1. Strategic Analysis and Action

The company declares whether or not it pursues a sustainability strategy. It explains what concrete measures it is undertaking to operate in compliance with key recognised sector-specific, national and international standards.

The Dussmann Group's sustainability policy is in line with the Group's Next Level strategy for the period from 2018 to 2023, as adopted by the company's executive board and board of trustees, and elaborates on the sustainability principles formulated therein. With "Dussmann Next Level", the group describes its strategy and development potential for the period leading up to 2023. The foundation is formed by the shared values integrity, ecological awareness, passion, social responsibility, and fairness. The objectives and measures of our sustainable business practice are oriented towards these values. Our sustainability policy is focused on the impacts of our business activities on society, the environment, and the economy. We examine the accompanying opportunities and risks, as well as their potential influences on the aspects.

Our approach
We see ourselves as problem solvers and co-designers of people’s everyday lives and align ourselves based on people’s needs and requirements. That’s why our employees develop tailored (as well as digital) solutions that result in more than 100 individual services. As a driver of innovation, our work aims at benefiting customers, society, and the environment.

As a multi-service provider with business in 22 countries around the world, we operate in many different fields, industries, and cultures, but our desire and aspiration are always the same: Make the lives of those who use our services easier.

In the development of sustainability goals and measures, economic, environmental and social aspects are given equal consideration, as they are closely interlinked. Central fields of action in our sustainability policy are the promotion of the community, the active participation of employees and the provision of services as a reliable partner for our customers (see Criteria 3).

We have formulated our aspiration for continuous improvement in our sustainability policy. This is part of our integrated management system, and is actively implemented and synchronized with environmental, energy, industrial safety and quality management standards and norms. A review of the sustainability aspects also takes place – not least within the scope of our ISO certifications.

2. Materiality

The company discloses the aspects of its business operations that have a significant impact on sustainability issues and what material impact sustainability issues have on its operations. It analyses the positive and negative effects and provides information as to how these insights are integrated into the company’s processes.

With its services and products, the Dussmann Group makes an impact on the lives and work of people in society and the economy. The business environment is notably characterized by the heterogeneity of the markets in which we operate, the infrastructures, customers and customer needs, as well as the respective market volumes. The ecological and social particularities may differ correspondingly significantly depending on the respective company division and international subsidiary.

Our stakeholders
Our most important stakeholders are employees, potential employees, owners/shareholders and applicants, as well as customers, suppliers, management, subcontractors, purchasers, end consumers, as well as employee representatives and associations. Add to that the representatives of cities and municipalities, supervisory authorities, scientific institutions, banks, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and the media.

Material aspects of business operations
As part of a materiality analysis, sustainability aspects from both the company perspective and the perspective of the internal and external stakeholders were evaluated. The scope of the review covered operating activities, as well as goods and services. This evaluation forms the foundation of the Dussmann Group’s sustainability policy, the formulation of the objectives, and the derivation of measures. Through the integrated management system (IMS), we ensure an efficient implementation and promote continuous development.

The process
At the beginning of our materiality analysis was an internal inventory of the relevant aspects. These were examined within the scope of different workshops with regard to their social, environmental, and economic impacts on the business operations of the Dussmann Group and the individual international subsidiaries. In the process, the heads of the different company divisions were incorporated in order to reproduce the heterogeneous effects within the group.

Subsequently, the results were collated with the set areas of competitors and industry associations (among others, National Association of Contract Cleaners (BIV), National Association of the Security Industry (BDSW), German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA), German Association for Care Professions (DBfK), and Deutscher Verband für Facility Management e.V. (GEFMA) (German Facility Management Association)). The company’s publicly available sustainability and responsibility reports and materiality analyses served as the reference base.

In a third step, the determined aspects were then reflected, calibrated, and supplemented in qualitative interviews with select key stakeholders.

Material aspects
The market research and analysis of our business operations resulted in a list of different topics that were evaluated with regard to the impacts of business operations on sustainability aspects:

  • Service and product quality (integrity, value maintenance)
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Service and product innovation
  • Fair competition
  • Anti-corruption and compliance
  • Extent of self-delivery
To us, the quality of our products and services as well as innovative strength are the primary economic sustainability aspects. These create added value for our customers and generate a high degree of customer satisfaction. In addition, compliance and the prevention of corruption are important to both internal and external stakeholders.

In the materiality analysis, the quality of our services is broken down into value maintenance and integrity. For example, we pay attention to environmentally friendly and material-conserving products when cleaning buildings. In doing so, we contribute towards the value preservation of the building. In caring for the elderly and childcare, human integrity plays an essential role. In all areas, we strive for reliably high quality, as well as continuous development to provide a greater benefit to customers. By continuing to take on even more of our customers’ secondary work, which is beyond their core processes, we tap into additional growth and employment potential and enable our customers to increase their value contribution by concentrating on their core business.

