Materiality assessment

We use a materiality assessment to find the aspects of our business that we believe have the most impact on the environment and the societies in which we operate. In the assessment, the importance of different topics are ranked by us and our stakeholders, such as our board, group and company management teams, employees, customers, suppliers, competitors, industry players, and shareholders.

Management approach to material topics

We integrate material sustainability topics into our strategy, and periodically review the changing landscape. The assessment also forms the basis for our sustainability policy and requirements applicable to all entities included in our organisational boundary, and as input to entities where we have less than 50% ownership. 

The materiality assessment forms the basis of this report to our stakeholders.

Materiality assessment 2018

Wilhelmsen conducted a materiality assessment in 2018 to continue to prioritise, refine, and streamline the group’s sustainability work and reporting. 

As a result of the assessment, we identified 16 material areas, four (4) of which were regarded as high materiality topics:

  • ethics and anti-corruption
  • health and safety
  • responsible procurement
  • cyber security and data protection 


Materiality assessment graph 2018

Importantly, we don’t try to do all things, we know this will fail. We have prioritised and will intensify our efforts on these four topics, and work on 12 other material topics to varying degrees and based on priorities agreed by individual management teams within the group. 

In some areas, we build on the work already done and drive continuous improvement in the impact of our work. In other areas, we need to make leaps and innovation in how we work. At the core, we look for preventive solutions tackling the root cause of the issue. 

Material topics description

Material topic What the topic covers Why the topic is material Topic boundary
Ethics and anti-corruption Standards and practices addressing business ethics and anti-corruption.  This includes channels for raising anonymous concerns from internal or external stakeholders (whistleblowing).  Our various stakeholders depend on us being a transparent and compliant partner. We expect the same of our partners and suppliers in order to do business. Wilhelmsen group, customers,  suppliers and partners
Health & safety Standards and practices addressing operational and process safety, worker welfare, accident prevention, and lost time injuries. An engaging and safe working environment at sea and on shore is a prerequisite for an efficient, sustainable and profitable business. We are committed to maintaining high health and safety standards and to prevent accidents and dangerous situations for our employees. Wilhelmsen group, customers,  suppliers and partners
Cyber security and data protection Confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and resources to secure against internal and external threats.  Lawful protection of personal data related to employees and 3rd parties. Beyond good practise, we see a competitive advantage in professionally managing cyber security threats and responding to increasing requirements of our customers.  Wilhelmsen group and customers
Responsible procurement Standards and practices addressing business ethics and anti-corruption, employment conditions, competence development, health and safety, diversity and inclusion, emissions, waste and recycling. We need to ensure our sustainability expectations are clear for our suppliers and that products and services are compliant with our standards.  Wilhelmsen group, suppliers and partners
Diversity & inclusion Equal treatment and non-discrimination practices related to gender, nationality, age, religion, sexual orientation, or other. We need to retain and attract a diverse and talented workforce with the right competence, experience, skills, and motivation. Wilhelmsen group
Competence development Training and development initiatives in new fields of expertise enabling the company to meet future demands. We continually seek to renew ourselves, to work smarter and improve everything we do. As a result, we are able to recognise opportunities and develop new and innovative solutions. Wilhelmsen group
Emissions Direct and indirect emissions from own and customer operations (GHG, SOx, NOx). Stronger environmental focus in the general population and the maritime industry as well as regulatory requirements requires products and solutions with lower or no emissions.   Wilhelmsen group and customers 
Employment conditions Standards and practices that addressing human rights, working conditions, labour standards, and labour relations including freedom of association, collective bargaining, working hours, rest, minimum age, fair wages, and adherence to the ILO Maritime Labour Convention. We need to continuously work on providing an engaging and safe work environment where equal opportunities are available for all. Wilhelmsen group
Innovation Investment and development of new technologies, processes and competencies that promote sustainable products and services (e.g. through digitalisation, electrification, autonomy, etc). As a shaper of the maritime industry, we need to pursue initiatives aimed at building and meeting our stakeholders’ ever-changing needs. Wilhelmsen group, customers,  suppliers and partners
Responsible ownership  Sourcing, investing and managing investments in a way that is consistent with our sustainability approach. Exercising investor influence on sustainability issues. We need to make clear expectations for complying with Wilhelmsen standards to majority owned subsidiaries and other investments. Wilhelmsen group
Transparency Transparency on sustainability targets, activities and results.  Engagement of stakeholders for context and expectations.  Stakeholders expect clear information about our impacts and actions. Wilhelmsen group
Waste and recycling Lifecycle asset and product management including material selection, waste management and recycling.  Growing focus particularly on ship recycling, plastics and full product lifecycle accountability in the general population and the maritime industry.  Potential for some regulatory changes requiring new product and service offerings for the maritime industry. Wilhelmsen group, suppliers and partners
Energy use  Energy consumption in own operations from non-renewable and renewable sources. Reduced consumption has positive environmental outcomes and potential cost savings. Beyond our own operations, we recognise the emerging market opportunities for renewable energy sources in the maritime industry. Wilhelmsen group
Tax transparency  Compliance with tax regulations and tax reporting including following OECD guidelines. Well-functioning public institutions are an essential foundation for doing business and holding a responsible approach to taxation is important for the group’s long-term activities in the countries we operate. Wilhelmsen group
Lobbying Activities towards governments and regulatory agencies with the aim of influencing regulations. Stakeholders expect responsible lobbying practices. Wilhelmsen group
Local communities Local job creation and infrastructure investment.  Support for human rights, knowledge sharing, and local sponsorships. We have employees in 255 offices and 67 countries around the world.  To do business and access the best local talent, we need to ensure a positive contribution to the development in these communities. Wilhelmsen group