For Companies

All facets of sustainability at a glance

Consulting + Strategy
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Karsten Muuß

Division Manager
Corporate Sustainability
Managing Partner / Owner

+49 421 709084 -33

Becoming a sustainable company involves many aspects. Which approach is the right one for my company and which frameworks should I follow? How do I successfully implement regulatory changes? How do I manage sustainability? These are just some of the big questions that come up on a recurring basis.

With our many years of experience and extensive expertise, we support you in finding the right combination of scientific ambition and pragmatism for your daily practice.

Strategy and Management Environmental Footprint Sustainability Communication Environment Management Systems

Currently in focus:

Excerpt from our

Range of Services

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Sustainability Strategy and Management

  • Materiality Analysis

    Your Challenge:

    After the first involvement with sustainability, many companies realise that...

    • they fall under the european Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and must report according to the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), the core of which is the issue of "dual materiality".

    • the issue of dual materiality as required by the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) is very complex and not intuitively manageable

    • there is a need for an approach that, at best, provides benefits that go beyond mere reporting, but at the same time is as pragmatic as possible to prevent getting bogged down.

    • the needs and requirements of key stakeholders are unclear to them

    • stakeholders expect them to report in line with approved sustainability reporting standards such as GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) or DNK, which requires a materiality analysis to be carried out

    • the internal and external priorities in the sustainability context are not 100% clear

    • they need objective results that are not influenced solely by the internal view of the company

    Your Benefit:

    Conducting a double materiality analysis in line with the requirements of the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is the most important step in developing a sound sustainability strategy. It gives companies clarity about their priorities and focal areas. Further objectives, measures and KPIs can be derived on the basis of a materiality analysis, which are essential for a solid sustainability strategy. Communicating the results of a materiality analysis shows stakeholders where your company's priorities are, thus enhancing credibility and reputation. A detailed materiality analysis demonstrates that your company has addressed sustainability issues in a substantial manner.

    Our Offer:

    Our team of sustainability experts...will firstly be glad to explain to you in detail what it is all about and whether your company currently is or will be subject to reporting obligations in the furure

    • supports you in complying with the requirements of the CSRD and the disclosure obligations under the EU reporting obligation with regard to dual materiality

    • carries out the work on the required dimensions of materiality (impact materiality and financial materiality) for your company

      • in doing so, we pay attention to the beforehand defined correct cost-benefit ratio and together we select the building blocks that are truly valuable to your company

      • use our long-standing tools in such a way that you can report on the relevant disclosure obligations while the findings provide you with insights that go beyond mere documentation

    • conducts surveys of the relevant stakeholders in person or online in accordance with the AA1000SES

  • Stakeholder Management and Consultation

    Your Challenge:

    Companies are exposed to a multitude of external expectations from various stakeholder groups that need to be taken into account. Strategic stakeholder management becomes necessary when you are faced with the following challenges:

    • You fall under the EU-CSRD reporting obligation

    • Limited internal resources to identify and manage relevant stakeholders as well as to utilise the obtained findings

    • Requests for information and expectations from different stakeholder groups such as the general public, customers, suppliers, banks and many more

    Your Benefit:

    Systematic engagement with your stakeholders brings your company numerous advantages. It enables early identification of relevant issues with associated opportunities and risks. By incorporating different perspectives and opinions, it also promotes the acceptance of decision making and activities. This diversity of perspectives aids in overcoming operational blindness, boosts the development of innovative solutions to complex challenges and refines the sustainability strategy on the basis of these insights.

    Our Services (excerpt):

    • Stakeholder mapping based on the four stages of stakeholder management (Identification, Information and Analysis, Action Planning and Monitoring),

    • Conceptual framework for qualitative or quantitative internal and external stakeholder surveys that meet the CSRD requirements

    • Internal and external stakeholder interviews as part of the materiality consultation, e.g. via face-to-face interviews

    • Creation of surveys using online consultation tools for conducting internal and external interviews

    • Evaluation of survey results according to the requirements of the selected sustainability reporting standard as well as internal tools

    • The option of process documentation based on the internationally recognised standard for the management of your stakeholders AA 1000 SES

  • Creation and further Development of a Sustainability Strategy

    Your Challenge:

    In most companies, sustainability-oriented activities and initiatives are already being carried out. However, the challenge is often to develop a coherent concept from all these pieces and to define a sustainability strategy. A strategic approach to sustainability becomes a necessity for you when...

