“Building a better future” – this has been our guiding principle for almost two decades.
In view of the ecological and social challenges we face, we will live up to this mission statement more than ever before. We want to give equal weight to ecological, people-oriented and social aspects as well as economic factors in our decisionmaking. In 2020, we laid important foundations for this: We have organizationally anchored the topic of sustainability and developed a holistic sustainability strategy.
Our Understanding of Sustainability
Securing long-term success through a business strategy that values ecological, people and social aspects equally with economic factors.
Our Group Strategy
The Key Goals of our Sustainability Strategy
Our sustainability strategy
To develop this strategy, we firstly identified which sustainability issues are material for our Group. To this end, we carried out a materiality analysis in the reporting year. In a first step, we collected a large number of potentially relevant topics. These came from initiatives such as the UN Global Compact, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, various studies, and the survey and analysis of responses from both internal and external experts and stakeholders. We have evaluated these relevant topics in terms of their relevance for business success and stakeholders as well as their impact on the environment and society. While the impact and relevance for stakeholders were assessed by external experts, we conducted interviews and an internal survey regarding business relevance. The results form the basis for the topics that are material for our company. As shown in this overview, we have grouped the topics according to their relevance into “Global Priorities” and “Global Topics”. As the engagement of our employees at local level continues to play a central role in the implementation of our sustainability strategy, these are supplemented by numerous local initiatives.
We have assigned all material topics to one of the three strategic fields of action – environment, people and society – and evaluated our impact on achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (see here).
We have defined targets for all globally relevant topics, which are illustrated above for our global priorities. We have been addressing the two topics “Employee Engagement” and “Inclusion & Diversity” from a strategic perspective for years, so that they take an overarching position.
Our Materiality Matrix
Responsibilities for accountable action
To anchor sustainability organizationally, we established a Corporate Sustainability Team in 2020 that reports directly to the CEO. It oversees overarching strategic, steering and communication topics, acts as an interface for all relevant parties and supports the implementation of measures. We have defined strategic and operational responsibilities within the organization for all 16 global priorities and topics. Furthermore, we have started to establish responsibilities in the local organizations and corporate functions to promote stronger anchoring and exchange within the Group.
The advisory body for our activities is the Sustainability Council, which meets twice a year. It provides strategic advice and support on cross-functional issues but does not act as a decision-making body. It is chaired by the CEO. The council includes the heads of the two largest regions and business units, as well as of the legal, human resources, logistics and communications departments.
We want to create transparency in the 16 material topics of our sustainability strategy – and be measured by the results of our ambitious goals. We will embed sustainability in a fundamental way in all areas of our business.Peter Rupp,
Head of Corporate Sustainability
In dialog with our stakeholders
We put great emphasis on a regular exchange with our internal and external stakeholders. It is important to us to maintain an open dialog and discuss the different perspectives constructively. This feedback helps us to continuously advance. In the reporting year, EcoVadis, an independent international rating agency, awarded us silver status. EcoVadis assesses the sustainability performance of companies in four categories: environment, labor practices, fair business practices and sustainable procurement. In the medium term, we aim to improve to gold status.
The needs of our stakeholders are different, and so we also use various communication channels to engage in dialog with them.
Direct and regular on-site contact with our customers has always been one of the unique selling propositions of our Group. In addition, we communicate with our customers via our customer service by phone and e-mail, in the Hilti Stores or digitally via our website and social media. We ask for our customers’ opinions once a year as part of customer surveys.
In addition to customers, our employees, in particular, are an important stakeholder group. We promote regular exchanges within the workforce not only in the daily working environment, but also through various internal media and event formats. In order to bring all our employees along with us on the path to greater sustainability, we launched a global internal communication campaign prior to the publication of our sustainability report in which we outlined our responsibilities, challenges and measures in the seven global priorities.
We work internationally with many suppliers and business partners. It is important to us to build partnerships on equal terms. In particular, we rely on regular personal discussions. We are also active in associations and interest groups and work together with research institutes and universities.