Building on our work in 2020, we continued our strategy process in 2021 to further define and expand our sustainability agenda. The starting point was a new and comprehensive materiality analysis. Based on this, we worked with the Sustainability Committee across the various areas to develop a sustainability programme. It covers the most important issues and challenges and has a clear objective: to make sustainability transparent, measurable and controllable in our company through binding and ambitious targets. We have also updated our values and have added conduct guidelines for our business partners, suppliers and service providers to our Code of Conduct in this reporting year. We became a member of the UN Global Compact in 2021, thus making an official commitment to the ten universal principles concerning human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption measures.
Our mission statement for our daily business
Our Code of Conduct, which is binding for all employees of the Scout24 Group, sets out our values and creates a framework for action. Alongside our four core values, we hold ourselves to the following standards:
- We want to reach our goals – and we want to do so by acting appropriately, responsibly, sustainably and in an exemplary manner.
- We lead by example – every single one of us must be aware of our responsibility for the conduct and motivation of all colleagues.
- We respect the individual – mutual respect is the basis for our teamwork at Scout24.
- We are committed – to our employees, customers, users, business partners, society and the environment.
- We are open and honest in our communication – open communication creates a climate of mutual trust.
- We act with integrity – integrity means for us the unconditional duty to act responsibly, to recognise and comply with applicable laws and regulations as well as to avoid any conflicts of interest.
- We take a zero-tolerance stance – on any form of discrimination, fraud, bribery, corruption or any other breach of law.
- We treat data absolutely confidentially and we communicate professionally.
Responsibility for sustainability
Since June 2022, all activities related to the company's sustainability have been under the management of Dr. Claudia Viehweger. Viehweger (who holds a doctorate in law) has already been responsible for human resources at Scout24 SE as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) since June 2021. With the addition of all sustainability topics, Scout24 appoints Claudia Viehweger as Chief People & Sustainability Officer (CPSO).
An independent team is responsible for all operational and strategic measures as well as initiatives relating to sustainability and diversity & inclusion.
Additionally, our Sustainability Committee was launched in 2020. The committee is a practical working group tasked with identifying and evaluating sustainability targets. The committee consists of representatives from ten business units and various functions. Together they aim to make sustainability an integral part of our business targets, our corporate strategy and our everyday work.
We carry out materiality analyses – most recently in 2021 – so that we can focus on the right topics. The outcome: 10 topics which shape our sustainability management and remain significant in this reporting year.
We want to be a fair, trustworthy partner to our stakeholders. As such, transparent communication and regular dialogues in which we involve our stakeholders in selected strategic and operational issues relating to our business activities are important. Be it our employees, investors, customers, users, suppliers, business partners, service providers or the social environment, we want to know what our stakeholders expect from us and what standards they hold us to, and factor this into our decision-making processes.
Additionally, Scout24 is active in topic-specific initiatives and associations, thereby promoting an exchange with other players.
Our sustainability programme
Together with the Sustainability Committee, we developed our new sustainability program in 2021. At least one target was defined for each material topic and KPIs were assigned, which will be regularly validated across the teams from now on. The targets were set on the basis of a gap analysis between internal standards and external requirements, for instance from the capital market, frameworks and regulations.
During the strategy process we further consolidated our own aims for sustainable conduct. Effective control means that we can increase our sustainability performance, make improvements in selected sustainability-related ratings and meet the expectations of our stakeholders. We will now check our sustainability programme on an ongoing basis, develop suitable measures and make adjustments where necessary. We want to report on the initial progress in 2023.
Our management approach for sustainability
The Management Board and Supervisory Board of Scout24 SE see good corporate governance as responsible business management with the aim of a sustainable value chain. Scout24 SE therefore identifies with the principles of the German Corporate Governance Code (DCGK) – with the exceptions stated and justified in the declaration of conformity. The annual corporate governance report and the declaration of conformity with the German Corporate Governance Code can be downloaded from the website.
To ensure that we meet the standards of responsible business management, Scout24 has a cen- tral risk management and compliance function. Its responsibilities include ensuring provision of the group-wide compliance management system (CMS) and the risk management system (RMS).
As part of the group-wide CMS, we have created a Code of Conduct for all our employees. It provides a reliable framework for responsible conduct and takes into account legal requirements and our own ethical and social standards. In this reporting year, we extended our Code of Conduct with the addition of conduct guidelines for our business partners, suppliers and service providers. Our General Terms & Conditions of Purchase were updated on 1 November 2021 to require compliance with these conduct guidelines.
There are risks inherent in our business operations that can affect us either individually or as a company. We therefore aim to identify, assess and control these risks at an early stage. That is the prerequisite for us to develop and implement preventive as well as ad-hoc and targeted meas- ures and controls to effectively mitigate and manage business risks. This is intended to provide legal certainty and certainty for our actions, and ensure sustainable success for the company.
Responsibility in the supply chain
Our supplier and procurement management is based on our procurement policy, an updated version of which took effect in 2020. In 2021, we added a clause on involvement in procurement processes and maverick purchasing to the procurement policy. Besides price, quality, reliability and innovative power, we are increasingly using sustainability and resource conservation as additional criteria when we select products and suppliers. By including suppliers’ sustainability initiatives or programmes in future requests for proposals, we can select services and products on the basis of social and environmental aspects to a greater extent. In 2021, we added conduct guidelines for business partners, service providers and suppliers to our Code of Conduct. These cover the environment, society, quality and governance.
The trust that our employees, customers, investors, suppliers, business partners, service providers and the public place in us and our brands is invaluable. As a leading digital company and operator of the online platform ImmoScout24 in Germany and Austria, data privacy and security are a top priority for us and a fundamental part of how we see the Scout24 Group. We are committed to handling the data we collect, capture, store or use in a responsible manner and adhere to all relevant data protection laws that apply to Scout24 in the process. To ensure this, we have set ourselves the target of also achieving external certification of our information security management system by the end of 2025