econsense – Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business, is an association of leading globally active companies with the shared objective of promoting sustainable development and corporate responsibility. Founded in 2000 as an initiative of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), econsense today is one of the leading corporate platforms for dialogue among political, scientific, media and societal groups concerning sustainable development. The forum is also used by its members for the mutual exchange of competence aimed at achieving shared goals and identifying best practices.
econsense works with nine project groups along four clusters, each with its own agenda and outputs:
- Managing ecological an social issues: Environmental Climate Issues, Biodiversity Indicators, Business & Human Rights, Demographic Change
- Measuring and communicating impact: Environmental & Social Impact Assessment, Reporting & Rating, Sustainability Communication
- Taking along suppliers and business partners: Sustainable Supply Chain Management
- Promoting Corporate Change: Sustainability Transformation & Change Management.
- 32 companies.
Shared Members with WBCSD
- (19) BASF, Bayer, BMW, Coca-Cola, Daimler, Deloitte, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Post, Dupont, E.on, EY, Evonik, HeidelbergCement, KPMG, PwC, RWE, Siemens, Volkswagen.
Building the Business Case
- The project groups of econsense, while following their individual mandates, have worked to aggregate data into instruments, provide mapping tools, issue publications and engage in continuing dialogue with national and international bodies through workshops and various communication channels. Highlights 2013/14 include: 1) Study on the benefits of sustainability in core business processes and functions; 2) Supplier sustainability workshop on the ground in emerging sourcing markets (e.g. China); 3) Study on sector approaches in supply chain management.
- Annual meeting of the Sustainability Community in Nauen near Berlin
- Yearly journalism award on business & sustainability
- Stakeholder dialogues hosted by econsense and member company on a specific sustainability topic
- Co-host for GRI G4 local launch event in Berlin
- Conference on Integrated Reporting with the IIRC in Berlin
- Dialogue events on technology development are planned for 2014
- Action2020-related Activities
- Working on climate change within the Environmental & Climate working group.
- Ongoing discussion on the role of business in creating positive rebound effects, such as by introducing new technologies that increase resource efficiency.
- Ongoing discussion on climate adaptation and resilient business.
- Working with ecosystems within the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services working group.
- Discussion paper on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
- Working on biodiversity indicators in cooperation with the German “Biodiversity in Good Company” initiative, a cross-sectorial effort by businesses to manage, protect and sustainably use biodiversity and resources.
- Offers a Supplier Sustainability Workshop on the ground in emerging sourcing markets.
- Published a study on sector approaches in supply chain management.
Skills and Employment
- Working with skills and employment within the Sustainability Transformation and Change Management working group as well as in the working group on demographic change.
- Developed a communication tool (online game) for internal sustainability communication.
Basic Needs and Rights
- Working on basic needs and rights within the Business and Human Rights working group.
- Ongoing discussions on “Putting the Ruggie Framework into practice” from a business perspective (including workshops, stakeholder consultations, and so forth, concerning human rights and social capital in the business environment).
- Synopsis of all major frameworks on business and human rights (UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; UN Global Compact; OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises; ISO 26000) and workshop documentation.
- Study with the Global Compact Network Germany on how different guides on the Ruggie Framework are being used by companies.
- Working on redefining value within the working groups on reporting and rating and Environmental & Social Impact Assessment.
- Regular workshops on reporting and sustainability rating.
- Maintains an ongoing dialogue with the GRI on the G4 Guidelines and sector guidance (partner at official G4 launch in Germany).
- Government Engagement and External Collaboration
- Close cooperation with the German Business Association (BDI).
- Member of the German CSR Forum which was in charge of co-developing the German CSR Action Plan.
- Member of the strategic taskforce “Unternehmen Biologische Vielfalt 2020“ – Enterprises Biodiversity 2020 of the German Ministry of Environment.
- Participant of the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights.
- Participant in the German Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
- Member of CSR Europe.
Global Network Collaboration