Deutsche Bank – Responsibility

Dialog with our stakeholder groups

Following the economic and financial crisis, the relationship between society and the banking industry is tense. Research placed the financial sector behind all others for the second consecutive year on being trusted “to do what is right”. As a leading member of the financial services industry, Deutsche Bank has faced its share of public concern – particularly in our home market, Germany.

We are aware that the expectations and interests of shareholders, clients, employees and the general public are sometime in conflict and we must resolve differing stakeholder expectations fairly. Where that proves impossible, we discuss the reasons openly and transparently and accept public criticism.

We attach importance to a fair and open exchange with all of our company’s stakeholder groups. We want to understand their particular expectations of us and explain our position to them to win their acceptance of our actions.

For this reason, we carry on a regular dialog with our stakeholder groups. In addition to the usual exchanges with shareholders at our annual general meeting, we communicate with stakeholder groups in four ways:

  • We plan and organize events on sustainability themes.
  • We participate in sustainability initiatives and take part in forums and events organized by others.
  • We aim to engage constructively and consistently with policymakers and regulators internationally and nationally.
  • We engage in an active dialog with our competitors on sensitive issues and support various initiatives relating to themes such as human rights and nuclear energy.
  • Our materiality analysis helps ensure that our approach to sustainability is in line with the expectations of our stakeholders.

We are currently reviewing our approach to engagement and are developing a more systematic process that will capture the wide range of stakeholder views and allow us to build a clearer picture of the key issues and voices.


“There is a huge discrepancy between what people expect of banks and how banks are perceived. We have to get out of our towers and engage in dialog with all our stakeholders on an equal footing.”

Rainer Neske Member of the Management Board of Deutsche Bank, at the International Bankers Forum in Frankfurt on February 26th, 2013.

Dialog with policy makers and regulatory authorities

Deutsche Bank aims to engage constructively and consistently with policymakers and regulators internationally and nationally in order to help secure competitive and sustainable financial markets.

Our Global Regulatory Policy team aims to be a trusted voice and thought leader in policy debates globally. It ensures the bank is informed and active in all significant national, international and global efforts to strengthen the financial regulatory framework.

We engage directly with issues of cross-border significance, such as standards issued by global bodies such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), the Financial Stability Board or the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). As around 70% of all financial market laws and regulations in Europe originate in Brussels, we also engage directly with the institutions of the European Union, together with the Deutsche Bank EU Representation. The Deutsche Bank EU Representation monitors political and regulatory developments and feeds the expertise of Deutsche Bank into the EU decision-making process.

The Regulatory Contact Office (RCO), based in Frankfurt, assists Deutsche Bank’s communication with home and host supervisors. It‘s main focus is on the three most important supervisory authorities: the German Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (Bafin), the New York Federal Reserve and the UK Financial Services Authority.

DB also engages with political and regulatory developments through senior level representation in international trade associations and professional bodies. We also provide expertise at industry conferences to communicate our positions to a wide range of regulatory and political audiences.

In 2012, we continued to provide analysis and support to EU, US, Asian and other regulators in their work implementing the G20 reforms, such as the Basel III framework to improve bank capital and liquidity and central clearing and reporting of OTC derivatives. DB has provided input to the FSB, BCBS and IOSCO on their work to improve the oversight and regulation of shadow banking, to promote consistent approaches to bank recovery and resolution planning, and set global minimum standards for margining practices for non-cleared derivatives.

In 2013, Deutsche Bank provided input to a global initiative to update the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expire in 2015. These goals aim to improve social and economic conditions in the world’s poorest countries. Incorporating environmental protection goals is also a focus for this work. The UN High level panel published its report containing recommendations to the Secretary-General. The report recommended 12 new global goals and indicators such as:

  • Ending poverty
  • Empower Girls and Women and Achieve Gender Equality
  • Achieve Universal Access to Water and Sanitation
  • Secure sustainable energy
  • Create a Global Enabling Environment and Catalyse Long-Term Finance

Our memberships: together with our partners for a sustainable development

The banking sector alone is not in a position to drive the transition towards a more sustainable economy and society. Progress needs to be supported by industry, government and society at large. Through our memberships and regular exchange with industry and trade bodies, think tanks, NGOs, as well as charitable associations, we are making a contribution towards sustainable development.

Building on our expert knowledge, we seek to identify, stimulate, and actively support measures to which counteract climate change and support sustainable growth. We also use our memberships to engage with partners who are specialists in their fields to develop our thinking and to make sure we are following expert advice when evolving our strategy and activities.

Banking Environment Initiative (BEI)


The BEI was convened in 2010 to identify ways in which banks can collectively redirect capital away from environmentally damaging activities towards environmentally beneficial ones, including sustainable, low carbon growth.

since 2010

German Environmental Management Association (B.A.U.M.) e. V.


Environmental initiative of the German business sector; Deutsche Bank received the B.A.U.M. Environmental Award in 2003.
more (in German)

since 1988

Climate Markets and Investment Association (CMIA)


The Climate Markets & Investment Association (CMIA) is an international trade association representing firms that finance, invest in, and provide enabling support to activities that reduce emissions. CMIA's membership accounted for 75 per cent of the global carbon market in 2010, valued at approximately US-Dollar 120 billion.

since 2012

dena – German Energy Agency


An institution of the German federal government and a leading financial services provider for the promotion of energy efficiency and renewable energies.

since 2001

German Sustainable Building Council


Established in 2007 to promote sustainable construction, it comprises over 900 organizations in the construction and real estate sectors.

since 2007

Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag e. V.


Lobby of the German business sector operating among decision makers in local, state, and federal politics, and in European institutions.
more (in German)

since 1997

econsense – Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business e. V.


Initiative of leading German companies and organizations to pursue a sustainability oriented corporate strategy.

since 2000

Forum für Zukunftsenergien e. V.


Forum promoting safe, cost-effective, and resource-friendly energy supplies.
more (in German)

since 2000

Global Reporting Initiative


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a network-based non governmental organization that aims to drive sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting. GRI produces the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework to enable this drive towards greater transparency. The framework, incorporating the ‘G3 Guidelines’, sets out the principles and indicators that orga¬nizations can use to measure and report their economic, environmental, and social performance. GRI is committed to continuously improving and increasing the use of the Guidelines, which are freely available to the public.

since 2002

International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)


The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) is a nonprofit business organization created in June 1999 to establish a functional international framework for trading in greenhouse gas emission reductions. Our membership includes leading international companies from across the carbon trading cycle. IETA members seek to develop an emissions trading regime that results in real and verifiable greenhouse gas emission reductions, while balancing economic efficiency with environmental integrity and social equity.

since 2012

Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR)


Network of investors and credit institutions aimed at promoting an understanding of loan risks and investment opportunities against the background of climate change.

since 2008

Principles for Responsible Investment


Principles for Responsible Investment, an investor-led initiative convened by UNEP FI and the UN Global Compact, was established to help investors achieve better long-term investment returns and sustainable markets through improved analysis of environmental, social and governance issues. The Initiative has over 870 signatories from 45 countries with more than US-Dollar 25 trillion of assets under management.

since 2008

Sustainable Business Institute, Plattform


Non-profit organization with ties to universities, with the aim of spreading the concept of sustainability in business and public life.

since 2003

UNEP Finance Initiative


Partnership between UNEP (UN Environment Programme) and the finance sector; specialist working groups on asset management, climate change, environmental management, and reporting.

since 1992

UN Global Compact


Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies around the world to align their strategies and operations with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of broader UN goals. Through the development, implementation, and disclosure of responsible corporate policies and practices, business can help ensure that markets advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere. With more than 6,000 corporate signatories in over 135 countries, it is the world’s largest corporate responsibility initiative.

since 2000

Verein für Umweltmanagement in Banken, Sparkassen und Versicherungen e. V.


