Retail and Wholesale



dm-drogerie markt GmbH + Co. KG
Erich Harsch Carl-Metz-Straße 1
76185 Karlsruhe

Tel: +49-72155920
Fax: N/A
Email: N/A




#75 World’s Best Employers 2020




  • GREEN BRAND Germany for the third time in 2017/18, an award for sustainability



Report created by Katerina Vargova

dm-drogerie markt

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

Dm-drogerie markt (usually abbreviated as dm) is a chain of retail stores headquartered in Karlsruhe, Germany, that sells cosmetics, healthcare items, household products and health food.

In its industry sector, dm-drogerie markt is Germany’s largest retailer measured by revenues. The company is known for its flat hierarchical structures and high level of social commitment.

Company Sustainability Activity

At the dm-drogerie markt, sustainability must be tangible for employees, customers and partners. In general, the company understands sustainability in four dimensions: economic, ecological, social and cultural. The focus is on cultural sustainability and is therefore seen as the most important element. For dm, cultural education is the key to any sustainable development. Education gives impulses, stimulates thought about sustainable action and encourages taking personal responsibility.

In practice, this means first making people aware of this topic and then translating it into small, manageable goals that can be implemented on a daily basis. Together with its partners and customers, dm-drogerie markt has been going this way for four decades. Customer loyalty and long-term partnerships are therefore the basis for actually being able to have a sustainable effect.

The concept of sustainability is present in the entire dm working group. Most of the commitment, however, takes place in the individual departments and around 2,000 dm stores. In order to promote cooperation between colleagues from departments, distribution centres and dm stores, there is a regular exchange in the sustainability working group. Representatives of the individual areas exchange ideas about current sustainability issues, initiate projects together and advise one another – always in the interests of further developing sustainability at dm.

As a social organism, the dm company, like society as a whole, is a coexistence of independently acting individuals. When each individual has the opportunity to act sustainably with their abilities and in accordance with their needs and tasks, the company as a whole acts sustainably.


  • Every dm market saves 17,900 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year through the use of house technology. That’s more than 3 four-person households together consume.
  • Energy management and business technology of the dm-regular save around 33% of CO2 emissions. By purchasing green electricity, the savings are even 90%.
  • ALANA children’s textiles are made from certified organic natural fibres. Most ALANA products carry the GOTS seal for environmentally friendly and socially acceptable production conditions. ALANA was the first textile brand to be voted GREEN BRAND Germany for the third time in 2017/18, an award for sustainability.
  • Alverde – According to the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK), the dm brand is the best-selling certified natural cosmetics brand in Germany. For almost 30 years it has stood for innovative and high-quality products at an affordable price. The products are free from mineral oil-based ingredients and from purely synthetic fragrances, colours and preservatives. The range now also includes decorative cosmetics. In 2017 Alverde NATURKOSMETIK was elected GREEN BRAND Germany for the first time.
  • Dm offers organic food for conscious nutrition and supports organic farming. Manufacturing processes, ingredients and packaging are subject to regular controls. The company not only attaches great importance to quality, but also to the origin of the raw materials and cultivation measures in harmony with people and nature.


DM does not disclose any targets regarding sustainability at the moment.



  • As early as 2008, dm switched to paper, cardboard, and cellulose to materials with a high percentage of recycled content or fresh fibers from responsibly managed forests, mostly with FSC® certification.
  • Since 2009, customers have been able to see the environmentally friendly aspects of a product or its packaging using the dm sustainability cloverleaf with a blue box. The symbol stands for the fact that dm has set strict guidelines for the ingredients, packaging, and manufacturing processes of the products and continuously optimizes them.
  • Since 1994, dm has had low permanent prices that enable needs-based shopping and thus promote sustainable consumption. They apply to all products and are not increased for at least four months. The “not increased since” date on the shelf makes changes transparent.


  • Blue Angel – 26 dm brands awarded 
  • Bio-seal – certification of quality and approval marks products whose ingredients come from organic farming. Non-organic ingredients can be used up to a proportion of 5% by means of strictly regulated exceptions.
  • FSC – trademark identifies pulp, e.g. wood and paper products, that have been produced according to globally uniform and independently checked ecological and social standards.
  • NATRUE certified – the dm brand alverde NATURKOSMETIK is certified according to NATRUE guidelines.
  • Global Organic Textile Standard is one of the highest certifications that a natural textile can carry. It stands for the best organic quality along all stages of the textile production chain and at the same time requires compliance with social criteria.
  • Naturland understands sustainability holistically as responsibility for people, animals and the environment. 
  • Demeter stands for biodynamic agriculture and certified according to the state organic standards. Together with Demeter, dm special contains these different ingredients in dm Bio Babynahrung – with the biodynamic seal, which certifies the high quality of private labels.
  • ISO 50001

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations SDGs Compliance

The Impakter Index team aligns current company-wide sustainability initiatives with the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the following section.


