Principles and reporting standards

HHLA’s commitment to sustainability is binding, transparent, measurable and comparable. The Sustainability Report documents the ecological, social and economic performance of the company. It also highlights how sustainability contributes to the company’s long-term success and which values HHLA creates for its customers, employees, shareholders, business partners and the public.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations are championed by HHLA. The following Sustainable Development Goals correspond most closely to our business activities and contribute towards solving global challenges:

  • SDG 4: Quality education
  • SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • SDG 13: Climate action

HHLA’s business activities affect the following SDGs to a limited degree:

  • SDG 3: Good health and well-being
  • SDG 5: Gender equality
  • SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
  • SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
  • SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • SDG 15: Life on land
  • SDG 16: Peace and justice
  • SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

The SDGs not listed here are also supported by HHLA, but its business activities have little impact on these goals.

Notes on GRI reporting

HHLA applies the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards on sustainability reporting, the most commonly used standards of their kind in the world. In doing so, HHLA also facilities comparison at an international level. This report was prepared in accordance with the “Comprehensive” reporting option.

Defining the content for this report

The Sustainability Report is part of the HHLA Annual Report, whose structure is regulated by the disclosure obligation for public limited companies as defined by the German Commercial Code (HGB). The concept of an integrated report includes annual financial and sustainability reporting. It illustrates the interaction between economic, environmental and social factors and their relevance to the company’s long-term success.

In order to determine the material sustainability topics, HHLA once again conducted a materiality analysis in December 2018 in the form of an international online survey for stakeholders. Materiality analysis

The key issues for sustainability reporting were validated using the results of this survey. In the course of refining the sustainability strategy, adjustments were made to the previous fields of activity. HHLA has also formulated new goals for its contribution towards conserving resources and protecting the climate. The amended sustainability strategy will now be implemented under the heading Balanced Logistics. Our sustainability reporting is based on the fields of activity of this strategy. Sustainability strategy

Data collection and calculation methods

Financial statements and reports

All data and information was collected from the respective units responsible for such information using representative methods for the reporting period. HHLA prepares its consolidated financial statements and its Interim Reports in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (). This Annual Report provides further information on IFRS in the notes to the consolidated financial statements. Notes to the consolidated financial statements, no. 2 Consolidation principles

The separate financial statements HHLA AG are prepared in line with the accounting regulations of the German Commercial Code (HGB). The appropriation of profits is based solely on the separate financial statements.

Sustainability performance indicators

Sustainability-relevant key figures are fed into the internal management information system on a monthly basis and analysed. The Executive Board receives a corresponding report. The sustainability performance indicators are calculated every year and published in the Management Report section of the Annual Report, having been signed off by the auditors. This ensures the reliability of the data. Data comparability and consistency is guaranteed by complying with widely used international reporting standards (e.g. Greenhouse Gas Protocol). Sustainability performance indicators

Risk and opportunity management

Opportunities and risks are analysed using a comprehensive risk management system. Compliance with corporate guidelines as well as with relevant and recognised national and international industry standards is regarded as an essential part of corporate governance at HHLA. Workflows and processes are structured in line with these regulations. External audits at various HHLA companies (including ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 50001 and CTQI [Container Quality Indicator]) confirm compliance with recognised international standards. Management of risk and opportunities

Forward-looking statements

Unless otherwise stated, the key figures and information in this report concern the entire Group including associated companies in which the company has a majority holding. Some sections contain forward-looking statements. These estimates and statements were made to the best of our knowledge and in good faith. Future global economic conditions, legislation, market conditions, competitors’ activities and other factors are not within the control of HHLA.

External audit

The combined management report of the HHLA Group and HHLA AG, as well as the consolidated financial statements and notes, were audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Audit opinion

The sections of the Sustainability Report which form part of the non-financial report were also audited.

GRI Content Index

The 2019 Annual Report was prepared in accordance with the international guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) according to GRI Standards: “Comprehensive” option.

Within the scope of the GRI Content Index Service, GRI Services checked whether the GRI Content Index was presented clearly and coherently and that the references for all disclosures contained were consistent with the corresponding sections of the report. The GRI Content Index refers to parts in this Annual Report or sections of the HHLA website that provide information about individual GRI disclosures. The index is available exclusively online at

Information about the non-financial report*

Report framework

HHLA reports on the HHLA Group and HHLA AG in the form of a combined separate non-financial report (hereinafter “non-financial report”), the contents of which are embedded in the Sustainability Report. The non-financial report serves to fulfil the statutory requirements arising for HHLA in connection with the Act to Strengthen Companies’ Non-Financial Disclosure in their Management Reports and Group Management Reports (known as the CSR Directive Implementation Act for short, hereinafter CSR-RUG).

