GRI Content Index
For the Materiality Disclosures Service, GRI Services reviewed that the GRI content index is clearly presented and the references for Disclosures 102-40 to 102-49 align with appropriate sections in the body of the report. All GRI standards listed in the following GRI content index were published in 2016.
GRI 101 Foundation
GRI 102 Organizational profile
GRI 102-2 Activities, brands, products, and services
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company had 126,000 employees and generated revenues of €18,0 billion in the 2019 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world.
Media: Bertelsmann’s media businesses are based on the production and acquisition of high-quality information and entertainment content – the basis for creating audiovisual formats, books, magazines, music products, and online services. With the exception of books and music, these products contain advertising as well as editorial content – an important source of revenue beyond the incomes from sales and distribution. All these products are distributed physically or digitally, directly or through service providers. Because media businesses live by the diversity of the content they produce and distribute, good networks of creative talent and content producers are a key success factor.
Services: Companies from a wide variety of industries rely on Bertelsmann’s portfolio of solutions, including telecommunication providers, energy suppliers, banks and insurance companies, as well as e-commerce, IT and Internet service providers. At the core of this segment are services Bertelsmann delivers to the end customers of its clients (“B2B2C services”). Typical support services include supply chain solutions, as well as financial, IT, marketing, and customer relationship management services. These services combine a variety of resources: staff resources, technology, and the use of natural resources in the form of energy and materials. While hardware and standard software are sourced from third-party suppliers, software solutions for specialized applications are also developed in-house. In its print operations, Bertelsmann processes materials like paper and ink to produce media and advertising products for business customers – typically advertising flyers, books, catalogs, magazines and brochures – using offset, gravure and digital printing presses by third-party manufacturers. The most important raw material used in the CD, DVD and Blu-ray replication business is polycarbonate.
Education: With its digital education and range of services focusing on the health and technology sectors as well as in the field of university education, Bertelsmann is shaping work-related learning in the 21st century. The business models in the education segment are based first foremost on the combined deployment of highly qualified employees and innovative technology.
Bertelsmann does not offer products that are prohibited by law.
More information on brands: see GRI 102-7 .
GRI 102-4 Location of operations
Bertelsmann operates in the core business fields of media, services and education in around 50 countries worldwide.
More information on the core markets: see GRI 102-6 .
GRI 102-5 Ownership and legal form
Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA is a publicly traded but unlisted partnership limited by shares.
GRI 102-6 Markets served
The geographic core markets are Western Europe – in particular, Germany, France and the United Kingdom – and the United States. In addition, Bertelsmann is strengthening its businesses in growth markets such as Brazil, India and China and is expanding them in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.
More information on the core lines of business and the customers: see GRI 102-2 .
GRI 102-7 Scale of the organization
The company has 126,000 employees and generated revenues of €18.0 billion in the 2019 financial year.
Based on revenue, RTL Group is one of the leading television groups in the broadcasting, content, and digital business, with interests in 68 television channels, eight video-on-demand platforms, 30 radio stations, content production and digital businesses throughout the world.
With nearly 300 imprints across six continents, Penguin Random House is the world’s biggest trade book publisher by revenue. Each year, Penguin Random House publishes about 15,000 new titles and sells around 600 million print books, e-books and audiobooks.
Gruner + Jahr is one of Europe’s leading premium magazine publishers. Its magazine portfolio includes established brands such as “Stern,” “Brigitte” and “Geo”; young brands like “Barbara,” “Guido” and “Wohllebens Welt”; and the French magazine publisher Prisma Media.
BMG is an international music company with 19 offices in twelve core music markets, and now represents more than three million songs and recordings.
Arvato is an internationally operating service provider that develops customized solutions for different business processes for customers in various industries in more than 40 countries. These comprise Customer Relationship Management, Supply Chain Management, Financial Solutions and IT Services.
The Bertelsmann Printing Group unites Bertelsmann’s printing activities. They include all the company’s gravure and offset printing companies in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Bertelsmann Education Group comprises Bertelsmann’s education activities. The digital education and service offerings are primarily in the healthcare and technology sectors, as well as in the field of university education.