    • the number of enquiries about sustainability from different stakeholder groups (customers, suppliers, employees, investors, partners, press/public) grows

    • you fall under the upcoming EU reporting obligation

    • sustainability issues are gaining business relevance in the value chain

    • a distinct overarching objective and integration of sustainability into the corporate strategy are desired

    • the priority of the subject is not clearly defined in the competition and market context

    • you have not yet published a sustainability report

     Your Benefit:

    A sound sustainability strategy primarily provides clarity about the role and priority of sustainability in your company. It is also the basis to prepare sustainability reports that meet the requirements of leading standards such as the GRI or the German Sustainability Code (DNK). Moreover, a strong sustainability strategy is a credible and informative communication tool towards stakeholders. However, it not only strengthens your competitiveness by improving your reputation as an attractive employer, but also offers further economic benefits such as efficiency gains.

     Our Services:

    We support you in the entire process of strategy development with our know-how and many years of experience from numerous strategy projects, qualified resources and a thoroughly tested procedure:

    • Conducting a profound site assessment from an objective perspective, including materiality analysis, benchmarking and environment analysis

    • Creating a distinctive sustainability vision and positioning

    • Defining key issues, targets, key performance indicators and operational measures

    • Developing an operational implementation plan

    • Building internal sustainability skills and capacities

    • Identifying governance, policy, organisational and process requirements

    • Determining the financial impact of the sustainability strategy on the company's success (business case)

  • Auswahl von Software für das Nachhaltigkeitsmanagement

    Your Challenge:

    You have been tackling the issue of sustainability for a while now, you already compile sustainability reports or plan to publish such a report and you are now faced with at least one of the following challenges:

    • Your data is derived from many different sources and you need a consistent high-quality database

    • The previous data collection method using spreadsheet programmes has reached its limits

    • Data should be uniform and available in a central location

    • More and more sustainability requirements need to be integrated

    • The time spent on compiling and preparing your data should be reduced

    • You want to be easily updated on the most important key performance indicators

    • The data collection for sustainability reporting according to e.g. Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) or Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is too time-consuming

    • You want to make your sustainability practices more transparent and engage more closely with your internal and external stakeholders

    Your Benefit:

    The selection and implementation of a sustainability management software gives you the opportunity for a more efficient and effective assessment of sustainability-related performance indicators. This has many advantages, such as cost reductions from fewer data collection efforts, minimisation of the risk of information and data loss due to media discontinuity, and avoidance of reputational damage from communicating inaccurate key figures. A software that is suited to your company sets your sustainability controlling on a robust basis through real-time capture of all sustainability key figures and indicators. Ultimately, software enables you to evaluate data much more conveniently and flexibly for internal performance management and for external communication via a sustainability report.

    Our Services:

    • Together with you, we determine the requirements profile. For this purpose, we conduct workshops with you to create a company-specific evaluation for the approximately 350 criteria that we consider when selecting the sustainability management software.

    • Our experts support you in drawing up a detailed specification sheet that describes the strategic objectives, the scope as well as your specific functional requirements and which will be the foundation for your bidding requirements or tenders.

    • We accompany you during software provider meetings and the evaluation of test installations of the suitable solutions.

    • Our recommendation are customised to your company by matching your requirement profile with the functionalities of established systems on the market, guaranteeing you the selection of the ideal solution.

      We are independent of other software providers and provide objective advice.

    • brands & values is an independent consultant who recommends the optimal solution for your company.

  • Kompetenzaufbau mittels Workshops und Schulungen

    Your Challenge:

    In a world where sustainability is becoming increasingly important, companies are faced with the challenge of reshaping their business models and practices. To remain competitive while having a positive impact on the environment and society, your company must develop deep expertise in sustainability in the future. At the same time, there are few experienced and specialised employees in this field.

    Your Benefit:

    We support you in building internal competencies in the field of sustainability. Integrating sustainability into your organisation can provide you with numerous benefits. These vary with the specific topic:

    • Increasing competitiveness and unlocking new market opportunities.

    • Strengthening customer trust and brand value.

    • Higher work satisfaction and employee retention.

    • Securing long-term business success and minimising risks.

    • Contribution to a sustainable future for future generations.

     Our Offer:

    Our team of experienced experts has a profound understanding of the many aspects of sustainability and its integration into business processes and corporate practice. With our customised workshops and trainings, we not only impart theoretical knowledge, but above all the practical skills your employees need to integrate sustainability into daily business activities.