  • Since 2014, dm has been cooperating with the Deutscher Hebammenverband E.V. (German Midwives Association), which is the largest professional association for midwives with around 20,000 members. The partners support, among other things, informing young families about midwifery assistance.


  • In order to help shape its environment positively, dm works with partners who provide long-term and effective support for the respective issue. Here, dm puts the focus of its commitment to the field of education. 
  • Since 2016, dm has been cooperating with the Bundesverband Alphabetisierung und Grundbildung e.V. (Federal Association for Literacy and Basic Education) to draw attention to the topic of illiteracy and to educate people about it.
  • Dm is a practice partner of the course “Business Administration – Rethinking Economics”, which combines business administration, art, cultural studies and philosophy with practical phases in the company.
  • The Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission is Germany’s intermediary organization for multilateral politics in education, science, culture and communication and a long-term dm partner for education and sustainability initiatives.
  • Through the interplay of various elements, dm promotes the development of apprentices and students – not only in terms of their professional skills but also in terms of their personal and social strengths. At dm, apprentices and students have a lot of freedom to tackle their tasks independently and find their own solutions. Even if something does not work out, an important learning experience can emerge from the exchange between the apprentice and the learning companion – that is the principle of “learning at work”. In this way, dm promotes the development of personal skills such as self-confidence, creativity and openness. 
  • In self-determined learning, the learner himself makes the essential decision as to whether, why, and when to learn. Various options are available to him for this, such as seminars, workshops or digital self-learning media, with the help of which one can work independently of time and location. Virtual collaboration rooms offer the opportunity to work together on issues, tasks and projects. Self-determined learning challenges and promotes the employee with all his abilities and thus enables his very personal development. The further education concept of dm supports this development both through learning offers that contain specialist knowledge and through offers, for example in the fields of art and culture.
  • On Friday, November 24th 2017, it was Giving Friday at dm. 5% of daily turnover, a total of 1.4 million euros, the company donated to various charities Education projects for children and young people all over Germany. Initiatives such as the SOS Children’s Village Ammersee-Lech, the Karlsruher Kindertisch e.V. or the Aktion Kinderparadies e.V. in Hamburg, funds to realize educational projects.


  • Since 2012, dm has been using only green electricity for all markets. In March 2018, the company introduced an energy management system (EMS), the certification of which according to DIN EN ISO 50001 is planned for the end of 2018. The building services of a dm store are controlled fully automatically. The data of the technical systems in the dm-Markt can be evaluated via the EMS and an economical operation can be ensured. Errors can be recognized and rectified immediately. Heating, air conditioning, ventilation and light “communicate” with one another. Dm received the Chillventa Award in 2016 for the current building technology concept.
  • Every dm market saves 17,900 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year through the use of house technology. That’s more than 3 four-person households together consume.
  • Energy management and business technology of the dm-regular save around 33% of CO2 emissions. By purchasing green electricity, the savings are even 90%.
  • There is a large photovoltaic system on the roof of the Weilerswist distribution centre near Cologne. In addition, the heating needs of the operational centres are covered by a wood chip heating system. Only wood residues from local forestry are used for this. The new operations centre is currently under construction in Wustermark, Brandenburg, it is to become the most modern logistics centre in Europe. In order to work as energy-efficiently as possible, the use of technologies such as pellet heating is planned.


  • How is dm’s children’s clothing made? How do the people who make them live? Since 2013 customers have been able to track the path of their dm textiles using the dm pathfinder. To do this, simply enter the code number of the sew-in label at The aim of this offer is to create more transparency in the entire production process and an awareness of responsibly produced clothing. In close cooperation with industrial partners, dm contributes to the constant improvement of working conditions in the manufacturing countries. In addition to products from the dm children’s textile brands ALANA and PUSBLU, customers have also been able to track selected items from FASCÍNO, the dm brand for hosiery, online in the dm pathfinder since 2016.
  • Every community consists of individuals who have different needs – but also contribute different knowledge, creativity and their view of things. “We see this diversity as an enrichment for our cooperation”, says Christian Harms, as dm managing director responsible for the area of employees. “We strive for the diversity within the working group and the individuality of the counterpart to be perceived and appreciated by everyone.”

SDG 10

  • Dm works together with the Nordeifelwerkstätten, in which people with disabilities can develop professionally.

SDG 11

  • Noise and emissions caused by traffic are serious environmental and health problem in many cities. Future-oriented alternatives to combustion engines are therefore becoming increasingly important, especially in inner-city delivery traffic. That is why dm and the transport service provider DSV have started a joint pilot project for e-mobility in delivery traffic, the e-truck. The test truck runs on electricity, is emission-free and quiet. For the time being, the vehicle is only being used in local transport and supplies dm stores in the Cologne area.
  • Dm strives to continuously question logistical processes. The expansion of the regional network of distribution centres shortens the distance between the manufacturer and dm stores for many products. In addition, fine-tuned planning of store deliveries and process improvements in the dm stores optimize transport capacity utilization. This reduces journeys and thus inner-city traffic as well as environmental pollution.

SDG 12

  • LED spotlights: they save 25% of electricity, shine brightly and require little maintenance. The lighting is based on the opening times and switches on or off automatically. The outdoor lighting is controlled by a twilight sensor.
  • Sensors in the ventilation ducts measure the carbon dioxide content. The higher it is, the more fresh air is blown into the market from outside. Energy-saving: the ventilation runs as much as necessary, as little as possible.
  • The temperature sensor is mounted at a height of 1.70 meters and continuously measures the temperature, which is then reported to the control system. Operated with solar energy, the sensor works without electricity.
  • Ecological electricity, recycled glass, local wood – in Schondorf am Ammersee dm opened a market in 2015 as a research project that is more sustainable than any other. The individual raw materials are built-in so that they can be separated and recycled again when they are broken down. The roof provides a habitat for plants and animals. It acts as a climate regulator and ensures a pleasant atmosphere in the store. The drainage system leads rainwater to the groundwater via the green roof and the parking lot. This closes the natural water cycle.
  • Every day, trucks transport modern plastic pallets loaded with products from the distribution centres to the dm stores and back again empty. The pallets weigh a good seven kilograms less than conventional wooden pallets. This lowers the fuel consumption and thus also the CO2 emissions of the trucks. In addition, a plastic pallet can go through the cycle between operational centres and dm stores more than 50 times before it has to be replaced. Wooden pallets quit their service after an average of eight laps. The lighter and sturdy material of the plastic pallets is 100% recyclable.
  • The correct disposal of a product or its packaging has a decisive influence on its impact on the environment. That is why the logistics department takes care of environmentally friendly disposal and return options for recyclable materials. This applies to the recycling boxes into which customers can put their packaging, used energy-saving lamps or batteries, but also to all packaging materials and other recyclable materials that arise in the dm store. This includes, for example, old lamps or small electronics.
  • In a company like dm, paper can be saved in many areas. This is shown by the activities of the Employees department. In 2008 the dm applicant portal was introduced, which includes an online job market and user accounts. While eight years ago all applications were received in paper form, dm has not accepted any paper applications since June 2018. With around 246,000 applications, this saves a lot of paper. An employee data portal makes various documents such as remuneration statements or cashier instructions available digitally. Invitations to events are sent by email and participants are provided with paperless documents. For example, apprentices can enter their training certificates directly in digital form instead of filling out paper forms.

SDG 13

  • The Climate Conscious Activity initiative dm is setting out step by step to make it easy for everyone to act in a more climate-friendly manner in everyday life. Dm is working on the development of new products that are not only climate-neutral but even environmentally neutral by offsetting environmental impacts. With a currently unique approach, dm will be the first company to offset four other environmental impacts in addition to CO₂ emissions in order to restore the ecological balance. 
  • Dm works together with the TU Berlin on the development of environmentally neutral products for everyday use. Dm achieves this by, on the one hand, keeping the environmental impact of its products as low as possible right from the start. On the other hand, dm then compensates for the remaining effects in five environmental categories. Dm ensures compensation when intervenes in nature by restoring the ecological balance with its partner HeimatERBE on previously industrially used areas.

Secondary SDGs: 17


Dm-drogerie markt does not publish regular sustainability reports, as such does not have clear targets and reports on the progress. The company is not listed in sustainable indices and has just a handful of awards.

But dm has a lot of sustainable certificates and labels which allow their customers to make an informed choice. 

Dm does not explicitly comply with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but has a holistic approach to sustainability, as such is in implicit compliance with 8 of the UN SDGs

The company is making good progress in reducing CO2 emissions, using renewable energy, raw materials consumption, and innovation in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Their initiatives cover various sustainability initiatives and they appear to show good leadership in their business approach.

Although dm lacks transparency and has no sustainability reports, its commitment to a sustainable future is embedded in the company’s base, which is why it has a C rating.

Analyst Outlook: Positive

The company gained a positive outlook despite the fact that it lacks sustainability reports, and also does not have transparent progress and clear goals. Dm is not part of the GRI report and has no international recognition for its sustainable activities. But the company has a lot of certificates, a holistic approach towards sustainability and many sustainable activities in place. If the company starts to generate reports and will be listed in some sustainable indices, there is great potential for higher rankings.

Key Points

  • No sustainability reports
  • Materials mostly in german language
  • Dm is not part of GRI reporting, no listings
  • Lot of certificates and labels – Blue Angel, Bio-seal, FSC, NATRUE, Global Organic Textile Standard, Naturland, Demeter and ISO 50001 
  • A holistic approach towards sustainability (when each individual has the opportunity to act sustainably with their abilities and in accordance with their needs and tasks, the company as a whole acts sustainably)
  • Giving Friday – is a charitable activity that is supposed to be a contrast to the Black Friday discount frenzy. For 3 years now dm gives 5% of its turnover to charities.
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