Key material issues

Materiality and topics

The strategic measures we adopt in the area of sustainability are based on a materiality analysis. We are constantly evaluating issues that have an impact on the sustainable development of our Group. We examine topics which are of particular relevance to us from an internal perspective and we ascertain the needs of our stakeholders. On the basis of this materiality analysis, we determine focus areas for our sustainability management and reporting. This process helps us identify key topics at an early stage. The results of the materiality analysis form the basis for the decisions of our Corporate Responsibility Council.

Key themes

Process

When we prioritise topics, our focus is on:

  • whether those topics have a direct impact on our business performance;
  • whether those topics are of particular relevance to our stakeholders and their decisions;
  • which areas have a particular influence on the economic, ecological and social impact of our business activities.

We regularly consider information from more than 20 main sources. These include surveys as well as the dialogue between the Group and our shareholders, customers and other business partners. We also record enquiries from our stakeholders. In 2014, the Group’s Corporate Responsibility department answered more than 2,000 questions posed by stakeholders about sustainability at Linde. Other sources are legal requirements and political decisions.

Within the Group, we evaluate information from employee surveys, workshops with specialists and strategy experts, and interdisciplinary working parties. We also consider findings derived from the Group’s core processes, including information about environmental and social risks identified by Group risk management as well as purchase and market analyses.

When selecting our action areas, we also comply with internationally recognised standards for sustainability management. These include the principles of the UN Global Compact and sustainability ratings.

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