We ensure strict adherence to all the relevant laws, guidelines, norms, and requirements of our internal and external stakeholders. Every employee is responsible for ensuring his or her actions are always consistent with these binding obligations. For this purpose, we regularly offer mandatory training courses and set up a trust center for whistleblowers. We formulated the Dussmann Group’s ethical values in the Code of Conduct. These include fair competition, as well as respect and confidentiality in dealing with our business partners. We support our employees in the handling of ethical questions and also lead an open dialog with regard to penalties in the event of violations against ethical principles. We also make adherence to the guidelines mandatory for subcontractors and suppliers.

  • Employee satisfaction (employee loyalty and recruitment, job security, fair pay, working conditions)
  • Education and training
  • Occupational health and safety 
  • Human rights
  • Diversity and anti-discrimination
  • Social engagement
  • Data protection
Employee concerns and employee satisfaction are of high priority for the Dussmann Group companies and their stakeholders, especially the sustainability aspects fair compensation, good working conditions, occupational health and safety, education and training as well as employee loyalty and recruitment. We are convinced that employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and a high degree of product and service quality are only possible in mutual cooperation. Laying the foundation so that our employees can utilize and develop their potential in the best possible way is therefore a significant responsibility of our company's business activities.

In addition, data protection is essential to us and our stakeholders. We place great value on the protection and security of our customers’ and employees’ personal data. The same applies to dealing with business data from customers or third parties, for example, in the course of the rendering of services.

  • CO2 emissions
  • Use of materials
  • Resource consumption (plastics, chemicals, water)
  • Waste management and recycling
  • Energy consumption
  • Supply chain management
  • Climate change adaptation
In environmental terms, we focus our operational activities on minimizing the consumption of resources and using environmentally friendly products and work equipment. This applies both to our own equipment as well as to the resources of our customers. Our consumption primarily includes plastics, chemicals, water, energy and food. We strive to continuously reduce our material and resource consumption. For this reason, we pay special attention to the sensitive handling of raw materials and actively press ahead with environmentally friendly as well as resource and energy-efficient innovations. In this way, we support our objective of reducing the amount of waste. This primarily consists of packaging material and consumables.

Environmental aspects are assessed from the customer's perspective as less significant with a view to the impacts of business activities compared to economic and social aspects (see Criteria 9 for a detailed review of the stakeholders). In the view of the Dussmann Group, the sustainability aspects of the three dimensions – economic, social, and environmental – are on an equal footing and not in competition with one another. Within the context of this declaration, the specified sustainability aspects are allocated to one of the categories in their strongest form but have impacts on several dimensions in a reciprocal interplay.

The impacts of business operations – opportunities and risks
The Dussmann Group’s business operations are associated with economic, social, and environmental opportunities and risks.

An economic opportunity can be found in our portfolio diversity (that is independent of economic conditions) and in our stable and independent financial structure, as it enables us to strengthen our portfolio with investments and targeted strategic acquisitions without undertaking any financial risks that could have adverse effects on the company. An economic risk is the acquisition of sufficiently qualified workers and specialists who we need to fulfill our value proposition to our customers.

With over 64,450 employees, in many of the regions in which we operate, we are one of the largest employers. This results in our societal influence and special responsibility to create stable and quality employment relationships in developing markets. We are always aware of this responsibility. Enabling people, even those with relatively few qualifications, to begin or continue their professional lives and to provide them with long-term and fairly compensated employment relationships consequently represents a significant opportunity with which we promote a cohesive society.

With the expansion of the extent of self-delivery, we create new jobs and secure existing ones. The key element here is the qualification of employees.

The automation of process steps offers the companies of the Dussmann Group the opportunity to open up new markets. This prevents the potential risk of jobs being relocated. In times of a worsening shortage of labor and skilled workers, the use of new technologies helps to ensure the provision of services in principle. In addition, new job profiles are developing. The new technology must be monitored and tended to, and education and training continue to grow in importance. We can lighten the load on our employees through the use of robotics during individual work steps of heavy or monotonous work, which in turn ensures better job security and efficiency (e.g. through autonomously run cleaning machines).

Environmentally speaking, burdens arise, especially in resource consumption, the application of the products used (use of chemicals, plastic consumption, water consumption), as well as energy management. Risks arise from the fact that certain services in the supply chain are rendered by third parties, especially by subcontractors. The review of quality standards throughout the entire supply chain is of special importance, as well as a great challenge. At the same time, there is great potential to reduce environmental impacts through the application of environmentally friendly products (e.g. through DS internal products) and work equipment (e.g. precise dosing systems), as well as efficiency in the use of energy and materials – with regard to our own equipment and especially with a view to the resources of our customers.

