Our sustainability management

We live in a time when sustainability has become a key concern for companies worldwide. We recognise the urgent need to shape our business practices in a sustainable way in order to meet the challenges presented by environmental problems, social inequality and ethical issues. As Köln-Düsseldorfer Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt GmbH, we therefore give great importance to holistic sustainability management. This means that we integrate environmental, social and ethical aspects into our corporate strategy and management in order to create long-term added value for us as a company, for society and for the environment. Our efforts go beyond minimising ecological footprints and aim to create value that goes beyond purely financial indicators.

Overall responsibility for sustainability management lies with the Management Board. In the 2023 financial year, we carried out a materiality analysis in accordance with the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) for the first time. We have developed our sustainability strategy based on these topics up to 2030. Regular meetings of our ESG Committee (Environment, Social, Governance), which is headed by the Human Resource department, ensure proper management of our sustainability topics. .The ESG Committee consults with the Management Board and manages the issues strategically. It consists of selected managers from our departments with the needed connection to the sustainability topics. In this constellation, those responsible promote their respective sustainability topics and discuss the status of strategy implementation. Decisions are in turn implemented by the department heads. Operational responsibility for ESG topics is borne by the respective departments themselves.

Our material topics

In 2023, we conducted a comprehensive materiality analysis in accordance with the requirements of the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) in order to identify the sustainability issues that are particularly relevant to Köln-Düsseldorfer Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt GmbH and its stakeholders. The materiality analysis is reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that it is up to date and adjusted if necessary. The findings form the basis for both the sustainability strategy and sustainability reporting.

Two perspectives were considered in the analysis: On the one hand, positive and negative effects of our corporate activities on the environment, society and the economy are assessed. On the other hand, risks and opportunities that could have a negative or positive financial impact on our company are analysed.

A stakeholder survey formed the the basis for identifying impacts, risks and opportunities. Our employees, suppliers, business partners and banks, among others, were invited to take part in the survey. The aim was to identify key sustainability issues along the entire value chain, review the relevance of sustainability issues and assess our current sustainability performance.

With the involvement of these stakeholders, the following environmental (E), social (S) and governance (G) topics were identified as material in the course of the materiality analysis:

Dialogue with our stakeholders

Transparency and regular communication are at the forefront of our dialogue with our stakeholders. We keep our stakeholders up to date regularly via various channels such as our website, social media platforms, an online magazine, newsletters and press releases. We provide information and post daily on our social media channels, while we inform our guests monthly and our business partners quarterly via the newsletter. Ship traffic status reports are also updated daily on our website.

We place a special focus on bilateral dialogue with residents' initiatives, in particular through the traditional season-opening trip on the Middle Rhine, which is also attended by representatives from tourism and politics from the surrounding towns and municipalities. In addition to planned events, there are also networking events that enable spontaneous discussions and dialogue with local residents. Of particular interest are topics such as KD's product portfolio, noise emissions and visions for the future.

Our sustainability strategy

We actively pursue a comprehensive sustainability strategy that aims to take into account the environmental, social and economic aspects of our business activities. Building on our material topics, in the financial year 2023 we have defined clear targets up to the year 2030 in order to minimise our environmental impact and make a positive social and societal contribution.

In order to achieve our goals, we are taking an action-based approach. In the environmental area, this includes the continuous modernisation of our ships in order to integrate energy-efficient drive systems and minimise fuel consumption. In the social area, for example, we are introducing an employee survey, which we carry out every two years in order to know the needs of our employees and act accordingly. As our values are not only binding for us, but also for our business partners, we have compiled a Supplier Code of Conduct . This includes the values we act upon and is attached to every contract.

In order to measure the success of our sustainability strategy, we have defined meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs). These include not only environmental aspects, such as the CO2 footprint and particulate emissions, but also take social and societal factors into account. We use these KPIs to ensure that our sustainability goals are in line with the highest standards. In this way, we are not only focusing on a sustainable future for our fleet, but are also supporting to develop inland shipping as a whole into a more responsible and CO2efficient sector.

We believe that the course for tomorrow - towards more sustainable tourism - must be set today. Our sustainability strategy makes KD's actions in the area of sustainability even more transparent for our stakeholders. The following table shows an excerpt from our sustainability strategy, displaying specific goals KDhas set itself in each sub-chapter on the sustainability topics.

Our contribution to the SDGs

In 2015, the United Nations launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve an environmentally friendly and socially just world by 2030. These goals provide a guide for companies, governments and society to tackle global challenges. We are committed to integrating these goals into our daily actions. The following is a list of measures - broken down by our key topics - with which we are already contributing to the various SDGs at sub-target level.




We are actively committed to achieving the SDGs through targeted measures in the area of energy and emissions (SDGs 7 and 9). This includes continuous investment in the expansion of our shore-side power infrastructure with the aim of reducing emissions. Similar to our office buildings, our fleet is supplied with green electricity via our shore-side power supply. In addition, the photovoltaic systems on our office building generate valuable electricity from renewable energy. These measures not only help us to achieve renewable energy targets, but also optimise our own energy consumption.

In the area of biodiversity and ecosystems, we contribute to SDGs 3, 6, 12 and 14 by implementing sustainable practices that preserve the diversity of river ecosystems. This includes preventing accidents, optimising the collection of water data, avoiding products and packaging containing plastic and offering more vegetarian and vegan dishes.

With the intended hybridization of our fleet, we are constantly working to minimise air pollution and contribute to SDGs 3, 7, 9, 11 and 13. In this way, we are actively promoting a more sustainable shipping.


Our employees are our most important resource. We are therefore committed to the well-being and health of our employees. In the area of customer relations and loyalty, we focus on internal and external communication of our sustainability endeavours. By raising awareness in this way, we are contributing to SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production). Transparent communication and sustainable business practices not only strengthen the trust of our guests, but also promote sustainable consumer behaviour. In addition to our commitment to fair working conditions (SDGs 3 and 8), we actively promote the health of our employees and invest in training and development programmes (SDG 4) to support them in their professional development. We are committed to diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities (SDGs 4, 5, 8, 10) through an inclusive corporate culture. In particular, we want to increase the proportion of women in our trainee programme. To make KD even more inclusive, we are constantly working on making our ships easily accessible. By promoting sustainable tourism and local and regional cooperation, we create jobs, strengthen the local community and promote regional products (SDG 8).



Our corporate philosophy is based on strict compliance. It forms the basis of our business activities. We emphasise ethical standards and transparent business practices to ensure responsible corporate governance. In order to communicate and enforce this endeavour, we have set ourselves clear rules of conduct, for example with an anti-corruption guideline as well as the Code of Conduct. Through these guidelines, we have positioned ourselves in line with our values, which we expect both our employees and our suppliers to uphold. Nevertheless, a comprehensive whistleblowing systems helps us in case of suspicion of compliance violations making sure appropriate measures can be initiated. In this way, we support the goal of peace, justice and strong institutions.

In addition, we are actively contributing to SDG 8 by establishing an ESG strategy and ESG management. A more sustainable business model (SDGs 8 and 13) is the key to our strategic direction, enabling us to act in a way that is not only environmentally but also economically sustainable. This also includes promoting regional and responsible procurement. We work closely with our suppliers who share our values and thus contribute to a sustainable supply chain (SDG 12). The key criteria for sustainable procurement are set out in our purchasing guidelines.

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