In pursuing our sustainability activities, we orient ourselves by the principle of materiality, i.e. the degree of importance involved. This principle also defines the structure and substance of this report.
As a consequence of our Group’s strategic re-alignment in the spring of 2017, we also revised our materiality matrix at the time, re-balancing the priority allocated to some of the activities previously defined as key action areas. Following the conclusion of this process in the summer of 2017, an online-based stakeholder survey was performed of all of our stakeholder groups. The changes to the materiality matrix resulting from this survey were presented in last year’s Sustainability Report.
In 2018, the Bilfinger Sustainability Network intensively discussed the relevance and priority accorded to the key areas of activity. The conclusion reached by this review was that all environmental topics– i.e. “Energy Consumption & Emissions,” “Waste Management,” and “Water” – no longer are considered as materially important to the company’s success, and accordingly no longer constitute core action areas for our sustainability strategy. As an industrial services provider, Bilfinger does not consume more energy or water than other service companies; likewise, the emissions and waste products we generate do not differ, in terms of their quantity or quality, from those of other companies in the business of rendering services. Accordingly, our ability to reduce consumption and emissions is limited to enhancing the efficiency of energy and water use in our office buildings and being mindful about the waste we produce. Although we certainly will continue to look for ways to reduce our ecological footprint, we no longer regard these environmental topics to be key elements of our sustainability strategy. On the other hand, the Bilfinger Sustainability Network did confirm the relevance and priority of all other key topics addressed in the previous year.
In order to define the contents of our Non-Financial Group Declaration, we analyzed the key areas of activity of our sustainability strategy, both in terms of their relevance for our business as well as regarding their impact on the aspects set forth in the CSR-Richtlinienumsetzungsgesetz. (CSR-RL-UG, Act Implementing the Corporate Social Responsibility Directive). In the process, we specifically explored the costs and risks these topics entail, the impacts they have on our business and environment, and the degree to which we are able to influence each aspect.
The result of this analysis was that the topics of “Professional development,” “Occupational safety,” Sustainable supply chain management,” “Compliance,” and “Customer satisfaction & quality” were the ones that exhibited the highest relevance in the sense of Section 315c paragraph 2 of the Handelsgesetzbuch (HGB, German Commercial Code). We then matched these topics with the statutorily defined aspects as follows: