What are the coolest examples of greenwashing

Social sustainability in hotels and companies - Social Sustainability

When the term sustainability is used, it is either and very often misinterpreted as a synonym for "longer term" or factually correct, in the sense of a careful, future-oriented conservation of resources. What is still commonly defined as ecological sustainability.

In modern thought models, however, one speaks of a far more extensive sustainability, of the three-pillar principle of sustainable development:

• Environmental sustainability

• Economic sustainability (economy and finance)

• Social sustainability

According to the modern interpretation, these are the three pillars of sustainability. At the same time and on an equal footing, and what's more: one is not possible without the other. These principles, which are intended to ensure the efficiency of entire societies, have made their way into the strategy papers of economically active, modern companies.

Sufficiency in companies

Sufficiency (Latin: sufficient, sufficient), having the right amount, being frugal. In sustainability policy, the term "sufficiency" is often used to refer to the finite nature of resources and the careful use / consumption. To encourage sustainable consumption. Or to find ways other than pursuing a policy based solely on prosperity through growth. Just as the Club of Rome recorded them in the "Limits to Growth".

All theory, say the critics and show that growth is the only survival strategy of nations and privately operating companies. It is also - at the expense of others.

Externalization, the shadow of the economic boom

Not just people, but entire industrialized nations live and act as if there was no tomorrow. The common people bear the costs of prosperity in their own country. See the scams in the diesel emissions scam. Realization of profit at the expense of the health damage caused to the population by nitrogen oxides. Decades of overexploitation in nature, the global burden of air pollution. More unspeakable things

Not only "economic sustainability" and "ecological sustainability" are to be firmly in the focus of our thinking, but also and especially "social sustainability". What happens if we don't do this, we are experiencing right now:

The economic miracle in Europe is the cause of climate change. The victims are in our own country and where we do not see them. Not yet. Everything a question of time. The next great migration is imminent. The European community is responding helplessly and so far without a concept to the climate refugees. The industrial nations are responsible for the causes.

See also the guest contribution by Norbert Blüm in the SZ: Where, C, did you stay?

We, the inhabitants of the prosperous island of Europe, are the stealers of the so-called Third World. We have enriched ourselves at their expense and bones. We stole the natural resources of Africa. Western agricultural corporations are buying up entire tracts of land and thus uprooting a centuries-old subsistence culture that fed their people.

Inseparable: ecological and social sustainability

The same climate change, which is only gradually manifesting itself here, has already cost countless victims in the southern regions of our globe, i.e. the Maghreb states and Central Africa. People are deprived of their livelihood. Our welfare state - which started to alleviate social conflicts through social policy measures - developed into a helper in this development: Climatic crimes are justified with jobs and pension payments. (See also: Social sustainability: On the way to an internalization society)

Social sustainability has a political as well as an economic, an economic dimension. Politically, it is about the reorganization of development aid. In order to buffer the effects of our rigorous economic policy, the resulting environmental damage and the resulting climate change. It must also be a question of how to fight the poverty caused by it (whereby the latter would also be necessary in one's own country), if "social sustainability" is currently being discussed in the company, wrongly primarily as an approach to new corporate communication.

Social and ethical values ​​- good for the company's image?

Social and ethical values, which are then also conveyed to the outside world with the help of corporate communication and public relations, increase the economic value, reputation and image of a company for stakeholders (business partners, suppliers, employees) and stakeholders ( Investors and Co-Owners, Private Equity).

Social sustainability is the link, the kit that holds a company and its people together and makes networking in the company, beyond hierarchies and communication in the excorporeal area of ​​the company, simple, authentic, credible, truthful and meaningful.

Definition of social sustainability

In this article we would like to refer to the economic situation of social sustainability in companies. We are concerned with a very special definition of social sustainability, and we need to distinguish between them. When doing research, one finds the term social sustainability in connection with economic significance, in the sense of common good in a local, regional or supra-regional context. Increasingly also and especially in connection with companies and employees.

