German Sustainability: 150 experts from economy and society discuss new approaches to attain corporate transparency

Berlin, 19 April 2016 – 150 leading German and European experts from economy, civil society, science and politics met up in Frankfurt to debate the chances of new sustainability dynamics – strengthened by the UN climate agreement from Paris, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the national implementation of the EU-CSR reporting obligation.
During a two-day forum, the experts spoke about disclosing information with regard to environment, society and governance. In nine workshops, they worked out which requirements market participants apply to quality and content of information and how precisely the Sustainability Code (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitskodex (DNK)) can be advanced in order to promote a sustainable development. The key appears to be an increase in market relevance; thereby unfolding added value for companies and other users.
In addition, requirements and ways were evaluated as to how sustainability codes can also be initiated in other European countries. For example, the Greek Sustainability Code, which was developed and published based on the Sustainability Code.
The experts recommend: the Sustainability Code allows companies to efficiently manage and disclose the effects their business have on environment and society – under the condition that data and information are credible and comparable. The Code is ideal for medium-sized enterprises to get started in sustainability reporting. The “Guideline for the German Sustainability Code” is frequently used to jump-start. Medium-sized companies can use the Sustainability Code to show how they assume responsibility and better manage risks as a supplier in value chains. 
Engaging in one’s own sustainability performance can furthermore have positive effects on innovations within the company and can motivate the staff. Companies should leverage these potentials by collecting and preparing information to reflect on their own core business. With a compliance statement according to the Sustainability Code companies can comprehensively describe their responsible management to their clients and staff as well as towards the public and financial market players.
Marlehn Thieme, Chairwoman of the Council for Sustainable Development sums up: „The competency of specialists from economy and society is indispensable for our work in the Sustainability Board. We actively call for these valuable experiences in our dialogues and gratefully include them in our specific projects. In Frankfurt we succeeded together in bringing relevant players into contact with each other and setting impulses for more and better information. “