Germany – econsense

What is your country’s government doing with respect to the SDGs and how have they engaged business around this agenda?

In January 2017, the Federal Government of Germany approved a new version of the country’s Sustainable Development Strategy, the most extensive enhancement since its first adoption in 2002. It has been updated once again in 2019 and it is planned to do a more thorough revision in 2020.

The updated Sustainable Development Strategy is aligned with the 17 SDGs and contains 63 “key indicators”, which are mostly associated with quantified targets. At least one indicator-backed target is defined for each of the 17 SDGs. For example, SDG 5.1 “Reduce the gender pay gap to 10 % by 2020 and keep it stable by 2030 or SDG 12.1 “increase market share of environmentally labeled products to 34 % by 2030”.

To regularly involve important stakeholders into the update of the Sustainable Development Strategy, the Federal Chancellery established a multi-stakeholder forum in 2017 (“Forum Nachhaltigkeit”) where representatives from the federal states, business and civil society meet and engage on an annual basis.

Responsibility and accountability for the Sustainable Development Strategy sits with the Federal Chancellery given the overarching, cross-cutting relevance and special significance to the country. All ministries are involved in shaping, contributing and implementing the strategy. To strengthen the coherence of political measures, each ministry will appoint a coordinator to serve as central contact persons. The secretaries of state of the respective ministries meet regularly in the “Staatssekretärsausschuss für Nachhaltige Entwicklung” to debate the policy agenda.

 

What are some of the key trends with regard to how business is engaging with the SDGs in your country?

The private sector has already played an active role in developing activities that link with the 2030 Agenda. The big question for companies now is how they can meaningfully measure and manage their contributions to the SDGs and how they can boost and scale their SDG commitment, for example by means of relevant and impactful partnerships.

econsense members are already assessing, how they can contribute to achieving the SDGs and develop specific solutions. We have also recognized that companies increasingly perceive the SDGs as a business opportunity.

Based on our analysis in the year 2017, 88 percent of econsense members are actively engaging with the SDGs. This involves:

  • Raising awareness for the SDGs among employees, customers, and partners;
  • Prioritizing SDGs;
  • Setting targets (e.g., setting ambitious climate targets);
  • Integrating the SDGs into business strategy and measuring the contribution to the SDGs; and
  • Innovating and engaging in new activities.

 

What is your organization doing with respect to the SDGs?

We support companies in their efforts to contribute to the SDGs, with for example:

  • Organization of cross-sector workshops with company representatives from different corporate functions to explore how to integrate the SDGs in innovation processes at the company level;
  • Hosting a dialog event that brings together SDGs practitioners from state, business and civil society;
  • Writing of a discussion paper elaborating the business view on the SDGs;
  • Development of the handbook “#CompaniesForChange” which provides concrete guidance on how the SDGs can be anchored within companies – be it in different departments, operations and production or along the supply chain.

 

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