Sustainable Finance: The German Sustainability Code as a blueprint for other countries?

Following the joined Brussels seminar ‘Sustainable Finance: better safe than sorry‘ EEAC Member Councils continued their exchange on Sustainable Finance, this time within the framework of the Athens Sustainability Outlook 2019. Several councils gathered with experts from different European countries representing different stakeholder groups, -government, business, academia and opinion leaders in Athens on 4 and 5 April 2019. On behalf of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) Yvonne Zwick gave a keynote (Speech text). In addition, also Nathalie Boucquey (Speech text) of the Federal Council for Sustainable Development Belgium (FRDO-CFDD) addressed the audience.

Thematically the discussions in Athens focused in particular on sustainable finance and the reporting of companies’ non-financial performance. “We talked about other countries’ interest in establishing an instrument similar to the Sustainability Code in Germany,” commented Yvonne Zwick, who also leads the German Code’s office. Some three years ago, following a two-year development process, Greece became the first country in Europe to introduce its own Sustainability Code based on the German example. At the Athens conference Turkey announced that it is about to establish a national Sustainability Code as well.  This Turkish Sustainability Code, the result of a cooperation between the German Sustainability Code by RNE and the Turkish Center for Sustainable Production Research and Design (SÜRATAM), will soon be implemented.

The partnership between the Code and SÜRATAM shows that the contents of the Code are cross-border relevant and applicable. A look at the widely varying standards of sustainability reporting and the growing interest in standardization underlines that an instrument such as the Code, which focuses on materiality, commitment and transparency, can offer a good and feasible option to internationally promote sustainable business practices. Commenting on the announcement by Turkey, Yvonne Zwick, noted: “The team in Turkey is laying the foundation to kick start the disclosure of sustainability efforts from companies of all sizes in Turkey. We are delighted to witness the announcement of the Turkish Sustainability Code and welcome them to the Code family.”

 

 

Open SDGclub.Berlin ’19: a call for action

At the invitation of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), around sixty sustainability practitioners from over thirty countries discussed deficits in implementing the 2030 Agenda worldwide. Several EEAC members also attended the three-day conference. Besides a meeting document (soon to be released), participants in the Open SDGclub.Berlin meeting drafted a call for action calling on leaders to increase their commitment, to strengthen the role of the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum (UN HLPF), and to advance multi-stakeholder approaches for sustainable development.

 

 

a call for action

Latest Council Publications: National Energy and Climate Plans

Belgium’s Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FRDO-CFDD) and the Portuguese National Council for Environment and Sustainable Development (CNADS) both issued papers reflecting on their countries’ draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs). According to the energy union and climate action rules, which entered into force on 24 December 2018, EU Member States are required to develop integrated NECPs. The NECPs should cover the five dimensions of the energy union for the period 2021 to 2030 (and every subsequent ten-year period) based on a common template. Like the other EU Member States, Belgium and Portugal must submit their final plans to the European Commission by 31 December 2019. Read more (Note: the FRDO-CFDD advisory paper is available in Dutch and French, the CNADS paper is available in Portuguese.)

EEAC board members visit Danish 2030 Panel

EEAC Network’s board members Arnau Queralt and Ron Hillebrand paid a visit to the Danish 2030 Panel in Copenhagen on Friday 26 April 2019. The 2030 Panel is the multi stakeholder advisory board to the Danish Parliament’s all-party group on the SDGs, the so called 2030 Network.

The EEAC board members and members of the 2030 Panel discussed the issue of international cooperation between advisory bodies to governments and parliaments in the field of Sustainable development. Furthermore, they discussed the Panel’s first baseline report for monitoring the achievement of the SDGs in Denmark.

The 2030 Network and 2030 Panel

In March 2017, the All-Party Group on the SDGs – the 2030-Network – was created in the Danish Parliament. The 2030-Network does not have the power to take formal decisions in the law-making process but serves instead to raise awareness and promote the 17 sustainable development goals as a Danish priority and monitor the implementation of the 2030 agenda on a national and international level.

The 2030-Panel has been appointed by the All-party Group and consists of 22 people representing the private sector, civil society, unions, the consumers, academia, municipalities and other sectors in the Danish society. The different competencies and interests represented in the board makes the panel allegeable to support the Group’s work with the implementation and realisation of the SDGs through dialogue, recommendations, and bringing forth evidence-based analysis and reports.

Danish baseline report

As a result, the 2030-Panel presented the first out of 17 baseslines for monitoring the achievement of the goals in Denmark. The baseline was on SDG 11 and was received by the Parliamentarians from the 2030-Network at a meeting between the two organs, where also the Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark participated. Click here to read the latest Baseline report by the 2030 Panel.

The EEAC Network at the UN Global Festival of Action

The EEAC Network and GIZ co-organised an interactive workshop at the United Nations Global Festival of Action 2019 focusing on multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs). More than 70 participants from all over the globe raised and debated such questions as How can we actually make partnerships work? and When is forming partnerships a suitable approach, and when not?

EEAC and GIZ succeeded in organizing a workshop which allowed participants to share practical experience, knowledge and tips, to make new connections, to create opportunities for new partnerships and to improve existing ones. Both organizations stressed that the supportive nature of the session made it possible to share and discuss not only best practices but also ‘failures’.

This year’s Global Festival of Action also provided a dynamic and interactive setting for showcasing the latest innovations, tools and approaches to SDG advocacy and SDG action. It brought together leaders in national and local government, international organisations, and civil society as well as activists, young advocates and representatives of the creative industry and private sector, all seeking to scale up the impact of their work and strategise joint actions while motivating new organisations and individuals to join the movement and take action on the SDGs.

Latest Council Publication: Towards our Common Digital Future

In the report “Towards our common digital future”, the WBGU makes it clear that sustainability strategies and concepts need to be fundamentally further developed in the age of digitalization. Only if digital change and the Transformation towards Sustainability are synchronized can we succeed in advancing climate and Earth-system protection and in making social progress in human development. Without creative political action, digital change will further accelerate resource and energy consumption, and exacerbate damage to the environment and the climate. It is therefore an urgent political task to create the conditions needed to place digitalization at the service of sustainable development. Read more

The Framing of Climate Action in Ireland: Strategic Considerations


Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing policy-makers today, and Ireland’s record on climate action is widely accepted as being disappointing. Part of the explanation for this lies in the uncertainty about what action Ireland can and should take, and uncertainty about how acceptable any climate action will be to various groups in society. In this context of uncertainty, how a problem is framed can have a significant impact on subsequent decisions taken to address that problem. This NESC Secretariat paper examines if and how the framing (or reframing) of climate action can lead to more progress in this challenging area. Read More

EEAC Councils continue exchange on Sustainable Finance

Within the framework of the Athens Sustainability Outlook 2019, EEAC Member Councils continued their exchange on Sustainable Finance. Several councils gathered with experts from different European countries representing different stakeholder groups, -government, business, academia and opinion leaders in Athens on 4 and 5 April 2019. On behalf of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) Yvonne Zwick gave a keynote (Speech text). In addition, also Nathalie Boucquey (Speech text) of the Federal Council for Sustainable Development Belgium (FRDO-CFDD) addressed the audience.

The conference included an important milestone, the announcement Turkey is about to become the third country with a national Sustainability Code.  The Turkish Sustainability Code, the result of a cooperation between the German Sustainability Code by RNE and the Turkish Center for Sustainable Production Research and Design (SÜRATAM), was announced at the Sustainability Outlook 2019 conference in Athens on 5th April 2019.

The partnership between the Code and SÜRATAM shows that the contents of the Code are cross-border relevant and applicable. A look at the widely varying standards of sustainability reporting and the growing interest in standardization underlines that an instrument such as the Code, which focuses on materiality, commitment and transparency, can offer a good and feasible option to internationally promote sustainable business practices.

Commenting on the announcement, Yvonne Zwick, Head of the Sustainability Code Office and Deputy Secretary General at the German Council for Sustainable Development noted: “The team in Turkey is laying the foundation to kick start the disclosure of sustainability efforts from companies of all sizes in Turkey. We are delighted to witness the announcement of the Turkish Sustainability Code and welcome them to the Code family.”

The Sustainability Outlook 2019 was organized by QualityNet Foundation, Greece  supported by the RNE.

Towards a low-CO2 heat supply in the built environment

The energy transition in the built environment represents the biggest post-war renovation of the Netherlands’ building stock. The measures will extend behind the front door of practically every building in the country. This challenge was the reason for the Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure to present it’s report ‘Warmly Recommended: ‘Towards a low-CO2 heat supply in the built environment’. The report is written from the perspective of the citizen and makes specific recommendations on measures that can be taken to accelerate the energy transition. The Council has investigated what needs to be done for a successful transition. What can be done to provide the certainty that the stakeholders require and to ensure that everyone concerned can and will do what is needed? In this advisory report the Council discusses the freedom of choice of property owners, the public responsibility for infrastructure and the allocation of costs. Read More

EEAC Annual Plan 2019

The EEAC Network aims to enrich the advice that individual advisory bodies can give to their governments and parliaments, to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and policymaking and to connect the work of the (sub)national councils and the European policy level with regard to the environment and sustainable development. To achieve this aims, the board of the EEAC Network presents a Plan on an annual basis. The Plan includes a framework for action; a list of thematic areas of common interest; proposed exchange activities and a tentative agenda. Read More