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We aim to develop an integrated environmental approach for the Fresenius Group and foster a balanced view across all functions with regard to relevant environmental aspects. In its business operations, Fresenius is subject to numerous guidelines and regulatory requirements that must be applied and complied with at all times. We integrate national requirements into our internal guidelines, which are defined in ISO-based or ISO-oriented management systems.

We aim to analyze our impact on the material environmental aspects in both the manufacturing and services areas, as the risks of financial or reputational costs linked to environmental litigation are expected to increase. Also, reducing in-process material is essential for many industries affected by growing natural resource scarcity. Dedicated monitoring of natural resource consumption and waste-generating activities can lead to lower costs and, in some cases, new business opportunities. This is why we assess trends and adapt our activities if deemed essential to support the sustainable, long-term growth of our business.

The focus of the environmental management system in production is to improve environmental performance and prevent environmental incidents. Key opportunities arising from this include, e. g., reducing energy and water usage, as well as wastewater, waste, and emissions, in relation to production activities. We leverage these opportunities to optimize resource utilization and prevent overconsumption. Key figures are reported in the sections Water usage and withdrawal and Energy consumption.

The water withdrawal, energy consumption and related emissions reported in this section are subject to the following requirements, unless otherwise stated: New acquisitions are included in the reporting from the second year at the latest. Where divisional data is not available due to different reporting periods, it is extrapolated based on existing data. An adjustment will be made in the next report. Prior year figures have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation. Due to rounding, numbers and percentages in this report may not add up to absolute figures. The figures for the Eugin Group of Fresenius Helios only include the Spanish sites in 2023 and 2022. The figures for Fresenius Vamed only include fully consolidated units that are operationally active, i.e. in the field of production or healthcare services.

Our goals and ambitions

It is our ambition to further promote environmental action, awareness, and sensitivity throughout the entire organization. Our efforts are embedded in the environmental policies of business segments. At Group level, total Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are part of the long-term variable remuneration of the Management Board, as we explain in the Climate protection – energy and emissions section.

In order to continuously improve environmental performance, e. g., in waste, water, wastewater, and energy consumption, our ISO 14001 and 50001-certified organizations set themselves local targets in addition to Group-wide targets.

Fresenius Helios in Spain sets its own annual ambitions together with the segment functions involved. These are derived from the analysis of new regulatory requirements, the most important environmental aspects for the hospitals, the analysis of environmental risks, and the results of previous audits. The hospitals are informed of the ambitions and implement measures to achieve them; they also carry out quarterly inspections. In addition, Helios Spain’s quality department checks compliance with the targets every six months. The results are reported annually to the management. In 2023, the focus was on the following six environmental aspects: consumption of electricity, natural gas, water, and paper, and recycling of cardboard and light packaging waste.

Environmental management goals

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  Timeframe Status 2023 Further information
Implementation of an environmental management system according to ISO 14001 at all production sites. Until 20261 Coverage of production sites: 94% Guidelines and regulations
1 Implementation will be concluded at all Fresenius Kabi production sites in 2026. The certification issuance from the individual certification companies may extend into the following year. Coverage applies to entities already certified or for which a certification is planned.

Our approach

As a healthcare Group, we have a special responsibility that requires all business segments to implement local, regional, or global management systems to take into account the respective business models and adapt processes accordingly. The common foundation of environmental management approaches in our business segments is the ISO 14001 standard. For further information on the energy management system according to ISO 50001, please refer to the Climate protection – energy and emissions section.

Organization and responsibilities

The Group Management Board member responsible for Legal, Compliance, Risk Management, ESG, Human Resources and the business segment Fresenius Vamed is responsible for steering strategic Group-wide targets, e. g., the Group-wide climate target. The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the business segments are responsible for operational management. The management boards of the business segments define the management approaches and regulate responsibility for environmental topics, e. g., via a business allocation plan.

Since the requirements in our healthcare products and healthcare services market segments differ, environmental management is decentralized and organized according to the business model of the business segments. Each business segment has functions that monitor and control the respective environmental impacts. They analyze environmentally relevant vulnerabilities, develop suitable standard procedures, and implement appropriate measures. They also support their certified local entities in effective, directed environmental goal-setting, monitoring these goals as well as developing and implementing mandatory guidelines for all entities.

Relevant environmental data, e. g., on consumption, is reported regularly, e. g., quarterly, to the responsible central function for performance control. If significant deviations from previous performance occur, our specialists initiate a root cause analysis that is evaluated, and corrective or preventive actions are implemented where necessary.

