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Sustainability Strategy*

Leveraging science and technology

In our view, sustainable entrepreneurship and profitable growth go hand in hand; we can remain competitive only by creating added value for society. Through our innovative and high-quality products, we want to help meet global challenges. At the same time, these types of products secure our financial performance capability. Responsible action is an integral part of our company culture. This also includes respecting the interests of our employees, customers, investors, and society.

Safety and ethics matter just as much to us as business success. We mitigate ethical, economic, environmental, and social risks as far as possible. From the early stages of development through to disposal, we keep an eye on the entire life cycle of a product. We apply strict sustainability standards to our procurement activities. During product manufacture, it is important to us to keep the environmental impact as low as possible, which is why safe production, high environmental standards and strict quality management are of course so important to us. By supplying products that meet extensive sustainability criteria, we also help other companies to achieve their sustainability goals.

Sustainability is an essential element of our enterprise strategy. We have set ourselves three strategic sustainability goals: In 2030, we will achieve progress for more than one billion people through sustainable science and technology. By 2030, we will fully integrate sustainability into our value chains. By 2040, we will be climate neutral and reduce our resource consumption. With these goals, we are helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Overall, our sustainability strategy is centered on seven focus areas within which we are realizing numerous initiatives and projects today and tomorrow, measuring our progress as we go.

Refining the sustainability strategy

In 2023, we revised our sustainability strategy, which we had communicated in 2020. In particular, we sharpened the second goal: Under the new heading “Partnering for sustainable business impact”, we want to strengthen our focus on the social aspects in our value chains and embed sustainability more comprehensively into our decision-making processes. Therefore, in addition to the existing focus area “Sustainable and transparent supply chain”, we are now also working on the new focus areas “Sustainability in our ways of working and decision-making” and “Our people and communities; providing a diverse and inclusive environment”. For the third goal, “Reducing our ecological footprint”, we modified two of our key indicators for waste and water. The two new indicators, which are valid as of 2024, use more common metrics and also include circular economy criteria.

We use 14 key indicators to record and assess our progress towards achieving our sustainability goals. Our annual Long-Term Incentive Plan (LTIP) for Executive Board members and senior executives contains a sustainability factor. We use it to measure performance over a period of three years based on selected key indicators for each of our three sustainability goals. Details on how this sustainability factor is calculated can be found in the “Compensation Report”. In 2023, the company tied 15% of variable employee compensation to sustainability parameters for the first time.

We are in the process of transforming the company and are integrating sustainability into the innovation process and all parts of the value chain. It is our aim to decouple the growth of our businesses from negative environmental impacts. More information on sustainability topics can be found in the “Non-Financial Statement”, which is also part of the management report.

* The contents of this chapter or section are voluntary and therefore not audited. However, our auditor has read the text critically.

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