Management and Governance

Sustainability Management

To us, sustainability means safeguarding our future social and economic viability. Understood in this context and as a part of our corporate strategy, sustainability is integrated into our day-to-day procedures. We underline our mission as a company that acts sustainably through our commitment to the U.N. Global Compact and the Responsible Care? initiative, as well as through our involvement in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). In our sustainability reporting we have followed the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for many years.

Bayer is committed to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has published a company position detailing this. Our innovations, products and services contribute to overcoming some of the biggest global challenges, including the goals of “Zero Hunger” (SDG 2) and “Good Health and Well-Being” (SDG 3) in particular.

As part of Bayer’s corporate strategy, sustainability is firmly established at Board level. Responsibility for the Group’s sustainable orientation lies with the Board of Management member responsible for Human Resources, Technology and Sustainability in his role as Chief Sustainability Officer, and with the Sustainable Development Committee (SDC) under the auspices of the Health, Safety & Sustainability function. The SDC sets targets and draws up initiatives, management systems and corporate policies, and is responsible for their implementation. Operational implementation is effected with the help of nonfinancial targets and performance indicators throughout the value chain, based on a clear definition of responsibilities in the corporate structure and the identification of major areas of activity using a materiality analysis. Corporate policies ensure our sustainability principles are firmly established in business operations and are implemented through corresponding management systems, committees and processes. The review and revision of these regulations and internal audits ensure that our management systems are continuously improved and aligned to the respective requirements.

Bayer's Materiality Matrix

We regularly analyze the expectations and requirements of our major stakeholders and compare these with our own assessment of their relevance for Bayer. This enables us to identify at an early stage the latest developments along with sustainability-related opportunities and risks, which we can then incorporate into our strategy. We document the identified topics in a materiality matrix that we use to derive the main fields of activity for Bayer. In view of the acquisition of Monsanto, we reexamined our areas of activity in 2018 using a comprehensive materiality analysis. To achieve this, we conducted a worldwide survey of external stakeholders with specialist expertise and internal managers from various areas of the company. The goals of this analysis were to:

The following stakeholder groups were included in the stakeholder survey:

Stakeholder groups
Residents near Bayer sites Politicians and public authorities
Banks Rating agencies
Bayer management Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
Consultants / corporate auditors Associations
Investors Representatives / distribution partners
Customers Competitors
Suppliers Academia / universities / schools
Media Other

In accordance with the GRI Standards, the following two dimensions were among the factors applied to identify and prioritize key issues:

  • Impact of Bayer’s business operations on economic, social or environmental matters 
  • Impact on decisions by Bayer stakeholders

The results of the internal and external viewpoint survey were combined in a new materiality matrix.

Materiality Matrix 2019 

Materiality Matrix

Based on the analysis, seven of the 12 key issues overall were prioritized: climate protection, environmental protection, innovation, business ethics, product stewardship, sustainable food security and access to medicine. These issues will serve as the basis for a new sustainability strategy and new nonfinancial targets that we plan to present during 2019.

For our reporting on fiscal 2018, we linked the key areas of activity from the previous materiality analysis that was valid for 2018 with the GRI Standards. In the following overview, we provide a summary of the 11 areas of activity, their definitions and the GRI Standards assigned to them:

Key areas of activity in 2018 and GRI Standards

Area of activity with definition Group targets (concluded in 2018) GRI Standard assignment
GRI 102-47, 102-49
Product and process innovation
Innovations that combine customer wishes and social needs; including adaptation to changes in industrial production, influenced by the growing significance of the digital value-added chain and the associated processes
See Group Innovation targets
  • 201 Economic Performance
Stakeholder commitment / partnerships
Dialogue and collaboration with relevant stakeholders at local, national and international level
See Employees Group targets
  • 413 Local Communities
Business ethics
?Ensuring good corporate governance and compliance; including anti-corruption, fair taxation, transparency, responsible lobbying, ethical clinical studies and Management Board compensation based on ESG criteria
See Group Compliance target
  • 205 Anti-corruption
  • 206 Anti-competitive Behavior
  • 307 Environmental Compliance
  • 406 Non-discrimination
  • 415 Public Policy
  • 419 Socioeconomic Compliance
Employee relations and development
Employee development and expanding the position as an attractive employer; includes vocational and advanced training, compensation, employee benefits and recruiting/retaining personnel; creating flexibility with a good work-life balance; ensuring sound diversity
See Employees Group targets
  • 201 Economic Performance
  • 202 Market Presence
  • 401 Employment
  • 402 Labor / Management Relations
  • 404 Training and Education
  • 405 Diversity and Equal Opportunity
  • 407 Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
  • 408 Child Labor
  • 409 Forced or Compulsory Labor
  • 412 Human Rights Assessment
Ensuring occupational, process, plant and transport safety
See Safety Group targets
  • 403 Occupational Health and Safety
  • 413 Local Communities
Product stewardship
Evaluating and reducing possible health- and environment-relevant product risks along the value-added chain; including REACH, endocrine disruptors, active ingredients in the environment, bee health and responsible use of new technologies (e.g. biotechnology)
See Product Stewardship Group targets
  • 416 Customer Health and Safety
  • 417 Marketing and Labeling
Environmental protection/Resource efficiency
Reducing the environmental impact of products and processes on water, air and soil; supporting innovations that help the environment; promoting an efficient use of natural resources (e.g. water, minerals, agricultural land) and energy; switch to renewables where possible; reducing the consumption especially of valuable and scarce resources
See Resource Efficiency Group targets
  • 302 Energy
  • 303 Water and Effluents
  • 304 Biodiversity
  • 305 Emissions
  • 306 Effluents and Waste
Supplier management
Encouraging fair and constructive relations, influencing sustainable behavior in the supply chain in terms of business ethics; treatment of employees; health protection, safety, environmental protection and quality all the way through to management systems and performance measurement
See Supplier Management Group target
  • 204 Procurement Practices
  • 308 Supply Environmental Assessment
  • 414 Supplier Social Assessment
Access to health care
Better access to medical products for patients in under-resourced regions, e.g. through research & development, differential pricing, building up own capacities, patent access and collaboration
  • 203 Indirect Economic Impacts
Sustainable food security
Contribution to the sustainable production, supply and availability of food and to the quality of food supplies
  • 203 Indirect Economic Impacts
  • 416 Customer Health and Safety
Societal Engagement
Demonstrating societal engagement through investment in social projects, donations and volunteering programs
  • 413 Local Communities