A Sustainable Development Council exists at the national level to oversee both corporate responsibility and sustainable development initiatives. The governance of this important area of the business is key to our commitment to transparency across functions of the company. Councils for Stronger Communities are formed in each of our U.S. facilities and include diverse leadership from key departments within each facility as well as the local United Steelworkers (USW). These Councils meet regularly to discuss national and local sustainability initiatives, implement community investment initiatives and build partnerships with key community stakeholders both internal and external. By empowering local groups of employees to strengthen their communities, we experience an enhanced connection to the areas in which we operate. In 2015, the Sustainable Development Council as well as facility level Councils for Stronger Communities met regularly for a total of 85 formal meetings.
The SDC is responsible for driving measurement and metrics around the 10 sustainable development outcomes. This work is critical to demonstrating our societal contributions. For example, in 2015, we launched our first internal and external U.S. stakeholder survey. The goal of this survey was to garner feedback and measure progress on our sustainability initiatives. The survey was distributed to over 9,000 stakeholders and received an 11.5 percent internal stakeholder response rate and a 25 percent external stakeholder response rate. The results are being used to inform our activities and to set a baseline for future measurements. Also in 2015, our U.S. leadership conducted our first nationwide self-assessment, measuring our performance against each of the 10 sustainable development outcomes. The self-assessment is being used as a management tool to measure our progress and develop metrics. It will be updated annually. The publication of our first Integrated Report for 2015 is also a major advancement towards the goal of publicly highlighting our measurements and metrics around social and financial value creation.