Working on the key topic of the future.

Thorsten and the Group Sustainability Team drive the development of sustainability management.

What is your name and what do you do at Holtzbrinck?

My name is Thorsten Zeunert and I have been working as Group Sustainability Manager for the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group (HPG) holding company since 1 December 2022. The task of our still relatively new team is to strategically anchor sustainability in the entire group of companies and to advise our HPG colleagues worldwide on the operational implementation of sustainability issues. The term sustainability encompasses the dimensions "Environment", "Social" and "Governance", in short "ESG".

Why did you decide to join Holtzbrinck?

After several years in food retailing, I was looking for a new challenge in the field of sustainability. The product portfolio of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group (HPG) appealed to me right away during my search. I find the combination of classic physical products like books or newspapers and digital innovations very exciting, especially from a sustainability perspective. In the end, however, I was convinced by the very appreciative application process. My current colleagues took a lot of time for the interviews and we discussed professional topics at eye level.

What are you and your team working on?

Our team is currently working on further developing the sustainability management of the corporate group and establishing or expanding corresponding structures worldwide. There are various strategic and operational starting points for this, which we are currently tackling systematically. Part of this is also the early preparation for new requirements for external reporting on sustainability issues, which are being imposed by the EU, for example.

What is the most important project for you and your team so far?

An important step in shaping HPG's future sustainability management is the so-called materiality analysis. The aim of this analysis is to identify focal points and priorities for HPG's work on sustainability issues. Over the past year, we have determined which topics are particularly important to HPG, based on countless facts and assessments from internal and external experts. The results of the analysis are also the basis for the development of our group-wide sustainability strategy and for future external reporting.

What projects are you looking forward to?

I am very much looking forward to working with the many experts in our group on innovative solutions to make our products and processes as sustainable as possible. Especially on the topic of climate protection, one of our key focus areas, there are already many exciting projects at HPG, which we will continue to drive forward together. Reducing CO2 emissions from our business activities is not only a key concern for us, but also a major challenge that we are facing with determination. Our goal is ambitious, but essential: We want to make our contribution to meeting the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Agreement.    

What do you particularly appreciate about working at Holtzbrinck and in the ESG area?

The first few months at the company have already shown me that the interest of HPG colleagues in sustainability issues and their motivation to do something themselves is very high. For example, there are internal networks and initiatives in which many employees are already voluntarily involved. I really enjoy developing new ideas and approaches in this environment and testing them out together. The ESG field is also very dynamic and new topics are constantly emerging. So it always remains exciting.

What recommendations would you give to people who want to get involved in the field of ESG - both professionally and professionally?

In both personal and professional life, there are now many ways to get informed about sustainability issues and to get involved. In my experience, a good place to start is to think about your own interests and ambitions in terms of sustainability. Then you can start looking for specific sources of information, products, networks or initiatives that can help you realise your ambitions. In the meantime, there are also contact persons for the topic of sustainability in most larger companies who can also provide a good initial orientation.

Back to overview


Group Sustainability Manager at Holtzbrinck Publishing Group

"Our team is currently working on further developing the Group's sustainability management and setting up or expanding corresponding structures worldwide."