In the Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon it reads as follows: "Maintaining the state of health (vitality, organization and resilience) is of particular importance. This can be achieved and improved by improving human capital, for example through education, and strengthening social values ​​and institutions thus the resilience of a social system is decisive. Within companies, this concerns, for example, the effects of social action in dealing with employees, relationships with interest groups or the company's general responsibility towards society. "

A matter of the heart for employees

The new corporate culture in the digital age

“Motivated, committed employees are a fundamental requirement for the success of a company,” says Doris Albiez, Vice President and General Manager of Dell in Germany. “However, companies have now recognized that they are no longer just factors of production, but rather people with a private life who also want to develop in the workplace. The winners of the future are the companies that actively support them. ”Employees - a matter of the heart - The new corporate culture in the digital age

Even if after the shortlist, as we see it in the definition of "social sustainability" in the Gabler business lexicon, we consider entrepreneurial, or more precisely, operational (i.e. more internal) social sustainability, there are sufficient points of reference and nodes, To see social sustainability in a political, even a European and global political dimension, based on the smaller economically active cell of society, the company.

Good people require social sustainability

A company that destroys its ecological foundations, even if only because of the scarcity of resources or higher costs due to inefficiency, and thereby questions its "economic sustainability" in the long term - its economic future needs (still!) People (people! Chatbots are no future panacea!) who have a good education as the basis of their work, are financially secure and motivated to make their contribution to the economic, ecological and social success of the company.

Training and advanced training at company and external level on environmental issues, as well as other talents promoting employees, are unfortunately still rated in SMEs (small and medium-sized companies) as - if at all - "social benefit to employees". Not correct. Meaning increases motivation, reduces fluctuation, and ensures the economic performance of a company through knowledge transfer and continuity. Otherwise, employees' own initiative (including the threat of job loss in the room) remains - pure wishful thinking by the established management of a company.

Sustainability pays off, ecologically, economically ...

and above all: social

It is clear that a company that operates in an ecologically sustainable manner has to reckon with increased costs at the beginning of its restructuring. On the other hand, the resulting savings and the approaching return of investment, cost structure and profit margin are positively influenced.

"Sustainability is becoming relevant for more and more customers. Consumers increasingly expect a positive sustainability image from products, services and their producers. Companies that take this proactively into account, anchor it in their corporate strategy and communicate convincingly to the market will, according to experts, be more economically successful than." reactively behaving competitors. " (Source / quote: Terra Institute)

Flat hierarchies in companies

There you can read headlines like "Sparkasse is abolishing the obligation to wear a slip for its employees." The company's justification: A dress style that is too formal can be perceived as delimiting and antiquated. Or the headline of an article in Manager Magazin: "Lässig mit Zesche, Kaeser & Co .: Appearances like that of Allianz boss Oliver Bäte are still causing a stir when he stepped in front of the shareholders in red sneakers. But more and more Germans are breaking free Formalities manager. Nonchalance is the order of the day - how does that work? "

In the same article: "VW digital boss Johann Jungwirth is even more relaxed:" I'm J.J. You don't have to vote for me, "said the manager at a recent automobile forum in Munich. Hierarchies are not important to him - and the relationship breaks down hierarchies."

Not an isolated case, it goes on: "It is also less formal at the Hamburg mail order company Otto: Its board members recently offered the workforce the Du." The culture change 4.0 does not stop at the address, "it said in a letter to the Employees. Barriers, obstacles, hierarchies - all of this should be broken down, explains Katy Roewer, who as the divisional director is also responsible for personnel issues. "

Social permeability - also in companies

The insignia of power, even a status limousine (the manager only drives it when visiting customers, otherwise he / she might come with the little sports car in the summer, management can also use the BahnCard - that also has a signal effect) or exclusive parking spaces seem to be crumbling.

"... If you take the study as a benchmark, Mercedes drivers in particular have an image problem. Almost exclusively male, after all well-off, but old, narrow-minded, serious, arrogant, unsporting and fat they are. and the brand with the star will not get rid of those who are not very sympathetic .. ", as read in the WiWo article: Company car - When choosing a car, the image should be considered.

Please do not panic in management now, because the safety zones to employees are disappearing, so are the barriers. Coexistence is not only more agreeable, it is also consistently more economical in many ways.

We are happy to refer to models that are centuries old, all the way back to the Renaissance. Dr. Jeannette zu Fürstenberg in her book: "The interaction between entrepreneurial innovation and art - a scientific investigation in the Renaissance and using the example of the Medici" redefined the concept of social permeability.

