Sustainability management

The great importance that sustainability, the environment and climate-related topics have at DB Group is reflected not only in our anchoring in the Strong Rail strategy but also in our sustainability organization. The Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) is responsible for the issues of sustainability and the environment – and therefore also for climate-related opportunities and risks. The role is exercised by the Chairman of the Management Board of DB AG. Overarching coordination is the responsibility of the Sustainability and Environment organizational unit with its five specialist departments in the division of the Chairman of the Management Board. The Sustainability and Environment unit designs DB Group’s Green Transformation and ensures its implementation. In particular, it is responsible for defining the integrated sustainability and environmental strategy, the associated Groupwide targets and key figures, and for planning, managing and implementing Group-wide transformation projects. The respective specialist departments in the unit are responsible for the content of specific sustainability issues. The development of further environment monitoring tools, our involvement in sustainability networks and our participation in national and international committees ensure that trends and drivers, as well as opportunities and risks in the field of sustainability and the environment, including climate protection and climate resilience management, are monitored and are strategically and professionally addressed for DB Group. This ensures Group-wide access to expertise on sustainability and environmental and climate issues.

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Sustainability reporting

The 2021 Integrated Report refers to the year under review, this being calendar year 2021. For the purpose of comparison, most of the key figures are also presented for 2020 and 2019. The Integrated Report is published on an annual basis. The 2021 Integrated Report was published on March 31, 2022 (2020 Integrated Report: March 25, 2021). The Integrated Report addresses the material stake­holder ­groups of Deutsche Bahn Group (DB Group). The reporting covers all material economic, social and environmental aspects. All fully consolidated DB Group companies are included in the reporting. Deviations from this reporting scope are noted as such.

The data collection methods and bases of calculation used for the data in the Integrated Report are based on the relevant standards:

  • The Integrated Report was prepared in accordance with the core option of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards. Content regarding general and specific standard information is referenced in the GRI index.
  • At the same time, the information also serves as a communication on progress regarding the implementation of the UN Global Compact's Ten Principles.
  • Moreover, DB Group follows the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) on the reporting of climate-related information. The TCFD index lists references to the relevant passages in the Integrated Report.

Material contents, indicators and passages of text were audited by an independent third party, PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft (PwC), with limited assurance.

Selection of sustainability topics

Through our Strong Rail strategy, we have set the schedule for DB Group for the coming years. It forms the super­ordinate framework for our reporting.

We are also reliant on the support and acceptance of our stakeholders in order to successfully implement the Strong Rail strategy. In 2019, as part of the comprehensive materiality analysis (2019 Integrated Report), we therefore asked them for an assessment of 16 important areas of action for sustainability. These 16 areas of action reflect the focus points of our strategy and supplement them with other topics that our stakeholders deem relevant. In 2021, we verified whether our set of material topics remain the same for our stakeholders and so surveyed representatives of our stakeholder groups as part of a validation process. The executives of DB Group’s Sustainability unit were also informed of the survey results. The results show that our set of relevant sustainability topics continues to apply. Our sustainability topics are made up of:

  • the material topics under the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI),
  • an internal materiality assessment (additional topics), and
  • our comprehensive transparency aspiration towards our stakeholders (topics from the transparency aspiration).

TCFD recommendations

In 2021, we expanded our reporting for the first time by including the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The initiative, launched by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) following the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement, has drafted a cross-industry, international framework for the disclosure of climate-related risks and opportunities. Its purpose is to in­crease awareness of the financial impacts of climate change in order to guide investments in sustainable solutions and business models. The TCFD promotes the disclosure by businesses of information on climate-related opportunities and risks. It requires companies to account for how they are structured in the areas of governance, strategy, risk management through the use of metrics and targets in order to take advantage of significant climate-related oppor­­tuni­ties and to reduce climate-related risks. In doing so, companies are required to take into account not only how their business activities affect climate change, but also how climate change is affecting companies. A content summary can be found in the TCFD index.

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Sustainable Development Goals

We are committed to meet the objectives of the 2030 Agen­­da and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. We have identified five focus SDGs that most closely match our strategic focus points and material topics:

  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • SDG 13: Climate action

The set of material topics in 2021 has been validated and the resulting five focus SDGs continue to apply.

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