Sustainability Management

What is sustainability management?

Sustainability management comprises the integration of concepts and instruments for the improvement of social, ecological and economic aspects of companies and organisations. Sustainability management enables an organisation to systematically and regularly analyse and improve social, ecological and economic aspects. The objective is to contribute to the sustainable development of the organisation and to secure and increase the competitiveness of organisations.

Sustainability management thus goes beyond sustainability reporting. Similar to environmental protection and occupational safety management systems, sustainability management also includes the planning, the controlling and the monitoring the impact of the organisation and of its activities. Sustainability management also addresses issues of corporate social responsibility, business ethics and corporate ethics, and which values play a role in the organisation.

What standards are there?

There is no single standard for sustainability management. Organisations apply the following standards to various areas of sustainability management:

ISO 26000 - Guidance to social responsibility

This international standard sees itself as a guideline for sustainability in organisations. However, it does not contain any specific requirements, in particular for a management system, such as ISO 14001 or ISO 45001. For this reason, ISO 26000 is also not considered as a certifiable standard.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

The Global Reporting Initiative develops and publishes a reporting standard to improve the transparency of organisations' sustainability performance. The standard therefore only covers a partial aspect of sustainability management and is therefore not directly to be considered a standard for sustainability management.

Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitskodex (DNK)

Like GRI, the German Sustainability Code is a reporting standard and cannot therefore be regarded directly as a standard for sustainability management.

Can a sustainability management system be certified?

In Germany, there is currently no standard for the certification of a sustainability management system in the accredited field. Bodies that issue certificates for sustainability management therefore do so without being accredited and monitored and do not enjoy the same credibility and recognition as accredited certification bodies. The same applies to the respective certificates.