Why is this important?
Every company and organisation has the opportunity to contribute to sustainable development in its own way. You set out your planned contribution in a sustainability strategy. You clearly communicate both internally and externally whether and how you wish to contribute to sustainable development and how you wish to develop in terms of sustainability. Formulating medium- and long-term goals within the strategy (see criterion 3) makes the strategy content more tangible and facilitates its translation into concrete measures. Reference may also be made in the strategy to the application of sector-specific, national or international standards and goals regarding sustainability issues (such as the ISO 14001 standard for environmental management systems, the core labour standards of the International Labour Organization [ILO] or the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals).
What do the terms mean?
A sustainability strategy outlines a company’s intentions regarding how it will handle the relevant sustainability aspects. It is adopted by the management. It may also be incorporated into an overarching corporate strategy.
Criterion 1 should also outline any measures that ensure compliance with standards relevant to sustainable development, such as public declarations of commitment to voluntary standards.
What needs to be borne in mind?
Within this criterion, you describe whether your company has a strategy regarding sustainable development or whether it has to date only effected individual measures which have not yet been brought together within an overarching format. Tackling sustainability issues strategically means that key areas of action are identified in which there is a clear correlation between sustainability aspects and the company’s core business activities. If your company does not yet have a sustainability strategy, you should give details of the sustainability issues in relation to which the company has already implemented or intends to implement measures. In the long term, a company’s mission statement and visions concerning sustainability issues should be realised with the help of a strategy.
A strategy differs from a mission statement in that it features goals and goal achievement plans, whereas a mission statement outlines the basic principles of the company’s actions in more general terms.