When people do business with Cook, we want them to know that we have a unique portfolio of medical devices but also that they are doing business with a company that understands its obligations to be an active partner in making our communities better. We’re not your typical company.
We believe that it’s the responsibility of all businesses, not just Cook, to use our resources, skills, and opportunities to elevate the communities that we operate in by being actively engaged. It ties into our fundamental belief that it is possible do good business and do good in the community, too.
Many years ago, an individual approached Bill Cook and expressed that they wished a family member with special needs could have an opportunity to work at Cook. Recognizing that a person with a physical or mental disability would have challenges working in one of our facilities, Bill Cook sought out a partnership with Stone Belt to find a solution.
Today, Stone Belt and Cook have worked together to deliver life-saving technology to patients for over four decades. Established in 1959, Stone Belt provides resources and support for individuals with disabilities. It is the oldest and largest agency of its kind in south-central Indiana. The nonprofit’s clients provide some production support for Cook Inc. Additionally, through a program called Project Search, some Stone Belt clients have done internships at local Cook facilities. Several of these interns have gone on to become full-time Cook employees.In 2020 alone, Stone Belt clients manufactured more than 5million medical device supplies for Cook. The work they do for Cook not only helps us fulfill our mission of improving the lives of patients, but it provides Stone Belt clients with essential job skills, a sense of fulfillment, and the ability to contribute to the community in a meaningful way.
We partner with organizations like Goodwill because we recognize that we can’t do it alone—we need the skills, assets, and expertise of other organizations to help us identify and fill gaps that prevent communities from reaching their full potential. After touring their Indianapolis facilities and seeing the breadth of programs and services they offer to help individuals become self-sufficient, Cook and Goodwill partnered to expand some of those programs in south-central Indiana.
Cook was an early supporter and advocate for establishing an Excel Center in Bloomington to provide non-traditional students the opportunity to earn their high-school diploma. The Excel Center is Goodwill’s tuition-free high school for adults that also offers on-site childcare, transportation assistance, coaching, accelerated courses, and flexible scheduling around work and other outside commitments. By removing common barriers that prevent adults from completing their education, The Excel Center helps students continue on their education and career pathways by earning free college credits and industry-recognized certifications.
In the summer of 2019, Goodwill Commercial Services, which provides contract manufacturing and packaging solutions, opened its second production facility in Bloomington. The facility currently employs over 50 people, the majority of which have an employment barrier like a disability, previous incarceration, or a lack of education. Cook Medical was the facility’s first customer.
North East Indianapolis has neighborhoods with some of the highest levels of unemployment and poverty in the state. To help address some of the challenges this community is facing, Cook partnered with Goodwill ofCentral & Southern Indiana, The Indianapolis Foundation, IMPACT CentralIndiana, and the United Northeast Community Development Corporation on a unique project to bring opportunity back to the neighborhood.
The project began with the announcement of a CookMedical-Goodwill medical device manufacturing facility that will be built on the northwest corner of 38th Street and Sheridan Avenue in Indianapolis.Currently under construction, the new facility will bring 100 higher-skill manufacturing jobs to the community that are geared towards long-term employment and career fulfillment. In addition, employees will have access toGoodwill’s wrap-around services and free education. The goal of this project is to have 100% construction completed by local minority-owned businesses.
To expand this project, a new full-service grocery store will also be constructed near the manufacturing facility with expected completion in July of 2022. Currently, there is no supermarket for miles in each direction, and most area residents are on foot. Not only will the store provide additional jobs and future educational opportunities for residents, but it will also bring a much-needed food source to the community.
Since we arrived in Limerick, we have always offered support to the community through charitable donations and sponsorships. In 2019, we wanted to focus our activities in order to have a greater impact, while also ensuring we had input from our employees. As a result, we conducted an employee vote to select a charity partner. Thus began a partnership between Cook Ireland and Novas, a local charity, which helps those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
As well as choosing our first ever charity partner, we also recruited a volunteer-led committee, Cairde Cook (Cairde is the Irish language word for friendship), made up of employees from across the business, to lead community activities. Since its inception, Cairde Cook has spearheaded many great initiatives with Novas and has established a great relationship with them. As part of the partnership, we have committed to installing a dedicated art space in one of Novas’ residential properties, for which we are actively raising funds. We also work closely with Novas to offer support in areas they need it most.
