Material topics

Material topics

We continually analyse risks and opportunities arising which might impact our business operations. We identify relevant sustainability topics using a materiality analysis. We conduct assessments to ascertain which topics are vital for our business success and to determine the areas in which we can make a particular contribution to sustainable development. Important aspects we consider include demands placed upon our Group by our stakeholders.

The topics we classify in this way enable us to decide on focus areas for our sustainability management and our reporting. This process also helps us identify important topics at an early stage. We review the results of this process on a regular basis to see if it is up to date and adjust accordingly if required. In addition, we seek to establish the stage of the value chain at which topics have particular relevance.

Relevance of sustainability topics for Linde

When we prioritise topics, we draw on a combination of impact analysis and evaluations by our stakeholders. Our focus is on the extent to which sustainability topics

  • are relevant to the business success of Linde. Our sources here include assessments by our customers, investors and employees;
  • are important for the sustainable development of the company. In this context, we evaluate the impact of our business activities on people and the environment. Also included here are assessments made by experts, such as political figures and non-governmental organisations.

We use numerous sources of information and dialogue formats to meet the diverse demands placed upon our company by external stakeholders. These include surveys and dialogue with shareholders, customers and other business partners. In addition, we analyse enquiries from our stakeholders. In 2017, the Group’s Corporate Responsibility department replied to more than 1,300 questions about sustainability at Linde. Other sources are legislative initiatives and political decisions.

Within Linde, we evaluate information from employee questionnaires, workshops with subject specialists and strategy experts, and interdisciplinary working parties. At the end of 2017, we conducted another survey about sustainability topics in all regions. Among other things, this covered local activities and areas of focus, collaborations with stakeholders, and engagement with society at our locations. The results of this survey are included in our reporting. In addition, we consider findings derived from our Group risk management about environmental and social risks as well as procurement analyses and market analyses.

When we prioritise topics, we are also guided by internationally recognised standards. These include the principles set out in the UN Global Compact and sustainability ratings in the capital market. In 2017, we also conducted a materiality analysis as part of our reporting of non-financial performance indicators in accordance with the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive 2014/95/EU (Non-Financial Declaration).

Relevance for the global sustainability agenda

  • Poverty
  • Migration
  • Resource scarcity
  • Water
  • Education
  • Products with sustainability benefits
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Energy
  • Health
  • Biodiversity
  • Nutrition
  • Peace and security
  • Natural disasters
  • Soil
  • Corporate governance
  • Compliance
  • Waste
  • Other emissions
  • Diversity
  • Wages and benefits
  • Work-life balance
  • Freedom of association
  • Demographic change
  • Product stewardship
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Transport safety
  • Personnel development
  • Forced labour
  • Child labour
  • Privacy and data protection

Relevance for Linde's business success