In the 2012 financial year, we maintained a strong position throughout the year despite an increasingly challenging business climate. This performance again confirmed our conviction that we are on the right path with our business model, which is geared towards sustainability. We will remain committed to our strategic focus on the megatrends defining society today – energy and the environment, healthcare, and the sustained dynamic growth in the emerging economies. These trends and markets are directly linked to the need for sustainable development. In this report, you can read how we embrace sustainability as an integral part of our business strategy.
Over the past year, we have focused heavily on the healthcare business. Here demographic change is driving demand for homecare services in particular. The acquisition of the US company Lincare gave added impetus to our strong position in this stable growth market, making us the leading healthcare provider in the gases industry.
When developing and evolving our technologies, we ask ourselves how we can contribute to environmental protection and even more efficient use of valuable natural resources – looking at opportunities both within our company and with our customers. Our mission is to unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development. Our “Clean Technology by Linde“ portfolio bundles various process innovations and solutions to help master the challenges of climate protection.
To achieve this, we rely on the skills and dedication of our global workforce, now more than 60,000 strong. Our faith in our employees is well justified, as the results of our second employee survey demonstrate. 86 percent of all employees took part in the survey. The results show that our people are behind our company, relate to our goals and have a very positive impression of our engagement in the area of environmental protection and our prioritisation of safety issues. Stakeholder trust – and I refer to both internal and external stakeholders – is a key pillar for our future success. Which is one of the reasons why we fully endorse the principles of the UN Global Compact. This corporate responsibility report explains in detail how we embed those principles into our business activities. We are of course proud to have gained recognition on several occasions in 2012 for our sustainability strategy and the transparency of our sustainability reporting. Key achievements include being added to the global Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
In order to report even more clearly and transparently on our sustainability performance, we have added new indicators to our external reporting. In our 2012 annual report, we included additional non-financial indicators. In addition, we extended the scope of indicators in our corporate responsibility report that are assured by an independent auditor. And we set ourselves new global goals in areas such as energy efficiency and climate protection. This year is the first time we publish our annual report and our corporate responsibility report in the same month – giving you even earlier access to the latest updates on challenges, our progress and our plans in the area of sustainability.
Professor Dr Wolfgang Reitzle
Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG