The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Miele promotes workplace diversity

With six million appliances sold in 2017/18, Miele is the world’s leading supplier of premium appliances for kitchen, laundry and floor care, also offering solutions for commercial applications. All Miele employees and applicants are valued and supported in equal measure, as Miele believes that they should all have equal opportunities regardless of nationality, skin colour, gender, religion, sexual orientation or physical disabilities.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Miele published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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An international and diverse workforce enriches Miele on both a human and a professional level  Tweet This! and, no less relevant, diversity is also an important competitive factor, particularly in a global company such as Miele. In order to promote workplace diversity Miele took action to:

  • combat discrimination
  • increase the number of women in management positions
  • promote equal pay between men and women

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Miele identified a range of material issues, such as compliance, resource-efficient and consumption-optimised products, climate protection, resource-efficient packaging, product conformity, supplier management. Among these, promoting workplace diversity stands out as a key material issue for Miele.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Miele engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics Miele engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Employees ·      Works council

·      Employee reviews

·      Corporate suggestion scheme

·      Employee survey

·      Complaints office

Customers ·      Miele Customer Service and sales talks

·      Customer hotline

·      Usability tests for various product groups in the test studio

·      Brand positioning surveys

Dealers ·      Dialogue with dealers and project partners in the area of domestic appliances and commercial equipment, particularly concerning customer requirements
Suppliers and service providers


·      Common working groups

·      Discussions with Miele’s purchasing department

·      Dialogue in the context of audits and training

·      Product innovation workshops

Associations and interest groups



·      Membership and active participation in national and international associations and interest groups, such as the ZVEI or APPLiA

·      Conference participation

·      Participation in EU public consultations

Non-governmental organisations ·      Dialogue with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on relevant topics in the sector
Science and research



·      Collaboration with scientific institutions such as the universities in Bielefeld, Paderborn and Munich, as well as the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft on issues such as product development

·      Commissioning of studies on specialist topics

·      Exchange with the Oeko-Institut

Policymakers and legislators




·      Dialogue at national and European level by participating in committees, working groups and conferences

·      International dialogue with the sales subsidiaries, which in turn are represented in working groups and committees

·      Personal exchange at a regional level

Society/ public/ media


·      Answering questions on sustainability topics

·      Sustainability communication and report

Local communities



·      Exchange with the citizens at the locations in direct contact and at events

·      Social engagement at the locations

What actions were taken by Miele to promote workplace diversity?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Miele reports that it took the following actions for promoting workplace diversity:

  • Combatting discrimination
  • Miele seeks to raise awareness throughout the company about the potential for diverse life and work experiences, perspectives and values. Miele’s corporate philosophy, its Code of Conduct and the Company-Wide Collective Agreement on the German General Act on Equal Treatment represent company-wide guidelines for promoting diversity and equality of opportunity, as well as ensuring an effective anti-discrimination policy. The company demonstrated its adherence to this idea by obtaining SA8000 certification and signing the Diversity Charter in 2012. In the business year 2017/18, 5.9 percent (5.7 percent in 2016/17) of Miele employees in Germany, were citizens of a country other than Germany. Citizens of Turkey, Greece, Italy and Poland accounted for the largest share. Employees with disabilities, made up around 6 percent of all Miele workers in Germany (in the business years 2016/17 and 2017/18). Miele also wants to create an equal playing field in advance of possible employment, which is why, via the Collective Labour Agreement for the Promotion of Apprenticeship Efficiency, the company supports apprenticeship opportunities for refugees. As is the case every year, Miele participated in Germany’s Diversity Day in 2018, and all Miele managers once again attended a one-day diversity training event, while new managers attended a two-day training course known as “Diversity – Vielfalt führen”, in which they learned how to manage a diverse workforce.
  • Increasing the number of women in management positions
  • Increasing the number of women in management positions is a stated goal of Miele’s HR policy. Female candidates displaying high potential are specifically supported and encouraged to set ambitious professional goals, and to keep pursuing these goals after having children, if they choose to do so. Miele helps to accommodate this with its family-friendly working conditions. The company also participates in the “Frauen-Karriere-Index” (“Women’s Career Index”), a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. The project aims to create more transparency on the issue of career advancement opportunities for women. Miele also places great emphasis on the goal of having more women in management positions internationally. Various measures were implemented to increase the number of women in management positions in the United Arab Emirates from four to nine, meaning that women currently occupy 44 percent of management positions there. Miele does not consider it appropriate to define a fixed quota for increasing the proportion of women in management positions. To officially ensure equality of opportunity in every respect, Miele instead remains committed to recruiting the most qualified candidate for each management position that needs to be filled, regardless of gender. Additionally, following a survey of over 100 female experts and managers at Miele within the context of the “Diversity: Fokus Frauen” project, Miele adopted new measures in the reporting period. These include a regular series of events on the topic of diversity as part of the Open Training Programme and targeted promotion of internal women’s networks at Miele. The company also initiated momentum towards an internal cultural transformation with its first Women’s Conference in Gütersloh in September 2017. This is a requirement for having more women in management. At the event, around 130 female participants engaged in intensive discussion about the potential of digitalisation for creating greater diversity.
  • Promoting equal pay between men and women
  • Employees at the Miele sites in Germany are paid based on the valuation of their work tasks in accordance with the framework agreement on pay and collective wage agreement in the metalworking and electronics industries. Therefore, there are no differences in the remuneration of women and men at Miele. Performance bonus is categorised and calculated strictly based on the specific task and actual performance and does not take irrelevant criteria into account. Measures to make sure that employee pay does not differ based on gender are also in place at the company’s international production sites.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees

2) Disclosure 405-2 Ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men


Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees corresponds to:

Disclosure 405-2 Ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

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Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP



1) This case study is based on published information by Miele, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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