The following sections are compulsory parts of the non-financial report which are relevant for audit purposes:

  • Sustainability strategy
  • Sustainability organisation and dialogue
  • Principles and reporting standards /
    information about the non-financial report
  • Materiality analysis
  • Ecology: Area optimisation
  • Ecology: Climate protection and energy efficiency
  • Society: Working world / staffing levels
  • Society: Working world / staff development
  • Society: Health and occupational safety
  • Governance: Combating bribery and corruption

The compulsory sections of the non-financial report are also labelled as “Part of the non-financial report” in the online Annual Report. A summary of all content relevant to the non-financial report is also available as a PDF document from the download centre of the online Annual Report:

The reporting period is the 2019 financial year (1 January to 31 December 2019). The data presented generally refers to this period or the facts and figures at the end of the reporting period. If information refers to a different period of time, this is explicitly stated. The report is published once a year. The last Sustainability Report was published on 27 March 2019 as part of the Annual Report. Unless otherwise stated, the key figures and information in this report concern the entire group of consolidated companies.

Application of frameworks

For the purposes of the non-financial report, HHLA prepared its materiality analysis in line with the requirements of the GRI Standards.

Determining the content of the non-financial report

HHLA regularly carries out a materiality analysis to determine the most important sustainability topics. This was conducted by means of an international online survey of stakeholders in December 2018. The results of this survey were used to determine the key issues for sustainability reporting in 2019. It includes all topics identified as material. Materiality analysis

For the purpose of preparing the non-financial report in compliance with CSR-RUG, the material fields of activity identified in accordance with GRI were aligned with the requirements of the German Commercial Code (HGB). The table below reconciles the five reportable minimum aspects with the fields of activity which are material for HHLA.

Reconciliation of the reportable minimum aspects with the material aspects and issues of relevance to HHLA

Business model


Business Model as per CSR-RUG

Environmental aspects


Ecology / Land Conservation


Ecology: Climate protection and energy efficiency

Employee aspects


Working world / Headcount


Occupational health and safety

Social aspects


HHLA takes its responsibility in dealing with social aspects that concern business partners, shareholders and the general public very seriously. However, all of the topics relating to these aspects were excluded due to a lack of commercial relevance based on double materiality considerations as defined in Section 289c (3) of the German Commercial Code (HGB).
Materiality Analysis / Reconciliation of Key Issues with the German Commercial Code

Respecting human rights


Combating bribery and corruption


Governance: Combating Bribery and Corruption

As a port and transport logistics company, HHLA acts as a service provider within the transport chains of its clients. HHLA’s own supply chains are limited to procuring capital and consumer goods (e.g. locomotives and port handling equipment), which largely originate from countries within Europe. Purchasing and materials management

Business model in accordance with CSR-RUG

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG is a leading European port and transport logistics company. It operates container terminals in the ports of Hamburg, Tallinn (Muuga) and Odessa. The companies of HHLA provide efficient transport systems and have their own terminals in the of the ports. The Logistics segment comprises an extensive array of port and consultancy services. Group overview / business activities

Reportable risks in accordance with CSR-RUG

HHLA has a comprehensive risk management system and an internal control system. Risk and opportunity report / risk and opportunity management

After applying the net method to identify reportable risks in accordance with CSR-RUG, HHLA is not aware of any reportable risks that are highly likely to have serious negative consequences for the reportable aspects now or in the future.

Connections with the figures stated in the annual and consolidated financial statements

No fundamental connections were identified with the figures stated in the annual and consolidated financial statements which would be needed to understand the data.

External audit of the non-financial report

This non-financial report was the subject of a limited assurance engagement according to ISAE 3000 (Revised) by the independent auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which issued an unqualified opinion. Auditor’s report


References to details not contained in the combined management report serve to provide further information and do not form part of the non-financial report.


International financial reporting standards.


In maritime logistics, a terminal is a facility where freight transported by various modes of transport is handled.

Intermodal/Intermodal systems

Transportation via several modes of transport (water, rail, road) combining the specific advantages of the respective carriers.


A port’s catchment area.