Our material sustainability topics
We have identified six material topic clusters and 15 individual topics in our materiality analysis:
The materiality process
We identified our main topics in accordance with the HGB in a multi-stage process. Material in this respect are those aspects that are relevant for understanding Fresenius' business performance, results of operations, and position, as well as for understanding the effects of its own business activities on the non-financial aspects. The key topics for the Fresenius Group are explained separately based on the way they are managed in the individual business segments. On topics such as data protection, cybersecurity, compliance, and human rights, we report Group-wide strategies.
The set of topics, referred to as the long list of topics, of this year's materiality analysis is based on previously identified topics from prior years and on a competitive analysis. We have also taken into account the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the SDGs and other frameworks.
In order to determine the expectations of our external stakeholders (outside-in-analysis), we analyzed regulatory trends and legislative proposals, as well as the activities of our competitors, media coverage and the results of capital market rankings. We validated the results of this desktop analysis by the Investor Relations & Sustainability, Corporate Compliance and Corporate Communications departments. They were also compared with the materiality results of our business segments.
To be able to assess the impact of Fresenius on the non-financial aspects, we conducted a comprehensive SDG analysis. This analysis assesses the risk of negative effects and the positive impact of Fresenius on the SDGs. The results were also validated by the departments and by comparison with the materiality results of the business segments.
In order to draw up the final ranking of topics, we considered, among other things, the relevance of the topics for the business segments as well as future trends in the capital market and in legislation as corrective factors. Investor Relations & Sustainability finalized the overall result in a closing workshop and presented it to the GSB.
Stakeholders and partnerships
Fresenius is involved in a diverse network of stakeholder groups. We gain valuable insights from this exchange which we use to continuously develop our quality and sustainability management as well as our reporting procedures. In 2019, we reviewed and prioritized our stakeholders: to this end, existing corporate communication channels, the requirements of sustainability ratings and rankings, and frequent inquiries from investors were evaluated. Our main stakeholders are:
Private shareholders, institutional investors, analysts and rating agencies
Political institutions and external organizations, e.g., in the fields of health care and patient care
Suppliers or other business partners
In their non-financial reports, Fresenius Medical Care and Fresenius Helios in Germany and Spain also include lists of the stakeholder groups that are specific to their respective business activities: for example, Fresenius Medical Care includes representatives from academia, among others, while Fresenius Helios considers trade unions.
For more information on this topic see the Sustainability Report.