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.)