Bertelsmann Investments bundles Bertelsmann’s global start-up investments. The activities are focused on the strategic growth markets of Brazil, China, India and the United States.
Revenues by division, region and revenue stream: see GRI 201-1 .
GRI 102-8 Information on employees and other workers
Employees by division
|Penguin Random House||10,663||10,351|
|Gruner + Jahr||9,273||10,079|
|Bertelsmann Printing Group||7,866||8,245|
|Bertelsmann Education Group||1,834||2,033|
Basis: employees on permanent and temporary contracts, excluding trainees, as of December 31.
Employee distribution worldwide
|Other European countries||42,238||41,235|
|Central & South America||4,485||4,493|
|Australia & New Zealand||959||772|
Basis: employees on permanent and temporary contracts, excluding trainees, as of December 31.
Number of full- and part-time employees Germany
Basis: employees on permanent and temporary contracts, excluding trainees, as of December 31.
Employees by employment period
Basis: employees on permanent and temporary contracts, excluding trainees, as of December 31.
1) Rounding differences may occur.
Employees by employment period and region
|Permanent men||Permanent women||Permanent total||Temporary men||Temporary women||Temporary total|
|Other European countries||32.3||44.9||77.3||9.7||13.0||22.7|
|Central & South America||27.3||52.6||79.9||7.7||12.3||20.1|
|Australia & New Zealand||19.1||36.1||55.2||22.4||22.4||44.8|
Basis: employees on permanent and temporary contracts, excluding trainees, as of December 31. Rounding differences may occur.
Information on external employees: see GRI 401 .
GRI 102-9 Supply chain
Bertelsmann has a widely ramified supply chain with only a few main suppliers, including paper and energy suppliers. Most of the services it purchases are creative or other services rendered by humans.
More information on value creation: see GRI 102-2 .
More information on paper procurement: see GRI 301 .
GRI 102-10 Significant changes to the organization and its supply chain
Effective January 4, 2019, Bertelsmann’s global Customer Relationship Management businesses were merged with those of the Moroccan Saham Group. Both partners each hold 50 percent of the shares in the new company Majorel, which is controlled by Bertelsmann. Majorel is fully consolidated in the Bertelsmann consolidated financial statements.
As part of a strategic realignment of its printing business, Bertelsmann has decided to close the Prinovis site in Nuremberg on 30 April 2021.
At the end of December 2019, Bertelsmann announced the planned complete acquisition of Penguin Random House. With the acquisition of the 25 percent stake of co-owner Pearson for 675 million US dollars, Bertelsmann is the sole owner of the publishing group. Bertelsmann closed the complete acquisition of Penguin Random House in April 2020.
GRI 102-11 Precautionary principle or approach
As a global corporation, Bertelsmann is exposed to a large number of risks, including legal and regulatory risks. Bertelsmann’s risk management system (RMS) is designed for the early identification, evaluation of, and handling of internal and external risks. The Internal Control System (ICS) as an integral part of the RMS monitors the effectiveness of the implemented countermeasures. The aim of the RMS is to identify material risks to the Group in good time, so that countermeasures can be taken and the risk can be monitored. Risks are defined as possible future developments or events that could lead to a negative economic forecast or target deviation for Bertelsmann. In addition, risks can negatively affect the achievement of the Group’s strategic, operational, reporting and compliance-related objectives, and its reputation.
The risk management process is based on the internationally accepted frameworks of the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO Enterprise Risk Management – Integrated Framework and Internal Control – Integrated Framework, respectively) and is organized in subprocesses of identification, assessment, response, control, communication and monitoring. A major element of risk identification is a risk inventory that lists significant risks year by year, from each profit center upwards. The risks are compared to risk management measures and control activities to determine the net risk position. Both one- and three-year risk assessment horizons are applied to enable the timely implementation of risk response measures. The basis for determining the main Group risks is the three-year period, similar to medium-term corporate planning. Risk assessment is the product of the estimated negative impact on Group free cash flow should the risk occur and the estimated probability of occurrence. Risk monitoring is conducted by Group management on an ongoing basis. The RMS, along with its component ICS, is constantly undergoing further development and is integrated into ongoing reporting to the Executive Board and Supervisory Board. Corporate Risk Committee meetings are convened at regular intervals to ensure compliance with statutory and internal requirements.
