Make business sustainable!

Sustainability is the order of the day – Germany's business community are also committed to it internationally.

Indian farmer with an advisor in a cotton field
Indian farmer with an advisor in a cotton field Shutterstock

In global comparisons of the most sustainable industrialized countries, Germany regularly ranks near the top – most recently sixth in the Sustainable Development Report 2019. Furthermore, Germany promotes initiatives advocating a way of doing business that does not exploit people and nature. Here are three of them.

1. National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP)

For the first time, Germany's Federal Government has enshrined the responsibility of German companies for human rights in its 2016 National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (NAP). German companies are also to strive for transparency on the production, working and environmental conditions of suppliers and subcontractors. Companies are to assume responsibility here – even when they are not legally liable for mistakes made by a trading partner. The objective of the Action Plan is that the 'Made in Germany' brand should stand for product excellence – as well as for humane and environmentally friendly production methods.

Women textile workers in Bangladesh demonstrate for better pay.
Women textile workers in Bangladesh demonstrate for better pay. picture alliance / ZUMAPRESS.com

2. Partnership for sustainable textiles

In 2014, after two fire disasters killed well over a thousand people in textile factories in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Germany's Minister for Development Gerd Müller (CSU) founded the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, in which the German government, companies and other organizations are pursuing the aim of improving conditions in textile production worldwide. The 75 companies involved generate about half of the turnover in the German textile market. They intend to assume responsibility along their supply chains. One common goal is to increase the share of sustainable cotton to 70 percent by 2025.

3. UN Global Compact

The United Nations Global Compact is the world's largest initiative for responsible business practices. For ten years, it has been calling on companies to implement the ten principles of the Global Compact. There are about 400 German companies among the more than 13,000 members. They have committed themselves to implementing goals such as the abolition of child labour.

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