judge someone, positively or negatively, based on generalizations about their group identity. No single characteristic should be used to define another person. We want to create and perpetuate an environment where we all help others in a spirit of mutual benefit. Our commitment to this way of thinking is reflected in the many philanthropies we support, such as the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and those organizations mentioned in the Environmental Priorities section.

We are passionate about the environment and are continually improving in the areas of energy conservation, air quality, water, greenhouse gas emissions and waste elimination. If we fall short in any of those efforts, we take responsibility and adjust accordingly.

Given the choice between virtue signaling or implementing an actual framework for positive change, there’s no question in my mind which approach actually works. We all need to be responsible for our actions, thoughtful about the resources entrusted to our care and always respectful of the rights of others. That’s what real stewardship is all about.