Responsibility at BVB:

United by Borussia!

Borussia leads the way!

United by Borussia!

Borussia leads the way!

Responsibility at BVB:


match day!

Our game plan

Sustainable development at BVB


“No crisis will get the better of BVB.”

Dear Reader,

With our eye on the challenges ahead of us and the latest season behind us, we begin this report with upbeat words from Borussia Dortmund GmbH & Co. KGaA’s President, Dr Reinhard Rauball.

With the pandemic having already left its mark on special match operations in the second half of the 2019/2020 season, two additional waves of the virus would eventually overshadow our daily existence, turning our lives upside down. Yet the pandemic did not diminish our need to exercise or our love of sport and football. People are still devoted to football – whether it be at the club just around the corner or at BVB.

Of the many big changes we faced in the 2020/2021 season, one stung the most of all: matches without our beloved fans! It pains us still that match days were such sombre affairs. The initial prospect of even reduced stadium attendance proved to be but a passing glimmer of hope. Infection rates soared in the autumn, effectively nullifying our employees’ painstaking plans to welcome fans back into the stadium. We are particularly grateful to our entire team for their dedication and flexibility, which made it possible to safely host two home matches in Dortmund with up to 11,500 fans.

Despite the financial hardship caused by the pandemic, we managed to keep our team on board without resorting to partial furlough schemes. We consider this achievement to be an excellent investment in the club’s future. The wealth of new ideas, the team spirit fostered at the club and with our partners and the proven ability to adapt will be particularly valuable assets for BVB going forward.

We experienced many ups and downs on the pitch this past season. We fell down and got back up again, and ultimately we were rewarded for our hard-fought efforts. Our split with Lucien Favre hurt, but Edin Terzic has helped to stabilise the team, and now we are all looking forward to a better future with our new headcoach Marco Rose.

We owe Edin Terzic a great debt of gratitude. After all, winning the DFB Cup and qualifying for the Champions League are the outstanding achievements of this season, not only for BVB but also our fans.

The promotion of our U23 team under the guidance of Enrico Maaßen marks a further important development step in our overall plans. Playing in a more competitive league will allow our young, talented professionals to hone their skills and become better players as they attempt to break into the senior side. This will enable BVB to solidify its excellent reputation as one of the top destinations for Europe’s hottest up-and-coming players. BVB is the epitome of passion and tradition. We thus also thank Łukasz Piszczek, who has tirelessly embodied these values over the past eleven years at Dortmund, culminating in the emotional scenes following the team’s DFB Cup victory in Berlin – it’s scenes like these that all of us, even those outside of Dortmund, love about football. And that is why our picture of the year also adorns the cover page of this report. Danke, Łukasz!

Commitment to the issues that matter and standing up for our values have been engrained in BVB’s DNA since the club was founded. We, the management team, can once again proudly report on the club’s accomplishments – achievements that are due in no small part to the commitment and pragmatism of our employees and the multifaceted dedication of our fans.

The progress that BVB has made despite the crisis, and all of the work that went into it, is the subject of our fifth Sustainability Report. BVB takes a holistic approach to sustainable development and has defined seven focal points which cover the material topics that we work on. We have formulated five overarching principles that help guide our efforts. As we gain new insights, we will adapt and fine-tune our goals as need be.

As one of the UN Global Compact’s newest participants, we are looking forward to doing our part in Germany and around the world to help drive the economic and societal changes that are so urgently needed. We only have one planet on which we can play football. That is why we will leverage our appeal to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This includes being a role model and pushing ourselves and others to critically examine and rethink our everyday actions that run counter to these goals. Are we a role model? We want to be and will do everything we can to become one.

We hope you enjoy reading this report and, having started with a quote from Dr Reinhard Rauball, would like to come full circle and echo his words:

I am grateful for the responsibility that Borussia Dortmund has assumed off the pitch during the crisis. We can be proud to be part of the BVB family.

Hans-Joachim Watzke
Managing Director (Chairman)

Thomas Treß
Managing Director

Carsten Cramer
Managing Director

Our stakeholder dialogue

Our Stakeholder-Dialogue

BVB touches on the interests of many different people. This is why maintaining dialogue with our stakeholders is a matter very close to our hearts. Our aim is to strike a balance between different interests to the greatest degree possible and to further build mutual trust on a permanent basis. When we communicate with our various stakeholders, we provide transparent information on our decisions and actions and their ramifications so that we may receive feedback to help us improve further.

Our Stakeholders

Borussia Dortmund’s actions and activities have a profound effect on various partners, stakeholders and interested parties whose relationships are often intertwined. Conversely, depending on the extent of their relationship with the club, these stakeholder groups can also influence decisions at Borussia Dortmund. These groups include not only our fans, club members and employees, but also sponsors, vendors, authorities, associations, the media, our neighbours, the City of Dortmund and the surrounding region, that make demands and have expectations of BVB or that are influenced by the club. As a listed company, Borussia Dortmund is also attentive to the objectives, needs and interests of its shareholders.


Structured Dialogue

We remain in close contact with all of these stakeholders because we want to know which topics they consider to be relevant to BVB now and in the future, how they rate our performance regarding the individual topics and what they expect of us. With the Fan Delegates’ Meeting (Fandelegiertenversammlung), which is generally held twice a year, and the Fan Council, which meets on a regular basis, we have institutionalised the communication with our various fan groups.

As in the previous season, these bodies continued holding virtual meetings during the pandemic. The eight meetings of the Fan Council held via web conferences and other discussions on specific topics were also organised online. BVB’s new, ad-free “Vonne Süd” fan podcast was launched to discuss in particular topical cultural and political issues within fan community. The club’s press conferences were livestreamed, during which questions submitted in advance by the media were answered.

We also continued to focus on direct engagement with our employees, fans and business partners. For instance, we contacted each of our fan clubs by phone or paid them a visit online. Our representatives were also available to our fans while working remotely. We also remained in close contact with our sponsors and organised numerous solidarity initiatives.

In addition, BVB also contributed constructively to the work of the DFL’s “Future of Professional Football” task force, whose summary report was well received by the media and many forums. The club remains in regular contact with the City of Dortmund and regional authorities as well as with emergency services (German Red Cross, the police, the fire brigade) and other authorities. On account of the pandemic, plans to include other stakeholders, such as vendors, sponsors and local residents, as the next step in the process of intensifying our stakeholder involvement had to once again be postponed.

“Vonne Süd” fan podcast

Workshop with employees from Merchandising


Our material topics

BVB has identified those topics that have a significant economic, ecological and/ or social impact and that significantly influence the assessments and decisions of our stakeholders and are thus considered material. These topics have been methodically recorded and assessed.

Basis of reporting

We take the principles of completeness, materiality and stakeholder involvement and the current standards of the “Global Reporting Initiative” (GRI) as a basis for determining what our Sustainability Report will cover. This report was prepared in accordance with the applicable “GRI Standards (Core option)” and covers the reporting period for the 2020/2021 season.

Unless indicated otherwise, all figures pertain to the 2020/2021 season. In many respects, professional football differs from traditional enterprises. In order to take this into account, additional material areas were added to expand on the GRI system. Our material topics are broken down into seven focal points of our work: “Professional Football”, “Dortmund lads”, “BVB, its fans and the region”, “The stadium and its surroundings”, “Environmental responsibility”, “Holistic HR development”, and “Economic approach”. All of the information in this report essentially pertains to Borussia Dortmund GmbH & Co. KGaA, with the exception of the information on the club’s members, which are organised under BV. Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund, and the information on the “leuchte auf” non-profit foundation, which is also an independent entity.


In 2017, we began to methodically examine the social, ecological and economic impact of our activities and what our stakeholders expect of BVB in this regard in order to identify which topics are particularly important to our longterm success based on our corporate social responsibility. The analysis aims to assign weightings to sustainability topics, with the involvement of the stakeholders, in terms of their impact and to take these topics into account in our decisions. In 2018, BVB’s material topics were recorded and assessed for the first time in accordance with the GRI requirements. As part of the annual review in June 2021, these topics were reviewed and adjusted with regard to completeness, their impact and the assessments of the stakeholders. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Corporate Responsibility department once again conducted this year’s review in consultation with the respective decision-makers. The following adjustments were made to the terms and assessments in the report on the 2019/2020 season on the basis of the comments and suggestions we received:

  • Given the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led BVB to post a significant net loss for the year, and in light of the importance of securing the jobs of the club’s employees, the “Employment” material topic was given greater priority. At the same time, after some consideration, the “Employment” topic was deemed to be too neutral, and thus renamed “Responsible employer”. It now also covers the “Training and education” and “Diversity and equal opportunity” topics as well.
  • We also combined the “Water and waste water” and “Use of resources” topics under the “Conservation and environmental protection” topic for the sake of clarity. The corresponding GRI standards, which were already applied for the 2019/2020 reporting period, will continue to be taken into account and expanded to include the topic of biodiversity. The assessments of the other 22 topics identified as being material did not change.

The assessments of the other 22 topics identified as being material did not change.



Sustainable development

Our sustainable development


“One of our most important topics”

This was how CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke described sustainable development at the 2019 Annual Press Conference. What it means for BVB is to act in a way that satisfies the needs of today without restricting the opportunities of future generations, while giving equal consideration to the three dimensions of sustainability – economic efficiency, social equity and environmental viability. BVB uses its sporting and financial success to assume responsibility, which is tied closely to Dortmund and the surrounding region, and recognises sustainable development as a guiding principle at global level.

We formed the Corporate Responsibility department in the summer of 2019 to coordinate the process of continual improvement in relation to BVB’s key social, corporate and ecological issues. The topic was anchored in the organisational structure as a result of systematically developing Borussia Dortmund GmbH & Co. KGaA with respect to our current 22 material sustainability topics, which we defined in an intensive stakeholder dialogue and review annually.

This fifth annual report presents those changes and our first Communication on Progress (CoP) in accordance with the requirements of the UN Global Compact.



In the spring of 2019, we developed a structured planning process with specific milestones. Then, in spring 2020, the pandemic hit and we had to allocate our resources differently in order to enable and implement the special match operations. Therefore, not all steps could be completed as planned, and figures are comparable only to a limited extent due to the effects of the pandemic. Moreover, in light of the circumstances, it also made sense to modify the planned steps. We are nevertheless pleased to report that we have made considerable progress with regard to the four action levels that we are steadily pursuing and will continue to pursue as part of an integrated approach

3 years – 4 levels of action

This programme relates to four action levels that we pursue as part of an integrated approach:


1. Strategically refining our sustainable development.

Borussia Dortmund’s management has adopted five sustainability principles that were formulated as the result of in-depth discussions held with our stakeholders, in particular during the pandemic, the interdisciplinary work of the Sustainability Working Group and the combined efforts of all the departments involved. These overarching sustainability principles help guide the Company’s decisions.


Material topics and materiality analysis

In connection with BVB’s five sustainability principles, this includes fleshing out the management approaches to our current 22 material topics with quantitative and quantitative targets. We have defined these 22 material topics more precisely in an internal consultation process with the respective persons responsible. Due to the pandemic, this process was an interim step to the planned comprehensive review and evaluation of our material topics.


Our sustainable development

Our five holistic sustainability principles

  • Our athletic development and the commitment to our values are the root of our fans’ and employees’ devotion and loyalty – and our success as a whole.
  • The community with our fans in Dortmund and around the world is at the core of everything we do and is based on understanding and sharing.
  • Our business activities revolve around foresight, fairness and a responsible range of products and services and factor in the risks and opportunities of digitalisation.
  • We use our appeal to promote social advancement through social commitment, democratic education and health-related initiatives.
  • We design our events, products and services to be environmentally friendly, climate neutral and to save resources.


Defining objectives and contributing to the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs)

On this basis, we are working in interdisciplinary teams across departments to define quantifiable objectives and the corresponding measures for our material topics, which we will then implement as a part of our seven focal points of our work. In our opinion, linking the seven focal points of our work with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations as part of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the next logical step in bringing BVB forward. Each focal point of our work has been assigned the three SDGs to which we believe we are making the greatest contributions at different levels.

BVB joins UN Global Compact

Borussia Dortmund is the first Bundesliga club and only the second European football club to join the United Nations Global Compact. The UN Global Compact (UNGC) is the United Nations’ voluntary business initiative for sustainable and responsible corporate governance. In joining the initiative, BVB has committed to aligning its strategy and operations with universal principles and implementing the SDGs. The UNGC’s ten principles include respect for human rights and international labour standards and efforts to protect the environment and fight corruption.


2. Ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders.

We continue to build on our structured dialogue with our stakeholders. After four years, an update to the materiality analysis was planned for the autumn of 2020/spring of 2021. This was postponed due to the restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to receive valuable insights from our partners in the supply chain and our longstanding sponsors. The discussions with our sponsors are scheduled for the spring of 2022.


3. Measures in the seven focal points of our work

The significance of specific environmental topics has grown considerably across BVB, and in response we have developed a separate focal point to address them. The seven focal points will continue to be of great importance to BVB as we look to achieve the SDGs. We present the seven focal points, along with the corresponding material topics and their management approaches as well as the measures taken in the 2020/2021 season, in the section entitled “Acting responsibly. Together.”


Our match-winners

We have launched five long-term, overarching projects that we have dubbed “match-winners” due to their importance for BVB’s sustainable development:

  • Stadium and real estate: sustainable development and management
  • Designing fair fan merchandise with future generations in mind
  • Promoting access to education
  • Mobility: Trips to/from the stadium by fans, the team and employees
  • Sustainable events management

Therefore, the sustainable development of our stadium is linked not only to two of our focal points (“Always in the thick of it” and “Always thinking ecologically”) but also to mobility and events management. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we postponed the measures related to the “Sustainable events management” topic.


4. Genuine communication with our employees, fans and stakeholders

Despite the pandemic-related restrictions, we continued to engage in a wide-ranging dialogue with our stakeholders, both internal and external. We engaged in close dialogue in particular with our diverse fan groups. Together with Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), we conducted a representative survey that asked BVB’s fans about how their stance to the club had evolved with respect to the changes that had taken place. The shared experience of crisis vitalised our supplier relationships. The annual sustainability report and the diverse content posted during the year as part of our lively online presence on sustainability topics demonstrates the increasing role that sustainability aspects play in our day-to-day work.

“We only have one planet on which we can play football.”

That’s how Hans-Joachim Watzke summarised the importance of achieving a more sustainable future.


We evaluate the management approaches that we apply to the material topics and describe in this report at regular intervals and then adapt/update them accordingly. The more we address the individual topics and collect information on the key performance indicators, the more a system of continuous improvement with ongoing feedback, also with our stakeholders, emerges. This allows us to transparently communicate how we are performing in terms of the objectives we have set, including information on the progress we have made and on any areas in which there might still be room for improvement. This has allowed us to lay the foundation for seizing the opportunities that arise in the course of our efforts to address the material topics and for identifying any corresponding risks early on – a key step in the process. In addition, by comparing ourselves with external groups, such as the DFL, fan networks, NGOs and the general public, we can reflect on the actions we have taken during the year and make any necessary adjustments.


Charters and associations

In September 2019, Hans-Joachim Watzke was elected to the Executive Board of the European Club Association (ECA), where he represents the interests of the Bundesliga at the European level. Dr Christian Hockenjos has been elected to serve as Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Association of Stadium Operators (VdS). The VdS is an association of all operators of major event venues which are licensed for international sporting events, in particular football matches, concerts and similar large-scale events.


Borussia Dortmund is a member of the following associations:

  • DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH (DFL)
  • Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V. (DFB)
  • Union of European Football Association (UEFA)
  • Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
  • Westdeutscher Fußballverband e.V. (WDFV)
  • Fußball- und Leichtathletik-Verband Westfalen e. V. (FLVW)
  • European Club Association (ECA)
  • Vereinigung deutscher Stadionbetreiber (VdS)


Borussia Dortmund supports and promotes the following charters and initiatives:

  • Global Compact der Vereinten Nationen (UNGC)
  • Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen (Stiftung „leuchte auf“)
  • Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)
  • Initiativkreis Ruhr e.V.
  • „Bewusst wie e.V.“ – Unternehmensverbund für gesellschaftliche Verantwortung


News about the five focal points of our work