About the report

This report aims to describe the approach to responsible and sustainable business of the companies within HeidelbergCement Northern Europe (HCNE), and the challenges and opportunities that we face in the short and long term.

Read about our Sustainability strategy

Reporting principles and assurance

We report data according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and have self-declared this report to meet GRI G4 level “Core”. We have used the relevant Metals and Mining Sector supplement for our cement and aggregates business lines. The report has not been audited by a third-party auditor.

Go to the GRI index. 

In this report HCNE refers to all companies within the HCNE area, and the report covers entities where we own more than 50 per cent, unless stated otherwise. Any newly acquired businesses will be integrated in our reporting after one full calendar year.

We have compiled the data primarily through existing Group or company reporting, or report sheets that were designed and specified in order to cover GRI requirements. Some data is measured, some is calculated and some is estimated, as described in the GRI index.

The report covers the 2014 and 2015 calendar years and is available in English.

Stakeholder engagement

HeidelbergCement interacts with a wide range of stakeholders who have an interest and potential stake in our work, and vice versa. These include customers, authorities, employees, non-governmental organizations, associations, unions and academia in Estonia, Norway and Sweden.

We study and respond to stakeholder expectations at every level of our business. This Sustainability Report focuses mainly on the questions that we and the stakeholders consider to be most important to the company, the environment and the society of which we are a part.

Local communities, customers and public authorities (local and national) are identified as the stakeholder groups that are most affected by what we do and have the greatest influence on our business conditions. However, the report is also developed with employees, suppliers, non-governmental organizations, media and students in mind.

Stakeholder dialogues

We keep an ongoing open dialogue with our local communities at local sites in all countries, and this is part of our Stakeholder Management. In Kunda, Estonia, we host an annual Environmental Day in May where external stakeholders meet with internal representatives in presentations and panel discussions.

We greatly appreciate our stakeholders’ input and engagement, which provide important input to improve our sustainability work and reporting. Our executive committee is continuously being informed on relevant issues in this area.

Materiality analysis

HeidelbergCement regularly conducts materiality analyses to learn about stakeholders’ priorities related to us and our operations, and their perception of the company’s sustainability ambitions and performance.

At the end of 2014 HeidelbergCement Group carried out a materiality analysis among key external and internal stakeholders, who were asked to fill out a questionnaire containing a range of standardized and open-end questions. In 2016 HeidelbergCement Northern Europe carried out a complementary materiality analysis through personal interviews with selected external stakeholders. The input from these external stakeholders was matched with the Group’s materiality analysis from 2014. The resulting challenges are shown in the following figure.


The materiality analysis indicates that both the internal and external stakeholders consider environmental topics such as CO₂ (and other emissions), energy efficiency and water management to be very important, but also areas like occupational health and safety and compliance. The circled areas represent the prioritized areas according to the stakeholders of the Northern Europe region.

At a glance, one might believe that the external stakeholders in Northern Europe do not find the topics occupational health and safety and compliance important. However, we don’t believe that this is the case but rather that they were not mentioned because they are seen as absolute prerequisites to operate.

Sustainability strategy

Economic, environmental and social responsibilities are the three dimensions that all companies within HeidelbergCement Northern Europe (HCNE) use as a base in creating added value for our internal and external stakeholders.

We know that responsible business practices and adherence to sustainability principles, which protect local welfare and natural environments, are essential to long-term business success. That means responsible behaviour, transparency, and dialogue with all stakeholders including employees, customers, business partners, local communities and neighbours, and authorities at every one of our locations.

Our sustainability ambitions

In addition to compliance with laws and regulations, our sustainability work is based on our overall Group sustainability strategy monitored by the Group Sustainability Steering Committee. Back in 2009, our most important activities for promoting sustainability were summarized in a set of guidelines: Sustainability Ambitions 2020. They highlight the priorities of our sustainability strategy and apply to all entities within HeidelbergCement. We are currently working to update the Sustainability Ambitions. Once this is done, the programme will define our sustainability strategy until 2030.

Other focus areas

Along with environmental issues, there is also a strong focus on health and safety. An initiative called “Safe behaviour” has been implemented throughout the organization, including training of all supervisors and introduction of common tools for structuring the health and safety work. Furthermore, guidelines covering areas such as contractor safety, work at height, machine safeguarding and driving safety are implemented at all locations.

In our cement business line, measures and goals of our sustainability work are evaluated and new, more progressive goals are established annually in formalized groups and processes including relevant managers. In our other business lines, each company handles goal setting and evaluation as part of the annual budget process.

We believe it is vital to have close contact with stakeholders, including local communities and authorities. We value their views and aim to have an open and transparent dialogue. Through communication training of local management, open plant/site days and through social media as well as regular newsletters at each of our cement plants, we further encourage local dialogues.

We also believe in research and development, including possibilities through digital and mobility related products and services, to remain sustainable in today’s fast developing society.

Read more about Sustainability at the HeidelbergCement Group website.

Sustainable business conduct

Our business lines are to a large extent regulated by permits determined by authorities that control emission levels and other environmental impacts. As the dominant player on the markets in our area, behaving ethically is crucial for us and this is continually stressed. We acknowledge the importance of a functioning and competitive market and adhere to a zero-tolerance policy on corruption and infractions of competition law as well as national marketing legislation. As a preventive measure, our managers and employees participate in training to ensure compliance to competition laws and our ethical policy, which are described in our Code of Business Conduct and the Compliance Program.

The General Manager leads the HCNE executive committee, which consists of five key members of the HCNE management team and reports to a member of the HeidelbergCement group executive board. The HCNE executive committee is responsible for ensuring sustainability in our business in terms of environment, social issues, labour practices, work environment, human rights and product responsibility.

Company guidelines

These are our primary company guidelines:

  • Corporate Mission – The guiding principles for the company’s culture and fundamental values.
  • Leadership Principles – Based on Corporate Mission and designed to help us build a common management and leadership culture.
  • The Code of Business Conduct – Describes our values of high ethical and legal standards for all our business activities from strategic planning to day-to-day procedures.
  • Compliance Program – Includes a competition law guideline and an anti-corruption guideline. Based on our respect for the principles and rules of fair competition, which prohibit anti-competitive behaviours and abuse of a dominant market position.
  • Corporate Citizen Policy – Describes areas of focus to ensure effective coordination of sponsoring and voluntary activities at all locations.
  • Occupational Health & Safety Policy – We strive for zero accidents, injuries, and occupational illnesses by emphasizing prevention.
  • Supplier Code of Conduct – Building on our HeidelbergCement “Code of Business Conduct”, our globally applicable Supplier Code of Conduct acts a basis for all contractual relationships with suppliers.
  • Sustainability Ambitions 2020 - Highlights the priorities of our sustainability strategy and applies to all entities within HeidelbergCement.

"Sustainability is a must!"

Gunnar Syvertsen.

In our industry we are certain that maintaining the “status quo” is not an option. If we are to operate in a modern society we must strive to achieve improved performance in all areas. Sustainability is a must!

We provide concrete and other building materials necessary for constructions which can withstand the environmental challenges of tomorrow. We have taken steps towards a more environmentally friendly footprint for our activities through investments and actions in the best interest of all stakeholders.

Gunnar Syvertsen
General Manager, HeidelbergCement Northern Europe

HeidelbergCement is the global market leader in aggregates and a prominent player in the fields of cement, concrete and other downstream activities, making it one of the world’s largest manufacturers of building materials. The company employs some 45,450 people in more than 40 countries.

Go to our global website

HeidelbergCement Northern Europe (HCNE) has activities primarely in Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.

Read more about HCNE