Assessing materiality

In 2014, we reassessed non-financial drivers that may have a material direct or indirect impact on Deutsche Bank’s ability to create, preserve or reduce economic, environmental and social value for itself, its stakeholders and society. We used the guidance of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 standard to evaluate non-financial topics relevant to Deutsche Bank.

We began with extensive desk research, including a review of the research published by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), which identifies material issues for the financial sector and is based on a detailed stakeholder dialog. In addition, we reviewed peers’ practices and researched perspectives from stakeholder groups including investors, clients, employees, regulators, academia, the media and NGOs.

Material ESG topics for Deutsche Bank
Material ESG topics for Deutsche Bank (graphics)


material fields identified through formal materiality assessment

This research fed into an internal prioritization workshop which identified 27 topics that are material to Deutsche Bank and its stakeholders, grouped in eleven areas. To validate the results, a survey was issued to more than 270 employees, of which 64 employees (response rate 25 %) across the business and infrastructure functions, covering all regions and corporate levels, rated the perceived impact of each topic on our financial performance, client relations, and reputation. We also asked whether they believed the topic would increase or decrease in importance over the next five years.

The scope of our assessment covered the activities of all of Deutsche Bank’s business units and infrastructure functions on an international scale, taking a broad view of our impacts. We assessed the impacts with regard to the boundaries within and outside Deutsche Bank. Depending on the ESG topic, our business and infrastructure units and their stakeholders are impacted in different ways. In the case of asset management and corporate banking, our impacts occur through the companies in which we invest and the locations where our corporate clients operate. For retail banking, the main impacts of our operations are on our clients. Our corporate citizenship activities affect the communities in which we operate.

Our Corporate Responsibility (CR) reporting focuses on the priority areas identified. It is part of our annual corporate reporting, including Deutsche Bank’s Annual Review and Financial Report as well as Human Resources Report.

In 2015, we will continue the materiality process by seeking external validation, using a survey as well as feedback on this report. Not all material topics are yet addressed to their fullest extent. However, we strive continuously towards improvement. We invite all stakeholders to delve deeper into their areas of interest, using additional information provided online or in our other corporate reports.

Reporting transparently

This is our 13th CR Report, providing insights on developments from January to December 2014. The next report will be published in March 2016.

This report has been compiled in accordance with the core option of the GRI G4 guidelines. A summary GRI index is provided in this report and the full index is part of our online CR report (see GRI index). This report also serves as our Communication on Progress for the UN Global Compact.

We operate a sustainability management system, based on ISO 14001, which generates information for this report. This was audited in 2014 to meet the requirements of the 2012 to 2015 cycle for recertification. The system for data generation and aggregation of our greenhouse gas emissions figures is subject to additional external assurance. (See Independent Assurance Statement)

As well as reporting on our corporate responsibility performance annually, we strive for transparency throughout the year by providing information to several sustainability ratings organizations. (See Selected financial and non-financial figures) Our corporate responsibility website and regional publications also provide additional information as well as regular updates.