2. Materiality

The company discloses the aspects of its business operations that have a significant impact on sustainability issues and what material impact sustainability issues have on its operations. It analyses the positive and negative effects and provides information as to how these insights are integrated into the company’s processes.

The sustainability strategy of our institute is embedded in our research assignment and anchored in our guidelines, e.g. in paragraph 10: “Fraunhofer UMSICHT sees itself as a pathfinder for technical changes in the areas of environment, energy, process engineering, and safety. The institute promotes effective management, environmentally friendly technologies, and environmentally conscious behavior in order to enhance society’s overall quality of life.” (The complete guidelines can be found here).

Our sustainability strategy was created holistically at Fraunhofer UMSICHT and is anchored in the institute as a whole. Since 2009 our institute has been using the Sustainability Balanced Scorecard (SCBC) as a controlling instrument. Within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft the institutes exchange views in the Fraunhofer Network Sustainability and have developed suggestions for an overall strategy.

We intend to show all our stakeholders (e.g. customers, public and politics) how our R&D products and services contribute to a sustainable development. We would like to get into contact with them to bring forward these objectives together in order to improve the quality of life in our society in general. In 2014 we conducted a stakeholder dialog with representatives from the fields of industry, science, politics, and society and developed a materiality matrix of sustainable criteria (which can be found on page 7 of our Sustainability Report).

In a first workshop in January 2014, those aspects/topics were worked out that the employees expect in the sustainability report of Fraunhofer UMSICHT. The results were clustered and in February 2014 presented to the steering committee of the institute. The latter then prioritized and complemented them. In June 2014, a workshop followed with external stakeholders from the fields of industry, science, politics, and society in which additional aspects relevant to UMSICHT were found.

In an intense and fruitful discussion the following aspects were considered to be of particular importance from an external point of view: employee integration and participation strategy, "sustainable view of the person", contribution of the institute to transformation processes (e. g. energy transition) and transdisciplinary, comprehensible presentation ("translation") of scientific results in a social dialog.

Additional aspects are: regional effects of the R&D results and UMSICHT as motivator for innovative R&D for customers as well as proactive networking. These aspects were primarily attributed to the areas of staff responsibility, innovation process, responsible research, and responsibility for society (as well as for the region).

Please find the materiality matrix on page 7 of our Sustainability Report.