One of the 10 principles of the United Nations Global Compact, which Bertelsmann has supported as a member since 2008, is decisive action against corruption. By reporting in accordance with the GRI Standards, Bertelsmann also fulfills its obligation to state, in an annual Communication on Progress, what anti-corruption measures were taken.
GRI 102-12 External initiatives
At the Group level, Bertelsmann supports the following external initiatives and their principles. In addition, Bertelsmann companies are involved in other external initiatives at the local level.
- United Nations Global Compact: Bertelsmann has been a member (“signatory” option) of the United Nations Global Compact since 2008.
- Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): As a member of the UN Global Compact, Bertelsmann supports the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
- OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises: Bertelsmann largely follows the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
- United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights: Bertelsmann is committed to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
- International Labour Organization (ILO): International Labor Organization core labor standards.
- Global Reporting Initiative (GRI): Since 2011, Bertelsmann has based its Corporate Responsibility (CR) reporting on the currently valid international reporting framework issued by the GRI and has been reporting in accordance with the “GRI Standards” since 2017.
- Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO): The risk management process is based on the internationally accepted COSO frameworks.
- German Corporate Governance Code: Bertelsmann largely follows the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code for good and responsible corporate governance as amended on February 7, 2017, which was in effect at Bertelsmann at the time the Corporate Governance Report was prepared.
In addition, Bertelsmann participates in relevant non-financial ratings and rankings where its management of non-financial matters is evaluated by third parties. In 2019, the company maintained a gold rating from EcoVadis. Bertelsmann achieved “Prime status” in ISS-oekom’s Corporate Rating 2018 for the Media Sector, and scored a C (“Above Sector Average”) in the CDP rating Climate Change 2018.
GRI 102-13 Membership of associations
Memberships of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA
AGP - Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Förderung der Partnerschaft in der Wirtschaft, Kassel
American Chamber of Commerce in Germany e. V., Frankfurt a. M.
Atlantik Brücke e. V., Berlin
BDI - Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie: Förderkreis der deutschen Industrie, Berlin
BDI - Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie: Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft, Berlin
Charta der Vielfalt, Berlin
Deutsch-Französische Industrie- und Handelskammer, Paris
ICC Germany e. V., Berlin
econsense - Forum Nachhaltige Entwicklung der Deutschen Wirtschaft e. V., Berlin
Fördergesellschaft FH Bielefeld e. V.
Freunde und Förderer der Staatsoper Unter den Linden e. V., Berlin
Freunde und Förderer der Stiftung Jüdisches Museum Berlin e. V.
GUG - Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte, Frankfurt a. M.
Gesellschaft für Westfälische Wirtschaftsgeschichte e. V., Dortmund
Goethe Institut, Munich
Gütersloher Verkehrsverein e. V.
Humboldt Universitätsgesellschaft, Berlin
Responsible Media Forum, London
Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft für Betriebswirtschaft e. V., Cologne
Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Essen
Stiftung Familienunternehmen, Munich
Stiftung Lesen, Mainz
Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Kuratorium Museumsinsel, Berlin
UN Global Compact, New York
Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie, Berlin
Westfälisch-Lippische Universitätsgesellschaft, Bielefeld
Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft für OWL e. V., Bielefeld
Wirtschaftliche Gesellschaft für Westfalen und Lippe e. V., Muenster
Wirtschaftsinitiative Kreis Gütersloh e. V.: Pro Wirtschaft GT
Wittenberg-Zentrum für Globale Ethik e. V.
GRI 102 Strategy
GRI 102-14 Statement from senior decision-maker
See Chairman's foreword .
GRI 102-15 Key impacts, risks, and opportunities
A number of non-financial risks are associated with the Corporate Responsibility (CR) topics that are relevant for Bertelsmann. These risks can arise from the company’s own business activities or from its business relationships, and can affect the company or its surroundings and stakeholders. As defined in the German CSR Directive Implementation Act, the major non-financial aspects where risks can occur are related to environmental, employee and social matters, respect for human rights, and the fight against corruption and bribery.
For the non-financial matters defined in the German Commercial Code – environmental, employee and social matters, respect for human rights, and the fight against corruption and bribery – no significant risks were identifiable as part of the 2019 reporting (see Combined Non-financial statement in the Combined Management Report for the 2019 Financial Year , p. 42).
Beyond this, there are also risks associated with the CR topics relevant to Bertelsmann that are connected with the company’s business activities, business relationships, and products and services, but that are not very likely to have serious impacts. The following risk assessment focuses on these CR risks.
CR Risks for Bertelsmann and its surroundings
CR Risks for Bertelsmann: CR risks that may arise from Bertelsmann as a company include increasing business customer requirements stemming from a range of non-financial topics, the nonfulfillment of which may result in revenue losses. CR issues are increasingly subject to statutory regulations, which can lead to noncompliance penalties linked to loss of trust in various stakeholder groups. Disruption in business processes, such as bottlenecking in the procurement of paper or energy, can arise due to a resource scarcity. In human resources, risks may arise due to inadequate working conditions, with implications such as decreased employee motivation and productivity, inadequate skills due to lack of training, increased illness, or increased staff turnover. Developments in media and social policy, such as in the area of press freedom, also contain potential risks for Bertelsmann’s businesses.
CR Risks for Bertelsmann’s Surroundings: Bertelsmann’s activities, including the supply chain, also have repercussions for the company’s surroundings, environment and stakeholders. For instance, working conditions have a direct and indirect impact on the well-being of employees, their individual opportunities, and their family environment. Bertelsmann’s business operations also have a reciprocal relationship with the local communities where they operate and with global society. Corruption can impede economic development, contribute to the continuation and growth of poverty, and reduce the equality of opportunity. With regard to human rights, Bertelsmann’s journalistic conduct, its creative independence, and its treatment of data in particular affect the state of public information, freedom of opinion, self-determination and democracy. In the environment, the use of resources such as paper influences the survival, development and diversity of ecological systems, and with them, sustainable living conditions. The company contributes to global warming through the direct and indirect emission of greenhouse gases.
Finally, all risks caused by Bertelsmann – and the possible negative impacts on its environment – can also cause risks for the company, affecting such factors as reputation, attractiveness as an employer or business partner, litigation, and inclusion in “do not source” lists and indexes.
GRI 102 Ethics and integrity
GRI 102-16 Values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior
The new Bertelsmann Essentials , announced in May 2019, describe the company’s sense of purpose, common goals and core values. The values of Creativity & Entrepreneurship are at the heart of our daily business. Through their interaction, they reinforce each other and thus form the cornerstones of our corporate culture, which relies on participation and partnership. The Essentials are a prerequisite for a corporate culture in which employees, management and shareholders work together successfully, respectfully and trustingly. In the spirit of the Essentials, Bertelsmann is mindful of its impact on society and its environment and seeks to make a positive difference.
The Bertelsmann Code of Conduct is the guideline for legal and ethical conduct. It is binding worldwide and for all employees, within the company and toward business partners and the general public. Everyone in the company – employees, the Executive Board and Supervisory Board – is obliged to adhere to the principles stipulated in it. The Code of Conduct is not only a guide to appropriate decision making, but also provides information about the options for seeking advice in the company, and for confidentially and securely expressing concerns about possible misconduct.
In addition, the Bertelsmann Supplier Code of Conduct obligates business partners that work for, with, or on behalf of Bertelsmann to observe minimum compliance and ethics standards that correspond to the Bertelsmann Code of Conduct. Bertelsmann also requires its business partners to pass these minimum requirements along their own value chain to any third parties they may use (subcontractors, etc.) to fulfill their contract with Bertelsmann. In the event of breaches of the Supplier Code of Conduct, Bertelsmann reserves the right to make appropriate responses corresponding to the severity of the breach, which may include contract termination.
GRI 102-17 Mechanisms for advice and concerns about ethics
At Bertelsmann, employees, business partners and third parties always have the opportunity to ask questions; to use confidential and secure channels to express concerns about possible misconduct; and to make suggestions for improving compliance processes. Contact points include the Integrity & Compliance department, an online whistleblowing system atwww.reportconcerns.com and external ombudspersons appointed by Bertelsmann. All reports submitted are being investigated to ensure adequate response to compliance violations.
More information on Compliance: see GRI 205 .
GRI 102 Governance
GRI 102-18 Governance structure
The pursuit of responsible corporate governance is part of the Bertelsmann identity and an important element of its corporate culture. Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA is a capital market-oriented company but is unlisted. The company is therefore not subject to the statutory requirement to issue a formal declaration as per section 161 of the German Stock Corporation Act. Nevertheless, the recommendations and suggestions contained in the German Corporate Governance Code serve as guidelines for Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA. As the German Corporate Governance Code in the version adopted by the Government Commission on December 16, 2019, was not yet in effect at Bertelsmann at the time the Corporate Governance Report was prepared, reference is made, as in the previous year, to the German Corporate Governance Code in the version dated February 7, 2017.
Statutory Bodies of the Company
The statutory bodies of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA are the General Meeting, the Supervisory Board and Bertelsmann Management SE as a general partner. Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA and Bertelsmann Management SE each have their own Supervisory Boards.
Tasks and Decision-making Processes
The Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA supervises the management of the business by the Bertelsmann Management SE and uses its extensive information and control rights for this purpose. In addition, the Supervisory Boards advise the Executive Board on strategic matters and significant transactions. The Executive and Supervisory Boards of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA work in close, trusting cooperation and are able to reconcile the demands of effective corporate governance with the need for rapid decision-making processes. Fundamental matters of corporate strategy and their implementation are discussed openly and coordinated in joint sessions. The Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA and Bertelsmann Management SE shareholders exercise their rights and vote at the respective General Meetings.
The Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann Management SE has formed an HR Committee and a Program Committee, and the Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA has formed an Audit and Finance Committee and a Working Group of Employee and Management Representatives. The Audit and Finance Committee of the Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA addresses, among other things, the accounting process and the effectiveness of the risk monitoring and risk management system, the internal control system, and the internal auditing system. It also addresses issues relating to compliance, in particular the effectiveness and proper functioning of the compliance organization and the related topic of integrity within the Group, and reviews the non-financial reporting.
GRI 102-20 Executive-level responsibility for economic, environmental, and social topics
The Bertelsmann CR Council, chaired by the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), regularly brings together senior high-ranking representatives from the corporate divisions, holding various functions. Together, they work to advance the strategic development of Corporate Responsibility (CR) at Bertelsmann, and ensure the diversity of perspectives from their businesses is considered. The focus is on organizational implementation of CR, coordination and collaboration across the Group’s divisions, and transparency with regard to the main topics prioritized for the Group, its divisions and companies. Specific CR topics are also worked on by cross-divisional working groups and networks.
At the Group level, the Corporate Responsibility & Diversity Management (CR&DM) department, a central staff function of the HR executive portfolio, coordinates and supports the work of the CR Council. It does so in close cooperation with other Group functions such as Reporting, Risk Management, Investor Relations, Corporate Communications, Legal, Integrity & Compliance, and employee representations. CR&DM also handles the Group’s CR reporting, its stakeholder dialog on relevant CR topics, and in-house networking and consulting projects on a wide range of CR topics. In the field of Diversity Management, the department works to ensure diversity-friendly framework conditions, and acts as a change agent and support resource for the Group’s divisions in promoting employee diversity
In the spirit of the company structure that has evolved at Bertelsmann over the decades, the principle of delegating responsibility applies for CR implementation across the Group: Because Bertelsmann’s local Managing Directors know their businesses and the social and ecological environment they operate in best, they are responsible for implementing specific CR measures and projects. Bertelsmann’s corporate divisions and companies have their own structures and processes in place for this, in accordance with local requirements.
Responsibilities at Executive Board level are also presented in the respective management approaches.
GRI 102-22 Composition of the highest governance body and its committees
In the 2019 financial year, women comprised 23 percent (previous year: 20 percent) of the Supervisory Board. The average age of Supervisory Board members was 58 (previous year: 56), and 77 percent (previous year: 67 percent) of the Supervisory Board members were German; 23 percent (previous year: 33 percent) were non-German.1)
Previous year's figures adjusted.
GRI 102-23 Chair of the highest governance body
The respective duties and responsibilities of the General Meeting, the Supervisory Board, and Bertelsmann Management SE are clearly defined and are strictly separated from each other. Simultaneous membership on the Executive Board of Bertelsmann Management SE on the one hand, and on the Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann Management SE or the Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA on the other, is excluded.
GRI 102 Stakeholder engagement
GRI 102-40 List of stakeholder groups
Bertelsmann reaches more than one billion people worldwide with its content, brands and formats. In the process, the company comes into contact with a variety of internal and external stakeholders: In addition to the owning family and the nonprofit Bertelsmann Stiftung, which holds the majority of the company's shares, these include employees and their representatives, business customers and suppliers, consumers, journalists, creative talents, content producers, investors, political decision-makers, and representatives of government agencies, associations and non-governmental organizations.
GRI 102-41 Collective bargaining agreement
GRI 102-42 Identifying and selecting stakeholders
Bertelsmann prioritizes dialog with stakeholders who have a strong influence on the company’s business, social or environmental performance, or on the regulatory framework that governs its activities. The Group also seeks exchange with stakeholders who are significantly affected by its economic, social or environmental contributions and impacts.
GRI 102-43 Approach to stakeholder engagement
In its day-to-day business, Bertelsmann is in regular contact with journalists, investors, and customers through its press offices, investor relations department and service centers. Beyond daily press interaction and the many events Bertelsmann organizes, the Annual Press Conference on year-end results, the communications accompanying the publication of half-year and quarterly figures represent proven formats for contact with media, journalists and investors. Because capital market financing is a major element in the Group’s financing strategy, transparency toward the capital market is of great importance for the company’s financial security and independence.
With the Combined Non-Financial Statement, Corporate Responsibility (CR) topics are reported in theCombined Management Report in the Annual Report 2019 (Financial Information, pp. 41–46) . In addition, Bertelsmann regularly carries out relevance analyses to advance the strategic development of CR at Bertelsmann.
With regard to the Group’s internal stakeholder dialog on corporate responsibility, the company identifies stakeholder groups – for example, for helping determine and implement Group-wide CR focus topics – based on the criteria of relevance, balance, and diversity. Representatives from top and senior management, administrative departments, and the operative businesses are involved, as are employee representatives. Care is taken to ensure diversity regarding management level, internationality, age and gender.
More information on the various dialog formats the company maintains to promote regular exchange with employees and their representatives: see GRI 402 .
GRI 102-44 Key topics and concerns raised
The following topics that are particularly relevant for Bertelsmann were identified in the most recent Corporate Responsibility (CR) relevance analysis, the validity of which was confirmed by the CR Council in 2019:
- Integrity & Compliance: Promoting behavior consistent with the values and principles stated in the Essentials and the Code of Conduct, and building mutually trusting relationships with all employees, customers, business partners and government agencies, who count on Bertelsmann as a law-abiding partner.
- Antitrust Compliance: Promoting fair competition and preventing anticompetitive behavior.
- Data Protection & Privacy: Ensuring that customers’ confidential and personal information is handled in a secure and legally compliant manner.
- Diversity: Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and providing equal opportunity to all. Creating an inclusive corporate culture. Valuing different perspectives as the basis for creativity and innovation.
- Fair Working Conditions: Ensuring decent working conditions for employees, including job security. Protecting employees’ privacy; fair payment; and promoting a fair share of benefits/appropriate participation in the company’s success.
- Creative/Journalistic Independence: Encouraging creative production and editorial decision making while upholding editorial guidelines and values without interference from media owners; journalistic independence without succumbing to any sort of political or economic influence.
- Paper: Sourcing paper from recycled materials and sustainably managed forests.
- Intellectual Property & Copyright: Covers topics such as copyright, patents, royalty payments, illegal downloading, counterfeiting and product piracy.
