Sustainability Consulting

Sustainability Consulting - Strategic ThinkingMy consulting services can help your company become more sustainable. As an external consultant I can accompany you on your sustainability path and support you in grasping the opportunities of sustainability while containing the risks.

My services are based on the conviction that corporate sustainability needs to balance social and economic aspects within environmental limits. In other words: a company can in my view only become truly sustainable, if it takes planetary boundaries into account at every business decision. A widespread view portraits social, economic and environmental aspects as equally important. This is misleading, as it ignores that there won’t be a thriving economy and society without the regenerative resources and biodiversity of a a liveable planet. The way I see it is that companies and the economy are embedded in society, and society is embedded in the natural environment.

Sustainability strategy

Your sustainability strategy should be embedded in your corporate strategy. This ensures that the corporate business goals and strategic actions of your company are fully aligned with your sustainability goals. See my Strategy Consulting Services, if you also need support for developing, reviewing, or updating your corporate strategy.

Materiality assessment

Materiality assessment is more than just a sustainability reporting tool for environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. I recommend to use it first as a strategic tool for identifying and assessing the environmental, social and governance issues that could most affect your stakeholders and your business.

Based on a proven seven-step process, I can help you perform a materiality assessment as the basis for your sustainability strategy.

Sustainability vision and goals

Building on the selected key issues from the materiality assessment, the next step is to define a vision on where your company should be in terms of sustainability within the next 5-10 years as well as goals for each of the identified material issues. Ideally, there should be ambitious goals related to all three ESG areas, i.e. environmental, social and governance goals.

Sustainability roadmapping

The next step is focused on developing a roadmap for achieving each goal defined under the mid- to long-term sustainability vision. The roadmap will identify the resources, stakeholders and other relevant factors for achieving the goals. Furthermore, the roadmap will define activities and milestones for achieving the goals as well as key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring progress.

Sustainability management

For achieving the sustainability vision and for implementing the roadmap towards your company’s sustainability goals, you will need to have effective structures and processes as well as committed executives and employees to drive the intended outcomes. As an external consultant, I can help you establish and review the structures and processes as well as support you in fostering employee commitment.

Governance structure and processes

Depending on the size of your company, sustainability management should either have its own department reporting to the executive board, or it should be directly steered by a member of the executive team. Your structure and processes need to be designed in a way to ensure that the achievement of KPIs is continuously monitored and corrective action is taken in a timely fashion, when need. The challenge is to set up the governance structure and processes in a way that is aligned with the core business activities, avoiding that sustainability is sidelined and considered just something for the ‘sustainability people’ to do.

Transformation and change management

Becoming sustainable is a major cultural shift for a company that affects the whole business and all employees. Triggering such a cultural change towards sustainability requires the continuous commitment by the company’s leadership as well as an inclusive change management process, in order to achieve the transformation towards sustainability in a way that gets all internal stakeholders on board, employees as well as investors.

Key performance indicators and monitoring

Performance against the KPIs defined in the roadmapping phase needs to continuously monitored, in order to gauge your company’s progress towards achieving your sustainability goals. In addition, the KPIs and target values themselves need to be regularly reviewed to make sure you are still measuring what is relevant to understand your progress and that your measurable targets are still ambitious and achieveable. I can support you in setting up a reliable and flexible KPI monitoring system with as little as possible overhead.

Compliance and risk management

The motivation for your company to become more sustainable should be mainly driven by the opportunities sustainability presents in terms of people, planet and profits. At the same time, compliance and risk management are also important factors you should keep on your radar. You need to constantly monitor the legislative and regulatory process, in order to be able to adapt to new requirements early enough. At the same time, it is important to evaluate the risks of social and environmental trends and events for your business. I can support you via regular compliance and risk management reviews, to make sure you are not running into problems caused by lack of attention.

Sustainability reporting

European reporting requirements

EU law requires large companies to disclose information on the way they operate and manage social and environmental challenges. EU rules on non-financial reporting currently apply to large public-interest companies with more than 500 employees. The scope of companies required to provide non-financial reporting will soon be extended by the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), the new EU legislation coming into effect on 1st January 2024 for the 2023 financial year. The CSRD will require all companies with more than 250 employees and more than €40m turnover and/or more than €20m in total assets as well as all listed companies – except micro-enterprises with less than 10 employees or below €20m turnover – to report on their sustainability.

If the new regulation affects your company, i.e. you will have to publish regular reports on your environmental and social impact activities from 2024 on, it is advisable to prepare the data collection processes and reporting procedures already now to be ready in the financial year 2023. I can help you get this process organised in a way that fulfills the requirements and at the same time provides synergies and added value towards achieving your sustainability vision and goals.

Reporting standards

There are a number of reporting standards you should consider using for your sustainability report.

The three most common standards are GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), which is comprehensive and covers all sustainability areas, CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) which specifically addresses carbon and water reporting, and SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board), which identifies the key performance indicators (KPIs) for different industries. These three standards are not mutually exclusive and even fit together.

Especially for SMEs in Germany, the DNK (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeits-Kodex) could be an interesting alternative.

For companies in the European Union it may also be relevant that in the context of the upcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), the European Commission is planning to introduce its own sustainability reporting standard.

If you are not sure, which standard would be most suitable for your company, I would be glad to provide advice. In addition, I could help you structure your report according to the chosen standard and manage the data collection and analysis process as well as the editing process.

Let’s talk

Increasing sustainability is the key for your company to stay relevant in society’s effort to keep this planet liveable.

Are you ready to make the next step in your sustainability journey? Then I invite you to book a free orientation session with me at no obligation. Let us talk and find out, how I could support you in making your company more sustainable.