Bertelsmann publishes Carbon Footprint 2016 - 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.

News | Gütersloh, 09/29/2017

Bertelsmann publishes Carbon Footprint 2016

In its Carbon Footprint 2016, Bertelsmann provides a transparent account of the environmental impact of its business activities for the sixth time since 2008. The Carbon Footprint supplements Bertelsmann's corporate responsibility reporting, and provides information on the development of relevant environmental indicators and climate emissions at Bertelsmann and its divisions. This year, a total of 380 companies at almost 400 locations across all divisions participated in the annual collection of environmental data at Bertelsmann.

Slight decline in CO2eq

According to the latest figures for 2016, Bertelsmann’s Carbon Footprint was approximately 572,300 tons of CO2 equivalents (CO2eq) – CO2eq is a measure of the emission of different greenhouse gases, weighted according to their impact on the climate. This corresponds to a slight decline of 5,300 tons, or one percent, compared to the previous year. The Bertelsmann Printing Group and Arvato have by far the largest shares of the Bertelsmann Carbon Footprint with just under 60 and 20 percent, respectively.

About half of the emissions are produced directly at Bertelsmann companies through the generation of heat and electricity and through the fuel consumed by company cars. The other half of the emissions are produced indirectly by utility companies or landlords, for the generation of electricity and district heating. While Group-wide power consumption fell slightly by one percent year-on-year to 827,600 megawatt hours (MWh) in 2016, heating consumption in the same period rose by one percent to 711,300 MWh. Energy consumption from fuels also increased slightly to 69,800 MWh. Compared with the previous year, total energy consumption remained virtually unchanged at 1.61 million MWh. The Group’s total energy consumption is approximately equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 1.6 million people.

Increase in share of paper from sustainable forestry and recycling 

In Bertelsmann's traditional printing and publishing businesses, paper will remain the most important natural resource for the foreseeable future. So in the spirit of protecting the environment and climate, it is all the more important that the paper used comes from sustainable forestry or recycling. In 2016, the proportion of paper Bertelsmann companies purchased from sustainable sources rose significantly from 74 percent to 86 percent.

Increased transparency about existing certifications in paper sourcing, and a change in customers’ ordering habits and the responsible buyers contributed to this. Meanwhile, overall paper consumption was down slightly year-on-year by 10,000 tons (minus one percent), to 1.85 million tons. So Bertelsmann’s annual paper consumption corresponds to a column of trucks loaded with rolls of paper that stretches more than 760 kilometers – roughly the distance from Hamburg to Munich. 

Here is an overview of further facts about our environmental indicators 2016: 

  • The share of certified sustainable paper significantly increased by twelve percentage points year-on-year
  • In 2016, Bertelsmann consumed an average of 108.6 MWh of energy per one million euros of revenues generate, which is roughly the same amount as in the previous year
  • Water extraction increased by 2 percent year-on-year
  • The Bertelsmann Carbon Footprint was slightly reduced by one percent in 2016
  • 95 percent of the recorded waste is recyclable 

Environmental targets 

The Group-wide environmental targets agreed in July 2017 by the Bertelsmann Corporate Responsibility Council, chaired by Group CHRO Immanuel Hermreck, will be published for the first time in the 2016 Carbon Footprint.

To support the further development of efforts to protect the climate and environment at Bertelsmann companies, medium-term targets were set for increasing the proportion of sustainably produced paper, and for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2020, at least 90 percent of the paper purchased should be recycled or from a certified source. Their certification must meet the requirements of established standards such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), or equivalent. This concretizes the existing requirements of the Bertelsmann Paper Policy from 2006. In addition, by 2020 greenhouse gas emissions from the consumption of electricity, heat and fuel are to be reduced by 10 percent compared to the base year of 2014. By 2025, these emissions are to be reduced by 20 percent.

The Group-wide targets were jointly developed by experts from the Bertelsmann “be green” environmental initiative and the Corporate Responsibility & Diversity Management department. They are based on data from the annual environmental data collection, as well as further analyses of growth forecasts, energy and paper consumption, and developments in the energy and commodity markets. The process was supported by a climate-protection study conducted with an international environmental protection organization, using “Science-Based Targets Initiative” methodology. The study identified the company's specific contribution to limiting global greenhouse gas emissions, calculated based on the company’s current emissions and the necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in relevant industries by 2050.