Gütersloh, 07/16/2019

Well On Track To Achieve Environmental Objectives

Subject: Environment
Country: International
Category: Project

In 2018, Bertelsmann was able to once again make clear progress in climate protection as well as in sustainable paper sourcing. Greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by seven percent year-on-year. The environmental targets set for 2025 have moved well within reach.

In fiscal year 2018, Bertelsmann was able to once again make clear progress in climate protection as well as in sustainable paper sourcing. This is the result of the recently published indicators in the reporting based on the international guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The share of sustainable paper sourcing has increased to 92 percent and remained above the objectives of 90 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by seven percent year-on-year. Compared with the base year 2014 and adjusted for portfolio effects due to changed business activities, this equals a reduction of 18 percent. Summed up, Bertelsmann is well on track to achieve its environmental target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2025 ahead of schedule.

Here are the results in detail:

  • Compared with 2014, direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 18 percent, representing 96,000 tons of the climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2). The most significant drop is reported for emissions resulting from electricity sourcing. Due to switching to green electricity or climate-friendlier suppliers, emissions were reduced by 37 percent compared with 2014.  The share of green electricity in total electricity consumption increased to eight percent by 2018. Direct emissions have not noticeable changed since 2014. Bertelsmann produces direct emissions mainly through the consumption of natural gas and heating oil for the generation of electricity and heat, as well as diesel and gasoline for company vehicles.
  • All of Bertelsmann’s corporate divisions play a role in the overall positive development. The Bertelsmann Printing Group contributes the biggest share, with a reduction of almost 60,000 tons of CO2 compared with 2014. “Our printers contributed to the Bertelsmann environmental targets by continuously improving energy efficiency and the partial switch to green electricity, among other things,” said Lars Peters, “be green” representative at Bertelsmann Printing Group. Due to its realignment and digitization of its businesses, Gruner + Jahr was able to reduce emissions by 20 percent, portfolio adjustments considered. At Penguin Random House, an increase of the green electricity share and implementation of synergy effects following the merger of Penguin and Random House in 2014 led to a clear drop in greenhouse gas emissions. RTL Group and Arvato reduced their emissions especially through efficiency measures and a less CO2-intensive sourcing of electricity. “The selection of energy suppliers that increasingly offer electricity from renewable sources made a considerable contribution to reducing emissions,” said Melanie Engler, “be green” representative at Arvato Supply Chain Solutions.
  • In addition to the efficient use of energy and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions, the responsible sourcing of paper is a key factor in Bertelsmann’s environmental commitment. The goal to increase the share of recycled paper and paper from certified sustainable forestry to 90 percent was first surpassed in 2017; in 2018, this share amounted to 92 percent. Compared with 2014, the share of the sourced recycling paper was increased from 18 to 22 percent. 70 percent of the paper used is procured from certified sources. “At Gruner + Jahr, the share of sustainably sourced paper already amounts to 94 percent, with one quarter of it being recycled paper,” said Jack Seifert, responsible for paper sourcing at Gruner + Jahr. The target of 90 percent has been reached in the corporate divisions with the highest paper consumption – Bertelsmann Printing Group, Penguin Random House, and Gruner + Jahr.

Detailed data is available in the current reporting  on Bertelsmann’s corporate responsibility based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards.