Our Material Topics

The United Nations sustainable development goals

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and define the world we want.

At Oerlikon, we affirm both the ideals and the necessities of each of the 17 United Nations SDGs. Given the nature of our business, processes and operations, we have a greater impact on certain SDGs compared to others.

According to where we can make the greatest difference, both in our practices and in our impact on the planet and its people, whether globally or in the communities in which we work, we have identified eight SDGs: Goal 3 Good Health And Well-Being, Goal 5 Gender Equality, Goal 7 Affordable and Clean Energy, Goal 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 9 Industry, Innovation And Infrastructure, Goal 12 Responsible Consumption And Production, Goal 13 Climate Action and Goal 17 Partnerships For The Goals.

These eight SDGs serve as additional goals alongside our eight material topics.

Determining of material topics

GRI 3-1

In 2020, we sought input from a diverse cross-section of internal experts and external stakeholders (see table) in preparation for undertaking Oerlikon’s foundational materiality analysis. In addition, we assessed the sustainability actions and initiatives communicated in our Annual Reports and benchmarked them against details published in more than 120 sustainability reports.

Our aim in conducting this research was to arrive at a consensus view of the topics, risks and trends that are most relevant to Oerlikon. We examined what has or could have an impact on Oerlikon and where, conversely, we make or could make a positive impact. We then captured and presented these material challenges in a materiality matrix.

List of material topics

GRI 3-2

This endeavor enabled us to define our eight material topics, which has not changed since our (first) sustainability report for 2020:
(i) Climate & energy
(ii) Circular economy
(iii) Innovation
(iv) Health & safety
(v) Employment practices & education
(vi) Responsible sourcing & human rights
(vii) Governance
(viii) Community engagement

Six of the material topics have been captured in our 2030 sustainability targets (see table). The seventh topic was a driver in launching our collaboration with EcoVadis to elevate our record of compliance in responsible sourcing and human rights. And in 2022, we defined our Sustainability Procurement Roadmap for 2022 to 2030. The eighth topic, community engagement, was an area of focus for us in 2022 as we worked toward understanding the different ways in which a company could contribute to the community and how we could best create a platform and process that ensures data quality and integrity. For this topic, we intend to define a meaningful, measurable target over the next years.

To enhance comparability, transparency and accountability for all our stakeholders, we have opted to prepare our Sustainability Reports according to the internationally recognized GRI Standards. In 2022, we prepared our report according to the updated GRI Standards 2021. Moreover, we have opted to disclose this year’s report also according to SASB’s industry category: Industrial Machinery & Goods.

Through materiality analyses and adherence to international GRI Standards, along with our unwavering commitment to transparency, we are confident in our ability to report on our sustainability impact consistently, credibly and with full accountability to our stakeholders.

We see this Sustainability Report not as a means of one-way information delivery, but rather as a tool for ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders. Integral to our sense of responsibility to each of them is a commitment to soliciting and considering their feedback and suggestions. With their input, we are best positioned to build on our history of continual process improvement and to ensure that our operations are equal to our innovations in terms of upholding optimal governance, environmental, social and sustainability standards in our work around the world.

With that in mind, we intend to conduct the materiality assessment at reasonable intervals so that we can evaluate if there is a need for us to make any adjustments to our material topics. We are also exploring the option of creating a stakeholder panel for the purpose of accessing a broad spectrum of perspectives and insights into our operations, practices and impact.

Oerlikon's focus in materiality matrix

Oerlikon's focus in materiality matrix

Our 2030 sustainability targets


Priority Topics Objective 2019 20217 2022 2030 Target
Climate & Energy1

Implementing energy management system at all relevant sites2

Increasing the share of electrical energy from renewable sources 

Reducing emissions in relevant operations to become climate neutral 3













Circular Economy1 Reducing the share of disposed waste 42%B 31% 28% 21%
Innovation Increasing the share of R&D investment in products that must cover ESG criteria n.a. 72%B 73%4 100%


Priority Topics Objective 2019 2021 2022 2030 Target
Employment Practices

Increasing % of women in management  and leadership roles

Increasing % of women in high potential talent programs











Health & Safety

Ensure Zero Harm to People

– Decreasing the rate of recordable work- related injuries (TAFR) 5










Priority Topics Objective 2019 20217 2022 2023 Target
Ethics & compliance

Increase completion of CoC training both electronically and in person6

– % of employees who completed e-training







> 95%

B Baseline.
1 Relevant sites are production and large office sites and do not consider small offices (<50 employees). Operational sites include small offices if they reported the data. In 2022, data from 166 operational sites were consolidated, including 2 small offices and sites acquired in 2021.
2 Energy management systems include both ISO-50001-certified and Oerlikon-defined Energy Management Systems.
3 The climate neutral target for Scope 1 & 2 emissions in 100% of our relevant operations was defined in 2020. In 2022, the GHG emissions intensity level, which is measured in tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per million Swiss francs of sales (tCO2 e/million CHF), was decided to be used as the key performance metric.
4 R&D investment 2022 excludes provisions.
5 Health and safety data includes data from 174 operational sites, that is including the 2 small sites which have provided environmental data plus 8 additional small offices which have also provided health and safety data.
6 Oerlikon intends to ensure that all employees are trained, both electronically and in person. Face-to-face training was piloted in 2022 at the Surface Solutions Division and will continue to be rolled out in 2023. The 2030 target remains unchanged.
7 Excluding 2021 acquisitions.