About this report

The Corporate Responsibility Report 2012 is Linde's eighth sustainability report. In it, we again provide information on our sustainability performance, priorities and challenges. Global indicators and targets allow readers to compare our performance. This report is addressed to the stakeholders of The Linde Group – employees, shareholders, neighbours, customers, business partners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), political circles, the research and scientific community, and the general public. The Corporate Reponsibility Report 2012 is only available online. The entire document as well as individual chapters can be downloaded as a PDF. In addition to the online report, Linde also publishes a brochure summarising the contents of the report.

Topics, figures, focus areas

Our corporate responsibility reporting covers all main sustainability issues relevant to Linde. We follow internationally recognised standards on sustainability reporting, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines and the requirement of the United Nations Global Compact. Our choice of corporate responsibility priorities is largely guided by the expectations of our customers, shareholders, employees and other stakeholders. We regularly assess the relevance of sustainability topics to both our business and these stakeholder groups. More information on our materiality analysis can be found under “Key material issues”.

This report relates to all consolidated Group companies in which Linde has at least a 50 percent stake. In 2012, Linde completed the acquisition of Lincare Holdings Inc. and Air Products' Continental European Homecare business. Indicators for Lincare Holdings Inc. will only be reported after the company has been consolidated for a full year, with the exception of data stipulated by financial reporting regulations. In some areas, indicators for Air Products are fully incorporated in this report and are clearly marked. The reporting period is the 2012 financial year. We also incorporated any additional important information that came to our attention prior to the editorial closing date in March 2013, if applicable. We have largely maintained the structure of the previous year's report. However, selected topics are covered in more detail or supplemented by new key indicators. Compliance falls into this category.

> More on KPIs and targets in "Measuring sustainability"
> More on financial reporting in our annual report

Integrated reporting

We provide sustainability information in our key corporate publications:

  • The Management Report of The Linde Group's annual report contains key non-financial indicators and qualitative information about sustainable business practices at Linde. We have included additional non-financial indicators in our 2012 annual report.
  • Also part of the annual report, the Linde Annual 2012 focuses also on Group products and technologies that contribute to healthcare as well as environmental and climate protection.
  • The Linde Group website contains detailed information on the subject of corporate responsibility. Launched in 2012, Linde's Clean Technology portal offers a new overview of products and technologies that help to meet the challenges of climate protection. Our product brochures also detail the benefits of our technologies in terms of protecting the environment.
  • The websites of our Gases, Engineering and Gist divisions also offer information about sustainability in relation to specific business activities. Additionally, some of Linde’s subsidiaries release regional publications that address sustainability issues. Our Afrox subsidiary, for instance, published its first sustainability report in 2013, aligned with the GRI guidelines.
  • Our investor relations presentations are available to the public and give detailed accounts of the market opportunities for Linde in the areas of energy and environmental technologies.
  • We also publish updates on corporate responsibility issues via social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

In this report, we include links to these other channels and sources where appropriate.

Assurance and evaluation

Selected key performance indicators in this report were again independently reviewed and subsequently assured by KPMG Sustainability. The assurance was carried out in line with the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000. This report complies with the version of the GRI's Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (G3.1) valid at the time of publication. This independent organisation has again confirmed that Linde has achieved the highest application level of this standard: A+. Our corporate responsibility report thus also complies with the requirements of the German Sustainability Code.

The Corporate Responsibility Report 2012 also serves as our Communication on Progress within the framework of our commitment to the UN Global Compact. In it, we report on how we incorporate the ten Global Compact principles into our business activities, labelling relevant content with the Global Compact logo. A combined GRI and Global Compact index provides an overview and summary of all the main topics. Once again, our CR report complies with the UN Global Compact advanced level. We also take into consideration the Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership: an action plan initiated by the Global Compact LEAD platform.

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UN Global Compact

Measuring sustainability

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Stakeholder questions in 2012