Climate change calls for adaptation, both on the part of companies and individual people. First and foremost, the impact of businesses’ and private parties’ activities on the environment must be minimized.
Our aspiration is to minimize negative environmental impacts along our supply chain: In the rendering of our cleaning services for instance, we pay special attention to biodegradable and highly concentrated products, as well as to the regional proximity to our wholesale partners.

Second, climate change influences our everyday lives. The Dussmann Group aims to provide efficient support to people and companies. In addition to strategic relevance, this also provides the company with opportunities for business development. We see potential in supporting and continuously optimizing the entire life cycle of a building and its technology with innovative, technical solutions.

In all of its business activities, the Dussmann Group works on resource efficient services and product innovations that improve living and working conditions for customers and employees in all company divisions.

3. Objectives

The company discloses what qualitative and/or quantitative as well as temporally defined sustainability goals have been set and operationalised and how their level of achievement is monitored.

Preliminary remark: The Dussmann Group continues to align itself internationally. The markets of the individual international subsidiaries, however, exhibit great differences with respect to market development, market structure, customer needs, and employee potential. The primary sustainability aspects should therefore not only be understood as safeguards and a compass for all associated companies of the Dussmann Group but, most of all, as an approach for sustainable development, especially with regard to the fulfillment of customer demands. The individual Dussmann Group companies operationalize the objectives for their areas of activity in such a way that allows them to generate the maximum benefits in the markets they serve and to pursue the stipulated Dussmann Group development trajectory.

Some of the Dussmann Group's national companies are still small in size and have limited turnover. The development of management structures for the management of environmental and social performance indicators takes place in these countries in sync with the business growth and consequently also corresponds with the significance of the effects and the adequacy of the effort required for data management. It is our intention to reduce the "white spots" in our sustainability management step by step and always in balance with economic considerations.

Our goal for 2020 and the following years is to define and develop precise performance indicators.

Implementation strategy
Due to the described heterogeneity of the markets and customers and an inconsistent basis of data, up to now, no consolidated sustainability objectives have existed at the Group level. Developing and implementing these is the primary objective looking forward to the next reporting year. In a first step, a set of sustainability indicators will be defined in 2020 and then evaluated with regard to their relevance. For the next years, starting in the 2020 reporting year, the Dussmann Group plans to collect the relevant data in a complete and exhaustive manner and to construct an appropriate database structure.

This is a basic prerequisite for authoritative sustainability management and reporting by the Dussmann Group. Here, the use of a centralized software solution for the acquisition and 
consolidation of sustainability indicators is essential. In this way, the interlocking of the developed target parameters should follow with the integrated management system (quality, environment and energy, job security and health protection).

Here, the sustainable development goals of the United Nations (SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals) serve as the guiding framework. The Agenda 2030 for sustainable development was developed with broad participation around the world and adopted in 2015 at a United Nations summit by all member states. The centerpiece of the agenda is an ambitious catalog of 17 objectives for sustainable development that take into equal account all three dimensions of sustainability – economy, social and environmental issues. It is our intention, to make a positive contribution towards the implementation of the SDGs through our values and target figures.

Sustainability and guidance values

It is our declared objective to become next-level service partners to our customers. In an economic sense, "next level" means increasing value creation, making meaningful additions to our service portfolio, and tapping into new market segments. Dussmann Service therefore wants to develop itself from a multi-service provider into a "solution provider" capable of providing integrated solutions.

As a family enterprise, we have the opportunity to align our strategies for the long term and are not forced to pursue short-term profit maximization. This makes it easier for us to implement the economic, social, and environmental requirements on our company in a balanced manner.

The social values at the Dussmann Group are centered around the promotion of community, social cohesion, and participation.

As a large employer with a societal influence, we have a special responsibility towards our employees. We enable many people of different ages and a wide array of qualifications to begin or continue their professional lives and strive for their continued education. In addition, our German company alone employs staff from more than 100 nations.

We strive to be a first-class employer that recognizes the potential of its employees and management and that develops their skills and competencies in a targeted manner. In this way, we hope to contribute towards the attainment of SDG 8 "Humane work and economic growth," which aims at protecting labor laws and safe working conditions, humane employment, as well as higher economic productivity through diversification and technological modernization and innovation.

Our social responsibility includes respect towards different religions and cultures, as well as the exclusion of discrimination in any form. Also part of our sustainability policy is the promotion of cultural education of children and adolescents. The Dussmann Group operates bilingual daycare centers with a special cultural pedagogical approach.

