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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


EU Directive: companies must show greater transparency – the Sustainability Code can help

Berlin, 07.10.2014 - In the European Union (EU), companies with more than 500 employees, will, in future, be obliged to report on ecological, social and governance issues. This is the result of a decision passed by the Council of the European Union. Exactly how such reports are to be submitted has not been determined. The German Sustainability Code developed by the German Council for Sustainable Development is a tried-and-tested tool that already meets the requirements of the EU's Transparency Directive. By extending conventional corporate balance sheets to include relevant, consistent and comparable details on environmental and social aspects, the EU is seeking to enhance competition within the European Economic Area.

Says Marlehn Thieme, Chairwoman of the Sustainability Council: “We worked hand in hand with companies, investors and civil society to develop the Sustainability Code. It represents a response to the 2008 global financial and economic crisis: a move away from focusing on financial parameters alone and instead towards a holistic evaluation of a company's sustainability performance.”

On numerous occasions, the Sustainability Code has since proven to be a pragmatic tool for satisfying the requirements of the EU Directive. Around 6,000 companies in the public eye are affected by the Directive. The companies in question have over 500 employees, are listed on the stock exchange and operate around the globe. “I am pleased that Brussels has addressed the banking and insurance sectors in particular, because these are of huge strategic importance to the sustainable development of the entire economy,” says the Council's Chairwoman, Marlehn Thieme. “Mega issues such as climate change, contamination and infrastructure risks are already leaving their mark on balance sheets.”

Brussels has prescribed that the Directive must transpose into national law by 2017. Medium-sized companies can also use the Sustainability Code today, at no cost. A recently compiled handbook offers guidance and examples.

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