12.6 Responsible companies 12.6 Responsible companies

12.6 Responsible companies
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Sub-goal 12.6 encourages businesses, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

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Sustainability reporting is currently taking place on a voluntary basis. There are a number of corresponding tools available for this purpose. Legal regulations exist in the context of accounting. The CSR Directive Implementation Act 2017, based on the so-called CSR Directive of the EU from 2014, created a statutory obligation to report non-financial information in Germany. In particular, listed companies with more than 500 employees must prepare a non-financial statement on environmental, labour and social issues, respect for human rights and combating corruption and bribery if other conditions are met (Section 289c HGB). Some 520 companies and organisations are affected. The existing voluntary frameworks can be used to implement this reporting obligation. Established reporting frameworks include the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative and the German Sustainability Code. There is a database for the latter: https://www.deutscher-nachhaltigkeitskodex.de/de-DE/Home/Database.

The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is available to companies in the environmental sector. Established in 1995, it helps companies introduce and report on sustainable practices. Here, too, there is a database of registered companies and organisations, all of which are subject to environmental reporting obligations (www.emas-register.de). In consultation with the member states, the EU Commission revised the reporting requirements of the EMAS Regulation in early 2019. 

There has been increasing focus on corporate responsibility when it comes to the sustainable design of supply and value chains in recent years. This topic is of great relevance due to German companies, given their often globally networked supply and value-added chains. The National CSR Forum of the Federal Government adopted the ‘Berlin CSR Consensus’ in 2018. The purpose of this policy paper is to give companies a cross-industry orientation on how to exercise entrepreneurial diligence in terms of social, environmental and human rights diligence. Further activities, in particular in the field of human rights due diligence (under the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights), are currently taking place.

Sub-goal 12.6 does not formulate quantitative targets. The National Reporting Platform (NRP) specifies the following as an indicator for 12.6: ‘Number of companies publishing sustainability reports’. The number of locations that are EMAS-registered is currently being recorded, because they must produce a certified environmental statement on the environmental aspects that concern them. Since the German National Sustainability Strategy has set the target of increasing the share of EMAS-registered sites and organisations to 5,000 by 2030 (indicator 12.2 in the German National Sustainability Strategy), this also applies to the number of environmental declarations. In addition to the environmental declarations, the number of declarations according to the German Sustainability Code is being recorded based on the availability of corresponding data in the DNK database.

Bundesregierung
CSR Directive Implementation Act (CSR-RUG)

In 2014, the European Parliament and the member states of the EU adopted a directive to extend reporting of large capital market-oriented companies, credit institutions, financial services institutions and insurance companies (the so-called CSR directive). The aim of the directive is to increase the transparency of ecological and social aspects in companies in the EU.
Germany has transposed the Directive into national law (CSR Directive Implementation Act). The CSR Directive Implementation Act came into force on 19 April 2017.

Unterziele
12.6 Responsible companies
Ziele
SDG 8 SDG 9
BMZ; UN Global Compact Netzwerk Deutschland
Global Compact Network Germany (DGCN)

The Global Compact was launched by the United Nations in 2000. It is a strategic and international platform for learning and dialogue on sustainable and responsible business, involving civil society organisations, business and national governments. Working with its partners, the Global Compact has shaped the international dialogue on sustainability and the development of business strategies and tools to achieve it. As a platform for multi-stakeholder learning and dialogue, the Global Compact convenes webinars, workshops, coaching, conferences and technical forums in its work. The Global Compact Network Germany (DGCN) brings together the German signatories of the UN Global Compact: there are currently around 530 companies – ranging from DAX corporations and SMEs to small specialist companies - and nearly 60 organizations from civil society, academia and the public sector. In the Network, they can get information about all the topics concerning corporate responsibility, the sharing of ideas and cooperation on practice-oriented solutions. The DGCN was founded on the initiative of German companies in 2000 as one of the first national platforms.

Unterziele
12.6 Responsible companies 12.B Sustainable tourism
Ziele
SDG 8 SDG 9
Bundesregierung; Federführung: AA
National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights

In 2016, the Federal Government adopted the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights in the Federal Cabinet. In the action plan, the Federal Government for the first time anchors the responsibility German enterprises have for observing human rights in a clear framework. Companies are expected to comply with the human rights due diligence obligation and respect human rights along their supply and value chains. With the National Action Plan, the Federal Government aims to improve the global human rights situation and to shape globalization in a socially responsible way.

Unterziele
12.6 Responsible companies
Ziele
SDG 8
BMBF
ERA-MIN 2 - Research and Innovation Programme on Raw Materials to Foster Circular Economy

The implementation of circular economy and especially the closure of cycles for raw materials requires collaboration beyond national borders. Therefore, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research promotes the joint transnational calls of the pan European R&I programme ERA-MIN. Partners of transnational consortia should provide a significant contribution to the transnational added value of collaboration. The scope of the joint calls is to promote research addressing thematic areas of the circular economy (sustainable exploration, extraction and processing technologies, recycling, substitution of critical raw materials).The implementation of circular economy and especially the closure of cycles for raw materials requires collaboration beyond national borders. Therefore, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research promotes the joint transnational calls of the pan European R&I programme ERA-MIN. Partners of transnational consortia should provide a significant contribution to the transnational added value of collaboration. The scope of the joint calls is to promote research addressing thematic areas of the circular economy (sustainable exploration, extraction and processing technologies, recycling, substitution of critical raw materials).

Unterziele
12.1 Sustainable consumption and production patterns 12.2 Sustainable management of natural resources 12.4 Environmentally sound management of chemicals 12.5 Reducing waste generation 12.6 Responsible companies
Ziele
SDG 8 SDG 9 SDG 17
BMZ
The Green Button

The Green Button is a government-run label for sustainable textiles. Since September 2019, the certificate sets binding requirements for the products and the entire company. To obtain the certification, companies have to meet high requirements regarding their production and working conditions. Therefore, they have to comply with 46 social and environmental criteria. Independent auditors conduct the necessary audits. The Germany Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development defines and owns the certification scheme. The Green Button provides orientation when buying socially and environmentally manufactured textiles. Thus, it aims at raising awareness of customers and companies on the topic of sustainable textile production and supply chains. With the assistance of an independent expert advisory council, the Green Button is continuously being developed further to be even more comprehensive in the future. 

Unterziele
12.1 Sustainable consumption and production patterns 12.4 Environmentally sound management of chemicals 12.6 Responsible companies 12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development
Ziele
SDG 8 SDG 9 SDG 10