As part of risk reporting, the Group Management Board is informed quarterly. The effectiveness of the environmental management systems is discussed if risks were identified or incidents occurred that could have a significant impact on the operating business, the reputation, or the value chain of the Group and its business segments. The Audit Committee of the Supervisory Board is informed about developments on a half-year basis, and the Supervisory Board as a whole is informed annually. For further information, please refer to the Opportunities and Risk Report of the Annual Report, and the Compliance section.

Reporting systems

In the production area, a reporting process is implemented for environmental incidents such as violations of environmental regulations, pollution caused by uncontrolled spills, or complaints from third parties. Environmental incidents are recorded internally and categorized into five levels – depending on the impact of an environmental incident. Environmental incidents are reported to the global EHS (Environmental, Health, and Safety) function responsible for production, by local managers. Where necessary, environmental incidents are immediately reported to the relevant authorities. Environmental incidents are analyzed to determine the cause and to prevent future incidents.

In the hospital segment, there is a reporting process for incidents that require immediate communication to the local community, such as the release of hazardous substances or accidents in the areas of energy or water. In addition to rectifying an incident, internal and external communication takes place immediately, depending on the situation, followed by an investigation into the cause.

In the reporting year, no environmental incidents were reported via the reporting channels whose impact would have been material to the financial position or reputation of the company. Furthermore, no incidents were recorded in which the respective environment or the general public were directly harmed due to default. Further information on opportunities and risks can be found in the Opportunities and Risk Report.

In the reporting year 2023, local environmental incidents were documented in the internal reporting system. Where necessary, local authorities were informed of the incidents immediately after an incident became known of. Necessary measures were implemented to reduce the environmental impact of the respective incidents. We have also taken the environmental incidents at the affected sites as an opportunity to implement preventive measures, such as training courses, in order to avoid future incidents. No incident led to a severe impact on the environment, biodiversity, or the communities nearby.

Guidelines and regulations

In terms of environmental management, all locations are subject to the respective local regulations and laws. In addition, internal guidelines on environmental protection are implemented – e. g., specific regulations on how employees should handle hazardous substances or waste. Management manuals and standard operating procedures provide the framework for the local environmental and energy management system. These can include detailed checklists for evaluating environmental protection measures and forms for assessing environmental risks.

For the healthcare products market segment, we published a corresponding environmental policy in 2023. The guidelines include general principles on how to address and mitigate environmental risks, as well as how to prevent environmental incidents. We also expect careful and responsible handling of nature and its resources from our suppliers; this is set out in the Suppliers’ Code of Conduct. In addition, we take sustainability criteria into account in decision-making processes for new projects, such as the development of products or capacity expansions.

Our environmental commitment is reviewed or certified by external partners and regulatory bodies. We are continuously expanding the number of sites certified according to ISO 14001. In this way, we want to ensure the effectiveness of existing procedures and systems. The overarching ambition is also to improve the efficiency of our management systems. In 2023, further entities were added on a Group level and the scope of entities for which the standard applies was extended.

Certifications and standards1

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in % Coverage2
External standards: ISO 14001 55
Within the healthcare products market segment 94
Within the healthcare services market segment 42
Regulatory frameworks (e. g., local specifications) 100
Internal standards 100
1 Scope applies to the entities for which environmental data is consolidated.
2 Coverage applies to entities already certified or for which a certification is planned, depending on the applicability of standards or policies. The certification issuance from the individual certification companies may extend into the following year.

In 2023, no systematic non-compliances were detected during the global ISO 14001 internal audits and by TÜV Rheinland with regard to the certification of environmental management in accordance with ISO 14001.

Environmental protection includes protection of marine resources, especially with regard to product development. For example, in the healthcare products market segment, fish oil suppliers certified by the label Friends of the Sea are selected for SMOFlipid® and Omegaven® lipid emulsions for infusion.

Identification and management of environmental risks

Our production sites and our clinics in Germany and Spain must identify environmental protection measures associated with environmental aspects of their activities and services. This can relate to emissions into air, water, or soil, consumption of natural resources and raw materials, waste and wastewater, packaging, transport, or other local environmental impacts. Environmental impacts of organizations are evaluated and, where necessary, environmental protection measures are implemented and reviewed for effectiveness.

Furthermore, using our internal audits, we identify further improvement opportunities and develop appropriate measures with locally responsible managers to tap that potential. In addition, internal audits cover preparedness for emergencies including heavy weather events, floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes, depending on relevance or location. The frequency of global internal audits depends on audit observations from previous audits, environmental incidents, certification status, or the evaluation of the management review, and can vary between one and four years.

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