By the end of 2019, we had completed two hugely successful group volunteer days with Novas, sponsored the Novas Sleep Out, and raised funds throughout the year with activities such as a bake sale and summer raffle. Due to the arrival of COVID-19 in Ireland in March 2020, we had to cancel planned activities. Thankfully, we were able to find ways to continue to support Novas. We donated personal protective equipment (PPE) and sponsored the Novas Sleep-in for a second year. We offered support and guidance in areas of HR and Environmental, Health and Safety to help them adjust to new ways of working and adhere to Governmental health and safety guidelines.
Working with organizations such as Novas gives us a chance to help members of our society and community in Limerick and truly make an impact.
We aim to reduce inequities in our communities by removing barriers to meaningful employment and ensuring that everyone has equal opportunity to a fulfilling life.
We have worked with site and field leadership to develop sustainable partnerships in our communities along the priority areas of education, social enterprise, and community health. Leaders have been immersed themselves in understanding their communities over the last year, with the intention of forming partnerships and having measurable impact by the end of 2021.
We want all employees to be accepted and treated equitably at Cook Medical and in the communities where we operate. We are working hard to establish equitable processes and policies that will ensure a legacy of fair treatment at Cook. We are committed to improving the diverse make up of our workforce and developing a culture of inclusion for employees from all walks of life.
In June of 2020, society was reeling from weeks of civil unrest and months of pandemic-derived uncertainties, highlighting the devastating and lasting impacts of structural inequities. The need for a clear vision and set of expectations for equity within our organization and surrounding communities was clear. In response, we established a global Equity Task Force. This interdisciplinary team was formed to identify and lead strategic projects to create lasting and sustainable change. One of the first actions taken by the Equity Task Force was to develop our Cook Medical Position on Racism.
We have been intentional to develop impactful community relationships over the years, following in the footsteps of our founder, Bill Cook.
In pursuit of these ideals, we dedicated 2020 to finding common ground among our employees from all walks of life and beginning to define the foundation for a truly diverse and inclusive organization. In order to establish this common ground, we developed platforms for sharing stories and experiences and encouraged a culture of listening to understand. We wanted all stakeholders to experience safety in the sharing of their personal narratives, and communications from our President, Pete Yonkman, served to develop and deepen that sense of safety and acceptance. Pete, along with our corporate communications team, created a podcast interview series that served as a platform for the sharing of employees’ unique life experiences and helped to develop a new depth of awareness of our organization’s cultural literacy status. By creating a space for these stories and opening up the dialogue at a corporate level, we began to see real conversations take place, encouraging employees and community members to continuously improve their personal cultural literacy and empathy.
In 2021, we will develop a sustainable strategy for our diversity, equity, and inclusion program with continued focus on barrier removal. As we continue to pursue a more diverse and inclusive organization, we will expand the scope of our equity efforts to recognize and appreciate all dimensions of diversity. We are dedicated to doing whatever we can to improve our ability to serve all employees, their families, and communities.
Cook values family, and wants to ensure that employees are able to grow and maintain their social and familial relationships. My Cook Pathway has many resources and benefits that help employees to successfully balance work and home life, and take care of loved ones.
We are also committed to protecting the wellbeing of laborers throughout our supply chain. We are currently implementing a comprehensive Human Rights policy to provide global guidance.
Our human rights efforts stem from our core value of treating everyone with respect. This value has been echoed through increasing global regulation on labor standards and supply chain transparency requirements.
Our organization aims to serve as a corporate role model for the betterment of society by being a sensitive employer, a contributor to the communities where we reside and acting with the highest degree of integrity in business dealings. We recognize our responsibility to ensure good social and ethical practices within our own operations and throughout our supply chain, and we aim to foster a culture of continuous improvement to support sustainable and ethical procurement.
In 2019, Cook Medical Europe Limited and Cook UK Limited were independently audited against the level 1 requirements of the NHS Labour Standards Assurance System, and were successful in achieving the level 1 requirements. During 2020, our focus turned to developing a global strategy for managing good social and ethical practices across our organization and supply chain. In 2021, we embarked on a global project to develop a Management System, which aims to support a culture of continuous improvement in ethical and sustainable procurement within our organization and supply chain. The Management System will support ongoing compliance by our organization and supply chain with relevant human rights legislation, including labor standards, diversity equity and inclusion and modern slavery requirements, and with conflict minerals regulations.
The organization will be audited against the level 2 requirements of the NHS Labour Standards Assurance System in November 2021.