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Looking forward, we are directing our attention to those areas which are important for the future development of our Group. Our priorities are to build strong customer relationships, concentrate on our core business and continue to systematically develop new business opportunities. Each of these factors in turn will enable us to strengthen our business model which remains geared towards sustainability. For us, major drivers of sustainability are efficient, safe processes and our products in the energy, environmental and healthcare sectors. Around the world, our employees are passionate about using their skills to devise tailor-made solutions for our customers and in cooperation with our customers.
We will continue to conduct rigorous evaluations of our structures and processes in the context of our evolution as a learning organisation, introducing improvements wherever possible. Safety is a key issue for us here. Linde’s overriding view as a company is that every workplace accident is absolutely unacceptable. We have therefore launched a number of measures worldwide to ensure the highest possible levels of safety. The cardinal rule is that safety is the responsibility of each and every employee. We have also set ourselves a new target: By 2020, we want to achieve a continuous reduction in the number of workplace accidents resulting in lost working days per million hours worked by employees in comparison with the figure for 2012. For 2015, we are planning to invite a third party to conduct a review of our global safety management.
In the environmental sphere, we value eco-efficiency, which we aim to achieve by combining excellent operating processes with environmental protection. In 2014, we identified over 250 projects worldwide which help reduce our energy consumption. In addition, we implemented more than 20 projects to ensure that water is used more efficiently. These initiatives have enabled us to reduce our emissions and our water consumption and to make cost savings of over 24 million euro. In 2014, we were able to achieve early the global target we had set ourselves for the efficiency of our air separation plants. Since 2008, we have avoided around 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. Initiatives such as these also enable us to support the principles of the UN Global Compact. In this report, we explain in detail how we implement these principles in our day-to-day business.
We also see it as our responsibility and duty to help our customers make their processes more efficient and environmentally friendly. In 2014, around 50 percent of our research projects had an environmental benefit as their objective. This is what sustainability means to us – an investment in the future, not only the future of our Group, but also the future of the society of which we form a part.
Dr Wolfgang Büchele
Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG