Mr. Blades, what does sustainability mean for Bilfinger?
For us, sustainability means ensuring our business model is future-proof. We are convinced that we will achieve long-term success only if we know what our various stakeholder groups need and if we align our decisions and conduct accordingly.
How is this understanding of sustainability reflected by Bilfinger’s business model?
To begin with, our business model is geared towards the long term. It is not short-term economic success that counts for us, it is the sustained, growth-oriented development of our company. So we set great store by the integrity of our employees and of our suppliers as well. In everything we do, meeting our compliance standards and adhering to our occupational safety rules is a prerequisite. Our range of services as well is a reflection of our concept of sustainability: We believe sustainable development opens up numerous opportunities to achieve profitable growth and to deliver added value to our customers. We already offer a large number of sustainable industrial solutions and will further expand these in the years to come.
Which specific services does this involve?
We are able to boost the efficiency of industrial plants, to reduce their emissions, and to ramp up their performance level. Our concepts for forward-looking and intelligent maintenance are what allow us to do this. In addition, we develop pioneering technologies in fields such as flue-gas desulfurization, insulation, or the construction of industrial devices and containers, and even systems that are able to desalinate seawater. In all these areas, we occupy leading market positions and assist our customers in attaining their sustainability targets.
Why do you see growth opportunities for the Bilfinger Group in sustainable industrial services?
Public awareness of the ecological footprint of industrial plants has risen sharply in recent years – and it will continue to increase in the years to come. This likewise applies to legal standards and other rules and regulations. At the same time, achieving a high performance level while using resources as sparingly as possibly is becoming increasingly important. The sustainability exhibited by industrial plants is becoming more and more of a key success factor for the operation of such plants. The better we are able to support our customers in this regard with the corresponding services, the greater the growth opportunities that will open up for us. This is why we see sustainable industrial services as a potential source of profitable growth.
What role does the digitalization of industrial plants play in the process?
A huge role! Digitalization affects every area of our lives, and also industrial plants. For example, digital technologies allow us to manage and operate a plant far more effectively and efficiently than was previously the case. That is why we have invested substantial amounts into our digital service palette in recent years; with BCAP® (Bilfinger Connected Asset Performance), we now offer a unique, modular digitalization concept for the process industry. Since its market launch in 2017, the concept has already proven its ability to deliver on several occasions. Consequently, the coming years will see us continue to significantly expand our efforts to promote digitalization in the process industry.
In your view, what are Bilfinger’s key objectives in sustainability terms?
The top priority for us is integrity. So we place great emphasis on ensuring ethical conduct in the organizations of our Group and along our supply chain. We train our employees in compliance matters, raise their awareness of what their corresponding conduct should be, and use every suitable occasion to draw attention to our Code of Conduct. Directly related to this is the principles-based approach to doing business that is set out the UN Global Compact. We support the protection of human rights and of the environment, encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies, and combat discriminatory labor and social standards as well as corruption in all its forms. Besides the build-out of our sustainable industrial services I mentioned previously, our most important sustainability objectives include further boosting our occupational safety and being as attractive as we can possibly be as an employer. We will pursue this latter goal through a range of different measures in the fields of work-life balance, health & wellness management and employee development. Our employees are the foundation of our success. So we want to be a fair and reliable employer.