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 once again conducted a materiality analysis in winter 2018, 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 and structured in accordance with the central fields of activity of HHLA’s sustainability strategy. Sustainability strategy
A two-week online survey using a standard questionnaire was then carried out worldwide. External stakeholders from all of the groups identified, as well as managers from a number of different divisions, took part in the survey.
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 add to them or make comments on them. The results of the stakeholder survey were checked internally and presented to the Executive Board. They were also used to refine HHLA’s sustainability strategy under the Balanced Logistics heading and to define the fields of activity.
Results of the stakeholder survey
The materiality matrix shows the ranking of all relevant 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.
The long-term alignment of the corporate strategy, the long-term increase in enterprise value and prudent business practices were all rated as very material. Compliance with competition law, high occupational safety standards for employees and business partners, ensuring a high level of data protection, establishing a code of conduct which ensures non-discriminatory behaviour amongst staff and towards third parties, continual improvements in process and service quality, energy efficiency, waste avoidance and environmentally appropriate disposal, area optimisation, climate-friendly logistics chains, continuous improvement, minimising resource consumption and setting technological standards were all rated as highly material. With a clear majority, the main reasons stated for HHLA’s sustainable approach were long-term, stable economic development and a reduction of environmental effects. The majority of those surveyed considered themselves generally well informed regarding sustainability topics.
The results of the most recent stakeholder survey largely correspond with the results of the previous stakeholder survey. 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 the previous results. None of the potentially relevant topics were rated as immaterial or less material. The results were integrated into those fields of activity of HHLA’s sustainability strategy which are defined as being most relevant.
up to 3 = not very material
up to 4 = material to a certain extent
up to 5 = material
up to 6 = very material
Results of the materiality analysis
In line with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a comprehensive materiality analysis was carried out in December 2018.
The results are displayed in the following table. The topics have been assigned to the fields of activity determined by HHLA’s Balanced Logistics sustainability strategy. The topics “minimising light emission”, “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 not very material.
Reconciliation of material topics with the German Commercial Code (HGB)
For the preparation of the non-financial report in accordance with CSR-RUG, the issues identified as material or very material in the HHLA materiality analysis were checked for commercial relevance and degree of impact by a specialist body and prioritised in line with the double materiality clause set out in Section 289c (3) HGB. As a result, some issues which were rated as very material in the stakeholder survey are considered non-reportable due to a lack of commercial relevance under CSR-RUG. Information about the non-financial report, determining the content of the non-financial report
In maritime logistics, a terminal is a facility where freight transported by various modes of transport is handled.