This is the question asked myself today after reading yet another article on yet another ranking. This last one being the Eiris Sustainability ranking (PDF). This is a good useful piece of research but it seems to me that we are being bombarded with all of those rankings intended to provide us with more insights to the CSR / Sustainability best-practice or related subjects. But do we really need all of these different rankings? I am not so sure.
My impression: Rankings are primarily a marketing tool these days
To me it seems that most rankings are primarily used as a marketing tool these days. Nothing more unfortunately. I also believe it would be most useful to have a very limited but at the same time diverse amount of CSR / Sustainability rankings across the globe that are carefully managed. One option would be to create overarching non-for-profit organisation that makes sure that these rankings stay as objective and consistent as possible. If this kind of body would be the in place, I am sure CSR / Sustainability practitioners would really appreciate this structure and the rest of us would not feel overwhelmed with the wide variety of rankings around.
I am German and I now also live in Germany having moved from the UK back to my home country. CSR in Germany generally therefore is and has always been important to me. Having lived abroad for nearly half of my life I am also very critical of what the German CSR field has to offer, especially when we talk about current CSR best practice.
This is not the first post on CSR in Germany. These are the links to posts dating back to 2008 and 2009.
Overall situation of CSR in Germany in 2012
Germany in terms of CSR has a lot to offer but for some reason best practice over the past 2 years has not really evolved. There are some exceptions to the rule of course as the below mentioned CSR best practice examples show. But generally I can not see a huge difference to the overall best practice and CSR direction of German organisations now in comparison to 2 years ago. Why this is the case I am not sure. It might be the economic downturn or the lethargy of global business to step up a gear in CSR best practice. There are many possible reasons and I am sure all of the CSR practicing organisations will have a good reason for what they do in CSR. I believe we will see a lot of positive change in German business but lets just hope some of it will also be in the CSR field.
Here are my top current CSR best practice examples and further CSR in Germany resources you might find of interest.
CSR in Germany best practice examples
- Puma: Puma and their very innovative Environmental Profit & Loss Account (E P&L). This is the future in this business sector in my view. Excellent best practice.
- Siemens: A lot of data and information shows that they are serious about learning from past CSR problems. Transparency is the key here for Siemens. Siemens on Sustainability
- BASF: The information approach to CSR. BASF, similar to Siemens, is taking the proactive approach in providing a lot of information and resources. If you have the time as a stakeholder to dig through their information resource that is. BASF on Sustainability
CSR in Germany resources
- CSR in Germany initiative led by the German government – This overall CSR initiave is a step in the right direction but has not really established any thought leadership within the German business community in my view. There is a lot to be done and not much to be shown for so far.
- German Council for Sustainable Development - The purpose of the council is to “support Germany on its way towards sustainability, to promote sustainability as an issue for public discussion, to support the German government in all matters of sustainability”. A very bold statement indeed. Has it achieved much? Hmmm, very sketchy I must admit.
- CSR Germany (PDF) - The CSR Internet portal of Germany’s four leading business organisations. This is an OK website for CSR information but the issue I have with this organisation is that it is lead by trade organisations and not an NGO.
- UPJ – German national network of engaged businesses and local non-profit intermediary organizations. UPJ have some good initiatives is one of the few organisations with useful global partnerships
- CSR News list of German CSR businesses - This is a good list of companies active or doing business in the CSR field in Germany. CSR News is also based in Germany and run by some really engaged founders.