Mr Blades, what impact does sustainable development have on Bilfinger’s corporate strategy?
Sustainability is a key element of our corporate strategy. When providing engineering and maintenance services to the process industry, we deal with sustainability issues every day. We’re able to enhance plant effectiveness, reduce emissions and increase efficiency rates. We offer advice to clients and we’re involved in planning and development, construction, manufacturing and installation. In addition, we provide project management services, supply components and bring plants on stream. We take a sustainable approach to maintenance and to the modernization of plants. Our expertise helps our clients achieve their sustainability goals.
How do you ensure that the services provided by Bilfinger represent forward-looking solutions for your clients?
We’re constantly working on improving the services we offer and we systematically monitor new technologies. We cooperate closely with research institutions and value the importance of sharing knowledge right across the Group. We drive forward innovations: for example, in the area of digitalization. Our range of digital solutions encompasses advice, networking, and plant analysis and optimization. What gives us the competitive edge is the diverse range of services we offer over the entire lifecycle of a plant and the holistic approach we adopt as a result. So, rather than devising isolated solutions, we provide a comprehensive and integrated strategy. This gives us greater leverage to achieve our clients’ sustainability goals.
How do you implement sustainability in your own group?
It’s there in black and white in our mission statement, which we devised together with our employees: we never compromise on integrity and safety. We include these criteria when evaluating management performance. Our aim is to meet our corporate responsibility commitments to our clients and suppliers, employees, shareholders and society. To achieve this, we used a materiality analysis to determine the key action areas in our sustainability strategy. We are gradually adopting appropriate measures to tackle each of these areas.
Bilfinger is an international group operating in four key regions. How do you ensure you comply with social and ecological standards in all your business locations?
Compliance with standards must be consistent and come from the employees themselves, all of them, from the bottom up, not just from the top down. So we provide our employees with in-depth compliance training, raising their awareness of the importance of acting with integrity. We also take every opportunity to discuss our Code of Conduct, as exemplified recently by our Integrity Days. Bilfinger is a member of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). We support the implementation of the principles of ethical business practice defined by the UNGC, which include in particular the protection of human rights, combating discriminatory labor or social standards, environmental protection, the diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies, and working against corruption in all its forms.
What sustainability-related goals have you set yourselves for the coming years?
We have succeeded in stabilizing the company over the past financial year, so now we will be focusing more on our business development and digitalization activities, building a foundation for future accelerated growth. In our corporate strategy, we set out our target of achieving average growth of at least 5 percent every year until 2020, with 2017 as the base year. Our sustainability goals and key action areas, identified in the course of our materiality analysis, are also derived from this target. They include a gradual expansion of our range of sustainable services, such as our scrubber technology for ocean-going vessels and our solutions for seawater desalination plants. We will also continue to raise our high occupational safety standards, an approach we are calling Road to Zero. Finally, one of our most important goals is to strengthen our compliance structures. We’re now well on the way to having a first-class compliance system. So you can see we’re taking active steps to meet our objective of increasing our sustainability.