Serving the science, society, policy interface for a better world

Serving the science, society, policy interface for a better world: An overview of Advisory Councils on the Environment and for Sustainable Development in Europe.

Implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires multi-layered decision making, multilevel coordination and cooperation with a multitude of stakeholders. In order to arrange an institutionalised gathering of these various stakeholders, it is broadly recognised that advisory councils on the environment and for sustainable development and similar bodies (hereafter ‘advisory councils’) play a significant role.

Advisory councils are – mostly – established by national or regional governments or parliaments. These councils offer independent advice to their respective national and regional governments and parliaments relating to the environment and sustainable development.

To provide interested parties with an overview of different advisory councils on the environment and for sustainable development as established in the European area, the European network of Advisory Councils on the Environment and for Sustainable Development (EEAC Network) drafted this overview study.

By means of this study, we hope to shed light on the different compositions, governance structures, tasks, mandates and working methods of advisory councils. This overview study is a living document, meaning that the study will be regularly updated. The document is based on open source data and is not intended to provide a complete and exhaustive overview of advisory councils. Rather, it should merely serve as a source of general information and inspiration.

RNE’s Sustainability Code receives UN award

The German Sustainability Code (DNK) – as initiated by the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) –  has been awarded the ISAR Honours 2019 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The award ceremony took place on 30th October 2019 in Geneva at the annual session of ISAR (Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting).

This international award recognises initiatives that deliver an outstanding contribution to transparency regarding sustainability in businesses, particularly through enhancing the comparability and quality of companies’ reporting on sustainability issues. A Review Committee of distinguished international experts selects the award winners based on their effective encouragement and assistance for companies’ reporting on sustainability performance. The experts were impressed by the Sustainability Code’s user friendliness for both the reporting companies and the reports’ target audience. Readers can access and compare the reports by means of the Code’s free online database and external users can also conduct meta-analyses. A technical interface allows immediate usage of the published information in other evaluation systems. As an open source solution for ecological, social and governance (ESG) data, the Code therefore also contributes to Sustainable Finance.

For Yvonne Zwick, Deputy Secretary General of RNE and Head of the Sustainability Code Office, the Code’s users are a pillar of its success. “We are very grateful to accept the ISAR Honours 2019 Award on behalf of all the companies that comply with the Sustainability Code and thus promote standardised and focused sustainability reporting”, she commented. “We would like to thank the Review Committee for its positive evaluation of the Code. This award supports our ambition to establish the Code internationally – as a standard that is open to all and easy to use”, she added.