Sustainability Controlling – Definition, Aspects, and Framework Concept

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Sustainability controlling – also known as green controlling – is intended to supplement a company’s economic activities with social and ecological factors. The primary goal of a company – more liquidity through profitability – is to be supported by observing environmentally friendly indicators in operational procedures – e.g. in the production process or in the procurement of materials and goods.

The four aspects of sustainability controlling

Controlling in itself is nothing new for companies. In order to generate sales in a cost-efficient manner, instruments are used in all areas of the company, and strategies are pursued that aim to achieve a functioning controlling system.
Green control does not focus solely on the ecological factor. When implementing sustainability controlling, the following four aspects, in particular, must be taken into account.

The ecological aspect ensures that the company complies with laws and regulations that serve to protect the environment. The focus is on preserving the environment and nature in such a way that future generations will also be able to live in them.
The economic aspect aims at the company’s profit. The economic aspect aims to place liquidity on a secure footing.
The social aspect pays particular attention to the company’s connection to society. Social interaction is necessary for a society worth living in. A company must take this into account despite all economic factors.
The cultural aspect of sustainability controlling promotes the effort to align the company’s day-to-day operations with the guiding principle of culture.

The framework concept of sustainability controlling

Every company that introduces and efficiently pursues sustainability controlling makes a contribution to sustainable development for the economy and society. To ensure that a company keeps its most important goals in view, the framework concept of sustainability controlling comprises the following five perspectives:

The financial perspective

The financial perspective includes all company-relevant factors that serve profitability. These include costs and earnings as well as the risks that a company must eliminate. However, social and ecological factors must not be ignored in the activities.

The market perspective

The market perspective focuses on the typical market participants. In addition to the companies, these are in particular the customers who demand the manufactured products. When manufacturing the products, the ecological factor should also have a certain relevance.

The perspective of operational processes

Here, sustainability controlling illuminates all processes – from the purchase of goods to production and sales – from a social and ecological perspective.
The learning perspective: The learning perspective focuses on the technical knowledge of the workforce and its integration into operational processes.
The extra-market perspective: The extra-market perspective examines the extent to which efficient sustainability controlling affects the company’s image.

The advantages of sustainability controlling

Companies that take sustainable management into account in their operations can reap the benefits of sustainability controlling by discovering new cost-cutting potential.

Better stability leads to greater competitiveness and economic success. The book “Nachhaltigkeitscontolling” (Sustainability Controlling) by Ronald Gleich, also explains this. The cost benefits do not arise immediately. However, if the company introduces efficient sustainability controlling in all processes that allow it without disrupting operations, the lower energy consumption will also lead to lower energy costs in the long term.

An indirect benefit is the improvement of the company’s own image. A company does justice to the ongoing discussion on climate protection by acting in an environmentally friendly manner.

 

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