Our understanding of the social sustainability dimension includes, for example, the Bücher Box initiative, in which books are donated to the children’s ward in hospitals, as well as facilities for sick children. The support of young musicians is a key interest of the Dussmann Group. As a symbol of this commitment, every year the Dussmann Music Competition takes place with the students of Musikgymnasium Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in Berlin. In line with SDG 4 "Quality Education," we support educational institutions that are suitable for children, the handicapped, and all genders and that offer a safe, inclusive, and effective learning environment.

Through the development of supportive automation (e.g. autonomously driving cleaning robots), we are able to create attractive working conditions. Through the qualification and training of our employees, we want to carefully design the transition to changing demands and minimize negative effects (also see Criteria 2).

The following makes up our environmental approach: We act sustainably within the scope of our internal processes, as well as in the rendering of services for our customers. We focus on the minimization of resource consumption and pay special attention to the use of environmentally friendly products, as well as the reduction of packaging materials. This applies both to our own equipment and the resources of our customers. Our consumption primarily includes plastics, chemicals, water, energy and foodstuffs. We pay special attention to the sensitive handling of raw materials and actively press ahead with environmentally friendly as well as resource and energy-efficient innovations. We strive to promote product developments and concepts for cooperation that are compatible with our environmental (and social) values and objectives.

Our services (especially our facility services) have a large positive impact, as an example, with a view to resource-saving cleaning procedures, energy-saving building technology, and overall sustainable facility management. During the reporting period, we made a contribution towards the development and implementation of autonomous floor cleaning by completing two successful projects (e.g. a modular system for costefficient, modular cleaning robots and cleaning robot "Sparky" from Adlatus Robotics) and are actively involved in shaping this future.

We want to achieve environmental savings potential with efficient services and innovative offerings. With a view to consumption within our own business operations, we see promising potential in improved waste management. To this end, we joined the "United Against Waste" initiative to promote the responsible use of food.

It is difficult to review and control the sustainability criteria and quality standards at the links of our supply chain where services are rendered by third parties (especially by subcontractors). This is especially crucial because (by law) we are a food company. Our aspiration is also to minimize negative environmental impacts along our supply chain and to assert quality standards. Therefore, with the conclusion of a contract, we oblige our business partners and suppliers to adhere to environmental standards.

We maintain a cooperative relationship with our suppliers and service providers. The selection process is a social issue and, if possible, each process is attended to centrally by the purchasing department, which merges the requirements of the departments (also see Criteria 4).

4. Depth of the Value Chain

The company states what significance aspects of sustainability have for added value and how deep in the value chain the sustainability criteria are verified.

The depth of the value chain and the possibilities for checking and influencing sustainability criteria differ greatly between the Dussmann Group's very heterogeneous business areas (see "General Information" and Criteria 2). 

We strive to ensure the development, production and delivery of all our products, including food, according to our customers' requirements. Due to the diversity of our services, it is not possible to map a uniform value chain.  

In the catering sector, for example, the procurement of food, storage, production, on-site service, cleaning and disposal are the relevant stages of the value chain. The procurement of food from fair and sustainable sources, as well as the reduction of food use and avoidance of waste are of particular importance (the measures are described in more detail in Criteria 10).  

The difficulties of our heterogeneity for the definition of goals, their operationalization - and derived from this also for the audit in the value chain - are described under Criteria 3. In all service areas where we deal with people, we realize a high level of in-house performance in order to be able to offer our services in the highest quality.

Wherever possible for us, we offer services from a single source; in many areas, we are our own service providers (e.g. with Dussmann Service for Kursana).

Potential environmental and social issues that may arise in the context of supply chain management are described in Criteria 2.

Supplier management

For our core business, we check sustainability criteria as part of the supplier selection process. This is done, for example, within the countries included in the group certification (Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, UAE, Vietnam), through regional framework partner agreements, supplier self-assessments, sustainability questionnaires and our current Code of Conduct.
We maintain a close cooperation with several manufacturers in which we exchange product requirements, test prototypes, and provide feedback on product and service ideas (e.g. in the area of personal protective equipment (PPE)).

We selectively enter into additional development partnerships with select producers, such as in the area of cleaning procedures.The vast majority of our sales are achieved in Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and Austria, in which we concentrate on consistently establishing and developing occupational safety, quality, and environmental standards. Our goal is to also implement these standards successively in our business activities in developing markets.

In cooperation with our customers, we prioritize relevant sustainability aspects along the value chain and develop and advance them in line with their needs.

Key Performance Indicators to criteria 1 to 4