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GIZ staff around the world are committed to promoting sustainability. In Germany and in our countries of assignment, colleagues organise a number of social and environmental initiatives and campaigns. GIZ has developed a variety of formats to support them. In addition to the Sustainability Contest already mentioned, other measures include a sustainability fund set up by the company to provide financial support for exemplary projects. In 2021, a total of 14 sustainable activities in 10 different countries received support.

In Morocco, for instance, staff were given funding to create fruit and vegetable gardens at GIZ locations. In Guatemala, support was provided for workshops that enable colleagues to learn new skills, such as how to produce fertiliser from organic waste. In other countries, staff are using the funding to produce guides on how to avoid waste, for example, or to organise waste collection and recycling campaigns.

  • Photo: Several people using hoes and rakes in wooden plant beds.
    © GIZ/ Ónice Arango
  • Photo: Several people standing around a plant bed with young plants. Two are planting while the others watch.
    © GIZ / Edgar Perez

In 2021, a large number of staff inside and outside Germany again took part in the German Sustainability Action Days. At the offices in Bonn and Berlin, for instance, a bicycle repair station was set up, giving employees an opportunity to get some expert advice, just as in previous years. A total of around 20 activities were held across the company as part of the Sustainability Action Days 2021.

In individual corporate units, staff developed their own formats to raise awareness and promote sustainability. In the Sector and Global Programmes Department, for instance, ambassadors are working to help make people’s working routine more sustainable and to make colleagues more aware of environmental protection in particular, for example in the event management and mobility sectors. They initiated several information campaigns within the department in 2021. These included producing a series of posters for all GIZ buildings with tips on how to avoid waste in general and how to reduce food waste.


The year 2021 was one of crises that included more than just the COVID-19 pandemic. GIZ staff worked as volunteers to help people in particular need, for example their colleagues from Afghanistan and the people affected by the floods in the Ahr Valley in Germany. In mid-2021, hundreds of staff helped with the clean-up and reconstruction work in the disaster area. The gizMAhelfen volunteer initiative created as a result of these efforts subsequently organised extensive support for GIZ staff from Afghanistan. They collected money for items to be donated in Afghanistan itself and looked after colleagues from the country who came to Germany with their families. The initiative has now become an extensive support network for the staff evacuated from Afghanistan.

GIZ maintains an ongoing dialogue with its staff and takes account of any criticism and suggestions. In 2019, it produced guidelines on staff initiatives as part of sustainability management. Staff have the option of agreeing on employee goals for their initiatives in consultation with their manager. These goals are relevant to their financial remuneration. The sustainability fund, which is used to provide funding for staff initiatives, is also part of the guidelines. Promoting staff participation in sustainability management has been defined as one of the goals in the Sustainability Programme 2021–2025.

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

Graphic: GIZ: SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth

Information on the following sustainability standards can be found on this page:
GRI standard 404; UNGC 1; The Code 9, 14