Sustainability & ESG

De­liv­er­ing a sus­tain­able fu­ture – ESG at KAEFER

Sus­tain­ab­il­ity means meet­ing our needs without com­prom­ising the abil­ity of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to meet theirs. It means man­aging nat­ural, eco­nomic, and so­cial re­sources to cre­ate ad­di­tional value for our stake­hold­ers and long-term re­si­li­ence for our busi­ness.

ESG stands for En­vir­on­ment, So­cial & Gov­ernance. KAE­FER’s com­pre­hens­ive ESG strategy defines our sus­tain­ab­il­ity vis­ion, sets out KPIs and tar­gets, and drives ini­ti­at­ives which make a dif­fer­ence. En­sur­ing that sus­tain­ab­il­ity is part of man­age­ment as well as op­er­a­tional pro­cesses, an ESG-based ap­proach makes it pos­sible for us to ex­ceed ap­plic­able stand­ards, achieve com­mer­cial suc­cess, and pur­sue mean­ing­ful en­vir­on­mental, so­cial and eth­ical im­prove­ments.

It also helps us meet the re­quire­ments of key stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing em­ploy­ees, cli­ents, in­vestors, and rat­ing agen­cies.

At KAEFER we pro­mote sus­tain­ab­il­ity in two ways: as an enabler – by providing services to our customers that help reduce their en­vir­on­mental foot­print, and as leader – by adhering to ESG stand­ards in our own busi­ness activ­it­ies.

At KAEFER, we were quick to un­der­stand the im­port­ance of sus­tain­ab­il­ity, form­ing a ded­ic­ated Cor­por­ate Re­spons­ib­il­ity & Sus­tain­ab­il­ity (CRS) de­part­ment in 2008, sys­tem­at­ic­ally seek­ing stake­holder feed­back and pro­du­cing an­nual Sus­tain­ab­il­ity Re­ports from 2011.

As of 2023, KAEFER’s Corporate Strategy & ESG department serves as the coordinating hub for all ESG-related topics. In addition to analysing our impact, the team develops and evaluates KAEFER’s ESG strategy, targets, and sustainability related regulations.

At the same time our HSEQ (Health, Safety, En­vir­on­ment & Qual­ity) de­part­ment is com­mit­ted to a safety cul­ture with zero tol­er­ance for in­cid­ents or ac­ci­dents. All in all, at KAEFER we care and stand up for one an­other – ap­ply­ing the highest com­pli­ance stand­ards wherever we work.

KAEFER signed the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) Commitment Letter in December 2023. This commitment obliges us to set science-based emission reduction targets in line with our overall ESG strategy and to undergo continuous review by the globally recognised network.
The SBTi ( is a joint initiative of the global non-profit environmental organisation Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). It was launched in 2015 to help companies set emissions reduction targets in line with current climate science and the goals of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Contact our global experts:

Erhard Dubs

Corporate Strategy & ESG

Julia Kasparek

Corporate Strategy & ESG

ESG Gov­ernance – vis­ible, em­powered, ac­count­able

Meet KAEFER’s ESG governance team.

An am­bi­tious ESG Strategy, in­volving so many dif­fer­ent func­tions, re­lies on sound and sup­port­ive gov­ernance.

We are de­term­ined that our ef­forts to be­come more sus­tain­able are trans­par­ent, meas­ur­able, and sub­ject to con­tinu­ous re­view and im­prove­ment. Our gov­ernance model cla­ri­fies re­spons­ib­il­it­ies and re­port­ing lines within the com­pany – en­sur­ing that sus­tain­ab­il­ity re­mains a con­stant area of fo­cus.

The KAEFER Sus­tain­ab­il­ity Sound­ing Board

Made up of rep­res­ent­at­ives from busi­ness units around the world, KAE­FER’s Sus­tain­ab­il­ity Sound­ing Board (SSB) has a re­view and net­work func­tion de­signed to sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of our ESG Strategy, share know­ledge, and con­nect KAEFER en­tit­ies world­wide.

