Sustainability handbook for companies
Together with 17 European project partners Oeko-Institut has developed guidelines for small, medium-sized and large enterprises in the creation and implementation of sustainability strategies. The handbook’s main recommendation is that from the beginning the focus should be on the greatest possible benefit for society, both in terms of strategy development and in the implementation of sustainability measures. The practitioners’ handbook is based on the results of the IMPACT project – the largest integrated research effort on CSR impact assessment in Europe to date.
“IMPACT clearly demonstrates that the voluntary measures of companies do have a discernable impact, but one that is too small to fulfil the sustainability goals of the European Union,” says Christoph Brunn, who was responsible for synthesizing all substantive results in the IMPACT project. “Our aim with the practitioners’ handbook is to provide companies with guidelines for how to approach sustainability activities in such a way that the social impact is as large as possible,” says Brunn.
In the spotlight: The benefits for society
There are many aspects to whether a company’s sustainability measure benefits society or not: the choice of specific sustainability issue, the selection of a specific activity, the implementation and/or measurement of positive or negative impacts on society or the environment. The more systematic the company’s approach is, the greater the probability that the sustainability activities will be worthwhile.
With this in mind, the experts have developed the CIAM method – Corporate Impact Assessment & Management. Based on this method, sustainability measures go – in a best case scenario – through five phases, beginning with the selection of sustainability issues that are the most important for the company and for society. After it has been decided which sustainability measures should be implemented, the results should subsequently be measured and evaluated, ideally on the basis of key indicators. In each of the five phases, the impact of the measure is to the fore. CIAM follows the pattern of established tools of management systems and adds some new elements.
Small and medium-sized companies that often have fewer resources for implementing sustainability measures due to their size will find tips in the handbook on how they can achieve positive impacts based on the company’s means.
Further information on the webpage of Oeko-Institut:
Important studies on the webpage of Oeko-Institut:
Further information on the webpage of the European Commission:
Contact at Oeko-Institut:
Researcher in Environmental Law & Governance Division
Oeko-Institut, Darmstadt office
Phone: +49 6151 8191-128