Forum in which financial industry specialists share opinions and experience in connection with ecological and sustainability issues.
more (in German)

since 2004



WindMade is the first global consumer label for companies, events and products using wind energy. The label gives companies the ability to communicate their commitment to renewable energy in an intuitive and credible way, by being part of an independent certification programme. Deutsche Bank North America is a WindMade pioneer member and has committed to procure a minimum of 25 percent of its electricityy need from wind power.

since 2012

World Business Council for Sustainable Development


The WBCSD is a CEO-led, global coalition of some 200 companies advocating for progress on sustainable development. Its mission is to be a catalyst for innovation and sustainable growth in a world where resources are increasingly limited. The Council provides a platform for companies to share experiences and best practices on sustainable development issues and advocate for their implementation, working with governments, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations. The membership has annual revenues of US-Dollar 7 trillion, spans more than 35 countries and represents 20 major industrial sectors. The Council also benefits from a network of 60 national and regional business councils and partner organizations, a majority of which are based in developing countries.

since 2000

World Economic Forum


International platform for a dialog between business and political leaders with the aim of resolving global problems.

since 1995

The Global Leadership and Technology Exchange


The Global Leadership and Technology Exchange is a vehicle for business leaders to identify and pursue collaborative projects to capture low -carbon value. In so doing, GLTE aims not only to prepare businesses to compete in a carbon-constrained future; it also aspires to make a practical contribution to overcoming the climate challenge by helping to redefine economic growth.

Materiality: Identifying issues that are material

Materiality analysis helps us ensure that our approach to sustainability fulfils the expectations of our internal as well as external stakeholders. Our assessment is conducted using the criteria of “materiality” and “stakeholder inclusiveness,” established by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

The analysis helps us to determine which issues:

  • clients, employees, investors, and society as a whole deem to be significant with regard to sustainability
  • require our special strategic and operational attention, because they entail opportunities and risks relevant to sustainability 
  • we report and communicate externally

We are currently reviewing our approach to stakeholder engagement and developing a more systematic process for incorporating the wide range of views to assemble a clearer picture of the key issues and voices. The results will be reflected in our materiality matrix.

We do not conduct a full analysis every year. The materiality matrix (below) shows the results of the most recent evaluation, in 2010. However, partial aspects are being supplemented constantly. The matrix is divided into three sections based on relevance for sustainability. The issues in the top right-hand quartile demand the most attention because they are significant both for the bank and for our stakeholders.


Material issues are identified using the following sources:

  • the evaluation of structured interviews relating to the sustainability responsibility of Deutsche Bank that an external service provider conducted with representatives of sustainability rating agencies, investors, non-governmental organizations, and senior managers of the bank
  • an evaluation of inquiries that external stakeholders addressed to Deutsche Bank
  • results of our global employee survey 2012
  • evaluations of feedback from clients and business partners
  • analyses performed by DB Research on behalf of Deutsche Bank that follow relevant trends in the financial market, the economy, and society including their opportunities and risks
  • corporate strategy priorities

Examples of forums we have hosted or taken part in:

  • We have established annual SRI roadshows in the US and Europe to help communicate to investors how Deutsche Bank meets its responsibilities.
  • We hosted the UNEP FI / VFU roundtable in 2011. The forum, called ‘New Deal Sustainability’, explored how an environmentally sustainable, socially just and economically robust financial sector can be developed.
  • In 2012 we participated in an NGO dialog on the topic of mining, and following that we hosted a bank forum for German-speaking banks. One point of discussion focused on how companies in the mining sector can improve their negative environmental track record. Amnesty International, the Indian Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment and the German NGO Urgewald participated in that discussion.
  • In 2012, we jointly hosted a conference on the potential impact of taking ESG factors into account with the UN Principles for Responsible Investment initiative.
  • In 2012 we agreed on a long-term co-operation arrangement with the School of Business and Economics at the University of Maastricht (MUSBE) in the Netherlands. The primary focus is on promoting and supporting research on environmental, social and governance issues (ESG) in the business sector.
  • Since 2012 the bank has also been playing a leading role in the Banking Environment Initiative, which aims to proactively support clients in channeling capital into technology for clean energy generation and other eco-friendly business activities.

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