Management and Governance

Sustainability Management

Sustainable actions safeguard the value Bayer contributes to society and thus our company’s future viability. As a fundamental element of our Group strategy, sustainability is integrated into our decision-making and daily work processes.

Bayer has focused its strategy on making substantial contributions toward sustainable development and attaining the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have published the company’s own position on the SDGs. As a leading company in the fields of nutrition and health, we are determined to use our innovations, products and services to help overcome some of the greatest global challenges – in particular, combating hunger (SDG 2) and providing health care (SDG 3).

Clear responsibilities and structures

Sustainability is a core element of our Group strategy. It falls under the responsibility of the Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, whose role as Chief Sustainability Officer is supported by the Public Affairs and Sustainability Corporate Function. This function is responsible for nonfinancial targets, performance indicators, management systems and corporate policies, which anchor our sustainability principles in business operations. Reviewing and revising these regulations and internal audits ensure our management systems are continuously improved and aligned to the respective requirements.

The Corporate Health, Safety and Environment Function is responsible for the areas cited in its title.

Bayer 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 Science / universities / schools
Media Miscellaneous

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 in total were prioritized: climate protection, environmental protection, innovation, business ethics, product stewardship, sustainable food security and access to health care. These fields of activity have been addressed in the new sustainability strategy and incorporated into our new nonfinancial Group targets.

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 plus definition Group targets (set 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 engagement / partnerships
?Dialogue and collaboration with relevant stakeholders at local, national and international level.
See Group Employee 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 staff development
Employee development and expanding position as an attractive employer; includes training and professional development, compensation, employee benefits and recruiting/retaining personnel; creating flexibility with a good work-life balance; ensuring sound diversity.
See Group Employee 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 Group Safety 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 Group Product Stewardship 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 efficient use of natural resources (e.g. water, minerals, agricultural land) and energy; switching to renewables where possible; reducing consumption, especially of valuable and scarce resources.
See Group Resource Efficiency targets
  • 302 Energy
  • 303 Water
  • 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 Group Supplier Management 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
Social commitment
Demonstrating social commitment through investment in social projects, donations and volunteering programs.
  • 413 Local Communities