  • Unterstützung bei Erfüllung von regulatorischen Anforderungen

    Your Challenges:

    Sustainability requirements are continuously increasing and especially medium-sized and large companies are currently being confronted with a multitude of regulatory demands on the EU level. Be it through the EU reporting directive, the supply chain due diligence act, the EU taxonomy, Green Claims Directive or Corporate Susitainability Due Diligence Directive...etc. Companies are expected to navigate their way through this maze.

    Your Benefit:

    Dealing early with these EU regulatory requirements is essential for companies if they want to remain competitive in the future and avoid business risks.

    Our Offer:

    Our team of sustainability experts supports you in finding your way through the jungle of EU regulatory demands. Together we analyse which requirements you have to fulfil in a certain timeframe in order to be legally compliant.

    We also offer a systematic EU legal check (analysis of the current legal situation at EU level as well as industry and/or sector-specific features).

    Further support (excerpt):

    • Supply Chain Risk Check

    • CSRD reporting obligation: GAP analysis of ESRS requirements

    • EU taxonomy: analysis of business operations and linkage with EU environmental targets

    • Supply Chain Due Diligence Act: GAP analysis of requirements of the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, assistance in setting up a risk management system

    • Green Claims Directive: How to communicate and avoid greenwashing?

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Environmental Footprint and Resource Efficiency

  • CO2 accounting at company level - Corporate Carbon Footprint

    Your Challenge:

    Climate change is one of the greatest challenges our society has to face. The accounting and management of the greenhouse gas emissions (or carbon footprint) of companies and their products and services is becoming increasingly important:

    • Competitive pressure is intensifying - a growing number of competitors have accounted for their carbon footprint at the company level and are communicating their progress

    • The upcoming EU reporting directive demands detailed disclosure obligations and concrete targets

    • The expectation of climate-neutral or climate-positive operating companies in the near future is increasing

    • The aspiration to contribute to the achievement of climate goals and the Sustainable Development Goals is on the rise

    Your Benefit:

    Quantifying your company's carbon footprint provides you with a secure data basis to strategically minimise your GHG emissions. In response to the disclosure requirements of the EU reporting directive (CSRD), the carbon footprint is the foundation for developing an adequate climate strategy as well as for planning and tracking appropriate targets (e.g. Science Based Targets (SBTi)). It ensures transparency about your company's environmental impacts for your stakeholders, enables fact-based sustainability communication and thus improves your competitive positioning in B-to-B and B-to-C markets. Finally, the calculation of the carbon footprint also helps to identify cost saving potentials and to create more efficiency.

    Our Offer:

    Our team of life cycle assessment experts...

    • prepares corporate carbon footprints in accordance with the GHG Corporate Standard, advising you on the appropriate scope and categories and providing you with sufficient documentation and guidance to enable you to further inform your stakeholders in the future

    • generates carbon footprints in line with the GHG Corporate Standard and ISO 14064, which can be externally certified on request to further enhance credibility

    • carries out an initial Scope 3 screening on request in order to identify the relevant categories for your company and to quantify the effort required to capture them

  • Climate Neutrality and Science-based Targets

    Your Challenge:

    Companies are confronted with one of the biggest challenges of our time: climate change. The expectations of customers, investors, own employees and regulators are high when it comes to minimising the carbon footprint and implementing sustainable practices. Specifically, this means:

    • Setting science-based targets to limit global temperature rise and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

      Developing strategies to achieve climate neutrality.

    • The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the transformation to climate-neutral business operations.

    • Meeting science-based guidelines and targets to limit the rise of global temperatures.

    • Linking corporate and product strategy in the context of climate strategy.

    • Integrating sustainability into the business strategy to ensure competitive advantage.

    Your Benefit:

    Addressing these challenges offers not only environmental but also economic benefits:

    • Minimisation of risks posed by climate change.

    • Innovation opportunities resulting from adapted product strategies.

    • Strengthening your brand and reputation through sustainable action.

    • Enhanced customer confidence and the attraction of sustainability-oriented investors.

    • Access to new markets and business opportunities.

    • Minimising risks associated with climate-related regulatory compliance.

    • Active engagement in shaping a sustainable future and supporting global climate goals.

    Our Services:

    • Climate Neutrality Strategy: We help you to develop a customised strategy to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately become climate neutral.

    • Science-Based Targets (SBTi): Support in setting and implementing targets based on scientific evidence.

    • Linking the company (CCF) to your products (PCF) to address the issue holistically.

    • Sustainability integration: We help you to integrate sustainability into your business strategy and secure competitive advantages.

    • Measurement and reporting: We develop appropriate measurement methods and assist you in reporting on your progress.

