Materiality Analysis

The nature of HHLA’s business means it has a large number of stakeholders with a variety of expectations and demands. In order to understand these expectations and demands more fully, HHLA conducted a materiality analysis as part of its sustainable management activities in which sustainability topics of potential relevance to its internal and external stakeholders were examined. The collection and evaluation of the data was based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines.

The Stakeholder Survey Process

At a meeting of the Sustainability Council, HHLA’s most significant stakeholders were first identified. This was initially based on internal sources, such as a list of key customers. The main stakeholders identified were customers (e.g. shipping companies), customers’ customers (e.g. forwarders), employees, business partners and suppliers, the media, potential and existing shareholders, associations and institutions, research institutes, political decision makers, NGOs, and local residents close to the terminals.

Secondly, a list of topics known to be relevant to both internal and external stakeholders was drawn up. The results from HHLA’s sustainability initiative “On Course” were also included in the data collection as the initiative had already discovered relevant topics and determined the main fields of activity. see Sustainability Strategy

After this, a two-week online survey using a standard questionnaire was carried out worldwide during the reporting period. External stakeholders from all of the groups identified as well as managers from a number of different divisions took part. In total, approximately 100 people rated topics of potential relevance to HHLA, particularly customers, business partners, suppliers and HHLA staff. All stakeholder groups participated in the survey. Stakeholders also had the chance to rate the importance of topics, as well as to amend them or make comments on them. The results of the stakeholder survey were discussed during a Sustainability Council meeting and presented to the Executive Board.

Materiality Analysis Process

Tha Materiality Analysis Process (diagramm)Tha Materiality Analysis Process (diagramm)

Results of the Stakeholder Survey

The materiality matrix shows the ranking of all sustainability topics. The assessments provided by external stakeholders are combined with those of internal stakeholders in the matrix. The result is a prioritisation of the topics. Key aspects are considered material if they are relevant from the point of view of internal and/or external stakeholders.

Ensuring a high level of data protection, high occupational safety standards, sustainable conduct, compliance, energy efficiency, continual improvements in quality, the long-term alignment of corporate strategy and the drafting of a Code of Conduct to ensure non-discriminatory behaviour amongst staff and towards third parties were all rated as very material. The topics carbon emission reductions, occupational safety and health promotion at suppliers, waste prevention and environmentally appropriate disposal, as well as area optimisation and an active dialogue on topics relevant to port management were regarded as material by the survey participants. With a clear majority, the main reasons stated for HHLA’s sustainable approach were a long-term, stable economic development and a reduction of environmental effects. The majority of those surveyed considered themselves generally well informed regarding sustainability topics.

Materiality Matrix

Evaluating the relevance of sustainability topics for HHLA

Hover the mouse over an area to zoom in on it

up to 3 = not very material
up to 4 = material to a certain extent
up to 5 = material
up to 6 = very material

Materiality Matrix

Evaluating the relevance of sustainability topics for HHLA

Due to the high correlation of external and internal stakeholders’ ratings of potentially relevant topics, only slight adjustments had to be made to the weighting of topics compared with earlier reports. The main fields of activity defined during the sustainability initiative were also largely confirmed by the results: none of the potentially relevant topics were rated as immaterial or less material.

In future, HHLA will carry out a stakeholder survey every two years in order to review the results of the materiality analysis and to enable early recognition of changes in stakeholder expectations. see

Materiality Analysis

In line with the new G4 guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative, a comprehensive materiality analysis was carried out for the first time. The results are displayed in the following table. The topics have been assigned to the fields of activity determined by HHLA’s sustainability initiative “On Course”. The topics “stable dividend distribution” and “importance of sustainability for investors” were rated as “only material to a certain extent”. None of the potentially relevant topics covered were rated as immaterial or hardly material.



Fields of activity


Relevance for the stakeholders asked






Very material





Quality of sustainability-related information

Importance of sustainable conduct



Ecological transport chains


Importance of environmentally friendly transport chains



Land conservation


Land conservation



Nature protection


Minimising resource consumption

Waste prevention and environmentally appropriate disposal



Use of sustainable material



Minimising noise emission




Minimising light emission



Climate protection


Climate protection by reducing




Energy efficiency




Occupational safety/health promotion


Promotion of health-conscious behaviour by HHLA

Promotion of occupational safety and health at HHLA



Promotion of occupational safety and health at suppliers


Staff development


Promoting work-life balance




Regular training and education offers





Code of Conduct for employees (beyond legal requirements)




Applying purchasing conditions that ensure suppliers uphold wage and social standards



Social responsibility


Being a good citizen in society

Active dialogue regarding issues relevant to port industry



Added value


Setting technological standards

Long-term alignment of corporate strategy and economically viable business practices



Incorporation of external partners
into the transport chain


Business partners


Continuous improvement of process quality




Continuous improvement of service quality





Comprehensive and transparent communication regarding business developments

Long-term increase in enterprise value