Sustainability strategy and management
The sustainability strategy “Responsibility for tomorrow 2030+” is based on the Schaeffler Group’s vision and mission and supports the objective of adding long-term shareholder value. The company used the United Nations’ 17 “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) to guide its sustainability focus.
The member states of the United Nations (UN) issued the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development in order to successfully address the global challenges. The Agenda 2030 is aimed at facilitating worldwide economic progress and prosperity while achieving social justice and respecting the ecological limits of global growth. The Agenda applies equally to all countries in the world: All developing countries, emerging countries, and industrialized nations have to contribute.
At the core of the Agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that officially came into effect in January 2016. For the first time, they reflect all three dimensions of sustainability: social issues, the environment, and the economy. The goals include reducing poverty and hunger, promoting good health and education, facilitating gender equality, protecting the environment and the climate, and making consumption more responsible. Meeting the ambitious SDGs requires everyone to cooperate: politicians, civil society, and the private sector. This puts the onus on companies, as well, to make concrete contributions with a view to their business activities. The Schaeffler Group lives up to this obligation and its responsible corporate behavior contributes to ten of the 17 United Nations SDGs:
- Good health and well-being (SDG 3)
- Quality education (SDG 4)
- Gender equality (SDG 5)
- Affordable and clean energy (SDG 7)
- Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8)
- Industry, innovation, and infrastructure (SDG 9)
- Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11)
- Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12)
- Climate action (SDG 13)
- Partnerships for the goals (SDG 17)
The activities aimed at meeting the SDGs are grouped in the four fields of action set out in the “Responsibility for tomorrow 2030+” sustainability strategy:
- Field of action: “Sustainable management” (SDGs 8/17)
- Field of action: “Customers and products” (SDGs 9/11/12)
- Field of action: “Environment and energy” (SDGs 7/13)
- Field of action: “Employees and society” (SDGs 3/4/5)
The focus here is on the issues of “responsibility in the supply chain”, “green products”, “commitment to climate protection”, and “diversity”.
A “Sustainability Roadmap” sets out specific objectives and measures that are relevant to the four fields of action and that are used in the operating and strategic measurement and management of Schaeffler’s sustainability performance. The Sustainability Roadmap represents the medium-term, dynamic element of the sustainability strategy.
As understanding the internal and external interests and expectations vis-à-vis the company and taking them into account in order to add long-term value is essential to the success of the sustainability strategy “Responsibility for tomorrow 2030+”, the Schaeffler Group regularly and openly exchanges information with its key stakeholders. Additionally, the Schaeffler Group regularly completes a significance process in order to detect key sustainability issues early on.
The significance analysis performed in 2016 by the Schaeffler Group was developed in cooperation with selected stakeholders: The company invited all employees as well as selected customers and suppliers from around the world to participate in an online survey assessing the relevance of certain issues to Schaeffler as a responsible company and to formulate sustainability-related expectations of the company. A total of 1,250 employees and 431 customers and suppliers participated in the survey. The relevant issues were initially identified by means of a comprehensive document analysis, and participants were given the opportunity to add to them. The result of the significance analysis consisted of 24 issues that were assigned to the four fields of action “Sustainable management”, “Customers and products”, “Environment and energy” and “Employees and society”. The issues identified in the significance analysis were verified by the Schaeffler Group’s sustainability organization in the context of the company’s operations and used to create a significance matrix. The group’s Sustainability Roadmap lists concrete objectives and measures for each issue set out in the matrix. The significance matrix illustrates the relevance of the various issues to the company and its stakeholders and serves as the basis for reporting on sustainability.The sustainability organization then held an internal workshop to discuss the opportunities, risks, and relevance to the Schaeffler Group of the 24 issues defined, starting with the results of the significance analysis, and to consider the internal perspective regarding their relevance to and the impact of the company’s operations. The results of this workshop were then used to select the 12 nonfinancial issues to be included in the nonfinancial statement for 2017. In accordance with section 315b (3) HGB, Schaeffler AG has prepared a separate consolidated nonfinancial report that is not part of the group management report and that combines the nonfinancial report of the parent company with that of the group in accordance with section 289b (3), section 315b (3), and section 298 (2) HGB. The combined separate nonfinancial report is publicly available from the company’s website.
The Schaeffler Group also reports on significant sustainability issues in a voluntary annual sustainability report covering additional nonfinancial concepts, goals, and measures. The company issued an initial separate sustainability report, entitled “Responsibility for tomorrow”, in 2017, laying the foundation for future sustainability reports. The sustainability report was prepared in accordance with the fourth generation (G4) of the Guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the guidelines most frequently used to prepare sustainability reports worldwide. The next sustainability report will be issued in April 2018.
When evaluating its sustainability performance, the company refers to external sustainability ratings and rankings. In 2016, the sustainability rating EcoVadis awarded the “Silver Recognition Level” to the Schaeffler Group in recognition of the company’s sustainability performance. The assessment covered the four categories “environment”, “working conditions”, “responsible management”, and “sustainable procurement”.
The Schaeffler Group’s corporate responsibility is managed and exercised by a sustainability organization that is integrated throughout the group’s divisions, functions, and regions. The sustainability steering committee, the Schaeffler Group’s panel of experts representing the technical departments, develops strategic sustainability targets and designs nonfinancial reports. It receives support from the sustainability working group, which is responsible for operational implementation. In addition, a sustainability center of expertise generates ideas for the divisions, functions, and regions and as a communicator and dialog partner for stakeholders. The sustainability organization reports directly to Schaeffler AG’s Chief Executive Officer.