The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Schibsted promotes workplace diversity

Schibsted is a family of digital brands with more than 5,000 employees and world-class media houses in Scandinavia, leading marketplaces and digital services that empower consumers. Schibsted is committed to incorporating the values of diversity and inclusion into every aspect of the company  Tweet This!, with the speed and passion that characterise the organisation.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Schibsted 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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Schibsted is convinced that its success depends on diversity and equality. To fulfill its mission to empower people in their daily lives, Schibsted needs a workforce that represents the users it serves. In order to promote workplace diversity Schibsted took action to:

  • combat harassment
  • provide training
  • implement policies on diversity and equality
  • promote gender equality
  • appoint its first Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Schibsted identified a range of material issues, such as privacy and protection of user data, responsible marketing, fair business practices, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Among these, promoting workplace diversity stands out as a key material issue for Schibsted.

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 Schibsted engages with:  

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Users and readers ·      Web surveys to selected brands
Corporate customers (advertisers and business partners) ·      Interviews with randomly selected customers


Employees ·      Web survey to all employees
Investors ·      Interviews with main investors
Board ·      Interview and web surveys
Regulators (National and EU) ·      Desktop analysis


Analysts & rating agencies ·      Analysis of inquiries


Media ·      Desktop analysis
Potential employees


·      Desktop analysis

·      Reports from employer branding agencies

Industry associations (National and international) ·      Desktop analysis


How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Schibsted engaged with its stakeholders through a combination of interviews, inquiries and surveys.

What actions were taken by Schibsted to promote workplace diversity?

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

  • Combatting harassment
  • As clearly stated in its Code of Conduct and in its Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment Policy, Schibsted has zero tolerance for harassment of any kind. This includes all forms of verbal, digital or physical harassment. Schibsted’s Code of Conduct includes a link to a whistle-blowing function called Speak Up that enables anonymous reporting on misconduct, breaches or potential violations. The Speak Up function is handled by an external party to secure the anonymity and personal integrity of employees.
  • Providing training
  • To ensure a diverse, inclusive and non-discriminatory workplace where all employees enjoy equal opportunities and feel safe at work, Schibsted offers unconscious bias training. To make itself aware of the biases it might have in its product development, Schibsted also offers unconscious bias training for algorithmic bias. During 2019, 183 employees participated in Schibsted’s unconscious bias training.
  • Implementing policies on diversity and equality
  • During 2018 Schibsted launched several policies on diversity and equality. In 2019 Schibsted focused on education and implementation of the policies in its everyday business operations. The new recruitment policy promotes diversity and inclusion by encouraging managers to build diverse teams. Processes should be equal, fair, unbiased and inclusive. Managers should aim for gender equality in all longlists, shortlists and final interviews. All candidates should meet at least one female and one male interviewer. Implementation of and training in these policies continued in 2020.
  • Promoting gender equality
  • Schibsted’s Board is composed of 40 percent women, as required by the Norwegian Limited Liabilities Companies Act. Schibsted has set clear goals against which actual progress is measured. There are long-term and short-term goals on improving gender equality, for both divisions and group functions. Schibsted set a target of a 60:40 gender ratio in all leadership roles by the end of 2020. By 31 December 2019, the share of females in top management positions was 38 percent. The proportion of females in other managers increased from 37 percent to 42 percent. In 2018 Schibsted performed a mapping of a potential gender pay gap in parts of the Group. The mapping revealed a gender pay gap for average pay levels, but this was largely attributed to more women working in low-pay positions (such as support) and to more men in leadership and specialist positions. In 2019 Schibsted focused on setting up a common process for performing an annual mapping of a potential gender pay gap for all Schibsted companies in Sweden. The aim is not only to make mapping of a potential gender pay gap easier, but also to improve quality and find better tools for performing comparisons and analyses across the Group. The HR departments in each company are responsible for this process, partnering with the Compensation and Benefit department to provide support in discussions on conclusions as well as on regulations and methods. To support its development and analysis in this area, Schibsted cooperates with the trade unions and has implemented a new online tool. In addition to identifying salary differences between genders, Schibsted also takes a closer look at the gender balance in managerial positions professions or divisions. With this new set-up Schibsted has seen an improvement in the quality of a potential gender pay gap mapping and an increase in the number of companies that have conducted these investigations. Schibsted is also a member of a non-profit organisation called #SheGotThis, which was founded in 2015 with the aim of addressing gender stereotypes and unconscious discrimination in society. In 2019 several of the Norwegian companies submitted their equality figures to a software programme and received an analysis of the status of equality in their respective companies along with a list of actions to improve equality.
  • Appointing the first Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging
  • Schibsted recently appointed its first Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. With over 12 years of experience building diversity in society, Sumeet Singh Patpatia will be responsible for making sure that Schibsted has the right practices in place to attract and retain a workforce that is as diverse as its customers.

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

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees

Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees 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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By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

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 Schibsted, 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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