Sus­tain­ab­il­ity com­mit­ments/​Work­streams

Multi-dis­cip­lin­ary work­streams are re­spons­ible for for­mu­lat­ing and ex­ecut­ing ini­ti­at­ives de­signed to re­in­force pos­it­ive im­pacts and mit­ig­ate or elim­in­ate neg­at­ive im­pacts for all sus­tain­ab­il­ity com­mit­ments.

Our com­mit­ment in writ­ing

Our work is based on the laws, re­quire­ments and reg­u­la­tions that ap­ply in the coun­tries where we op­er­ate. KAE­FER’s Code of Busi­ness Con­duct, KAE­FER’s Sup­plier Code of Con­duct and ESG Policy cla­rify our com­mit­ment to sus­tain­ab­il­ity. All our policies fol­low the UN Global Com­pact ini­ti­at­ive on is­sues con­cern­ing hu­man rights, work­ing con­di­tions, the en­vir­on­ment, and anti-cor­rup­tion.

Ex­ternal Veri­fic­a­tion

Stake­hold­ers – in­clud­ing in­vestors, banks, and the gen­eral pub­lic – place in­creas­ing im­port­ance on the ex­ternal veri­fic­a­tion of sus­tain­ab­il­ity data. Ac­cord­ing to GRI and the CSRD, in 2025, this will be­come a legal re­quire­ment in the EU (and glob­ally, for com­pan­ies headquartered in the EU). At KAEFER, we already work with ex­ternal ad­visors to pro­duce sus­tain­ab­il­ity and ESG data in line with GRI guidelines.

Ma­ter­i­al­ity & risk as­sess­ment – rig­or­ous, pro­fes­sional, bind­ing

We analyse the impact of our activities, connect with stakeholders, and define our goals

A rig­or­ous ESG man­age­ment ap­proach helps KAEFER identify op­por­tun­it­ies and avoid risks – and of­fers our cli­ents im­proved ser­vices across all op­er­a­tions. Be­cause our suc­cess rests on our abil­ity to in­teg­rate ESG into every de­cision we make, we have es­tab­lished a ma­ter­i­al­ity as­sess­ment pro­cess to provide de­cision-makers with clear, evid­ence-based in­form­a­tion.

In line with the upcoming regulations, we have established a double materiality assessment process to provide decision-makers with clear, evidence-based information. To set the frame, an impact assessment as required by the GRI Universal Standards 2021 serves as the starting point. To be prepared for the EU’s upcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), we began applying the principle of double materiality analysis in 2022. On top, we have also mapped the findings with our contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The outcome of this approach plays a crucial role in helping us understand and address the ‘impacts’ which KAEFER has on an economy, environment, or people because of its activities and/or business relationships.

In this context, impacts can be actual or potential, negative or positive, short-term or long-term, intended or unintended, reversible or irreversible. Double materiality allows us to explore these impacts from multiple perspectives – the impact of environmental and social factors on our business (financial materiality), as well as the impact of our business on people and planet (impact materiality).

The following sources have been considered for double materiality analysis:

  • Sustainability/ESG self-assessment, in the form of an ESG questionnaire clustered into 19 sections, evaluates our current performance and identifies areas for improvement.
  • Context analysis identifies the impact(s) operating on KAEFER from external sources, including competitors, shareholders, market trends, and regulatory directives.
  • Stakeholder dialogue includes feedback from shareholders, selected business units, and our internal HSEQ and sustainability community to complete and verify the material topics as a basis for KAEFER’s ESG strategy.
  • System analysis provides a high-level view of KAEFER’s activities and business relationships, the sustainability context in which we operate, and an overview of the needs and expectations of our stakeholders.

In all cases, we evaluate and prioritise impacts in terms of scale, scope, and remediability – identifying opportunities to drive positive change and providing decision-makers with clear, evidence-based information. For potential impacts, the likelihood of occurrence has been rated additionally.

