Company News, 2006-05-18, 10:03 AM
First Sustainability Report of ThyssenKrupp Steel AG published
ThyssenKrupp Steel AG is committed to sustainability in the classic sense: meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The Company understands sustainable development as a continuous process with no fixed end point. "Alongside optimized business performance, the ability to innovate is a decisive criterion for sustainable development," said Executive Board Chairman Dr. Karl-Ulrich Köhler on the publication of the first "Sustainability Report 2004_2005. Doing the right thing. Right?"
94 pages long, ThyssenKrupp Steel AG's first Sustainability Report is based on the guidelines of the recognized Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). It includes a CD ROM containing extensive supplementary data, facts and figures as well as GRI references. A microsite dedicated to the report has been set up on the internet. The report is also available for downloading as a PDF file.
The first phase of the public sustainability debate in the last decade of the 20th century focused exclusively on the "ecology-economy-social responsibility" triad. However, this understanding of sustainability is a very inadequate reflection of business life with its complex interactions and dependencies inside and outside a company. ThyssenKrupp Steel is therefore developing a new understanding of sustainability which clearly addresses the diverse interdependencies, sets priorities and extensively explores and integrates the central aspects. In practice it has been shown that reinterpretation and refocusing are essential prerequisites for an honest, universal and integrated understanding of sustainability.
In the Sustainability Report now published, ThyssenKrupp Steel defines six factors for success in sustainability: effectiveness, efficiency, resources, solidarity, impact and justice. In solving problems, assessing options, making decisions, these factors flow into the analysis of the situation, the development and implementation of solutions and finally also into the performance review. "In an environment characterized by global competition, these factors must be reviewed daily in collaboration with our customers, suppliers, investors, employees and other key stakeholder groups. Mutual respect and fairness, discussion and understanding, weighing and balancing are essential prerequisites for this. Maximizing one success factor at the expense of others would pose a long-term threat to our success," said Dr. Köhler.
However, the entire system of sustainable corporate policy is based on business success. It determines the size of the cake to be shared among the most important stakeholders - employees, shareholders, creditors and the public sector. A key measure of this is the added value created by the company. This indicator has improved significantly in the last few fiscal years. It rose to just over EUR2.7 billion in fiscal year 2004/2005, 16% higher than the year before. The main factor in this was the strong improvement in business performance, from which all stakeholder groups profited. Almost 63% of the value created, or EUR1.7 billion, was spent in the reporting year on employee benefits such as wages, salaries, social security contributions and pensions. In absolute terms, these benefits have increased by 13% in the past four fiscal years. 21% was paid to the shareholders ThyssenKrupp AG and minority interests, who - unlike in the past - thus received an appropriate return on their investment. Thanks to the reduction in net financial debt, a far lower amount went to banks and other creditors, while tax expense rose significantly due to the strong income situation.