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Future peace and prosperity will no longer be within our reach, if we in Germany do not commit more resolutely to greater sustainability and channel all our energy into making it happen – be it in politics, business, science or civil society.

Marlehn Thieme, Chairwoman of the Council

Marlehn Thieme

The principle of sustainability is the only option for responsible global action; it protects our eco-systems and thus ensures the survival of generations to come.

Olaf Tschimpke, Deputy Chairman of the Council

Olaf Tschimpke

Measuring sustainability and identifying interrelationships are major success factors for anchoring this topic in companies and on capital markets.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Bassen, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Alexander Bassen

Avoiding past mistakes means pointing progress in the right direction: the principle of sustainable development is a good compass for technical and social innovations at local, national and global level.

Ulla Burchardt, Member of the Council

Ulla Burchardt

The global sustainability and climate protection goals are the long-term milestones. Now we have to engage in an honest discussion about what the state, private sector and citizens can and must do to achieve them.

Kathrin Menges, Member of the Council

Kathrin Menges

The energy revolution has greatly reduced the costs of green electricity, so it is competitive at international level and helps to achieve the global sustainability goals without additional CO2 emissions.

Alexander Müller, Member of the Council

Alexander Müller

The idea of sustainability is at the core of a viable, innovative economy and is vital for a society that aims to safeguard quality of life in the long term. That is why the three pillars of sustainability – economic, environmental and social – must be considered together.

Katherina Reiche, Member of the Council

Katherina Reiche

Make the sustainable choice the easy choice.

Prof. Dr. Lucia A. Reisch, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Lucia A. Reisch

Sustainable development requires to find as much common ground as possible but also to accept differences.

Dr. Werner Schnappauf, Member of the Council

Dr. Werner Schnappauf

Today, sustainable development requires an agenda which explicitly links global and national goals and policies and thus gives global cooperation a strong push forward.

Dr. Imme Scholz, Member of the Council

Dr. Imme Scholz

In forest science, we learned how important the sustainable management of natural resources is centuries ago. Empirical knowledge, openness to new things and humility in the face of nature can help other sectors, too.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schraml, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schraml

Cities, even more so than today, will become hubs of technological and social development in the future. All the more important are efforts to encourage the sustainable development of our cities.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuster

We need to make bold political decisions that reward growth less and sustainability more and that encourage the common good instead of profit-seeking.

Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger

The UN Sustainable Development Goals present the vision of a fundamental socio-ecological transformation. They are not a specialist task for development or environmental policy, but are binding for all cabinet members.

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Member of the Council

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul


50 companies sign the German Sustainability Code

Berlin, 06.06.2013 - The Lebensbaum company (Ulrich Walter GmbH) is the 50th firm to sign the German Sustainability Code (GSC). This means that 24 listed companies, 14 firms listed on the DAX and 5 listed on the MDAX, 11 enterprises with public participation and one scientific organisation have made declarations of conformity to the German Sustainability Code since its launch in November 2011.

All companies can be found on the new GSC website:

"What can you anchor the issue of sustainability in a company to? Does the managerial level of a company visibly support a sustainability strategy in public or does it prefer to remain invisible? How relevant are environmental, social and governance issues for the strategic development of the company? These are crucial questions when it comes to evaluating the credibility of sustainable management," says Marlehn Thieme, Chairwoman of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE). "The first 50 companies answer these questions in a framework of direct competitive comparison – this is a key step towards orienting our economy towards sustainability."

The German Sustainability Code combines the information on sustainability performance provided by companies in a transparent and comparable form: the so-called declaration of conformity. Companies describe their sustainability performance on the basis of twenty criteria and a selection of performance indicators according to the "comply or explain" principle. If something cannot be reported, the divergence is explained. The public and financial market participants can thus assess how enterprises anchor sustainability in their core business.

The practical experience gained from the transparency standard is communicated in a much more international way than ever before thanks to the new project website relating to the GSC, available at and Recently, the European Commission published a proposal for non-financial disclosure requirements in the context of the Accounting Directives which would apply to companies whose average number of employees exceeds 500 employees and, on their balance sheet dates, exceed either a balance sheet total of EUR 20 million or a net turnover of more than EUR 40 million.

In the view of the RNE, German companies are likely to meet the requirements without difficulty against the background of the voluntary German Sustainability Code and already existing regulation in the Commercial Code, which updated accounting law in 2010. "In my opinion, however, describing reporting criteria and key performance indicators is a mandatory element of effective regulation. Without this, there is a lack of clear guidance for businesses and comparability of the information that can make itself felt on the market," Marlehn Thieme added.

Therefore, together with German and French stakeholders, the RNE is currently drawing up a common position paper regarding the European Commission's proposal, which will be influenced by the practical experiences of the two countries. The basis of the work is the common understanding that a European reporting framework for environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is required.

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