Bertelsmann GRI Content Index 2015 - Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA

Information about the international media enterprise and it's corporate divisions RTL Group, Penguin Random House, Gruner + Jahr, Arvato; detailed information for journalists in the Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA's Press Center as well as everything about Corporate Responsibility activities at Bertelsmann.

Bertelsmann GRI Content Index 2015

Bertelsmann Corporate Responsibility information in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines

Since 2011, Bertelsmann has based its Corporate Responsibility reporting on the international Guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative  (GRI), the worldwide key voluntary guideline for sustainability reporting at companies and organizations.

The Bertelsmann GRI Content Index consists of a table with a systematic presentation of the standard disclosures for the 2015 financial year in accordance with the GRI G4 Standard (reporting option “core”), thereby providing a profile of the company and its economic, environmental and social performance. There reported aspects were selected based on a relevance analysis of corporate responsibility topics at Bertelsmann.

The GRI Content Index contains brief information on each standard disclosure, GRI aspect, and indicator, supplemented with interactive hyperlinks that lead to further information, facts and figures about the responsibility efforts of Bertelsmann and its divisions. The table also contains sector-specific supplementary information and indicators in conformity with the “Media Sector Disclosures” of the GRI. This supplementary information is identified with the abbreviation “MSD.”

The Bertelsmann GRI Content Index also provides information about how the company’s sustainability engagement reflects the principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). A separate column in the table highlights the relevant reporting content for each principle. It therefore serves to fulfill Bertelsmann’s obligation of submitting an annual Communication on Progress as a UNGC participant.

Profile Indicators

1. Strategy and Analysis

No. Indicator UNGC
G4-1 Statement from the most senior decision-maker

“Bertelsmann has changed over the years. We have become a faster growing, more digital and more international company. Alongside media and services, education has become the third pillar of our business. And we have established a new corporate structure with eight divisions, reflecting the strategic progress made in our work.
One thing, however, has not changed: As a company of creatives, we are continually developing new products and services. Day after day, around the clock, and all over the world, we reach more than 600 million people whose expectations are as high as the standards we set for ourselves.
These high standards determine our business conduct as well – toward our employees, our customers, and other stakeholders. (…)
Like our corporate strategy, our engagement is clearly and systematically focused and defined in cooperation with Bertelsmann’s stakeholders. On the following pages, we present these key areas of our corporate responsibility efforts. They are just as much a part of Bertelsmann as our company’s commercial offerings, and they are just as diverse.
(…). As a long-standing participant in the UN Global Compact, Bertelsmann fulfills its commitment by submitting an annual Communication on Progress through the publication of this report. (…).“
Thomas Rabe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bertelsmann
CR Magazine, p. 3: Editorial 

2. Organizational Profile

3. Identified Material Aspects and Boundaries

4. Stakeholder Engagement

5. Report profile

6. Governance

7. Ethics and Integrity

Performance indicators


No. Indicator UNGC
Economic Performance
G4-DMA Management approach

Bertelsmann aims to achieve a faster-growing, more digital and more international Group portfolio. As well as investments in existing activities, new business segments that provide a broader overall revenue structure are being increasingly explored. The education business is being gradually developed into the third earnings pillar alongside the media and service businesses. Group strategy comprises four strategic priorities, which again constituted the key work aspects for the Executive Board in 2015: strengthening the core businesses, digital transformation, developing growth platforms, and expanding into growth regions. In the financial year 2015, Bertelsmann made further significant progress in implementing its strategy.
Annual Report 2015 (Financial Information), p. 6f.: Strategy 
Annual Report 2015 (Image Section): The new Bertelsmann 2016 
Corporate Strategy 

Bertelsmann seeks to act as a responsible entrepreneur – in its business environment, toward the company’s employees, and in its treatment of the environment. This is an integral part of Bertelsmann’s corporate culture. This is why the Bertelsmann Essentials codify social responsibility as a core value for all the company’s employees, executives, and shareholders. Bertelsmann’s aim is to reconcile the Group’s economic interests with social and environmental concerns, in dialog with all relevant stakeholders.
CR Strategy 
CR Magazine, p. 14f.: Corporate Responsibility 
G4-EC1 Direct economic value generated and distributed

Group revenues increased 2.8 percent to € 17.1 billion (previous year: € 16.7 billion) in the financial year 2015. This resulted in a Group profit of € 1,108 million (previous year: € 572 million; adjusted). The dividend of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA was unchanged year-on-year in the reporting period at € 180 million.
Annual Report 2015 (Financial Information), p. 39, 64-68: Consolidated Income Statement 

Foundations are shareholders at Bertelsmann and they hold 80.9% of the shares: Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA is an unlisted partnership limited by shares. Three foundations (Bertelsmann Stiftung, Reinhard Mohn Stiftung, and BVG-Stiftung) hold 80.9% of the shares in Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, with the remaining 19.1% held indirectly by the Mohn family.
Annual Report 2015 (Financial Information), p. 6: Shareholder Structure 

