For Bertelsmann, corporate responsibility (CR) means taking responsibility for its employees, society and the environment. The company's economic interests are to be reconciled with social and ecological concerns, with the goal of shaping a better future. This attitude is firmly anchored in the corporate values “Creativity & Entrepreneurship,” the Bertelsmann Essentials.
With this in mind, the company works continuously on the strategic development of its corporate responsibility efforts. Under the leadership of the Chief Human Resources Officer, managers from the divisions regularly meet in the CR Council. Together, they drive forward the anchoring of corporate responsibility and Group-wide CR topics and ensure the cross-divisional coordination of CR management. At Group level, the Corporate Responsibility department coordinates and supports the work of the CR Council in close cooperation with other Group functions. In line with Bertelsmann's corporate structure, CR projects and measures are implemented by the divisions and companies.
Integrity & Compliance
Bertelsmann has established a comprehensive Integrity & Compliance program, and its effectiveness is ensured through regular evaluation and risk-oriented adjustments. Beyond the Bertelsmann Code of Conduct, which is based on the Bertelsmann Essentials, further guidelines have been issued on key topics such as anticorruption, antitrust law, foreign trade and business partner compliance. Employees receive comprehensive training and guidance, and compliance violations are not tolerated. Suspected violations are investigated immediately, and any detected violations are remedied without delay.
More information about corporate responsibility at Bertelsmann and the Group’s annual CR reporting, is available online at: bertelsmann.com/responsibility.
The 8 Bertelsmann
Fair Working Conditions
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Health & Well-being
Responsibility in the Supply Chain
Bertelsmann Corporate Responsibility Program
Bertelsmann’s new CR program (2021–2023) serves to further develop the content and organization of the eight Group-wide CR priorities (see illustration). Strategic objectives, targets, measures, progress indicators and milestones were defined for each priority. The CR program comprises around 150 individual measures to be implemented by the end of 2023. Any content that is relevant for the 2021 financial year is explained at various points in the Combined Non-Financial Statement in this Annual Report.
Climate Neutral by 2030
“Climate change is a huge challenge, which is why it is one of Bertelsmann's eight CR priorities,” says Immanuel Hermreck. “The Science Based Targets initiative has confirmed us in our ambition to make Bertelsmann a climate-neutral company by 2030.”
The new Bertelsmann
Code of Conduct
The new version published in 2021 once again explicitly emphasizes the prohibition of sexual harassment, responsibility for Bertelsmann's content and the need to review integrity when selecting business partners.
Beyond this, the previous online reporting system for potential compliance violations is replaced with a new, user-friendly “speak-up system” available both online and by phone. Reprisals against people who raise concerns or report violations in good faith are not permitted; this, too, is explicitly stated in the new Code of Conduct. The new Code of Conduct is accessible in 12 languages.