Sustainability Management at Vossloh
Vossloh is active in rail technology markets worldwide. The Company’s core business is rail infrastructure. Vossloh makes an important contribution to people’s mobility and to the transportation of goods. For both local and long-distance traffic, rail is one of the most sustainable, most economical and also safest means of transport. Vossloh also lives up to its corporate social responsibility in its business activities, as sustainable economic success is only possible in the international arena on the basis of responsible business conduct. This includes both the Company and its employees adhering to the applicable laws, respecting basic ethical values and acting in an exemplary fashion at all times and in all scenarios. Sustainable actions have been an integral part of the Vossloh corporate culture for some time. The Company combines long-term economic value added with environmental and social responsibility. Sustainable solutions and innovative processes are promoted in a structured manner at Vossloh. At the heart of everything is a holistic view.
On November 28, 2017, the Vossloh Executive Board adopted a statement regarding the Group’s sustainability orientation. At the same time, a new Sustainability area of responsibility was created within operational management; this falls within the remit of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), who is involved in all the concepts related to the topic of sustainability. The CTO also oversees the newly founded sustainability working group comprising those within the Group who are responsible for Compliance, Environment/Health/Safety (EHS), Human Resources (HR) and Investor Relations (IR)/Controlling. This body regularly discusses sustainability issues. One of its key tasks is to further develop the various approaches to sustainability that already exist within the Company and to further clarify the Group’s sustainability strategy. This includes developing quantifiable goals that Vossloh will henceforth seek to achieve in the area of sustainability (including scope and time frame).
A multistage process was used to identify and prioritize the topics relating to these areas that are relevant to Vossloh both within the Company itself and in the upstream and downstream areas. An initial list of 27 potentially relevant issues was then whittled down to 13 issues of particular relevance on the basis of a global survey of experts and executives in various positions within the Company followed by a workshop. Carefully selected experienced experts from all the business units and from Vossloh AG as the management holding company, among them representatives of Sales, Investor Relations and Human Resources, contributed the perspectives of the stakeholders with which they are in ongoing dialogue. In the workshop, the participants evaluated the topics regarding their current and future impact of Vossloh’s business activities on the aspects on the one hand, and, on the other, in terms of their relevance to the course of business, the results of business and the net assets, financial position and results of operations of the Vossloh Group. The nonfinancial aspects and issues identified as important in the materiality analysis were then discussed by the Executive Board and were deemed to be appropriate. The materiality matrix below elucidates the importance of the individual nonfinancial aspects and issues:
The Group is, however, still relatively new to the systematic collection of Group-wide facts and figures regarding nonfinancial performance indicators – among other things due to the fact that Vossloh had a decentralized organization until mid-2014 and implemented fundamental restructuring of all the Company’s divisions up to the end of 2017. Only with its restructuring as an integrated Group (“One Vossloh”) did it begin to coordinate the divisions and harmonize the rules and systems with regard to nonfinancial aspects, too. In addition, the production processes and services of Vossloh’s divisions and business units have considerably different basic structures, making the uniform Group-wide recording of, for example, energy or resource consumption levels more difficult. There is therefore currently only uniform Group-wide quantitative data for some of the material nonfinancial aspects and issues. For example, Vossloh uses the consolidation software IBM Cognos Controller to centrally log and check plausibility regarding environmental aspects such as its energy consumption levels at all the sites around the world and, with regards to employee aspects such as workplace safety, its developments in the area of human resources (including for internal planning, management and controls). Figures for the Group as a whole are also available in the area of compliance (respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery matters).
In recent years, more and more of the Company’s entities have been awarded certification in at least one of the international quality, environmental and social standards such as ISO 14001, ISO 50001 or OHSAS 18001 or a comparable national standard and now have corresponding management systems in place. As of the reporting date December 31, 2017, more than 95 percent of the Vossloh workforce was employed at an entity with such certification. The remaining corporate entities and the entities belonging to the Tie Technologies business unit, which has been a part of the Vossloh Group since the beginning of 2017, are currently working on paths to being awarded certification and are to be introduced to the standards gradually over the next few years.
In its core divisions of Core Components, Customized Modules and Lifecycle Solutions, Vossloh has begun to gradually bring the existing environment, energy, quality, occupational health and safety management systems together to create an integrated management system that will be subject to regular audits by independent external auditors. The Vossloh Fastening Systems and Vossloh Rail Services business units passed recertification audits in the course of 2017.