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German Sustainability Code and SME its guidelines of 2014

Germany Current 2016

The German Sustainability Code is the result of consultation process between representatives of financial markets, various enterprises and civil society. It provides recommendations and information on sustainability strategy and policy this is its 3rd edition. In 2014 the council published supplement guidelines for SMEs to use the code.

Issuer name

German Council for Sustainable Development

Issuer notes

Advisory body to the German government

Government ministry notes

no ministry

More information

The code addresses companies of every size and legal form and is recommended to be used as a voluntary instrument. It features 20 indicators of sustainability performance that are aligned with the GRI Guidelines, the UNGC principles, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies and the ISO 26000 Guidelines. The disclosures regard strategy, process management, environment, and society. Comprehensive reporting following GRI (A+) or EFFAS (Level III) equates to compliance with the Code. Application of the GSC occurs at the companies’ discretion and they declare whether and to what extent they are in accordance with the Code (‘comply or explain’) within a declaration of conformity, which can be furnished using a template. It has also produced guidelines for SME's to follow the code in 2014

Comply or explain


Organizations covered by the instrument

All Companies

Industry scope

All/none specified

Disclosure venue

Sustainability report

ESG coverage- S (Social)


ESG coverage- G (Governance)


ESG coverage- Eco (Economic & General)








Date of publication


Issuer type

Non-governmental organisation

Reporting requirements

Codes, guidance, and questionnaires

Mandatory or voluntary


The geographical scope


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