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Powerbroker for

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  • Overall approach
    4/12
    • Overarching commitment on deforestation
      0/4
    • Signatory to an initiative tackling deforestation
      1/1
      Yes
      1/1
      Bertelsmann has been a signatory to the UN Global Compact since 2008
    • Awareness of the value of forests
      1/1
      Yes
      1/1
      "Trees from ancient and endangered forests and high conservation value forests must not be used for the production of our papers."
    • Deforestation as a business risk
      1/1
      Yes
      1/1
      Does the company recognise the risk as financial, operational, competition, reputational, or other? Please detail.: operational and financial
      "Paper continues to be a particular priority at Bertelsmann, representing the most important resource for the company’s traditional print media business. Even in an increasingly digitized media landscape, printed books, magazines, brochures, and flyers continue to have their place. Therefore, sustainable forestry, resource conservation, climate protection, and waste avoidance play a major role for Bertelsmann across the entire paper value chain."
    • High-level management of deforestion
      1/1
      Yes
      1/1
      Which commodities does it apply to?: Pulp & Paper

      How often does the committee or board meet to assess company's progress on addressing deforestation-related issues?:
      "The Bertelsmann Environmental Policy  , the Bertelsmann Energy & Climate Policy  , and the Bertelsmann Paper Policy  provide the framework for the Group’s environmental management. In addition to climate neutrality (see GRI 305  ) and the shift to 100 percent green electricity (see GRI 302  ), Bertelsmann strives to ensure the sustainable procurement of paper (see GRI 301  ).All Group-wide environmental efforts are coordinated by the Corporate Responsibility department under the supervision by the Chief Human Resources Officer. Cross-divisional coordination is handled by the Corporate Responsibility Council, which is chaired by the Chief HR Officer. Overall responsibility lies with the Bertelsmann Executive Board, which monitors the achievement of environmental goals annually as part of strategic planning. Operational responsibility for energy and environmental management lies with the managements of the individual Bertelsmann companies, which set and track their own targets for improving their environmental performance as part of local management systems."
    • Executive compensation linked to deforestation
    • Target to reduce emissions from land-use change
      0/2
    • Reporting on emissions from land-use change
      0/2
    • Disclosure of conservation activity
    • Disclosure of reforestation activity
      Yes
      0/0
      "Since last year, Bertelsmann has purchased climate protection certificates from the “Campo Grande” reforestation project in Brazil. The project covers an area of 1,055 hectares, was implemented on former farmland and protects not only the climate but also biodiversity in the region."
    • Target to reduce emissions in scope 1/2
      Yes
      0/0
      What is the target date for the company to achieve their climate target?: 2030

