Since 2017, we have been identifying the material topics for the Fresenius Group in a comprehensive materiality analysis. This is carried out every two to three years, depending on possible changes in the corporate structure and the operating business performance. In addition, we review the material topics annually to ensure that they are up to date. Material 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 business activities on the non-financial aspects.
We conducted our last comprehensive materiality analysis in the 2020 reporting year. The multi-stage analysis process in accordance with HGB and GRI is described in the Fresenius Sustainability Report 2020. In 2021, we checked the actuality of the analysis by means of an environment analysis.
Materiality analysis results
The review of the materiality analysis in the reporting year did not indicate any changes in the 6 material non-financial topic clusters and 15 individual topics compared to the previous year.
However, the content of individual topics and topic clusters was further deepened in the reporting year, such as the topic Clinical Study Management. The structure of the chapters in this report reflects the main topic clusters. The various individual topics are assigned to the chapters according to their prioritization, and their management approach is described according to the requirements of GRI and the German Commercial Code (HGB).
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. 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, Helios Germany and Helios 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.
Comprehensive stakeholder dialog
We are in contact with our stakeholders through different channels: Helios Germany and Helios Spain, for example, conduct patient satisfaction surveys during treatment. Helios Germany also publishes a quarterly patient magazine. In both countries, employees can exchange information on the Group or respective business segment intranet or ask to meet with the management. Fresenius Medical Care also conducts regular surveys of patients and employees. Because of their stock-listed status, Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA and Fresenius Medical Care, in particular, are constantly in contact with investors and analysts and available to clarify queries. The four business segments regularly contact their own stakeholders. The GSB is of great importance for exchange within the Fresenius Group.
We plan to expand our stakeholder engagement as part of our materiality analysis. For the reporting year, we have explicitly considered the requirements of rating agencies and regulators. The departments and business segments have contributed the views of their respective stakeholders.
We submit key environmental data, such as information on emissions or water, to the international non-profit organization CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project). Furthermore, we respond to the information requirements of our stakeholders and publish material information in accordance with the reporting standard TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) and an overview of material information and indicators in accordance with the provisions of the U.S. reporting standard SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board). The information according to TCFD and SASB can be found on our website.
Our work in associations and initiatives
Our employees bring their expertise to national and international boards, committees, and associations. In part, this is accompanied by industry agreements or obligations. The following initiatives and memberships are currently of particular strategic importance for the business segments:
- BVMed – German Medical Technology Association – Member: Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA, represented on the Management Board through Fresenius Kabi
- IQM – Initiative Qualitätsmedizin – Founding and Management Board member: Helios Germany; actively chairs committees; voluntary commitment to quality principles
- DAI – Deutsches Aktieninstitut – Member: Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA, Fresenius Medical Care
- Medicine for Europe – Member: Fresenius Kabi; commitment to the Code of Conduct
- VCI – German chemical industry association – Member: Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA