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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


Logo: The Sustainability Code

The Sustainability Code

The Sustainability Code is a transparency tool that has been developed by the initiative of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) and was adopted after a broad multistakeholder process in 2010/2011. With an update of the Sustainability Code in 2014, the RNE reinforced its aim of advancing thoughts of sustainability and of making companies’ sustainability performance transparent and comparable. To do so, the Sustainability Code provides a standardized framework for reporting non-financial performance and can be used by all organizations and enterprises regardless of their size or legal structure. To comply with the Code, users prepare a declaration of conformity covering its twenty criteria as well as additional non-financial performance indicators that have been selected from GRI and EFFAS. The Code itself and the database, in which all declarations of conformity are published, are provided free of charge. In order to facilitate the entry into sustainability reporting with the Sustainability Code especially for SMEs, the German Council for Sustainable Development has established a training and advisor network, consisting of more than 100 training partners and mentors offering informational events, trainings and individual support.

With new regulations on the disclosure of non-financial information by large enterprises, coming into affect in Europe 2017, sustainability reporting gains additional relevance. Users applying the Code already meet the obligation to disclose non-financial and diversity information deriving from the EU-directive passed in 2014. Furthermore, the Council of Sustainable Development ensures that the Code will be in line with the German transposition. With growing interest on an international level, the Council held a Workshop on non-financial reporting and presented the Code as an open source tool. Partners are invited to independently adapt the Code to their country-specific reporting requirements. The Code is therefore available in various languages, such as English, French, Greek, Hebrew, Russian and Spanish. To further support national adaptations the Council offers four accesses to the database free of charge. With the Greek Sustainability Code we have seen the first national adaptation of the Code in April 2016.

The Sustainability Code project website:

The Sustainability Code:

Vorschaubild: PDF

The Sustainability Code - Benchmarking sustainable economy

3rd revised edition 2016, Text no. 52, June 2016 [English]

Download PDF 2.1 MB

Vorschaubild: PDF

Der Deutsche Nachhaltigkeitskodex - Maßstab für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften

4. aktualisierte Fassung 2017, Juli 2017 [deutsch]

Download PDF 4.3 MB

The Sustainability Code (Archive):

Vorschaubild: PDF

Der Deutsche Nachhaltigkeitskodex - Maßstab für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften

3. aktualisierte Fassung 2016, texte Nr. 52, Juni 2016 [deutsch]

Download PDF 2.0 MB

Vorschaubild: PDF

The Sustainability Code - Benchmark for sustainable economy

2nd completely revised edition 2015, text No. 47, January 2015 [English]

Download PDF 1.9 MB

Vorschaubild: PDF

Der Deutsche Nachhaltigkeitskodex - Maßstab für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften

2. komplett überarbeitete Fassung 2015, texte Nr. 47, Januar 2015 [deutsch]

Download PDF 2.0 MB

Vorschaubild: PDF

The Sustainability Code 2014

of 13 October 2011 in the updated version of 4 August 2014 [English, download only]

Download PDF 111 KB

Vorschaubild: PDF

Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitskodex 2014 (DNK)

vom 13. Oktober 2011 in der aktualisierten Fassung vom 04. August 2014 [deutsch, nur Download]

Download PDF 129 KB

Vorschaubild: PDF

The German Sustainability Code (GSC)

Recommendations of the German Council for Sustainable Development, text No. 41, January 2012 [English]

Download PDF 1.8 MB

Vorschaubild: PDF

Der Deutsche Nachhaltigkeitskodex (DNK)

Empfehlungen des Rates für Nachhaltige Entwicklung und Dokumentation des Multistakeholderforums am 26.09.2011, texte Nr. 41, Januar 2012 [deutsch]

Download PDF 2.0 MB


Guideline on the Sustainability Code - Guidance for SMEs (PDF, 3.3 MB) 18.07.2016

The SME Guideline may also be ordered as a brochure free of charge by using the online brochure service by the Council or by sending an e-mail to

Documents in Greek:

The German Sustainability Code in Greek (PDF, 633 KB) 09.04.2014

Documents in Russian:

The Sustainability Code in Russian (PDF, 247 KB) 15.10.2014

Documents in Hebrew:

The Sustainability Code in Hebrew (PDF, 309 KB) 13.06.2016

Documents in Spanish:

The Sustainability Code in Spanish (PDF, 245 KB) 16.12.2016

The Sustainability Code Database

Here you can find a database of declarations of conformity with the Sustainability Code. This database was sponsored by a project of the Sustainable Business Institute (SBI) of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

If an enterprise has submitted declarations of conformity for several years under review, you will find them by clicking the "Home" tab of the company profile. In the "Downloads and Links" section, you can download the declaration as a document. The liability for the accuracy of the information lies with the company.

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