On the planet

At RTL Group, we feel it’s important to combine our business success with responsible action towards environmental protection. We aim for the prudent use of natural resources in all our operations, looking to minimise any adverse environmental impact, over and above complying with regulations. And although RTL Group is a decentralised organisation, we expect the same commitment from our various profit centres.

As a service provider and a broadcaster, we are not a major polluter, but nevertheless, we want to cut down our CO2 emissions. Energy consumption is responsible for the largest proportion of our greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, since 2008, RTL Group produces an annual Group-wide carbon footprint figure. We analyse collected data in depth, with the help of the Institute for Environmental Research (IFEU) in Germany.

RTL Group also agreed to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, from their 2010 level.

RTL Group discloses its carbon footprint information, which has followed the GRI international reporting standard (GRI/G4). You can find the results of the 2015 assessment here.


Aware of our responsibilities

Another key pillar in RTL Group’s environmental approach is involving and motivating employees to help protect the environment. Under the slogan ‘No one can do everything, but everyone can do something’, RTL Group has organised an international environMINDday since 2008.

These special days bring the subject of environmental protection to life for employees Group-wide, featuring numerous ‘green’ initiatives aimed at safeguarding the environment, such as eco-mobility or green food. Here you can see some of the things we’ve been doing:

2015: Best of RTL Group’s ‘environMINDday’ 2015

During the week of World Environment Day on 5 June, RTL Group and its profit centres held their seventh environMINDday – a day of action that aims to engage employees in environmental issues. The event is part of RTL Group’s corporate responsibility strategy and the ‘be green Days’ Bertelsmann organises every two years.

Alongside energy efficiency, a key pillar of RTL Group’s environmental approach is to engage employees in environmental issues. Therefore, RTL Group has organised an environMINDday since 2008. Participating companies across the Group undertake numerous initiatives to raise employees’ awareness of climate change, and advise them on how to be environmentally responsible at work and in their personal lives.

Romain Mannelli, EVP Human Resources and Chairman Corporate Responsibility at RTL Group, says: “In the context of increased urban development, the expected increase in traffic on the Kirchberg Plateau, and the construction of RTL Group’s new ‘RTL City’ premises, we decided to focus this year’s environMINDday on the theme Sustainable Mobility.”

In this connection, a presentation on the topic of ‘Urban development and the Kirchberg Plateau’, as well as information booths were organised to bring all Luxembourg employees up to speed about the construction projects and their current and future transport options. Furthermore, the on-site bike-sharing scheme, which enables employees to borrow conventional or electric bicycles, has been upgraded. As in previous years, an organic, locally sourced lunch was served at the company restaurant and lucky eco-quiz winners won special ‘soft mobility’ prizes.


What happened across the Group? Examples of activities at various companies: 

RTL Nederland

Since September 2014, RTL Nederland has broadcast its own internal TV programme called Gangmakers every two weeks on its intranet. This year a green Gangmakers special about RTL Group’s environMINDday aimed to encourage colleagues to be more environmentally conscious. Forester Arjan Postma also led a nature walk. Click here to watch the special edition.

UFA Serial Drama

The UFA Green Team organised a ‘Dr. Bike’ event in Potsdam under the slogan ‘Bike to work and do something good for yourself and the environment’. The UFA Green Team in Cologne offered a repair service for employees who commute by bike with a free inspection and minor repairs to fix their bikes in time for the summer.

RTL Radio Deutschland

105.5 Spreeradio in Berlin joined environMINDday 2015 by discussing the topic live on air. Funkhaus Halle (89.0 RTL and Radio Brocken) featured special energy saving and environmental tips in their internal communications streams.

RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network

RTL CBS Entertainment Network in Singapore collaborated with water.org – an NGO that helps to supply drinking water to remote areas. To raise awareness about saving water and sanitation solutions in the Philippines and Indonesia the channels RTL CBS Extreme HD and RTL CBS Entertainment HD will broadcast a 30-second public service announcement over summer and also make a donation to the organisation. The company also organised an information event at their offices to discuss further activities for raising awareness. 


Fourth RTL Group carbon footprint

Since March 2015, environmental data for 2014 has been collected across RTL Group for the biennial Group-wide carbon footprint measurement. Based on the outcome, which will be disclosed in Q3/2015, measures will be planned to reduce energy consumption, emissions and other environmental impacts. RTL Group has been measuring and reporting its environmental impact since 2008. Together with Bertelsmann and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in Germany, the data is gathered and analysed using the method set out in the GHG Protocol.


2013: Going green at work

The World Environment is held every year on 5 June. This year again, RTL Group wished to raise key issues about environmental protection by organising its 6th environMINDday. This new edition was devoted to environmentally friendly practices in the workplace.

“Five countries, mostly the Benelux, participated in this year event” said Tun Van Rijswijck, Environmental Chief Officer in an interview on RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg. “Following the principle that ‘Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something’, each subsidiary chose one to three topics to focus on. In Luxembourg, we put emphasis on energy, paper and recycling with the aim of enabling employees to better understand the link between the daily use of resources at our site and their environmental impact”.

For employees who wished to contribute, information about on site consumption and generation of waste, as well as advice about how to act more responsibly at work were featured on the local intranet. Among others, this initiative revealed that in recent years, general awareness has helped push paper consumption at our site down from 5.4 million sheets in 2006 to 3.1 sheets in 2012 – a reduction of 43 per cent in seven years. With regards to energy, the ‘Switch It Off’ campaign, initiated in 2011, was repeated to encourage employees to reduce consumption related to lighting, heating or electrical devices unnecessarily left on at night or weekends.

As for previous editions, an eco-quiz was organised and gave employees a chance to win two folding bikes, vouchers for a meal at an organic restaurant and environMIND goodies. Further, a 100 per cent vegetarian menu was served for the first time in the company restaurant.

Now a fixed date in RTL Group’s calendar, the 6th edition of the environMINDday in Luxembourg was held as part of Bertelsmann’s ‘Be Green’ Day, a day of action jointly organised by numerous Bertelsmann divisions. RTL Group ‘subsidiaries joined again the initiative:

  • Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland put a focus on the topic of ‘sustainability’ in general
  • RTL Nederland’s meteorologist and weather forecast presenter Helga van Leur gave employees a presentation about the influence of humans on climate change
  • RTL Radio’s website in France turned green for the day with green tips and a green quiz
  • RTL Radio Deutschland shared tips with employees on how to save energy and resources
  • RTL Klub in Hungary planted ten trees around their new premises

2012: “Working together as a driving force”

On 5 June 2012, as part of its environmental approach and under the impulse of the environMINDteam, RTL Group marked World Environment Day by organising the 5th environMINDday.

Protecting the environment depends on everyone doing their part: a journey not taken by car, a page not printed, a lamp not switched on - there are many opportunities to contribute at home and work. As a reminder of this responsibility, the United Nations has designated 5 June as World Environment Day since 1972.

By partnering with this initiative, RTL Group invited all colleagues in Luxembourg to think and act together in tackling environmental challenges. While previous environMINDdays have each targeted a specific theme (Food, Mobility, carbon footprint) and proposed activities to mobilise the largest number of employees, this year’s event was more focused on the employees most dedicated to the environmental cause. 

Under the principle "No one can do everything, but everyone can do something," this day dedicated to the environment began with ‘Bike to Work’. A dozen RTL Group employees decided to take a break from using their car and do their bit for the environment by cycling to work together. On arrival, each participant was offered an organic breakfast prepared by the company restaurant partner. And as it does every year the company offered an organic, locally sourced lunch in the company restaurant.

As employee involvement is one of the prerequisites for developing an environmental approach in the company, a ‘Lunch talk’ with the environMINDteam was organized to recruit eco-volunteers. "In two years, we have reduced our consumption of paper by 20 per cent, our consumption of video cassettes by 70 per cent and we’ve increased recycling by 57 per cent," said Tun Van Rijswijck, Environment Chief Officer at RTL Group. "Yet it is essential that we keep up our efforts to further reduce our environmental impact. The aim of the ‘Lunch Talk’ was to appeal to the employees most involved at the site to share our ideas in the near future and work together as a driving force in this area."

To reduce the environmental impact of our company cars, RTL Lëtzebuerg is considering integrating the Renault Twizy electric vehicle into its fleet. All employees at the site had the opportunity to test the vehicle during lunch in the presence of an expert from the carmaker. From now on, all employees at the site can use them to travel into the city for work purposes, to test whether this mode of transport meets the needs of the local teams.

In addition, in the lead-up to World Environment Day, the environMINDteam had sponsored several workshops at the traditional RTL Group garden party, which took place on Sunday 3 June. Among other things, children and their parents were able to try their hand at gardening by making hanging herb and spice gardens from the bases of used plastic bottles. The environMINDteam also invited children aged under 12 to express their creativity in an environment-themed competition that involved making a drawing or collage from leaves, seeds, twigs and other natural materials.

RTL Group’s major subsidiaries participated in environMINDday again this year. Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland employees organised a day devoted to paper consumption, with an information session presenting the environmental initiatives and results of the past year. At RTL Belgium, the focus was on the cafeteria, with a menu comprised 100 per cent of produce from fair-trade sources. A poster campaign in collaboration with the company’s energy supplier focused on everyday power consumption. The RTL Nederland company restaurant served an organic meal, and all computer screens that day showed wallpaper with environmental advice for the office.

In Germany, RTL Radio Deutschland’s intranet published recommendations for a prudent use of natural resources and employees had the opportunity to attend activities organised by Bertelsmann in Berlin. Finally, RTL Radio in France focused on the theme of mobility. In particular, the radio station has associated itself with the first public-service electric car-share scheme in the capital and the bike share service by giving subscriptions to its employees. Because of a national holiday, FremantleMedia will organise its day of action on 27 June.

The 5th environMINDday was held in Luxembourg as part of the 3rd ‘be green Day’ organised by Bertelsmann. A number of the multinational’s divisions also organised a day of action on 5 June 2012.

2011: “Help save the planet by eating right”

On 18 October, RTL Group held its fourth environmental day on “Green food”.

By addressing the topic of “Green food”, RTL Group set out to get employees at its Corporate Centre in Luxembourg to engage with environmental issues through a topic that is useful in everyone’s daily lives.

Organised for the fourth consecutive year on the principle that “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something”, this awareness day began at RTL Group’s Grand Studio. "What has Food to do with the environment?" asks Oliver Herrgesell, Environmental Chief Officer at RTL Group, in a welcoming address. "Very simple. You can help save the planet by eating right. Just think of how much garbage we can save by using less packaging, how we reduce transport by eating local food. Most of all, the impact of meat on a carbon footprint is underestimated: according to a study by the University of Chicago, by becoming a veggie, an average person could shrink its carbon footprint by up to 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide a year – more than you could by trading in an SUV - Sport Utility Vehicle - for a hybrid car."

RTL Lëtzebuerg Journalist Sarah Cattani interviewed two Greenpeace representatives from Luxembourg to introduce participants to the theme of the day. Topics included the impact of GMOs on the environment, the measures taken in Luxembourg to limit their use and also the various labels and guides to help the consumer. 

Next on the agenda was a “Cooking show” featuring renowned chef Michael Hoffmann who runs the “Margaux” restaurant in Berlin, is “Cook of the Year 2010” in Germany, and has been a lecturer at the École Supérieure de Cuisine Française in Paris since 2003. Located just yards from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, his Michelin-starred restaurant is known for its spectacular dishes based on vegetables, 80 per cent of which come from his own garden. In the 45-minute show, Hoffmann successfully shared his passion for a cuisine that is both creative and environmentally responsible. Ten or so people had a chance to taste the dished concocted by the chef based on herbs and seasonal vegetables. Angelo Rubino, Project Manager at BCE comments: "The chef, Michael Hoffmann, made us aware that eating is not a passive activity but should be entered into heart and soul. Knowing what we are eating is an integral part of the process of eating. Eating something that actually has taste and is in tune with nature is even better, and he proved this to us then and there!"

Their appetite whetted, participants were treated to a “Happy Hour” at the company bar during lunchtime, where they could enjoy an organic cocktail prepared with local ingredients by Sodexo - the company’s catering partner – as well as sample and buy local and seasonal products provided by Luxembourg producers, including the Cactus supermarket and the associations TransFair-Minka, which promotes fair trade, and Natur & Ëmwelt, the agency responsible for environmental protection in the Grand Duchy.

Other initiatives on the special day included an all-organic menu in the company restaurant and the sale of products to raise funds for Natur & Ëmwelt. This initiative raised on the day a total of €500. This amount will be fully passed on to the association and will contribute to the restoration of the natural habitat of the otter, a species now rare in Luxembourg. 

Finally, a quiz was held with a chance to win a cooking class for two with chef Michael Hoffmann in Berlin. Catherine Klein, Contracts Manager at CLT-UFA, is the lucky winner of the quiz game: "The initiative to organise an "environMINDday" serves to open our minds and of course I participated in this event, as every year. I was fascinated by chef Michael Hoffmann's cooking show and his explanations about his cuisine based on the herbs and vegetables he grows in his own garden. I will gladly adopt his advice for my own cooking. And since I'm the lucky winner of the quiz, I can improve my skills by taking a cooking class in Berlin, a city I really like." 

Since the first “environMINDday” was held at RTL Group in 2008, more and more profit centres have participated in the initiative on the very same day. This Tuesday 18 October, RTL Belgium employees for their part were introduced to procedures for recycling and treating waste. In the Netherlands, RTL Nederland focused on energy-saving measures, while Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland in Germany inaugurated its first event of this kind with a speech and presentation by its CEO Anke Schäferkordt. This fourth “environMINDday” was part of a Bertelsmann initiative. The second “be green Day” was celebrated in 44 locations around the world.

To mark the fact that this event is now held on a pan-European scale, Backstage devoted a weekly newsletter to cover the various environmental days throughout the Group.

2010: Focus on alternative means of transport

On 1 June, RTL Group held its third environmental day on eco-mobility.

EnvironMINDdays are now an integral part of the corporate culture at RTL Group. The initiative, running for the third consecutive year, encourages employees to address environmental issues and helps everyone to understand how they can reduce their environmental impact in real terms, both at work and in their own personal lives.

The third environMINDday was officially opened at 11:30am by Elmar Heggen, Chief Financial Officer and Head of the RTL Group Corporate Centre, in the presence of Mr Claude Wiseler, the Luxembourg Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure. Mr Heggen said: "For this third environmental day, we have chosen the theme of mobility. We have a wide range of alternative means of transport (not yet on the market) available to test drive, including Segways, bikes, electric scooters and hybrid, electric or even hydrogen cars. Everyone can do more to protect the environment if they're so inclined ".

Elmar Heggen went on to present a number of tools designed to help employees in Luxembourg become more responsible in terms of mobility. On the company's intranet site, a page was set up to provide information on carpooling. RTL Group also sounded out employees, especially cross-border commuters, about their interest in the reduced annual public transport tariffs offered by the M-Pass. Finally, given the increasingly crucial role played by cycling in mobility, RTL Group has provided three electric bikes to help employees scale the city's many hills.

The Chief Financial Officer of RTL Group was also especially pleased to learn that "other RTL Group subsidiaries" in London (FremantleMedia and Five), Paris (RTL Radio France), Berlin (RTL Radio Deutschland), Hilversum (RTL Nederland) and Brussels (RTL Belgium) had "joined the initiative and organised their own environmental awareness days".

In his speech, Minister Claude Wiseler thanked RTL Group for inviting him to the eco-mobility day. "Above all else, mobility is a great freedom that allows us to travel, to get around and to discover new horizons" he said. However, he added that "pressing mobility needs" were "leading to congestion on the roads". The Minister continued to outline investment plans and government priorities with regard both to public transport and more environmentally friendly mobility options, concluding that "everything must be done to avoid restricting the freedom afforded by mobility".

The programme for the third environMINDday also included the Bike To Work initiative, whereby ten or so employees travelled to the Kirchberg site from a joint meeting place at Glacis. A Car-Free Day competition was also held to encourage employees to leave their cars at home and opt for a more environmentally friendly mode of transport (bike, train, bus or car-share). The competition was held between departments and the three teams which opted for the most environmentally friendly mode of transport each received a prize.

For more information, click here to watch a reportage on electric vehicles by RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg.

Click here to watch an interview with Hans von Storch on climate change

2009: Reducing our environmental footprint

On Tuesday 1 December 2009, RTL Group employees in Luxembourg got together to learn more about our organisation’s carbon footprint and to discuss measures to reduce CO2 emissions linked to our activity.

In a year where facts matter, and bearing in mind that “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something,” the second edition of this environmental awareness day mainly centred on a presentation of the results of the carbon footprint measurement project initiated and conducted by the environMIND team starting in April 2008. This project was born out of growing interest expressed by many of our subsidiaries and was first conducted here in Luxembourg before being rolled out to the rest of the Group.

At 11:00, Elmar Heggen, Chief Financial Officer and Head of the RTL Group Corporate Centre, welcomed employees to the Grand Studio, saying: “RTL Group is committed to effectively combining economic success and environmentally responsible behaviour. Since last year, our site has become a great deal greener. All of our many initiatives show that RTL Group is committed to protecting the environment.”

Heggen then invited Marco Schank, Luxembourg’s Deputy Minister of Sustainable Development, to speak, and thanked him warmly for attending the event. The minister congratulated RTL Group on its initiative, noting its proximity to the Copenhagen summit, “which must not and will not be a failure,” as he put it.

Hosted by RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg journalist Sarah Cattani, the morning programme featured a presentation of RTL Group’s carbon footprint by Tun Van Rijswijck, Chief Operating Officer of BCE and coordinator of the carbon footprint project, and Dr Achim Schorb of the IFEU (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research) in Heidelberg, Germany. Together, they had coordinated a methodology and set of standards with RTL Group’s subsidiaries in order to measure our carbon footprint for the year 2008. After a year and a half of hard work, they presented and explained the results of this report. (Read the article in Backstage).

Transitioning from theory to practice, and in order to promote exchange and interactivity, a discussion panel was then held. Contributors included Stephen Geerts, director of internal services at RTL Belgium, Enrico Benetto from the Henri Tudor Research Centre in Luxembourg and Paul Rasque from Luxembourg’s Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures.

Following this discussion, all employees were invited to enjoy an organic cocktail, which also provided an opportunity for anyone interested to meet the morning’s presenters. The programme also included an information booth on carbon footprints, hosted by the CRTE (Resource Centre for Environmental Technologies) of the Centre Henri Tudor in Luxembourg and MyClimate, a non-profit organisation that measures CO2 compensation. It presented a specific, creative way to measure the carbon footprint associated with our personal daily activities. The Messagerie du Livre set up a Green Books & Magazines Corner, and our company restaurant served up an organic meal.

The environMIND team is already thinking ahead to its next environmental awareness day, which will take place next June on World Environment Day.

2008: “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something”

Tuesday, November 25 marked the launch of the environmental awareness day organised by RTL Group in Luxembourg.

The theme for the day was ‘Be Part of the Solution’ and the aim was to raise employees' awareness about environmental challenges and encourage them to take action in the workplace and at home. At 11 a.m., in front of more than 120 employees, RTL Group CEO Gerhard Zeiler took the floor in RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg's main studio to welcome employees to the first ‘environMINDday’ at the Kirchberg site. He started with a sober reminder of just how serious the situation is: "Our planet's current situation is worrying." In these times of financial and economic crisis, some might claim this is not the burning issue of the day. But Gerhard Zeiler clearly begs to differ.

Gerhard Zeiler then introduced the attendees to the day's agenda, a "perfect fit with our corporate culture and our corporate 'temperament' as an entertainment company": film screenings, interactive workshops, exhibitions, a free bike check, the opportunity to test drive more environmentally-friendly vehicles and an eco-friendly menu in the company restaurant. Furthermore Gerhard Zeiler also announced the launch of "environMIND", a new green website on Backstage "to explore, learn and exchange ideas, experiences and best practices".

Since RTL Group operates on the principles of decentralisation and delegation, it will not centrally issue orders on what must be done. Gerhard Zeiler made clear that each profit centre and each employee has to take responsibility for managing its own environmental protection efforts. "While we, as a company, certainly can’t save the world or claim perfection, we can make a firm commitment to the environment at work and home: No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Sustainable management is part of our way of giving back to society", according to Gerhard Zeiler.

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