- Learning: Fostering learning and training to tackle major entrepreneurial challenges with well-trained employees. Strengthening employees’ innovative capacity.
- Content Responsibility: Producing and delivering an output that is fair and protects the right and interests of readers, viewers, listeners and users, including minors and other vulnerable groups.
- Employee Participation: Involving employees through employee representatives, employee surveys, performance reviews, as well as employee suggestion schemes.
- Health: Providing a secure, safe and healthy environment for all employees.
- Anti-Corruption & Bribery: Committing to and ensuring processes to prevent all forms of corruption.
Corporate responsibility topics, including non-financial performance indicators, are not directly relevant to business, and are accordingly not part of Bertelsmann’s value-oriented management system. The focus is on sales, operating profit, and optimal capital investment. Due to currently limited measurability, no directly quantifiable statements can be made regarding interdependencies and value increases. For this reason, the non-financial performance indicators are not yet used for the management of the Group.
GRI 102 Reporting practice
GRI 102-45 Entities included in the consolidated financial statements
All fully consolidated subsidiaries were included in this report. Deviations from the scope of this report are indicated in the text.
GRI 102-46 Defining report content and topic boundaries
Bertelsmann regularly performs relevance analyses concerning Corporate Responsibility (CR). The most recent relevance analysis involved personal interviews with more than 150 people, i.e. representatives of all major external stakeholder groups as well as of Bertelsmann’s executives and works councils were surveyed on their assessment of 21 selected CR topics. The external stakeholders were asked to assess how Bertelsmann’s business activities impact these CR topics; the executives and works councils assessed their relevance for the businesses. All external participants were interviewed personally using guided interviews. The Corporate Responsibility & Diversity Management department summarized the results in a CR-Relevance Matrix, which was then adopted by the CR Council. The validity of the Bertelsmann CR Relevance Matrix was confirmed by the CR Council in 2019.
More information on the 13 CR topics which were identified in this way: see GRI 102-44 .
GRI 102-47 List of material topics
|CR Topic at Bertelsmann||GRI Topics
Basis: GRI Standards 2016 and GRI Media Sector Disclosures
Cf. GRI Standards Glossary 2016, p.17
|Inside the company|
Inside the company, outside the company
|Antitrust Compliance||Anti-competitive Behavior||Inside the company|
|Data Protection & Privacy||Customer Privacy||Inside the company|
|Diversity||Diversity and Equal Opportunities||Inside the company|
|Non-discrimination||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Fair Working Conditions||Employment||Inside the company|
|Labor/Management||Inside the company|
|Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Child Labor||Outside the company|
|Forced or Compulsory Labor||Outside the company|
|Creative/Journalistic Independence||Freedom of Expression and Opinion||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Content Production||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Paper||Materials||Outside the company|
|Intellectual Property & Copyright||Protection of Intellectual Property||Inside the company|
|Learning||Training & Education||Inside the company|
|Content Responsibility||Marketing and Product Labelling||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Content Dissemination||Inside the company|
|Media Literacy||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Employee Participation||Labor/Management||Inside the company|
|Health||Occupational Health and Safety||Inside the company|
|Anti-corruption & Bribery||Anti-corruption||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Further Topics||Energy||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Water||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Emissions||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Effluents and Waste||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Economic Performance||Inside the company, outside the company|
|Local Communities||Inside the company|
|Public Policy||Inside the company|
GRI 102-48 Restatements of information
For environmental data collection: see GRI 300 .
GRI 102-51 Date of most recent report
The last Bertelsmann CR Report was published in June 2019. In addition, CR information is continuously updated on the Bertelsmann Corporate Website .
GRI 102-53 Contact point for questions regarding the report
GRI 102-54 Claims of reporting in accordance with the GRI Standards
GRI 102-55 GRI content index
GRI 102-56 External assurance
The economic indicators in this GRI report were taken from the Bertelsmann Annual Report 2019, which was audited by the PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH audit firm.
We invite you to explore numerous Corporate Responsibility projects and initiatives from across the Bertelsmann world.