Green washing instead of true social sustainability

"Around 40 percent of a company's reputation is shaped by its ecological and social commitment," says Florian Haller, managing director of the Serviceplan agency. Greenwashing is a risky undertaking. "Greenwashing is practiced by anyone who wrongly claims sustainable commitment. The internationally established term primarily refers to companies that boast of ecological or social services that either do not exist or are minimal are in relation to the negative eco-social impact of the core business. Some advertising campaigns clearly classify analysts as greenwashing. "

Shit happens when (ecological) sustainability is primarily pursued because it seems opportune and fits the current zeitgeist. Because (conditional) ecological sustainability and the economic sustainability that often results from it have an Achilles tendon: social sustainability.

Don't be letting your mouth write checks

your ass can't cash

While environmental issues - and in particular economy and finance - are rather difficult to check for their sustainability, since the values ​​and their knowledge can be communicated externally, but only with a lot of effort from the outside to the inside. Even with the release of data that are only verifiable to a limited extent, this is different with social sustainability, especially with regard to internal relationships, thus with regard to social sustainability for employees in companies.

Sustainability reports made available to the press with happy cows in a green meadow and employees in clean white coats who can hardly believe their luck to work for the company in question are one thing. Poetry or prose?

It's just stupid when a linguistically well-formed illusion by communication agencies can be exposed very quickly by researching the internal image on a German-speaking employer rating portal such as Kununu.de.

Ratings with three stars, just below or just above, indicate a rather difficult relationship. Of course, it can be said again and again that 20 evaluations cannot make a representative statement about the employment relationships with 600 or 700 employees. Hmm, companies with significantly fewer employees and only with excellent reviews at Kununu, they also exist (see example below). The question is - which of the two companies would you apply to?

And where would you conjure up your personal, professional hara-kiri when applying? How seriously and how seriously an employer should take an online portal like Kununu and use it for contemplation? Every year Focus Money selects the 30 best employers in Germany, based on the reviews of employees and those who never wanted to become one at Kununu.de.

When companies talk about climate protection, it is often about "pure image cultivation", says Stefan Gössling, professor at the Universities of Kalmar and Lund in Sweden. Or: "It's true that you try not to let things look so bad," says Sabine Braun, who advises companies such as Bayer, Siemens and RWE. Statements from the Panorama broadcast, article: Climate Rescue: "On paper, Germany is way ahead."

Sustainable Communications

Gertrud Höhler wrote in her book (as far as we can still remember it, but at least in essence) "Rules of the game for winners:" Communication cannot be shared. Just as a company treats and treats its employees, the company also treats its customers.

Socially responsible employers are in great demand

"With regard to social sustainability issues, companies consider themselves socially responsible employers. Companies with a comprehensive and far-sighted sustainability strategy - including a good image in ecological issues - are significantly more attractive as employers than merely reactive competitors.

An invaluable asset are employees who identify with the organization and its vision / mission as well as a model that is lived. Such employees themselves take on more responsibility and significantly increase the company's performance. This also has an impact on customers, partners and suppliers. "(Source / quote: Terra-Institute)

Social sustainability par excellence:

The Europäische Hof in Heidelberg is an example par excellence for social sustainability. I had watched an interview with the current managing director Caroline von Kretschmann on television and was already very impressed at the time. Also how much "the people in the hotel who work here at the Europäische Hof as part of the family are treated respectfully as colleagues. Everyone can talk nicely, one might think, but in view of the reviews at Kununu about the hotel" Europäische Hof "in Heidelberg shows that these exceed even the wildest expectations that one has of a" healthy working environment ".

On the homepage of Efeno (Corporate Development - Sustainability - Digital Transformation) we found some very interesting statements on the subject of social sustainability, which we allow ourselves to quote here: "

Finding the right employees is often a difficult task for companies. The aspects of social sustainability are an opportunity for employers to stand out from the competition and to position themselves attractively for applicants.In concrete terms, this means a corporate culture that is value-oriented, respectful and fair to the needs of employees. Such a procedure promotes employee satisfaction and commitment, motivation and productivity of the employees and thus higher customer satisfaction, better employer brand and competitive advantages "