Materiality analysis

Clear goals: CO₂ reduction, fair and attractive employer, and responsible supply chains

As all of us know from daily life, sustainability is not a single activity, but a principle of action that encompasses numerous aspects. It is therefore important for companies to set the right priorities. This means that we first have to define the topics that are most relevant to our stakeholders and where the company can have the greatest impact. 

This is precisely what we have done with the “materiality analysis.” In doing so, we have proceeded pragmatically, step by step. 

It all started with an extensive literature assessment of our competitors' sustainability issues and industrial risks. In addition, we defined the most important stakeholder groups for us in terms of sustainability: customers, suppliers and service providers, employees, society as a whole, as well as banks and investors. We then collected further possible topics in qualitative interviews with external sustainability experts, the Körber Group Executive Board, and the Heads of our Group Functions. 

We sorted the resulting comprehensive list of topics according to priority in the materiality analysis. All Körber Business Areas assessed the topics based on two core questions: How relevant is this topic for the stakeholder groups? And what contribution can we as Körber make to this topic? The views of our stakeholders were introduced by people who are in close contact with the respective stakeholder groups.

This resulted in a materiality matrix for each Business Area. The results of each Business Area were then weighted according to the number of employees in the Business Area and summarized at the Group level. We discussed and approved the prioritized topics again in a committee that encompassed all the Business Areas. The result is our “House of Sustainability”: It shows common material topics at the Group level as well as individual material topics for our Business Areas. 

The highest-priority topics at the Group level are:

  • Business ethics
  • Responsible information management, with the material topics of data protection and in particular cybersecurity 
  • Fair and attractive employer 
  • Supply chain responsibility
  • Reduction of CO₂ emissions and energy consumption

One topic plays a special role for us as a company, even though it has not yet appeared in the GRI standards: cybersecurity. From numerous discussions with stakeholders and other companies as well as our customers, we know that the security of data and networks has increasingly come into focus and has become a key concern for businesses. When hackers penetrate a company's IT and install malware, for example, not only is the employees' confidential data at risk, but the very existence of the company itself is at stake very quickly.

As a technology leader, Körber recognized the relevance of this topic early on and gave the heightening of security standards the highest priority. We devote our utmost attention and care to the security of our information architecture. For us as a company, cybersecurity is a strategic concern that makes a material contribution to the sustainability dimension of “responsible corporate governance.” 

In this diagram you will find an overview of our most important material sustainability topics. The key topics are in the upper right quadrant.

The results of the materiality analysis were deliberated in our sustainability working group, which included all the Business Areas, and in the Sustainability Steering Committee.

We have set ourselves three main goals for the Group: 

  • We are reducing our CO₂ emissions and energy consumption
  • We are a fair and attractive employer
  • We have responsible supply chains

We have set a main goal for each sustainability dimension. For the environmental dimension, for example, this is “CO₂ emissions and energy consumption” due to the implications for society as a whole and the fact that we at Körber can make a major contribution here. For the social dimension, the topic of “fair and attractive employer” has the highest priority.

In the governance dimension, the topic of “responsible supply chains” was given higher priority, since the German Supply Chain Act must be complied with by 2023. The topics that have the highest priority in the materiality analysis, “corporate ethics” and “responsible information management,” have been successfully implemented at Körber for years. 

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