    • Customer communication: Our experts help you to effectively communicate your commitment to carbon neutrality and science-based targets to your customers and stakeholders.

  • Resource Efficiency, Process Certifications and EcoDesign

    Your Challenge:

    • Increase resource efficiency in your manufacturing company and promote sustainable product design (EcoDesign) at the same time. More specifically, this includes:

    • The optimisation of your production processes to minimise resource consumption and waste.

    • The development of environmentally friendly products that meet increasing sustainability demands.

    • Process certifications to automatically generate carbon footprints for your current and future products.

    • Ensuring that your company is reducing its environmental footprint and meeting increasing regulatory requirements.

    Your Benefit:

    Overcoming these challenges offers your company numerous benefits:

    • Cost savings through more efficient resource utilisation and fewer waste disposal costs.

    • Strengthened market position through environmentally friendly products.

    • Improved image and higher customer satisfaction.

    • Contribution to the reduction of environmental impacts and sustainable business development.

    Our Offer:

    • Resource efficiency analysis: We identify areas where resources can be optimised and develop measures to improve efficiency. Where possible, we support you in the selection of suitable funding programmes.

    • EcoDesign consulting: Our experts support you in developing environmentally friendly products and integrating sustainability aspects into the design process.

    • Sustainability auditing: We monitor and evaluate your company's environmental performance and assist you in meeting regulatory requirements.

    • Customer communication: Our experts support you in the effective communication of your sustainability commitment to your customers and stakeholders.

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Sustainability Communication

  • Preparation of Sustainability Reports

    Your Challenge:

    Political calls for mandatory sustainability reporting are growing. According to the CSR Directive Implementation Act (CSR-RUG), there will be even more companies obliged to report in future because of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). Besides, an increasing number of companies in many sectors are reporting according to common reporting standards, thus increasing competitive pressure.

    When you report or want to report in the future,...

    • this may be motivated by a multitude of stakeholder enquiries that require a lot of internal resources

    • the question of format and, if applicable, the appropriate reporting standards (e.g. GRI, DNK, ESRS, Global Compact, Economy for the Common Good...) arises

    • you are looking for a reporting framework that suits your overaching communication and marketing strategy

    • you want to choose a reporting method that takes into account the diverse needs of different stakeholder groups

    Your Benefit:

    A convincing, credible and well-fitting sustainability report is one of the most important tools for external and internal stakeholder communication. It supports your position in the sustainability context and proves that sustainability in your company does not consist of empty promises. Competitiveness is strengthened as a credible report sends a positive signal to critical stakeholders and (potential) employees. In addition, internal effort to answer stakeholder questions can be reduced if the important information is provided in a structured sustainability report.

    Our Services:

    Our team of sustainability and communication experts...

    • helps you to develop the right reporting concept, including the selection of the appropriate reporting standard(s)

    • assists you in elaborating the content for the sustainability report (materiality analysis, relevant indicators and key performance figures)

    • supports you in data collection and project management

    • develops your communication strategy and assists you in its implementation (online/offline) with your or our agency partners

  • Introduction of the German Sustainability Code (DNK)

    Your Challenge:

    More and more small and medium-sized businesses want to address the issue of sustainability and report on their activities. However, they are often overwhelmed with the reporting requirements and do not know where to start. The German Sustainability Code (DNK) is the solution for many of them. The DNK is a popular standard, with 20 specified criteria in the areas of economy, ecology and social issues, which supports the development of a sustainability strategy and offers a first introduction to sustainability reporting.

    Your Benefit:

    By reporting according to the DNK standard, you are laying the foundation for your sustainability management system. You develop an initial sustainability strategy and report on your goals and activities in all three dimensions. You can decide on the level of your sustainability aspirations and how detailed you want to report on the respective criteria or indicators. The reporting principle "comply or explain" applies. The DNK statement creates transparency and comparability and increases your credibility with your stakeholders.

    Our services as an official DNK training partner:

    • Introductory workshop on the reporting standard "German Sustainability Code" (DNK)

    • Support with sector-specific data entry templates

    • Assistance with the collection of relevant DNK performance indicators

    • Preparation of initial DNK content

    • Plausibility check of the DNK texts and DNK performance indicators

    • Guidance during the review of the DNK office

  • UN Sustainable Development Goals

    Your Challenge:

    The integration of the Sustainable Development Goals is already mandatory in many sustainability reporting standards and there are many different methods of implementation. There is no uniform procedure. Therefore, it is particularly important to identify the SDGs with credibility and to communicate them in a transparent manner to the outside world.