In the financial year 2015, Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA invested € 1.016 million at the level of the Corporate Center for charitable purposes in the areas of education, culture, research and creativity. Furthermore, our divisions and companies made contributions to a large number of donation and sponsorship projects for local issues. See DMA Local Communities.
G4-EC3 Coverage of the company's defined benefit plan obligations

The Bertelsmann Group operates various pension plans for current and former employees and their surviving dependents. The model of such plans varies according to the legal, fiscal and economic environment of the country concerned.
These company pension plans include both defined contribution and defined benefit plans. Expenses for defined contribution plans in the amount of € 50 million were recognized in the financial year 2015 (previous year: € 40 million). Expenses for defined benefit plans in the financial year 2015 were recognized in the amount of € 132 million in the financial year 2015 (previous year: € 119 million).
The total for defined benefit obligations on December 31, 2015, amounted to € 3,960 million (previous year: € 4,219 million). After deduction of the fair value of net assets amounting to € 2,365 million (previous year: € 1,624 million), the net defined benefit liability recognized in the balance sheet amounted to € 1,595 million (previous year: € 2,595 million).
A voluntary contribution in the amount of € 650 million was made to plan assets in the financial year 2015. The majority of the plan assets are managed by Bertelsmann Pension Trust e. V. under a contractual trust arrangement (CTA).
Annual Report 2015 (Financial Information), p. 86-92: Provisions for Pensions and Similar Obligations 
MSD M1 Significant funding and other support received from non-governmental sources (advertisements, etc.)

The category “Advertising” makes up 24.7% (previous year: 24.8%) of Group revenues.
Annual Report 2015 (Financial Information): Revenues by Category, p. 13 



Supplementary GRI Standard Disclosures (supplementary to "in accordance, core" disclosures)


No. Indicator UNGC
G4-2 Key sustainability impacts, risks and opportunities

Bertelsmann is drawing on a track record of nearly 180 years to meet the current challenges and megatrends of the 21st century: from digitalization, through globalization to demographic change. The diversity of markets where the company is operating internationally requires the Group's traditions to be reconciled with contemporary expectations and issues.
What are the most relevant social and environmental topics for Bertelsmann and its divisions? In 2014, an analysis conducted with internal stakeholders identified answers to this question. Seven topics were identified as especially relevant: education, press freedom, fair working conditions, protection of media users and customers, health and eco-efficiency.
Bertelsmann continuously pursues the strategic development of its sustainability management. Cross-divisional coordination and collaboration are on the agenda, as are Group-wide targets and the Group's transparency in topics identified as priority topics for Corporate Responsibility. In 2015, international, cross-divisional CR working groups were set up for this purpose. Under the heading "Advancing CR at Bertelsmann", the working groups analyzed the status quo and requirements, and derived needs for action based on this. The interim results of this process were presented to the Bertelsmann Group Management Committee at year-end. The "Advancing CR at Bertelsmann" project will be continued in 2016.
Our Responsibility 
CR Strategy 
CR Topics 
CR Magazine, p. 14: Corporate Responsibility 
G4-36 Responsibility for economic, environmental and social topics

See G4-34.
G4-38 Composition of the highest governance body and its committees

The Members of the Supervisory Boards of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA and Bertelsmann Management SE are highly qualified and have personal expertise and wide experience in management. They are drawn from different countries and have very varied backgrounds and diverse careers. A significant proportion of the Supervisory Board Members is made up of women.
Corporate Governance 
Members of the Supervisory Board 
Members of the Executive Board and Group Management Committee 
Annual Report 2015 (Financial Information), p. 134: Committees of the Supervisory Boards 
G4-39 Independence of the Chair of the highest governance body

The functions and responsibilities of the Bertelsmann Executive Board as the executive management body of the company and of the Supervisory Board as the highest governance body are in each case clearly defined and strictly separated from each other. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board is not simultaneously a member of the Executive Board. In Germany, pursuant to the Stock Corporation Law a Member of the Supervisory Board cannot also be simultaneously a Member of the Executive Board, authorized signatory (Prokurist) or general agent (Generalhandlungsbevollmächtigter).
G4-45 The highest governance body's role in the identification and management of sustainability risks and opportunities

In accordance with its mandate, the Audit and Finance Committee discussed issues of corporate financing, financial planning and development, fiscal policy, improvement of the internal control system, and compliance within the Group, in particular the compliance structure, as well as any negative deviations of business performance from budgeted performance. Moreover, the Audit and Finance Committee discussed how to manage risks to the Group's reputation and the issue of integrity within the company.
Annual Report 2015 (Financial Information), p. 127ff.: Report of the Supervisory Board 
G4-48 The highest committee or position that formally reviews and approves the organization's sustainability report

Bertelsmann Corporate Responsibility reporting for 2015 was approved by the Chief Human Resources Officer.