Within the financial materiality assessment, the risks or opportunities that affect or are likely to affect future cash flows and thus the enterprise value in the short, medium or long term, but are not covered by financial reporting have been evaluated as well.

Sus­tain­ab­il­ity com­mit­ments – trans­par­ent, meas­ur­able, ef­fect­ive

We turn knowledge into action, improving sustainability across seven commitments.

KAE­FER’s ma­ter­i­al­ity & risk as­sess­ment pro­cess al­lows us to un­der­stand where our activ­it­ies have the greatest im­pact, and where ex­ternal factors are likely to have the greatest im­pact on KAEFER. High pri­or­ity im­pacts are trans­formed into ma­ter­ial top­ics (sus­tain­ab­il­ity com­mit­ments) for KAEFER, clustered, and as­signed to one of seven ded­ic­ated work­streams. Our work­streams de­velop trans­par­ent, meas­ur­able plans to re­in­force pos­it­ive im­pacts and mit­ig­ate neg­at­ive im­pacts around the world – en­sur­ing a well-re­sourced and pro­fes­sional man­age­ment ap­proach for each sus­tain­ab­il­ity com­mit­ment.

GHG Emis­sions/​Car­bon Foot­print

Vision: We want to enable our customers to become GHG neutral, fulfilling net zero throughout our value chain by 2050.

Many of our cli­ents are com­mit­ted to be­com­ing net zero by 2050. Our ser­vices can play a big role in help­ing them achieve these tar­gets – but we also have to set our own goals for KAEFER emis­sions. The GHG Emis­sions/​Car­bon Foot­print team is re­spons­ible for meas­ur­ing emis­sions across KAE­FER’s value chain (from our own pro­cesses and en­ergy con­sump­tion as well as from the pro­cesses and en­ergy con­sump­tion of our sup­pli­ers and end users). From March 2023, we will pub­lish an­nual, group-wide fig­ures on our car­bon foot­print.


Vision: We strive for a waste-free business environment, pursuing the concept of circularity by reducing, reusing, and recycling

Be­cause our ser­vices con­sume ma­ter­i­als, we have a re­spons­ib­il­ity to con­tinu­ously im­prove re­source man­age­ment, min­im­ise waste, and avoid en­vir­on­mental con­tam­in­a­tion. The team pro­motes best prac­tices throughout the KAEFER value chain and ex­plores how we can lever­age our po­s­i­tion as a pur­chaser and ser­vice pro­vider to avoid ma­ter­ial waste and pro­mote cir­cu­lar eco­nom­ies. Re­cyc­ling is an in­teg­ral part of our ma­ter­ial hand­ling philo­sophy.

Health & Safety

Vision: We strive for zero work-related incidents by caring for the well-being and safety of our employees and everyone we work with

KAEFER em­ploy­ees of­ten work in ex­treme en­vir­on­mental con­di­tions, in isol­ated loc­a­tions, at heights, and around heavy ma­chinery and sharp and dan­ger­ous ob­jects. To make sure all our people re­turn home safely at the end of each work­ing day, we in­vest sub­stan­tial re­sources in fos­ter­ing an in­clus­ive safety cul­ture, as well as in provid­ing state of the art equip­ment, tools, and train­ing for our em­ploy­ees.

Our guid­ing prin­ciples – which ex­tend to our cli­ents, con­tract­ors, and sup­pli­ers, as well as em­ploy­ees – go bey­ond provid­ing a healthy work­ing en­vir­on­ment. We work hard to en­sure healthy de­cisions are made within our teams, fo­cus­sing on men­tal as well as phys­ical health. We mon­itor well-be­ing and provide in­di­vidual sup­port where ne­ces­sary and foster a cul­ture of open er­ror man­age­ment and con­tinu­ous im­prove­ment.

Our goal is zero work-re­lated in­cid­ents. When in­cid­ents do oc­cur, we have meas­ures in place to en­sure we learn the right les­sons and share them throughout the com­pany.


