Experience shows, that sustainability reports enjoy smaller readership than many hope. Overall, the processed information to potential users in the capital market does not seem to be suitable, especially since comparability and quantification is often missing. Therefore, the German Council for Sustainable Development together with representatives of the capital market has selected performance indicators from established reporting standards and described criteria that present in a short and clear manner the essential information on the sustainability performance of a company.
Global Compact, the OECD Guidelines and ISO 26.000 are important initiatives on which the Sustainability Code is setup. The Code can be a useful instrument to report on measures taken to implement these principles into the business case.
After sending the declaration of conformity to the office there is a preliminary examination before publication. This is mainly to check whether the format has been followed and, if necessary, content-related notes are given. There is no certification. If companies want to increase the credibility of the declaration of conformity for example for the capital market, the Council recommends to do this through a limited assurance of a third party (e.g. auditors, NGOs).
Companies get a signet to communicate their support for the Sustainability Code given with a declaration of conformity.
The required time depends entirely on how deeply sustainability is already anchored in the company and to what extent the necessary data and facts are already available.
Our user survey in 2018 showed that the time required to prepare the declaration of conformity varies greatly and averages around 21 days. However, it is also worth spending a certain amount of time if the company clarifies its sustainability strategy, its goals and the measures it will take to achieve them during this process.
The application of the Code is free of charge. The company's internal costs depend on the time it takes to obtain the data.