Case Study: Fairmount Santrol

The Fairmount Santrol Sustainable Development AI Summit

The Fairmount Santrol Sustainable Development AI Summit was held at the Eaglewood Resort and Spa in Itasca, Illinois, in August 2005.  The company-wide summit brought together more than 225 employees from all levels of the business and external stakeholders such as neighbors, suppliers and customers.  Using the Appreciative Inquiry methodology – a process focused on evolving in the direction of positive images – we worked to discover our core strengths, dream of a possible future and design a plan to achieve our vision.  In February 2006, we had a series of follow-up summits to engage employees who could not make the first meeting and provide an update to all our stakeholders on the progress of the 12 initiatives previously identified at the original summit.  Based on the feedback from the series of summits, Fairmount Santrol adopted a set of sustainable development ideals and guiding principles. 


  1. Discover Fairmount’s core strengths and valued past – the “positive core” of Fairmount we want to maintain and build upon to create a sustainable future that delivers stakeholder value. 

  2. Dream and envision the shared future we want to create – our vision for becoming a sustainable company on each of the “3-P’s” of sustainable development:  People, Planet and Prosperity. 

  3. Design sustainable development into our organization’s purpose and principles and into our day-to-day business products, services and operations, as well as into our personal lives. 

  4. Deploy a set of actions – value creation initiatives and follow-up learning processes (with metrics) to actively move us in the direction of our shared aspirations and commitments.

Outcomes: During the Sustainable Development Summit, participants used Appreciative Inquiry questions to tap into their own high-point experiences at Fairmount Santrol. The diverse group present discovered many commonalties and shared hopes for the future. The participants then learned how to leverage these past strengths and shared visions to create action plans for positive change. 
Specific outcomes included 12 Initiatives Teams: 

  1. Mission and Principles 

  2. Best Practices 

  3. Branding, Marketing & Communications 

  4. Corporate Social Responsibility 

  5. Eco-Efficiency (Transportation & Packaging) 

  6. Data Manufacturing 

  7. Health, Wellness & Safety 

  8. New Markets & Globalization 

  9. Training, Awareness, Sustainability and Knowledge (TASK) 

  10. Recover, Recycle, Reuse (RRR) 

  11. Environmentally Responsible Products 

  12. Continuing Integration of AI 


A New Mission Statement and Guiding Principles:

Mission: We, the Fairmount Santrol family, are united in our commitment to exceed all expectations while fulfilling our economic, social and environmental responsibilities. 

Principles: Principles that unite us in our vision of sustainability:

Ethics: Honesty, Trust, and Integrity are the foundation of ALL we do. We do what is right.

Leadership: We will develop and appreciate leaders that demonstrate commitment to the 3P’s (people, planet and prosperity), build trust, and exceed expectations in themselves.

Total Quality: We are committed to exceeding our customer’s expectations by providing error-free service and products at every step of our relationship.

Environmental Stewardship: We will manage our resources wisely to sustain the prosperity of people and the planet. 

Empowerment: We empower our Family members with education, information, training, and by respecting and supporting each other’s ideas and opinions. Our decisions are made with personal commitment, ownership, and accountability. 

Personal Excellence: We give our personal best while striving to become better. We will treat others in the same way we want to be treated, with fairness, respect and kindness. We win with people. 

Continuous Improvement: We continue to improve in all we do. We learn from our past, and are innovators of today and tomorrow. Improvement brings growth and growth brings strength.

Celebrate / Fun: When success is celebrated, it is repeated. We will enjoy the journey and celebrate our achievements. 

Teamwork / Shared Ownership: We think and act like owners, collaborating with our family members to create mutual benefits for all. There is no "I" in sand. 

Social Responsibility: We maintain a healthy balance among the responsibilities in our work, our home, our community, and our world.

Safety: We are committed to Safety.  Everyday we work together to ensure our family members are safe and healthy at home, at work, and at play.

For more information, please visit csr.fairmountsantrol.com/.

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