As part of Bayer’s corporate strategy, sustainability is firmly established at Board level. Responsibility for steering and aligning our Group-wide sustainability strategy lies with the Group Management Board member responsible for Human Resources, Technology and Sustainability in his function as Chief Sustainability Officer, and with the Sustainable Development (SD) Committee chaired by the Group Head of Environment & Sustainability.
The SD Committee, which manages the integration of sustainability into business operations, comprises the top-ranking sustainability officers in the subgroups, together with the heads of Corporate Development, Communications and Human Resources & Organization.
The Committee’s tasks also include identifying and evaluating sustainability-related opportunities and risks for the company. In addition, it sets targets, draws up initiatives, management systems and Group regulations, and checks they are being complied with.
In order to operationalize the Group strategy and make it measurable, we have set ambitious non-financial targets and indicators all along the value-added chain. Further information about our target program can be found in Targets & Performance Indicators. Internal Group regulations ensure the implementation of our sustainability principles in business operations. These principles are realized through corresponding management systems, regulations and processes at the subgroup level.
The SD Committee maintains close contacts with other Bayer bodies such as the committees for Health, Safety, Environmental Protection, Quality (HSEQ); Innovation; Industrial Operations; Technology; and Public and Governmental Affairs. Key strategic issues for the company are discussed and strategies are developed for the future.
Bayer considers itself a part of society and of public life. Society’s acceptance and appreciation of our corporate activities are therefore essential to Bayer’s reputation and business success. Involving the different interest groups among Bayer’s stakeholders is a vital element of the company’s activities with the goal of creating better mutual understanding and trust in respect of our work and products.
The influence of stakeholders on our business activity has steadily increased in recent years. We take the wide-ranging requirements of our stakeholders seriously and consider them wherever possible in our business activities. Evaluating their expectations and requirements provides significant impetus for the continued development of our activities, our risk management and our reporting.
We regularly analyze and evaluate what the major stakeholders expect and require from the Group. This approach enables us to identify early on any opportunities and risks relevant to sustainability, along with key non-financial areas of activity, and to react to them. We document the findings in a materiality matrix During 2014, we updated our materiality analysis. Relevant external stakeholder sources were analyzed to identify the main non-financial issues for Bayer. The relevance to Bayer of the most important 24 issues identified in this way was evaluated in respect of sales, costs, risk and reputation by selected representatives of the Bayer holding company and the three subgroups in the form of interviews and a global online survey. Internal and external views were then entered into the following matrix for discussion and confirmation by the SD Committee. The matrix was formally accepted by Bayer’s Chief Sustainability Officer. Next year, reporting will be structured according to the new GRI G4 guidelines on the basis of the non-financial subject areas identified.