Vision: We are the employer of choice, offering excellent development opportunities, supporting personal growth, and embracing diversity

We can only suc­ceed if our people are en­gaged, mo­tiv­ated and skilled – and if we provide the right sup­port and ca­reer de­vel­op­ment op­por­tun­it­ies. KAE­FER’s val­ues de­mand lead­er­ship through ex­ample, dia­logue, and zero tol­er­ance for any form of dis­crim­in­a­tion or har­ass­ment.

We are com­mit­ted to the pro­tec­tion of la­bour and hu­man rights, to identi­fy­ing and pro­mot­ing tal­ent, and provid­ing edu­ca­tion and train­ing op­por­tun­it­ies de­signed to real­ise the full po­ten­tial of every em­ployee.


Vision: We reject all forms of corruption and shape a business environment based on trust and integrity

Be­cause every­one at KAEFER in­flu­ences and shapes the com­pany, it is vi­tal we foster a shared com­mit­ment to our val­ues, based on trust and a com­mon set of norms. Our Code of Busi­ness Con­duct, as well as reg­u­lar com­pli­ance train­ing for all em­ploy­ees (in­clud­ing mod­ules on anti-cor­rup­tion and fraud pre­ven­tion & de­tec­tion), re­flects our be­lief that cor­rup­tion jeop­ard­ises busi­ness re­la­tions, dis­torts com­pet­i­tion, and en­dangers our ex­ist­ence. Our global Com­pli­ance Man­age­ment Sys­tem is audited by ex­ternal ex­perts. Re­port­ing lines are clear throughout the com­pany, with com­pli­ance of­ficers present in all re­gions and busi­ness units. Em­ploy­ees, other stake­hold­ers, and whis­tleblowers can also re­port con­cerns to our well-pub­li­cised Com­pli­ance Helpline.

Supply Chain Sustainability

Vision: We expect our suppliers to share the same values and meet the standards we have implemented and live in our company. We have zero tolerance for human rights violations or environmental hazards and are aiming for decarbonisation of our supply chain by 2050

As an in­ter­na­tional ser­vice pro­vider, sourcing ma­ter­i­als and ser­vices from more than 15,000 sup­pli­ers, sup­ply chain sus­tain­ab­il­ity of­fers KAEFER op­por­tun­it­ies to push for pos­it­ive change. We en­gage in con­stant, struc­tured dia­logue with sup­pli­ers to im­prove sus­tain­ab­il­ity and provide cli­ents, in­vestors and reg­u­lat­ors with rel­ev­ant in­form­a­tion from the en­tire sup­ply chain. We also of­fer sup­plier man­age­ment train­ing for em­ploy­ees.

There are im­port­ant so­cial ele­ments con­nec­ted to sup­ply chain sus­tain­ab­il­ity. At KAEFER, our Sup­plier Code of Con­duct goes hand in hand with our Hu­man Rights Policy and we act­ively as­sess po­ten­tial hu­man rights risks in our sup­ply chain.

Economic Performance

Vision: We are the reliable facilitator for the transition to a sustainable future – to the benefit of our clients and society

Today’s in­dus­trial as­sets must change to meet fu­ture re­quire­ments. As an in­dus­trial ser­vice pro­vider with tech­nical know-how and ex­pert­ise in real­ising com­plex pro­jects, KAEFER has an im­port­ant role to play in this trans­ition. At a bare min­imum, this means en­ga­ging with so­cial, le­gis­lat­ive and reg­u­lat­ory de­vel­op­ments in or­der to an­ti­cip­ate and plan for up­com­ing changes. Our goal, however, is to set the pace, pi­on­eer­ing change and act­ively as­sist­ing our cli­ents to real­ise op­por­tun­it­ies and avoid threats.

The KAEFER Sus­tain­ab­il­ity Lib­rary

Learn more about how we make change happen: