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Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development GoalsOur contribution

As a member organisation of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative (SSE), Deutsche Börse Group firmly commits to the UN’s “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and thereby to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted in September 2015 and put into action starting 1 January 2016.

The SDGs consist of 17 goals to drive sustainable development on a global level, ranging from abolishing poverty to establishing international partnerships.

The United Nations have also adopted 169 sub-targets for these goals, which are to be implemented on a national level. With the adoption of the German National Strategy on Sustainability in 2017, the German government has taken first steps to implement the 17 goals.

Deutsche Börse Group welcomes the introduction and national implementation of the SDGs and uses the framework for internal guidance as well as external reporting and cooperation.

For the financial industry in general and Deutsche Börse Group in particular, the mobilisation of finance for sustainable development is a major area for action: particularly in light of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development statement, which estimates the global investment needed for achieving the SDGs as US$5–7 trillion annually. As an organiser of capital markets, Deutsche Börse Group should thus play a key role in accomplishing the targets set by the United Nations. We are well positioned to support the SDGs most relevant to our core business. At the same time, however, the Group also realises its responsibility to act as a role model among listed companies and seeks to align internal processes towards the intended outcomes of the 2030 Agenda.

With our strategic focus and operations, we either support, or actively contribute to the achievement of the following goals and targets:

Goal 4: Quality Education

Target 4.4: By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship

  • Our support in the areas of education and research comprises the personal commitment of our employees as well as the financial support of our cooperation partners. We invest in research and teaching at schools as well as at universities, and also promote civic education – an issue which is very close to our heart. As an active capital market participant in various global financial centres, we are highly dependent on the quality of the academic training of our future employees. Only if the highest quality standards are met can we access a pool of talented graduates and uphold our company’s success in the long run. This is why we support – based on the concept of lifelong learning – innovative education and science projects from the primary school level to scholarship programmes for university students and research projects at universities.
  • In addition, Deutsche Börse Group’s Capital Markets Academy offers training in key capital markets subjects. With innovative teaching methods and technologies, the Academy provides know-how “from the market, for the market”.

Target 4.7: By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development

  • Being aware of our responsibility as an employer, we raise our employees’ awareness of sustainable development and of Deutsche Börse Group’s role in achieving it by conducting onboarding workshops revolving around corporate sustainability. This serves to further increase the exposure of these topics in our business. Thereby, our employees acquire knowledge on sustainability in general and learn, in particular, about the role the financial sector and stock exchanges can play in a transition to a more sustainable development.
  • Information on sustainable investment products such as sustainable indices or ESG bonds is available on the Börse Frankfurt website under the menu item “SRI”.

Goal 5: Gender Equality

Target 5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life

  • In order to raise the share of women in executive positions, the company explicitly ensures that women are also identified as candidates for executive positions. Furthermore, Deutsche Börse Group offers further measures to promote women: targeted succession planning and an external mentoring programme. Within the framework of women's networks, an exchange among women is promoted. In addition, our Capital Markets Academy offers training for women on the topics of financial planning, investment and retirement provision.

Target 5.C: Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

  • As a global enterprise, Deutsche Börse Group advocates openness and fairness in the workplace. Deutsche Börse Group does not tolerate any discrimination, whether on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ethnic origin, age, religion or disability, irrespective of whether behaviour among employees is concerned or the placement of orders with third parties. Moreover, Human Resources has implemented processes designed to ensure appropriate personnel selection, and which allow the Group to take prompt action whenever discrimination is suspected.
  • In line with the Gesetz für die gleichberechtigte Teilhabe von Frauen und Männern an Führungspositionen in der Privatwirtschaft und im öffentlichen Dienst (FührposGleichberG, German Act on the Equal Participation of Women and Men in Leadership Positions in the Private and Public Sectors), Deutsche Börse AG’s Supervisory Board has defined target quotas for women on the Supervisory Board and the Executive Board in accordance with section 111 (5) of the AktG. The first minimum targets that were set – 33.33 per cent of the Supervisory Board members and 20 per cent of the Executive Board members were to be women – were complied with by the end of the implementation period on 30 June 2017. The quota of women on the Executive Board was 20 per cent at such point in time. The quota of women on the Supervisory Board was 41.67 per cent and thus above the self-set target. With regard to the Supervisory Board, the legally prescribed gender quota of 30 per cent in accordance with section 96 (2) of the AktG applies instead of the self-set minimum quota in accordance with section 111 (5) of the AktG; this has been in effect since the application of the Mitbe¬stG to Deutsche Börse AG as of the Annual General Meeting in 2018. In order to prevent the possible discrimination of either shareholder representatives or employee representatives, and in order to increase the planning security in the relevant election procedures, the shareholder representatives on the Supervisory Board have opposed the overall compliance of the quota in accordance with section 96 (2) of the German Stock Corporation Act. Thus, the minimum proportion of 30 per cent is to be complied with for each gender with regard to the shareholder representatives and the employee representatives. This means that at least to women and two men from each the shareholder representatives and from the employee representatives must be on the Supervisory Board. Currently, there are three women each from the shareholder representatives and from the employee representatives. The legally prescribed gender quota is thus complied with.
  • Effective 1 July 2017, the Supervisory Board decided to extend the 20 per cent target quota of women on the Executive Board  until 31 December 2021. For the Executive Board, the target quota was at 16.7 per cent as of 31 December 2019. The Supervisory Board intends to comply with the 20 per cent target quota for women on the Executive Board and also intends to further increase the quota for women on the Supervisory Board. This will be taken into account in future personnel decisions.
  • In its endeavours to increase the share of women holding executive positions, as early as in 2010, the Executive Board had adopted a voluntary commitment to increase the share of women holding middle and upper management positions to 20 per cent by 2020 and women holding lower management positions to 30 per cent during the same period. The Group maintains this ambition and has extended the scope of its voluntary commitment over and above the legal requirements. Firstly, the target figures determined in this context relate to Deutsche Börse Group worldwide. Secondly, the definition of management levels/positions was extended to also include heads of teams, for example. On a global level, as at 31 December 2020, Deutsche Börse Group achieved a quota of 16 per cent for the upper and middle management levels and 31 per cent for lower management positions. For Germany, the quotas were 18 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively. Deutsche Börse Group will continue all previous measures to achieve the defined target and add further formats.

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Target 7.2: By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

Deutsche Börse offers energy-related indices that investors can use as the basis for sustainable investment.

  • The index product ÖkoDAX® aims to reflect the performance of the ten most liquid companies from subsector Renewable Energy index which represents the renewable energy industry sector. Hence, ÖkoDAX is a selection index of Deutsche Börse. The companies are selected from the sector of renewable energy based on their free float market capitalisation and included in the index portfolio with equal weighting factors.
  • The index product DAXglobal® Alternative Energy expands the DAXglobal® index family by an additional growth indicator in the alternative energies sector. This sector-based index concept allows investors to tap into the high growth momentum in this sector at the global level for the first time. As an underlying for financial products, this index enables investors to participate in the growth of the alternative energies sector. Companies aiming to be included in the DAXglobal Alternative Energy Index must generate the majority of their revenue in one of the five alternative energy areas: natural gas, solar, wind, ethanol, geothermal power/hydro power/batteries.

Target 7.A: By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology

  • The European Energy Exchange (EEX) offers a broad range of energy and environmental products, thereby contributing to an efficient transition to a low-carbon and sustainable energy supply. The EEX runs a regulated, transparent marketplace for emissions trading certificates, enabling market participants to meet their obligations regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. With increasing flexibility and new products, the EEX markets are opening up a growing market share for renewable energy in electricity trading. Among them are the new derivatives allowing market participants to hedge against weather risks.

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms

  • Deutsche Börse Group is committed to a high degree of transparency towards its stakeholders – along every step of the value chain. The Group therefore endorses the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 by publishing a statement under section 54 of this legislation to outline the steps taken to prevent slavery and human trafficking in its own operations and supply chains (UK Modern Slavery Act Statement). In addition, our suppliers and service providers are bound by our code of conduct for suppliers which contains requirements pertaining to economic sustainability, environmental protection as well as social and ethical responsibility.
  • Deutsche Börse Group analyses the extent to which its suppliers have their own guidelines – such as codes of conduct or supplier codes of conduct – or have signed up to recognised social standards. 

Target 8.8: Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment

  • Deutsche Börse Group is aware of its entrepreneurial responsibility and is committed to the principles of sustainability. Therefore, its suppliers and service providers are also expected to observe these principles. To ensure this, the Group’s code of conduct for suppliers and service providers comprises ecological and social criteria. The majority of our suppliers have signed this code of conduct, while others comply with voluntary commitments which include the criteria stipulated in our code of conduct or even surpass them. Our general terms and conditions also call for sustainable practices. Our procurement procedure includes checking that suppliers have suitable certification.

Target 8.10: Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all

  • As an exchange, our core economic function is to preserve and create economic prosperity and growth: as a global market infrastructure provider, the Group operates markets which help enterprises of all sizes to raise equity and debt – which in turn enables them to grow, to protect jobs, and to contribute to the value chains in their respective fields.
  • As a diversified exchange organisation, Deutsche Börse Group’s products and services cover the entire value chain in the financial sector – its business areas range from the admission of securities to listing, through trading, clearing and settlement, down to custody of securities and other financial instruments as well as collateral management. Additionally, Deutsche Börse provides IT services, indices and market data worldwide. It also fosters innovation by offering various services for growth companies and investors.

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Target 9.3: Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets

  • Stock exchanges bring companies from the real economy together with investors in the capital market. Companies, whether they be large or small-sized, established or young, domestic or international, raise equity or debt capital on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
  • Companies can increase their equity by issuing shares, and investors are normally granted a say in the company in return. Companies, institutions, or federal states issue bonds in order to raise long-term finance (debt capital). Investors who buy bonds do not buy an interest in a company; instead, they acquire the right to redeem the amount they have lent to the company, plus interest, when the bond matures.
  • Deutsche Börse operates Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse (FWB®, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange), an institution governed by public law, where corporate securities are admitted to trading in accordance with strict legal requirements and stock exchange rules (listing).
  • On 1 March 2017, Deutsche Börse Group launched a new exchange segment designed to enhance access to investors and growth capital for smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As a segment of the exchange-regulated market, it will replace the Entry Standard for equities and corporate bonds.
  • Deutsche Börse Venture Network® matches start-ups in their growth phase looking for follow-up financing of €1 million or more, with national and international investors in a targeted manner, facilitating the raising of capital. The exclusive Venture Network online platform allows investors and entrepreneurs to establish initial contacts, exchanging information within a protected area. Deutsche Börse Venture Network is continuously growing and is becoming increasingly international: At the end of the reporting year 2020, a total of 209 growth companies and 459 investors were active on the platform. The companies were able to raise around €7.6 billion in growth capital in 25 financing rounds in the year under review. Since the beginning of 2015, 9 companies from the network chose an IPO as follow-up financing.

Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Target 10.3: Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard

  • Deutsche Börse Group’s corporate principles of business conduct assure equal opportunity and protection from unsolicited behaviour. Employment, development and advancement opportunities are based solely on job qualification and performance. Discrimination on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ethnic origin, age, religion or disability is not tolerated, neither in the company’s practices nor in employee behaviour, such as harassment, among employees. Harassment does not refer to consensual behaviour; it refers to behaviour that is unsolicited, that is personally offensive and that fails to respect the rights of others or fails to recognise the impact that such behaviour may have on others.

Target 10.5: Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen the implementation of such regulations

  • As one of the largest exchange organisations in the world, we organise markets characterised by integrity, transparency and safety for investors that invest capital, and for companies to raise capital. It is of significant importance for Deutsche Börse Group that the organisation of these markets is done orderly and customer-focused. As an operator of a highly regulated financial market infrastructure, close communication and exchange of information with political and regulatory authorities is vital to Deutsche Börse Group. Above all, our joint interest lies in efficient, transparent and secure financial markets. As a company, we therefore focus not only on current market developments but closely follow the political discussions on national and European financial market regulation as well as global regulatory trends. Based on our specific knowledge as a market venue operator, we contribute our expertise to the discussion on the development of the regulatory framework and thereby continuously add to the strengthening of the financial market infrastructure.
  • Deutsche Börse Group pursues an enterprise-wide approach to its compliance function, ensuring that applicable laws and regulatory requirements are followed with respect to individual legal entities. Depending on the assessment of client risk in each case, client relationships are subject to corresponding diligence duties concerning their establishment, update, and monitoring. The Group does not enter into client relationships where the risks involved are too high. Deutsche Börse Group analyses transaction data in order to identify transactions which might provide an indication of money laundering.
  • Deutsche Börse Group is exposed to the risk of sanctions being imposed upon business partners; moreover, there is a risk of bribery and corruption. In this connection, the Group examines its business partners, whereby their details are cross-checked against relevant data sources (such as embargo, sanctions, PEP, terrorist, and other “black lists”). Appropriate measures are taken in the event of any match against such lists.

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Target 12.6: Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle

  • With a view to the national application of the EU guideline on corporate sustainability reporting that will came into effect in 2017, Deutsche Börse Group has positioned its ESG Practice Guide as a guideline for companies affected by this regulation at various dialogue events with representatives from politics, industry and society. The Guide presents internationally recognised reporting methods including selected best-practice examples and, by giving seven recommendations, offers a structured approach to an intelligent and above all efficient way of dealing with the topic of sustainability in capital market communications. This makes it particularly suitable for smaller and medium-sized companies as well as for newcomers to reporting. The guidelines thereby complement Deutsche Börse Group’s services for issuers.
  • Qontigo’s subsidiary STOXX Ltd., part of Deutsche Börse Group, calculates and distributes more than 13,000 indices, a growing number of them being designed after sustainability aspects. STOXX’s offering of sustainability indices is diversified and includes ESG-, climate change- and carbon emissions-related products.

Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Target 16.5: Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms

  • Responsible entrepreneurial action implies adherence to laws and regulations; it is also based on the principle of consistently acting with integrity, and in an ethically irreproachable manner. Deutsche Börse Group has implemented a compliance management system based on regulatory requirements, with the objectives of preventing misconduct and avoiding reputational risks for the Group, its legal representatives, executives and staff. Beyond business-related compliance requirements, the focus is on strengthening a uniform compliance culture throughout the Group, especially with a view to enhancing compliance awareness within Deutsche Börse Group. The compliance management system implemented by Deutsche Börse Group – under the responsibility of, and promoted by the Executive Board – therefore constitutes an indispensable element of good corporate governance (with respect to compliance). Such a system provides the foundation for sustainable risk transparency; specifically, it facilitates mitigating risks in the areas of money laundering/terrorism financing, data protection, corruption as well as market manipulation and insider trading, and monitoring requirements concerning financial sanctions and embargoes.
  • As a member of the UN Global Compact, Deutsche Börse AG has committed to observe the related principles, including principle no. 10 (“Businesses should work against corruption in all of its forms, including extortion and bribery.”). In line with its code of business conduct, Deutsche Börse Group bans its employees from involving themselves in corruption, or from taking part in any actions which may lead to the impression that the Group promises, arranges, provides, receives, or asks for inadmissible benefits. Bribery and any similar payments are prohibited.

Target 16.B: Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development

  • Employment, development and advancement opportunities are based solely on job qualification and performance. Discrimination on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ethnic origin, age, religion or disability is not tolerated, neither in the company’s practices nor in employee behaviour, such as harassment, among employees. Harassment does not refer to consensual behaviour; it refers to behaviour that is unsolicited, that is personally offensive and that fails to respect the rights of others or fails to recognise the impact that such behaviour may have on others.
  • The Group is committed to a high degree of transparency towards its stakeholders – along every step of the value creation chain. The Group therefore endorses the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 by publishing a statement under section 54 of this legislation to outline the steps taken to prevent slavery and human trafficking in its own operations and supply chains.

Goal 17: Partnership for the Goals

Target 17.16: Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries

  • The “Accelerating Sustainable Finance” initiative was launched in 23 May 2017. It was established by Deutsche Börse Group along with major stakeholders from the Frankfurt/Main financial centre. The participants signed the Frankfurt Declaration, a general letter of intent about the creation of sustainable infrastructures in the financial sector. The impetus for the initiative was the conviction that current global challenges – such as climate change and the ongoing process of digitisation – are calling for an innovative and solution-oriented approach. One of the key conditions for the development and implementation of such solutions is the transition to a more sustainable financial system at both the local and global levels.
  • In April 2018, Deutsche Börse’s Accelerating Sustainable Finance initiative and the Green Finance Cluster of the Hessian Ministry of Economics joined forces to create the “Green and Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany”. The cluster aims to further promote sustainable development and the associated transformation process in the financial sector. In doing so, it applies its pooled financial market expertise to make financial market structures fit for the future – both nationally and across Europe.
  • The cluster works in close cooperation with the relevant political actors in Berlin. In a joint effort with the WWF, it has drawn up a policy roadmap to advance the development of content regarding sustainable finance in Germany. At the European level, the cluster actively works on shaping the process of sustainable development. It supports the implementation of the EU Commission’s action plan on sustainable finance and is a member of the technical expert group. Since June 2019, Deutsche Börse Group and the GSFCG have also been members of the German federal government’s Sustainable Finance Advisory Council, which promotes dialogue between the financial industry, the real economy, civil society and science.
  • As a member of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) German Roundtables, Deutsche Börse actively contributes to shaping the framework of a new integrated reporting. The IIRC’s aim is to develop an integrated reporting system with an international focus, which ensures that a company’s key facts and figures are communicated clearly, concisely and transparently.
  • As part of its partnership with the CDP, a non-profit organisation that aims for full transparency on climate-related data in all sectors, the information portal for sustainable securities has been providing climate data from roughly 1,800 companies around the world to interested market participants, free of charge, since April 2012. The data facilitates a direct comparison of companies’ carbon emissions. Apart from our engagement with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), IIRC and CDP, we currently hold memberships in various other societies or cooperation platforms. Among these are also various important actors in the field of sustainability such as the Sustainable Stock Exchange initiative (SSE), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the forum for the sustainable development of German business econsense as well as the VfU – the German society for environmental management and sustainability in financial institutes.