      Type of climate target: Net-zero emissions
      "Bertelsmann has set itself an ambitious environmental goal: By 2030, the international media, services, and education company intends to be climate neutral. By then, Bertelsmann aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated at its locations, by its employees’ mobility, and the manufacture of its own products by 50 percent compared with 2018. At that time, these emissions amounted to one million tons of CO2. The remaining emissions will be offset. Bertelsmann will also support its business customers in reducing product-related emissions."
  • Commodity score
    25/88
    • Pulp & Paper
      25/88
      • Commitment Strength
        8/20
        • Commitment to protect priority forests
          4/8
          • Commitment details
            Credible certification scheme
            2/6
            Commitment to protect priority forests
            Credible certification scheme
            2/6
            Which certification schemes are used?: FSC; PEFC
            "Bertelsmann strives to raise the proportion of recycled paper and paper from certified, sustainable forestry to 100 percent. This new ambition replaces the target of 90 percent, which was already achieved in previous years. Recycled paper as well as papers of certified origin that meet FSC®, PEFC™, SFI® requirements or comparable standards are regarded as sustainably sourced paper."
          • Commitment applies to all regions, suppliers and operation
            Yes
            1.3/1.3
            Commitment applies to all regions, suppliers and operation
            Yes
            1.3/1.3
            "Bertelsmann strives to raise the proportion of recycled paper and paper from certified, sustainable forestry to 100 percent. This new ambition replaces the target of 90 percent, which was already achieved in previous years. Recycled paper as well as papers of certified origin that meet FSC®, PEFC™, SFI® requirements or comparable standards are regarded as sustainably sourced paper."
          • Target date
            No target date
            0/0.7
            Target date
            No target date
            0/0.7
            "Bertelsmann strives to raise the proportion of recycled paper and paper from certified, sustainable forestry to 100 percent. This new ambition replaces the target of 90 percent, which was already achieved in previous years. Recycled paper as well as papers of certified origin that meet FSC®, PEFC™, SFI® requirements or comparable standards are regarded as sustainably sourced paper."
          • Interim target date
            Yes
            0.3/0.3
            Interim target date
            Yes
            0.3/0.3
            "Bertelsmann strives to raise the proportion of recycled paper and paper from certified, sustainable forestry to 100 percent. This new ambition replaces the target of 90 percent, which was already achieved in previous years. Recycled paper as well as papers of certified origin that meet FSC®, PEFC™, SFI® requirements or comparable standards are regarded as sustainably sourced paper."
        • Commitment to reduce use of virgin wood fibre
          5/5
          • Commitment details
            Yes
            3/3
            Commitment to reduce use of virgin wood fibre
            Yes
            3/3
            Type of commitment: Recycled content
            "Bertelsmann strives to raise the proportion of recycled paper and paper from certified, sustainable forestry to 100 percent. This new ambition replaces the target of 90 percent, which was already achieved in previous years. Recycled paper as well as papers of certified origin that meet FSC®, PEFC™, SFI® requirements or comparable standards are regarded as sustainably sourced paper."; "Logging and paper production processes must also recognize sustainability issues, social and environmental. Hence, we give preference to certified wood fiber and paper with maximized post-consumer recycled content."
          • Commitment applies to all regions, suppliers and operation
            Yes
            1.3/1.3
            Commitment applies to all regions, suppliers and operation
            Yes
            1.3/1.3
            "Bertelsmann strives to raise the proportion of recycled paper and paper from certified, sustainable forestry to 100 percent. This new ambition replaces the target of 90 percent, which was already achieved in previous years. Recycled paper as well as papers of certified origin that meet FSC®, PEFC™, SFI® requirements or comparable standards are regarded as sustainably sourced paper."; "Logging and paper production processes must also recognize sustainability issues, social and environmental. Hence, we give preference to certified wood fiber and paper with maximized post-consumer recycled content."
          • Target date
            No target date
            0/0.7
            Target date
            No target date
            0/0.7
            "Bertelsmann strives to raise the proportion of recycled paper and paper from certified, sustainable forestry to 100 percent. This new ambition replaces the target of 90 percent, which was already achieved in previous years. Recycled paper as well as papers of certified origin that meet FSC®, PEFC™, SFI® requirements or comparable standards are regarded as sustainably sourced paper."; "Logging and paper production processes must also recognize sustainability issues, social and environmental. Hence, we give preference to certified wood fiber and paper with maximized post-consumer recycled content."
          • Interim target date
            Yes
            0.3/0.3
            Interim target date
            Yes
            0.3/0.3
            "Bertelsmann strives to raise the proportion of recycled paper and paper from certified, sustainable forestry to 100 percent. This new ambition replaces the target of 90 percent, which was already achieved in previous years. Recycled paper as well as papers of certified origin that meet FSC®, PEFC™, SFI® requirements or comparable standards are regarded as sustainably sourced paper."; "Logging and paper production processes must also recognize sustainability issues, social and environmental. Hence, we give preference to certified wood fiber and paper with maximized post-consumer recycled content."
        • Commitment to a traceable supply chain
          0/6
          • Commitment details
            No traceability commitment
            0/4
          • Commitment applies to all regions, suppliers and operation
            No
            0/1.3
          • Target date
            No target date
            0/0.7
          • Interim target date
            No
            0/0.3
      • Social Considerations
        7/18
        • Labour rights in the supply chain
          Yes
          4/4
          Labour rights in the supply chain
          Yes
          4/4
          Details of commitment: Discrimination; Forced labour; Child labour; Freedom of association
          "Business partners for the purposes of this Supplier Code of Conduct, who we expect to comply with the standards set down herein, shall include all third parties who act for, on behalf of, or together with Bertelsmann. These include, among others, suppliers, sales partners, consultants, agents, subcontractors, minority shareholders, sales representatives and freelance collaborators. [...] discrimination [...] Forced Labor {...] Child Labour [...] Freedom of Association [...] Our business partners support the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Global Compact, the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights and the core labor standards of the ILO"
        • Inclusion of small-scale farmers
          No
          0/4
        • Gender equality in the supply chain
          Commitment to address gender related labour rights including discrimination and harassment
          1/4
          Gender equality in the supply chain
          Commitment to address gender related labour rights including discrimination and harassment
          1/4
          "Business partners for the purposes of this Supplier Code of Conduct, who we expect to comply with the standards set down herein, shall include all third parties who act for, on behalf of, or together with Bertelsmann. These include, among others, suppliers, sales partners, consultants, agents, subcontractors, minority shareholders, sales representatives and freelance collaborators. [...] Our business partners do not tolerate discrimination against employees or applicants for employment because of race, national or ethnic origin, gender,"
        • Commitment to remediation
          Yes
          2/2
          Commitment to remediation
          Yes
          2/2
          Type of harm covered: Social harm
          "Our business partners observe the applicable regulations regarding environmental protection, in particular regarding operational and product-related environmental protection. > We expect from our business partners responsible sourcing and use of natural resources. [...] In the event of violations of the Bertelsmann Supplier Code of Conduct, Bertelsmann reserves the right to respond in a manner appropriate to the severity of the violation. This includes, but is not limited to, making a request for the immediate remediation of the violation, asserting claims for damages or terminating the contract. In the event of serious violations of the Bertelsmann Supplier Code of Conduct, Bertelsmann reserves the right to terminate the contract without notice."
        • Commitment to ensure Free, Prior and Informed Consent
          No
          0/4
        • Commitment to resolve land conflicts
          No
      • Reporting and Implementation
        9/50
        • Reporting against commitments
          2/2
          • Commitment to protect priority forests
            Yes, for all commodity exposure
            1.7/1.7
            Commitment to protect priority forests
            Yes, for all commodity exposure
            1.7/1.7
            Does the company report on the degree of compliance/progress with commitments, disaggregated by relevant factors such as origin or supply chain stage?: yes
            "In the 2020 financial year, 78 percent of the total amount of paper used was either recycled paper or certified “virgin” (fresh-fiber). Papers that meet the requirements of FSC®, PEFCTM, SFI®, or similar standards are shown under certified quantities. The remaining 22 percent of the total amount of paper procured did not meet the above criteria. They are reported as “other”, the majority of which were supplied by customers outside the Group for the printing of books, magazines, catalogs, and brochures (“provisions”)." Of the paper sourced by Bertelsmann SE & Co., 97% of the paper was sustainably sourced in 2020 (either recycled fibres or certified fresh fibres). 
          • Commitment to reduce use of virgin wood fibre
            Yes, for all commodity exposure
            1.7/1.7
            Commitment to reduce use of virgin wood fibre
            Yes, for all commodity exposure
            1.7/1.7
            "In the 2020 financial year, 78 percent of the total amount of paper used was either recycled paper or certified “virgin” (fresh-fiber). Papers that meet the requirements of FSC®, PEFCTM, SFI®, or similar standards are shown under certified quantities. The remaining 22 percent of the total amount of paper procured did not meet the above criteria. They are reported as “other”, the majority of which were supplied by customers outside the Group for the printing of books, magazines, catalogs, and brochures (“provisions”)." Of the paper sourced by Bertelsmann SE & Co., 97% of the paper was sustainably sourced in 2020 (either recycled fibres or certified fresh fibres). 
          • Commitment to a traceable supply chain
            No
            0/1.7
        • Reporting is independently verified
          0/1
          • Commitment to protect priority forests
            Yes, using a third-party verification scheme or certification scheme.
            1/1
            Commitment to protect priority forests
            Yes, using a third-party verification scheme or certification scheme.
            1/1
            Which tools, approaches, third-party verification, including certification, schemes are used?: FSC, PEFC and SFI

