On the combined reporting at HOCHTIEF
Graf Matuschka, why is a combined Group Report important for a company like HOCHTIEF?
The combined presentation of financial and non-financial indicators, issues, and aspects in a single report enables us to better illustrate the connection between economy, ecology, and community in the HOCHTIEF Group. As an international construction group, we have a presence in many places all over the world, where we are in contact with the people and work with them to shape their living spaces. Many construction projects also meet with huge public interest. A combined Group report gives our stakeholders the opportunity to gather information about the sustainability of our corporate thought and action, and gain a 360-degree overview.
Where does the increased interest in sustainable issues come from?
Over the last few years, we have seen growing demand in many areas. Our partners and clients are making a commitment to sustainability—and they expect the same commitment from us. For public sector bid invitations, documentation of our CR activities is often a prerequisite when it comes to qualifying for these contracts. First and foremost, however, it is our responsibility to which we want to live up as an international construction group.
Does the capital market also make demands regarding these issues?
Interest is also growing in this area: Our management of so-called ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) issues is now assessed in many rankings. Dow Jones Sustainability Index, MSCI Global Sustainability Index or FTSE4Good Index are just a few examples. Listing in these respected share indexes means that we are also suitable for investors who structure their portfolios in line with strict sustainability criteria. Hence we are all the more delighted that HOCHTIEF was included or reconfirmed in the indexes I just mentioned in 2014, among others.
Are there legal provisions for sustainable reporting?
The issue of “Integrated Reporting” is currently being actively discussed at many levels. In spring 2014, the EU parliament adopted a CSR reporting obligation for listed companies to be implemented within two years. We dealt with these issues early on and for that reason are well prepared.
Does HOCHTIEF already meet the requirements for integrated reporting?
Not in every area as yet, but that is also due to the industry we work in: We build one-of-a-kind solutions and not one-sizefits-all products. That makes it difficult to collect data, for example. At the same time, there is only limited comparability between projects; it also depends in part on regional circumstances. Having said that, while we profit from data collection on certified buildings in the sustainable construction sector, there is a need to catch up in the infrastructure segment. In some cases, we have already made good progress—for example, by regularly polling our stakeholders and prioritizing our focus areas based on our findings.
The Group’s new strategic direction and the changes from the past two years have also had an impact. Our sustainability strategy and the reporting processes put in place now need to be adapted to the new structures, which will certainly form a focus of our work this year. In addition, the sustainability aspects in our new combined report will be checked by an independent auditing company in order to underline the credibility of our reporting. The combined Group Report 2014 is an important step when it comes to sustainability at HOCHTIEF.