Responsibility at BVB:

Supporting the community

Shaping the future

Supporting the community

Shaping the future

Responsibility at BVB:


match day!

Our game plan

Sustainable development at BVB


Thank you for your
trust and commitment!

Dear reader,

This season has been like no other! The COVID-19 pandemic has presented BVB and all of football with unprecedented challenges, the myriad effects of which will remain with us for some time to come.

This report also addresses that reality. It describes the emergency measures taken in response to the coronavirus, discusses the club’s priorities and highlights our fans’ impressive sense of solidarity with our club, our city and our surrounding region. It also sheds light on sustainable development at BVB, an objective which we have continued to strive for even in these trying times.

The social and economic challenges of the global pandemic have shaken professional football to its core. Suspended seasons, matches held in front of empty stadiums and the persistent uncertainty as to when it will all get back to normal – putting the livelihoods of more than 56,000 people at risk. From the outset, Borussia Dortmund’s priorities lay with its responsibility for its own employees and preserving the competitive basis for all clubs.

Thanks to the club’s accountability over recent years, BVB has the economic resources to weather the crisis without having to reduce employees’ working hours despite having recorded a considerable net loss for the year. In a gesture of solidarity, we also joined the Bundesliga’s other UEFA Champions League participants to set aside a combined EUR 20 million in financial aid for clubs in the first and second Bundesliga divisions that have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks for the public’s trust in us in connection with the special match operations. Notwithstanding the debate about the special treatment professional football is supposedly afforded, it must be said that the sport is not just about money – it is also about the thrill and excitement of dazzling displays of athleticism and competition and an overwhelming sense of community.

In that vein, our particular thanks go to all BVB employees for their hard work under extraordinary circumstances, with so much being asked of them!

BVB continued to build on the most successful decade in its history with a second-place finish in the Bundesliga and a spot in the UEFA Champions League. Our fans once again enjoyed attractive, high-scoring football as 17 different players found the back of the net to bring the team’s goal tally for the season to 84, breaking the club’s Bundesliga goal record in the process.

We continue to set ambitious sporting goals. However, now is not the time to dwell on our quest for the Bundesliga crown. BVB signed two highly sought-after players in Erling Haaland and Emre Can. Further proof that we enjoy an excellent reputation throughout the world as a club where top talents and veteran national team players alike can continue to develop.

#UnitedbyBorussia encapsulates BVB’s most important asset: the club is an exceptionally close-knit and united community!

Since the club’s founding in 1909, there has hardly been a period in which solidarity has been embodied and displayed so openly as has recently been the case in Dortmund. Football and the countless actions taken by fans, fan clubs and partner networks as well as employee initiatives continue to be the glue that holds society together. By leveraging the club’s appeal and motivating its fans, BVB has helped set in motion an unprecedented black-and-yellow wave of solidarity that we are pleased to report on here.

We are also proud of BVB’s long history of activism to combat racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination, and gratified to see that our efforts are being acknowledged in Germany and abroad. In honour of our ongoing efforts to foster a culture of remembrance, BVB was invited at the beginning of the year to attend the 5th World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. We consider this to be a special recognition of our work to combat right-wing extremism and discrimination and promote diversity and inclusion.

Although the coronavirus dominated the agenda, we did not lose sight of the environmental aspects of our actions. In the short term, we set an appropriate example by offsetting the CO2 emissions from our team flights. We are looking to further refine our event management on the basis of ecological criteria and thereby combine issues relating to energy efficiency, the use of resources and mobility. We have sought input from and dialogue with our stakeholders on these matters.

Despite all of the current challenges, we hope you enjoy reading this report. Stay healthy, friends!

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 held twice a year, and the Fan Council, which meets on a regular basis, we have institutionalised the communication with our various fan groups.

These bodies continued holding virtual meetings during the pandemic. The meetings of the Fan Council held via web conferences and other discussions on specific topics were also organised online. Between March and mid-June, the club’s press conferences were livestreamed online during which questions submitted in writing 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 from home. We also remained in close contact with our sponsors and organised numerous solidarity initiatives.

BVB also played a key role in organising the resumption of league play. Dr Markus Braun, who specialises in sports medicine and is BVB’s team doctor, helped formulate Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH’s (DFL) health and safety protocols for “special match operations” that were introduced prior to the restart.

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 and local residents, as the next step in the process of intensifying our stakeholder involvement have been postponed until the next season.

Sustainability Working Group, January 2020

Fan Delegates’ Meeting, January 2020


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. Borussia Dortmund has methodically recorded and assessed these topics.

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 “2016 GRI Standards (Core option)” and covers the reporting period for the 2019/2020 season. Unless indicated otherwise, all figures pertain to the 2019/2020 season.

In many respects, professional football differs from traditional enterprises. In order to take this into account, the “Athletic development” material area was added to expand on the GRI system and the “Fans, members and society” topic was included to expand on social issues. 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 long-term success based on our corporate social responsibility. The analysis aims to assign weightings to sustainability topics, with the involvement of our stakeholders, in terms of their impact and to take these topics into account in our business 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 May/June 2020, 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 conducted this year’s review in consultation with the respective decision-makers.

The following adjustments were made to the terms and assessments in the previous year’s report on the 2018/2019 season on the basis of the comments and suggestions we received:

  • Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Occupational health and safety” topic was rated higher both in terms of the significance of its impacts as well as its influence on stakeholder decisions and assessments and was classified as being doubly material in accordance with § 289c (3) sentence 1 HGB.
  • The “Spectator safety” topic was rated higher in terms of its influence on stakeholder decisions and assessments following the suspension of match operations and subsequent resumption without spectators.
  • BVB’s significant impact on the local economy became even more apparent when the league resumed special match operations. For this reason, the “Economic factor in the region” topic was rated higher in terms of its impacts and its influence on stakeholder decisions and assessments.

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 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 Ruhr 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 25 material sustainability topics, which we defined in an intensive stakeholder dialogue and review annually. This fourth annual report presents those changes.


To this end, we completed a structured planning process in the spring of 2019 to develop what is initially a three-year programme with specific milestones.

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

1. Strategically refining our sustainable development.

This includes fleshing out the management approaches to our 25 material topics with quantitative and quantitative targets. All of the departments involved worked together to formulate overarching principles for sustainable development at BVB.

A SWOT analysis carried out in the second half of 2019 was used to develop a specific profile of risks and opportunities that addresses non-financial aspects. On this basis, we work across specialisations and departments to develop and implement quantifiable targets with associated measures. Establishing a clear link between the focal points of our work and the internationally recognised Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the next step in highlighting Borussia Dortmund’s responsibility for achieving these targets.

2. Ongoing dialogue with our internal and external stakeholders.

We will continue and build on the stakeholder dialogue process we began. After four years, an update to the materiality analysis is planned for the autumn of 2020/spring of 2021. To this end, we hope to receive valuable insights from our partners in the supply chain and our longstanding sponsors.

3. The specific and practice-based implementation of measures in 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. There are thus now seven clearly structured focal points of our work, which are presented in the “Acting responsibly. Together.” section of this report along with the measures we took in the 2019/2020 season.

4. Transparently and authentically communicating our development to our employees, fans and external stakeholders.

Despite the restrictions, we engaged in a wide-ranging dialogue with our stakeholders, both internal and external. The pandemic freed up time resources that would have been virtually impossible to find beforehand due to professional squad operations. We engaged in a different but closer dialogue with our fan clubs and the parents of kids at the residence hall. 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.


As part of our annual reporting process, we evaluate the management approaches we apply to the material topics, which are described in the fourth part of the 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.

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:

  • 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 focal points of our work