            Which processes or groups does the company use for third party verification?: FSC, PEFC and SFI
            "In the 2020 financial year, 78 percent of the total amount of paper used was either recycled paper or certified “virgin” (fresh-fiber). Papers that meet the requirements of FSC®, PEFCTM, SFI®, or similar standards are shown under certified quantities. The remaining 22 percent of the total amount of paper procured did not meet the above criteria. They are reported as “other”, the majority of which were supplied by customers outside the Group for the printing of books, magazines, catalogs, and brochures (“provisions”)." Of the paper sourced by Bertelsmann SE & Co., 97% of the paper was sustainably sourced in 2020 (either recycled fibres or certified fresh fibres). 
          • Commitment to reduce use of virgin wood fibre
            No
            0/1
          • Commitment to a traceable supply chain
            No
            0/1
        • Suppliers aligned with deforestation commitments across supply chain
          No
          0/2
        • Deforestation cut off date
          No
          0/2
        • Collaborative actions
          No
          0/2
        • Risk assessments for forest risk
          No
          0/2
        • Operations assessed to comply with law
          No
          0/2
        • Accessible grievance mechanism
          No
          0/4
        • Report volumes of commodity
          Reporting total volume
          2/2
          Report volumes of commodity
          Reporting total volume
          2/2
          Total/partial volume reported: 1,481,218 tons
          Bertelsmann reported a total of 1,481,218 tons of paper consumption, of which 252,529 was recycled and 905,521 was certified.
        • Report verified volumes of commodity
          50-79%
          3/6
          Report verified volumes of commodity
          50-79%
          3/6
          For what percent of the company's supply volume is third-party verification of performance relative to commitments conducted?: 78%

