EMBEDDED AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF MANAGEMENT AND CENTRALLY COORDINATED
What does sustainability mean for GIZ? What do we hope to achieve, and how do we want to put it into practice?
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FUTURE
Our guidelines on corporate sustainability in practice make a clear statement on the matter. This is where we have set out our sustainability standards and our principles for managing corporate sustainability, which we follow both internally as a company and when implementing commissioned projects. The guidelines also state how environmental and social standards are maintained within our projects to comply with national legislation in our cooperation countries and with the obligations arising from international agreements. In 2017, the guidelines were updated to bring them into line with the goals of the 2030 Agenda.
EXAMPLE: SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT
Sustainability is also a cross-cutting theme in our Corporate Strategy 2017 – 2019. It features prominently in the ‘effectiveness’ area of action, with one measure dedicated to anchoring the principles and objectives of the 2030 Agenda in GIZ’s services
In the ‘value for money’ area of action, sustainability is included as the separate sub-item ‘sustainable business practices’. GIZ pays particular attention to sustainable procurement, and has set itself the target that all procured equipment, materials and services should satisfy the toughest sustainability criteria by 2020. New tenders for important framework agreements for IT, the canteen and the travel agency were issued in 2017 with this aim in mind.
To ensure that procurement in GIZ’s international offices is also made sustainable, depending on the specific conditions in each country, in 2017 new tenders were issued for printed materials, hotel services and IT equipment in conformance with binding environmental and social criteria, initially with India as the pilot country. The findings of this pilot scheme were used as a template for other GIZ country offices.
The Sustainability Board, the Director Corporate Sustainability and the Sustainability Office work closely together to systematically promote sustainability. In the highest echelons of management, the Sustainability Board, overseen by the Chair of GIZ’s Management Board, lays down the long-term strategic orientation of our corporate sustainability and analyses and evaluates how it is being implemented. The other members of the Sustainability Board are the Director of the Corporate Development Unit, in her role as Director Corporate Sustainability, and seven other heads of departments and corporate units.
CENTRALLY COORDINATED AND REVIEWED
The Director Corporate Sustainability is the central point of contact for matters relating to sustainability, both inside and outside the company, and ensures that future development of sustainability management is linked to GIZ’s corporate development.
The Director Corporate Sustainability is supported by the Sustainability Office, which coordinates and monitors sustainability management across the company, cooperating closely with other organisational units at GIZ. The Sustainability Office promotes sustainability management at locations outside Germany with a specially developed instrument, the Corporate Sustainability Handprint®. It has now been introduced worldwide.
FOUR FIELDS OF ACTION ON SUSTAINABILITY
GIZ has defined four pillars of sustainability: ‘social responsibility’, ‘ecological balance’, ‘political participation’ and ‘economic capability’. Our Sustainability Programme and, subordinate to that, our Environmental Programme, specify relevant indicators and measures, for instance on reducing the consumption of electricity, water and paper, cutting CO2 emissions, promoting sustainable event management and strengthening staff participation.
‘WE ARE AIMING TO PLAY A PIONEERING ROLE AS A SUSTAINABLE COMPANY.’
Interview with Elke Siehl, GIZ Director Corporate Sustainability
How important is corporate sustainability for GIZ?
ELKE SIEHL In a nutshell, corporate sustainability management has gone from being something that it would be nice to do to an absolute must. It is a key factor in our credibility and in ensuring our long-term viability.
What part does the dialogue with stakeholders play in this?
This exchange of ideas is crucial. Our first Stakeholder Dialogue on Sustainability was held in 2016. We asked representatives from the worlds of politics, business and the scientific and academic community what issues were important to them with regard to sustainability at GIZ (note: see Materiality Matrix). One of the outcomes of this was that they wanted to see GIZ in Germany assuming a pioneering role as a sustainable company. We are organising the next Stakeholder Dialogue in 2018 as a follow-up.
How is GIZ living up to this expectation?
Our actions are guided by the principles of sustainability. As one of the pioneers in corporate sustainability, we have embedded sustainability targets in our Corporate Strategy. We are aiming to reduce our worldwide resource consumption and CO₂ emissions, for example, and by 2020 we want to be climate-neutral. Our decentralised management instrument, the Corporate Sustainability Handprint®, along with our Sustainability Programme and Environmental Programme, are helping us translate this into reality.