Corporate Governance Practices
Beiersdorf AG and the Group (Consumer and tesa Business Segments) pursue the following key corporate governance practices:
Good corporate management and supervision (corporate governance) has always been a high priority at Beiersdorf. Close, efficient cooperation between the Executive and Supervisory Boards, respect for the interests of shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders, open corporate communication, proper accounting and auditing, compliance with statutory provisions and corporate guidelines, and responsible risk management are the basis of the company’s success in this area. Beiersdorf is also aware of its social and environmental responsibility and ensures that its business strategy, sustainability agenda, and operational decisions take this into account.
The German Corporate Governance Code (the Code) ensures transparency with respect to the legal framework for corporate management and supervision and contains accepted standards for good, responsible, and sustainable corporate management. The Code and its amendments/redrafting did not require any fundamental changes at Beiersdorf. We understand corporate governance as an ongoing process and we will continuously and carefully develop this understanding, above and beyond the Code as well. We give consideration to comments, suggestions, and criticism from investors and proxy advisors and make changes where appropriate to corporate governance and its reporting in this Corporate Governance Statement.
For Beiersdorf AG and the Beiersdorf Group (including tesa), compliance with the law and internal guidelines is an essential prerequisite for successful and sustainable business. The Executive Boards of Beiersdorf AG and tesa SE have issued compliance principles, which can be found at www.beiersdorf.com/investors/compliance/compliance-principles and www.tesa.com/en/about-tesa/sustainability. Based on our compliance risk analyses, extensive antitrust, anti-corruption, data-protection, and capital market law compliance programs have been implemented among other measures in order to safeguard compliance. Numerous internal guidelines and processes for preventing legal violations in these areas in particular have been issued. Employees and managers receive awareness-raising information and support on these topics through regular training and a wide variety of advisory offerings.
Indications of potential compliance violations are followed up consistently. Appropriate measures are taken to prevent and sanction wrongdoing, taking into account the principle of proportionality. In order to gather information about potential compliance violations, Beiersdorf provides the workforce with a number of reporting channels. In most countries, these also include a whistleblowing platform for the Consumer Business Segment, which is operated by an independent organization. tesa uses internal and external reporting channels for this purpose and implemented a digital whistleblowing platform in the reporting period. The Compliance functions at Beiersdorf and tesa use a range of tools – not least Group-wide reporting – to support the Executive Board and managers in the continuous control, monitoring, and development of the compliance management system and safeguarding of general compliance.
Further, more detailed information on the compliance management system can be found in this Annual Report in the Non-financial Statement of the Beiersdorf Group (Consumer and tesa Business Segments) and Beiersdorf AG in accordance with §§ 289b (3) HGB in conjunction with 315b (1) and (3) HGB (CSR report).
Code of Conduct
The success of Beiersdorf AG and the Beiersdorf Group (including tesa) is based on the trust placed in us by consumers, customers, investors, and employees. That is why high standards are set when it comes to responsibility – both for the company and for each individual. Beiersdorf’s Codes of Conduct lay down these standards in a binding set of guidelines that are to be used worldwide. The objectives are to help all employees implement the key principles and values of our company in their everyday working life and to show them how to handle potential issues or difficult situations that affect our business practices or our dealings with each other.
The Beiersdorf and tesa Codes of Conduct are available online at www.beiersdorf.com/investors/corporate-governance/code-of-conduct and www.tesa.com/en/about-tesa/sustainability/sustainability-report.
Sustainable corporate governance involves minimizing social and environmental risks and leveraging new market opportunities in such a way that value is generated for the company and negative social and environmental impacts are avoided. Beiersdorf was early to recognize the importance of responsible action and has continuously worked to improve its sustainability.
Sustainability is today a core component of Beiersdorf’s C.A.R.E.+ business strategy. As part of the strategy, the Consumer Business Segment has been pursuing the CARE BEYOND SKIN sustainability agenda since 2020. This is oriented on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and comprises seven focus fields that illustrate our key areas of impact along the entire value chain. We have set ambitious targets in all these areas for 2025 and 2030. Reflecting the strategic importance of this issue, we further reinforced the role of the Sustainability department within our corporate structure starting from August 2022 by having its head, the VP Sustainability, report directly to the CEO. In the reporting year, we continued to successfully implement our sustainability agenda and also actively increased the awareness of sustainability among all employees, for example with our engagement and training program – the Corporate Sustainability Academy – and other initiatives and events.
The tesa Business Segment is taking responsibility all along the value chain with its own sustainability agenda. The existing sustainability strategy was revised and made more ambitious in the reporting year. Five strategic action areas, for which tesa has set long-term targets for 2030, form the framework for this. One component of the strategy remains the sustainability agenda, which was also slightly adjusted in 2022 and reflects the ambition to understand and approach sustainability in a holistic way.
The tesa and Consumer Business Segments committed to a joint climate target in 2020. This is in line with science-based reduction targets designed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and has been validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative.
Since the entry into force of the CSR-Richtlinie-Umsetzungsgesetz (CSR Directive Implementation Act, CSR-RUG), we have been required to supplement our existing financial reporting with information on key non-financial aspects of our business activities in relation to environmental, employment, and social issues, respect for human rights, and combating corruption. This information can be found in this Annual Report in the combined Non-financial Statement of the Beiersdorf Group (Consumer and tesa Business Segments) and Beiersdorf AG in accordance with §§ 289b (3) HGB in conjunction with 315b (1) and (3) HGB (CSR report).
Human Resources Policies
Beiersdorf’s success hinges to a large extent on the hard work, skills, and commitment of its employees. More than 20,000 people all around the world contribute to this success every day by putting their specialist expertise, commitment, and ideas into practice in their field. In doing so, they act as an important stimulus for improvements and innovations.
At Beiersdorf, viable and robust human resources work with a long-term focus is based on both the C.A.R.E.+ strategy, which highlights people as a critical factor for ensuring the sustained success of the company, and on our Core Values. All of Beiersdorf’s human resources decisions are guided by the Core Values, which are shared by all employees across hierarchies, functions, and countries.
In this context, Beiersdorf aims to promote a working environment where employees can be deployed and continually developed to make the best possible use of their skills and potential. Beiersdorf expects managers to motivate their employees to achieve top performances. Instilling excellent leadership skills in the management team is key to this. This encourages employee commitment and helps Beiersdorf establish itself as one of the most attractive employers in the consumer goods industry.
tesa is an expert for adhesive technology, offering its customers innovative solutions and outstanding service. The company’s success is materially attributable to the skills of its employees and their willingness to continuously develop them further. Qualified employees who contribute actively to helping us extend our position as one of the leading companies in adhesive technology are the key to the successful implementation of our business strategy. This is why our human resources strategy is oriented toward winning and retaining well-trained, committed employees for our company and continually increasing our great attractiveness as an employer through appropriate measures. Beyond this, it is tesa’s express aim to promote a corporate culture that strengthens performance, teamwork, cross-functional cooperation, and internationalization.
More detailed information can be found in the “People at Beiersdorf” section of this Annual Report.
Risk management at Beiersdorf AG and the Beiersdorf Group is an integral part of central and local planning, management, and control processes, and conforms to consistent standards across the Group. Our open communications policy, the risk inventory carried out at regular intervals, and the planning and management system ensure that our risk situation is presented transparently.
Further information can be found in the “Risk Report” section of this Annual Report and in the Annual Report of tesa SE.