Gevo Harnesses the Power of People to Strengthen Rural Communities

We believe in being a strong partner and creating value for stockholders, customers, suppliers, employees, and the local communities where we operate. Our employees are inspired to make the world a better place by contributing protein to the food chain while commercializing groundbreaking sustainable transportation fuels that drive down our customers’ GHG footprint. We locate our facilities close to farmers who grow our raw materials, which helps their farms to thrive. When farmers succeed, rural communities are strengthened and enjoy local economic growth and the better quality of life that comes with it, all while helping to combat climate change. Farms are the front line in the war on atmospheric carbon, and farmers who use regenerative techniques that improve soil carbon capture are our key allies.

We’re also a community within our company. We strive to maintain a safe, healthy, and stimulating team environment where people are treated with fairness and respect. The President and COO has executive responsibility for our safety and health programs, with oversight by Gevo’s Board of Directors. Human capital is the responsibility of the Chief Human Resources Officer, and community programs are the responsibility of the President and COO.

Our standards of conduct, governing principles, operational policies, and compensation philosophy promote a positive workplace for all Gevo employees. Gevo’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics guides us to maintain a professional workplace built on ethical practices, integrity, and respectful relationships with our coworkers, investors, contractors, farmers, neighbors, regulators, and other stakeholders.

Safety is a core value at Gevo. We are committed to an injury- and incident-free workplace. We believe all injuries are preventable and the health and safety of our employees is critical to Gevo’s long-term success. Our safety manuals, programs, policies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and training provide employees with the resources they need to work safely.

As an equal opportunity employer, we do not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, creed, color, religion, citizenship status, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws. The Gevo management team is dedicated to upholding this policy through all phases of employment. We prohibit intentional and unintentional harassment in the workplace on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, religion, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or age. The Gevo employee handbook outlines the procedures for reporting, investigating, and resolving general and sexual harassment complaints. We do not allow retaliation against individuals who report unwelcome conduct in good faith. Employees must sign separate acknowledgements that they have received and understand the handbook, Code, nonharassment policy, and sexual harassment policy.

Building the Gevo Team

The Gevo team is made up of scientists, research and development experts, administrative and business development professionals, and production and maintenance operators. We expect each employee to be a self-starter and work effectively on their own, while being an active contributor to our team.

As we look ahead to staffing our Net-Zero Projects, we want to ensure we’re getting the best project managers, engineers, fermentation specialists, operators, lab and maintenance technicians, and other professionals. We are working to increase the diversity of our workforce, attract top talent, and hire locally whenever possible to strengthen our communities. Our human capital task force is looking at all aspects of hiring, compensating, and developing the future Gevo workforce to position the company for successful growth.

Our human capital task force is looking at all aspects of hiring, compensating, and developing the future Gevo workforce to position the company for successful growth.8 We’ve identified  gender pay disparities in several quartiles of our salary structure, and at the executive and nonexecutive levels. We are committed to identifying and eliminating pay disparity and we have set our own Gender Parity Pledge to achieve parity among Gevo’s senior leadership structure by 2030. Under the supervision of the Compensation Committee of the board, we are working to establish an overall compensation plan and pay structures to support this effort and ensure that we can continue to attract and retain the best talent.

Gevo will also take the ParityPledge to commit to simply interview and consider at least one qualified woman and person of color for every open role, Vice President and higher, including at the senior executive level and the board.

Safeguarding People, Property, and the Environment

Safety is our number one priority at Gevo. We’re dedicated to protecting public health and environmental quality, as well as the health and safety of our employees, customers and neighbors. We strive to comply with all health and safety laws and regulations that apply to our business. We provide safety orientation and training for new employees and periodic refresher training at our Englewood, Colorado lab and our existing production facilities.

Any workplace injury, accident, or illness must be reported to the employee’s supervisor as soon as possible. Employees acknowledge that they understand these requirements when they sign for receipt of their employee handbook and for certification of the Code, which states their responsibility to protect the health and safety of Gevo employees. Our existing production facility in Luverne, Minnesota, received RSB certification in 2020, which covers environmental controls, good practices, health and safety, labor rights, and stakeholder relationships.

Behavior-Based Safety

To prevent injuries and incidents, we instill a culture of “People care about my safety.” At our existing production facilities, we follow a safety-behavior roadmap focused on behavior-based safety (BBS) and employee participation. Our best-practices approach includes monthly safety training, developing critical safety skills like peer-to-peer feedback, conducting weekly BBS observations with feedback, and treating near-misses as an opportunity to learn and improve. Any employee can stop work when they believe it cannot be completed safely and request help in developing a solution to work safely. We track both leading and lagging indicators to measure our performance as we work toward our goal of recording zero lost-time incidents and one or fewer recordable injuries in a year.

Process Safety

In addition to procedures set up to safeguard our staff at the Englewood, Colorado, laboratory, our existing production and fermentation facilities adhere to a process safety management (PSM) program to safeguard employees, contractors, and our neighbors by preventing the release of toxic and flamm chemicals. The program complies with U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and covers process safety information like Safety Data Sheets (SDS), process hazard analysis, operating procedures, training, and operations and maintenance procedures to prevent releases.12

Emergency Preparedness and Response

If an emergency situation occurs, our primary concern is to prevent or minimize personal injury and damage to property and the environment. Our emergency action plan details roles and responsibilities, communication procedures, and response procedures for a wide range of emergency situations.

We review emergency procedures with all new hires and job transfers and stay prepared by conducting simulated drills at least annually at production facilities. Supervisors are trained in emergency response techniques such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid. Employees are trained on proper fire extinguisher use and evacuation procedures with the assistance of local first responders.

Pandemic Protections

During the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to ensure that our employees are healthy and feel safe has been a priority for Gevo. We follow our county health department guidance related to potential exposure to the virus, quarantining, self-monitoring for symptoms, and returning to work after quarantining or illness. All employees were given the choice to work remotely from the onset of the pandemic, and we provided the equipment and online platforms needed to work effectively away from the office or lab. We implemented safety protocols for employees who choose to work in or visit our office, including wearing a face covering, practicing frequent and thorough hand hygiene, maintaining social distancing from others, and cleaning and disinfecting their workspaces routinely. We’ll use these guidelines as long as necessary to keep our employees and their families healthy and safe. At Gevo, every employee is responsible for safety, and we’ll continue to give our people the training, tools, and support they need to work safely.

The Importance of Rural Communities

Rural communities are integral to our nation’s economy, culture, history, and ecological health—and are critical to building a clean-energy future for the world. Since taking office, President Joe Biden has begun to outline policy that will address the dual problems of climate change and structural inequity by bringing together rural communities and social justice advocates. From small towns to farms and ranches, innovation and efficiency are everywhere. With our Net-Zero 1 Project and Luverne, Minnesota facility, we will continue to invest significantly in rural areas located in the Midwest of the U.S. to create good-paying jobs and improve the local communities.

Sharing Our Story with Stakeholders

Educating stakeholders, customers, potential investors, and the public about our mission is crucial to combating the urgent global problem of rising GHG emissions and pollution that contribute to climate change. We actively share the Gevo story to raise awareness about our holistic systems approach and commitment to transparency. We hope to inspire other companies to adopt best practices for sustainability, increase transparency, and join the effort to address climate change. Gevo’s CEO, Patrick R. Gruber, frequently serves as a panelist and presenter to government, investor, industry and trade, and academic audiences around the world.