    Your Benefit:

    The Sustainable Development Goals aim to ensure sustainable development globally in the economic, ecological and social spheres. They are recognised as a guide and innovation driver for the strategic development of sustainability management. Stakeholders increasingly expect their integration into one's own sustainability strategy as well as into the target setting and action planning.

    Our Offer:

    For instance, can include the following building blocks:

    • Identification of the company's key SDGs for the sustainability strategy and reporting

    • Analysis of the positive and negative impacts of the SDGs along the company's value chain

    • Linking your focus areas and objectives to the relevant SDG targets and sub-targets

    • Credible and transparent communication of the company's key SDGs in the sustainability report

  • Conformity test - greenwashing avoidance

    Your Challenge:

    Your company is confronted with external stakeholders placing more specific sustainability requirements on you to ensure that your company acts sustainably without falling into "greenwashing". Various issues can be addressed:

    • Implementation of external sustainability standards and requirements (e.g. EcoVadis rating or GRI report)

    • Obligation to prove that your company/product statements do not contain inaccurate or misleading sustainability claims that could damage reputation, but correspond to reality (Certified CCF/PCF/EPD)

    • Ensuring sustainability at all levels of your business to meet rising expectations (e.g. Supplier Code of Conduct)

    Your Benefit:

    • Earning the trust of customers and investors through transparent and responsible sustainability practices.

    • Avoiding reputational risks and legal consequences associated with "greenwashing".

    • Strengthening your competitive position by meeting sustainability-related expectations and demands.

    Our Services:

    • Sustainability requirement analysis: Identification of relevant external requirements and integration into your business.

    • Support in the elaboration of specific demands, e.g. an EcoVadis rating or a code of conduct.

    • Conformity assessment: verification of compliance with sustainability standards and requirements.

    • Reputation management: Verification of statements or entire sustainability reports with regard to "greenwashing" and review of the transparent communication of your sustainability efforts.

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Environmental Management Systems

  • Environmental Management Systems - ISO 14001 and EMAS III

    Your Challenge:

    The expectations on professional environmental management are growing. Good environmental management is turning into a quality criterion. The topic gains additional relevance if...

    • your competitors already have an environmental management system such as ISO 14001 or EMAS in place

    • an environmental management system is defined as a prerequisite, especially for public tenders

    • customers demand certification under EMAS or ISO 14001 due to their own environmental management and quality requirements

    • you do not want to introduce an energy management system according to ISO 50001, but fear tax disadvantages

    • you want to avoid disadvantages in tenders

    • you would like to obtain transparency about your energy and resource consumption

    Your Benefit:

    By introducing an environmental management system, you embark on a continuous improvement of your environmental performance and show your stakeholders that you take your social responsibility seriously. You systematically cut energy and resource costs and benefit from other financial and legal advantages. For example, you can secure the granting of the tax refund "Spitzenausgleich Energie- und Stromsteuer" (peak compensation for energy and electricity taxes) according to the Spitzenausgleich-Effizienzsystemverordnung (SpaEfV). Overall, the introduction of an environmental management system ensures that your company complies with all environmental regulations.

    Our Offer:

    Our environmental management experts and (internal) environmental auditors:

    • support you in the implementation of common management systems such as ISO 14001 and EMAS III

    • carry out actual/target analyses of relevant environmental impacts and factors

    • draw up detailed input-output balances

    • ensure legal compliance by introducing legal cadastres

    • assist you in preparing an environmental statement

    • organise EMAS or ISO 14001 training courses for you

    • provide the environmental management representative for your company

  • Environmental Statements linked to other Frameworks

    Your Challenge:

    In a world where sustainability is becoming increasingly important, companies face the challenge that an environmental management system is an important building block of the sustainability management, but is not sufficient on its own. Customers and other stakeholders are placing ever more specific demands. The preparation of a comprehensive environmental statement according to EMAS in combination with other sustainability frameworks (e.g. GRI, DNK, EcoVadis, ESRS...) is therefore a valuable but not simple task.

    Your Benefit:

    By integrating EMAS and other sustainability requirements, we not just create transparency, but also the opportunity for continuous improvement. As a result, you can reduce costs, improve stakeholder engagement and strengthen your market position by responding better and faster to sustainability demands.

    Our Offer:

    Our experts offer you customised solutions for your company. We support you in preparing your environmental statement according to EMAS and effectively link it to other relevant sustainability frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative, the German Sustainability Code, an EcoVadis rating or the EU reporting directive.