          What is the certified volume?: 905,521 tons
          "In the 2020 financial year, 78 percent of the total amount of paper used was either recycled paper or certified “virgin” (fresh-fiber). Papers that meet the requirements of FSC®, PEFCTM, SFI®, or similar standards are shown under certified quantities. The remaining 22 percent of the total amount of paper procured did not meet the above criteria. They are reported as “other”, the majority of which were supplied by customers outside the Group for the printing of books, magazines, catalogs, and brochures (“provisions”)."
        • Upstream: Monitor compliance with human rights
          No
          0/4
        • Downstream: Publishing supplier lists
          No
          0/4
        • Downstream: Monitor compliance in supply chain
          No
          0/4
        • Downstream: Reporting hectares of deforestation
          No
          0/4
        • Downstream: Engagement with non-compliant suppliers
          No engagement or exclusion
          0/2
        • Downstream: Disclosure of non-compliant suppliers
          No disclosure
          0/2
  • Commitment strength
    8/20
    Avg. score
  • Reporting and Implementation
    9/50
    Avg. score
  • Social considerations
    7/18
    Avg. score

Profile

Bertelsmann is a media and services company operating in 50 countries around the world. Its major operations are in television and radio, publishing and magazines. The most important markets are the US and Europe, but China, Brazil and India are growing markets. The company is one of the largest book publishers in the world and uses a significant amount of paper. Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA is selected as a powerbroker for pulp & paper.

Sector
Industry sector 
Printing & publishing
Segments
Manufacturer, Retailer
HQ
HQ 
Germany
Company Type
Company type 
Private
Collective Commitments
Consumer Goods Forum member
New York Declaration on Forests signatory

Top Brands

Penguin Random House, Gruenr + Jahr, Stern, Geo, Brigitte, Essen & Trinken, Bertelsmann Printing

How we assess the Forest 500

To ensure deforestation free supply chains, companies need to adopt and implement timebound and measurable policies for forest risk commodities.

All assessments use policies published on company websites, some links may have changed or been removed since the time of assessment.

Disclaimer

This assessment has been carried out following the methodology developed for the Forest 500 project, available here. Please see our disclaimer applicable to all information contained within this site and our terms and conditions for use of data presented on this site.

All assessments use policies published on company and financial institution websites, and while we endeavor to keep them updated some links may have changed or been removed since the time of assessment.

Please contact us with any concerns or feedback about this or other assessments included in the Forest 500.