Dialog with Stakeholders
In order to strengthen the public’s trust in our factories and products, the Xella Group relies on intensive dialog with neighbors, local politicians, the media, associations, investors, customers, suppliers, authorities and all other stakeholders that are either directly or indirectly affected by our operations.
Xella has been carrying out regular customer surveys for many years. This interaction between company and customer – termed customer dialog – takes place in a different country each year and it poses specific questions on a range of issues. Communication with our employees normally takes place via the intranet, through the pages of our employee newspaper “Milestones” or in the course of employee surveys. We usually seek direct dialog with other stakeholders, e.g. from the financial sector or with non-governmental organizations. For example, Xella held a so-called CSR breakfast for the first time in 2013. At the event, organized jointly by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for the Lower Rhine Region and the Duisburg Business Development Agency, business enterprises from Duisburg met to discuss responsible corporate governance. A lecture on “intelligent products and energy management innovations at Xella” rounded off the event.
It is also very important to us that we maintain a good relationship with our neighbors. Especially where environmentally sensitive production is concerned – such as at Fermacell or Fels, where noise or dust emissions occur – we prefer to maintain direct contact with residents, environmental campaign groups, public administration agencies, the police and fire service. This approach clearly pays dividends. Only by including neighbors and environmental campaign groups at an early stage were we able to construct the Ecoloop plant in an area close to a natural park without any form of protest.
Research into the city of the future
Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for the Promotion of Applied Research, Xella is conducting research in the field of the future city – the “Morgenstadt” project. Xella’s system partner for the five-year research collaboration is the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP) in Stuttgart and Holzkirchen. The key objectives for participating in this program include the consolidation and expansion of Xella’s market position in the wall building materials sector through research and development. The Morgenstadt (future city) project represents one of the key future components of the German Federal Government's future High-Tech Strategy 2020.
Xella was also represented at the “sb13 Conference” in Munich. This conference – the abbreviation “sb” stands for “sustainable building” – was organized by the Chair of Building Physics at the Technical University of Munich in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. In addition to the initial greeting given by the CEO of Xella’s Board, Jan Buck-Emden, Xella employees gave two further lectures on the issues of sustainability and recycling of autoclaved aerated concrete. The conference in Munich brought together architects, engineers, urban planners and scientists as well as representatives from the construction sector and politicians from over 20 nations. Among other issues, they discussed changes in energy use, funding concepts for sustainable building, sustainable regional and urban planning together with low-energy and energy-plus house concepts. As sponsor of the “sb13 Conference” Xella presented the “M1” energy-plus, masonry house.
In this Sustainability Report we have presented the results of the continuous dialog in the form of a materiality matrix (see illustration). This provides a direct comparison of the most important sustainability issues and their significance to Xella on the one side, while outlining their significance to further stakeholders on the other. These issues simultaneously form the core content of this Sustainability Report. All fields of action are important to us; however we are particularly concerned with the issues that appear in the right upper field of the matrix.