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Our sustainability management

With its clearly defined goals, measures and indicators, GIZ’s Sustainability Programme both provides orientation and serves as a key management tool for corporate sustainability at GIZ. We also use other approaches in our sustainability management. An overview of these instruments is provided here.


The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) builds on the ISO 14001 standard and is the most exacting certification system that exists in the field of corporate environmental management. GIZ freely undertakes to comply with this extremely stringent certification standard. We are using EMAS to enhance environmental management at all our sites in Germany.

EMAS-compliant environmental management system in Germany

Corporate Sustainability Handprint® (CSH)

Environmental and climate management in the countries in which we operate is organised on a decentralised basis and is the responsibility of country directors. It is subject not to EMAS but to the Corporate Sustainability Handprint® (CSH) developed by GIZ. Although the large number of locations and widely varying conditions mean that it can be challenging for GIZ to produce statistics measuring the environmental performance of its country offices, the Corporate Sustainability Handprint® allows us to do this systematically.

More Information about the Corporate Sustainability Handprint® (CSH)

Sustainability reporting

We report regularly on the progress we have made towards implementing and strategically mainstreaming sustainability measures across the company. Our sustainability reports are drawn up in line with recognised international standards. The report you are reading meets the requirements set out by the Global Reporting Initiative and the UN Global Compact. We also produce a biannual report based on the German Sustainability Code.

GRI content index and external assurance

Stakeholder dialogue

To identify issues to address under our sustainability management system and in our reports, we ask our in-house and external stakeholders directly what they feel is important. This provides us with feedback, criticism and ideas on our progress in the field of sustainability. The focus is on the impact of our activities.

Engaging in dialogue

Memberships and voluntary commitments

GIZ belongs to various networks and initiatives that provide a framework for our corporate sustainability measures and a platform for sharing ideas and information. Here are some examples:

B.A.U.M. e.V.

We joined the German Environmental Management Association (B.A.U.M.) in 2011 and are fully signed up to its sustainable management code. B.A.U.M.’s goal is to raise awareness among companies, local authorities and other organisations of the need for precautionary systems of environmental protection and of the vision of sustainable business management. B.A.U.M. also helps its members to implement measures that are environmentally effective, economically viable and socially fair.

B.A.U.M. (German only)

Biodiversity in Good Company

GIZ has been part of the Biodiversity in Good Company initiative since it was set up in 2008. The initiative brings together companies from numerous sectors to drive action on the protection and sustainable use of global biodiversity resources in line with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Its goal is to halt the dramatic loss of ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.

Biodiversity in Good Company

Charta der Vielfalt (German Diversity Charter)

In October 2019, GIZ signed the German Diversity Charter. It is a corporate initiative to promote diversity in companies and institutions. The aim is to drive forward recognition and respect for diversity within the world of work in Germany and to actively draw on diversity. By signing the Charter, GIZ has expressed its conviction that people with different talents, abilities and life experience can enrich and advance our common work. GIZ continues to uphold the voluntary commitment to foster diversity and respect in the working world.

German Diversity Charter

Development and Climate Alliance Foundation

Since late 2018, the Development and Climate Alliance has aimed to link development cooperation and international climate action through the voluntary offsetting of greenhouse gas emissions. It also mobilises additional funding for important development and climate action projects in developing countries and emerging economies. Supporters aim to achieve climate neutrality by avoiding or reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and offsetting any remaining emissions. GIZ supports the Development and Climate Alliance. It was also instrumental in establishing the initiative on behalf of BMZ, and is now transferring its responsibilities to a dedicated foundation.

Development and Climate Alliance Foundation (German only)

Sustainability Leadership Forum (SLF)

The Sustainability Leadership Forum was set up by the German Environmental Management Association (B.A.U.M.) and the Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM) at Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany. In 2020, NORDAKADEMIE Hochschule der Wirtschaft took over the role of cooperation partner from Leuphana University.

The Forum is designed to facilitate discussion and collaboration between companies that have already established excellent sustainability management systems and wish to broaden their corporate sustainability strategy. As a member of the Forum, GIZ appreciates the chance to share experience, be part of a knowledge transfer, and work together to resolve problems.

Sustainability Leadership Forum (German only)

UN Global Compact

GIZ signed up to the UN Global Compact in 2004 and in doing so undertook to follow its ten principles relating to labour and welfare, human rights, the environment and the fight against corruption. We report annually on the action we have taken in each of these areas. GIZ has been running the German Global Compact Network’s secretariat on behalf of BMZ since 2001.

UN Global Compact

Women’s Empowerment Principles

The focus of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) is on strengthening women in companies. The seven principles offer companies guidelines for promoting gender equality at the workplace and within society. They are based on the realisation that businesses have responsibility and an important role to play in achieving gender equality. GIZ has supported the principles since 2015, making it one of the first eight German companies to champion gender equality in this way. Today, over 1,000 companies around the world have committed to the WEPs.

Women’s Empowerment Principles

Information on the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be found on this page:

Graphic: GIZ: SDG 7 Affordable and clean energy
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 13 Climate action
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 15 Life on land
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

Information on the following sustainability standards can be found on this page:
GRI standard 102-12, 102-13, 102-29; UNGC 1–10; The Code 6, 7