Core Values

Corporate Responsibility

It is our mission to demonstrate responsible conduct in our business – toward our employees, in society and in our treatment of the environment. This is an essential component of our corporate culture at Bertelsmann.

Strategic Development

Bertelsmann is continuously working on the strategic development of its corporate responsibility (CR) management. This involves Group-wide objectives, interdivisional coordination, collaboration and transparency concerning non-financial data. In 2017, such steps included the adoption of Group-wide environmental objectives. Additionally, within the scope of a CR relevance analysis, over 150 representatives of all relevant external stakeholder groups and internal executives were involved in the assessment of 21 selected CR topics.


In the Bertelsmann Corporate Responsibility Council, headed by the Chief Human Resources Officer, high-ranking representatives from the Group’s operational divisions meet regularly to promote the strategic development of CR at Bertelsmann. At the Group level, the Corporate Responsibility & Diversity Management department coordinates and supports the work of the CR Council as a staff function of the CHRO. Within the decentralized Bertelsmann structure, CR projects and measures are implemented by the individual divisions and companies.

Integrity & Compliance

Bertelsmann has established a comprehensive “Integrity & Compliance” program. Based on the Bertelsmann Essentials, the cornerstone document is the Bertelsmann Code of Conduct, which sets out the commitment to ethical and lawful conduct for all employees. Further guidelines have been issued on key topics, such as anticorruption, antitrust law, foreign trade and business partner compliance. Employees are extensively trained and advised in these areas, and compliance violations are not tolerated. Suspected violations are promptly investigated, and confirmed violations are resolved immediately. The effectiveness of the program is ensured by regular evaluation and risk-oriented adjustments.

Further information on corporate responsibility at Bertelsmann and the Corporate Responsibility Report 2016 is available online at: 

Highlights 2017

be green Day at the Phone Group North Africa (Morocco).

be green Day

Bertelsmann employees at 84 locations in 20 countries took part in the Groupwide “be green Day 2017,” hosting local campaigns to raise awareness for climate and environmental protection – a new record. The day focused on issues such as recycling, new mobility concepts, CO2 reduction and paper.



Participant of an inclusion workshop.

Exemplary Integration of People with Disabilities

Groupe M6 receives the “Prix de l’Innovation RSE 2017” (CSR Innovation Award) in honor of their exemplary integration of employees with disabilities. The award – organized by Cercle Humania – specifically acknowledged the innovative ways in which the company was demonstrating its social responsibility. According to the awarding organization, this applied most notably to Groupe M6’s efforts to raise employee awareness concerning issues faced by colleagues with disabilities.



Penguin Random House UK Publishes First Creative Responsibility Report

Penguin Random House UK publishes its first-ever report, setting out progress made in 2016 toward its 2020 goals across four focus areas: reading, community, inclusion and sustainability. Highlights include removing the need for a university degree from all jobs, donating 89,000 books to charity and sourcing 93 percent of paper from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources. More than 400 employees are involved with the various activities in the reporting period.




Gruner + Jahr welcomes the G20 heads of state with a campaign for freedom of expression and freedom of the press. With four large posters on the front of the publisher’s building and a multilingual social media campaign, the Bertelsmann subsidiary highlights violations of press law and advocated for freedom of media reporting.



Wolfram Kons, presenter of the RTL-Spendenmarathon


During the 22nd RTL-Spendenmarathon – the primary fundraising format of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, which is presented by Wolfram Kons and broadcast November 23–24, 2017 – a total of €9,188,527 is raised for children in need in Germany and throughout the world. The funds will be used to open three new RTL Kinderhäuser (RTL Children's Homes), among other things.



EEF National Awards Ceremony

Prinovis UK Awarded for Its Environmental Achievements

For its efforts to improve its environmental performance, Prinovis UK is awarded gold in the “Environmental Achievement” category at the regional EEF Future Manufacturing Awards. The Bertelsmann Printing Group subsidiary was runnerup in the national contest. The award recognizes manufacturers and supply chain firms that have made an enormous effort to improve their overall environmental performance and to enhance sustainability.



Blood donation at Arvato India as part of the health week.

Health Week in India

To celebrate World Health Day, the Bertelsmann India Investments and Corporate Center, Arvato India, Penguin Random House India, DK India, Fremantle Media India and the production company YoBoHo New Media India jointly organize a health week featuring a broad range of offerings for employees on the themes of fitness, nutrition and wellness. The health week is the first project implemented by the Corporate Responsibility Committee in India. The committee is created in 2017 and includes representatives from each Bertelsmann division in India. Together, they work to implement CR projects across all Indian divisions.

Bertelsmann Essentials

The Bertelsmann Essentials convey the goals and basic values of our company’s employees, executives and shareholders and build on the Corporate Constitution. It is the responsibility of our executives to spread and epitomize these values and to serve as role models. The Bertelsmann Essentials reflect the common understanding of our corporate culture and are subject to constant review, revision and improvement.

Our Mission

Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company. We provide information, entertainment and media services to inspire people’s daily lives. We aspire to make a valuable contribution to society. We strive to be leaders in our markets and achieve returns on capital employed that guarantee growth and continuity of our corporation. Our joint efforts focus on creative content and customer relations. We seek to provide working conditions that are equitable and motivating for our employees. We commit ourselves to ensuring the continuity and ongoing progress of our corporation.

Our Commitment

We expect everyone at Bertelsmann to adhere to this mission and these core values.

Our Core Values


We provide a home for artists, authors and creative talents in all of our fields of business, promoting their creative development and commercial success. We strive for the protection of intellectual property on a worldwide basis. We promote artistic freedom and freedom of thought, the protection of democracy and human rights, and the respect of traditions and cultural values. Consequently, the content we provide reflects a wide range of viewpoints and opinions. Continuous innovation and improvement, guided by customer needs and interests, are the cornerstones of our success.


The principle of decentralization is at the heart of Bertelsmann’s management philosophy. It enables our employees to act with flexibility, responsibility, efficiency and entrepreneurial freedom. Our operating businesses are run by managers who act as entrepreneurs: They enjoy considerable independence and bear full responsibility for the performance of their companies. Our executives act not only in the best interests of their individual businesses, but are also committed to the interests of the Group as a whole.


Our corporate culture is based on a mutually beneficial partnership between our employees and the company. Motivated individuals who identify with the company and its values are the driving force behind quality, efficiency, innovation and growth within our corporation. The hallmarks of our participatory leadership approach are mutual trust and respect as well as the principle of delegation of responsibilities. Our employees enjoy autonomy to the greatest extent possible. They receive comprehensive information and participate in decision making and our financial success. We are committed to the professional development of our employees and seek to provide long-term employment.


The continuity and development of Bertelsmann as an independent entity is ensured by the Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft’s (Bertelsmann Management Company’s) control of the majority of voting rights. In the view of our shareholders, the possession of property creates an obligation to the community. They believe that, in a market economy, a corporation derives its legitimacy from making a valuable contribution to society. The work of the Bertelsmann Stiftung – to which the majority of Bertelsmann shares has been contributed – is also guided by this principle. Our businesses are managed in accordance with the spirit and the letter of the law. They maintain high standards of ethical conduct and act responsibly toward society and the environment.