Challenges and untapped potential

We'll pinpoint them together with you.

Expertise

Over the past 11 years, S&C has completed over 500 Corporate Responsibility (CR) and sustainability projects for about 120 blue chip companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Given our expansive expertise, our expert knowledge and our pool of proven tools and approaches, we successfully support our clients in addressing today’s current issues and future challenges and opportunities. S&C…
  • understands the complexities of corporate responsibility and sustainability
  • recognizes the success factors and potential barriers in the integration of sustainability into a company’s core business
  • provides systematic solutions
  • possesses extensive experience in various industries addressing numerous issues
  • has an international mindset
  • maintains long-term relationships with clients given the high quality of our work, our innovative and results-driven solutions, and our uncompromising loyalty
  • contributes to the advancement of the field of sustainability through conducting research, performing market studies, and by designing and organizing events that generate new insights.

We offer a comprehensive set of solutions in six different areas of expertise:

Strategy & Organization

Positioning the organization strategically, organizationally, and operatively in order to meet sustainability requirements and to ensure future-preparedness of the organization is a key area of expertise for S&C.

Your Contacts for Strategy & Organization

Materiality analysis

S&C supports you in conducting materiality analyses and in determining the initial need for action. Based on our expertise, from more than 60 successfully completed materiality analyses, we are able to customize our approach to the needs of mid-sized companies, as well as global corporations of all levels of experience.

Companies face a variety of CR and sustainability topics. At the same time, resources are limited. The key questions revolve around which topics should be addressed at the highest priority levels to maintain a competitive position in the market, and which topics should be set aside to free up resources.

A materiality analysis is the appropriate tool to prioritize CR and sustainability topics. It should be the foundation for both strategy development, as well as sustainability reporting.

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Gap analysis

S&C supports you in status assessments, evaluating the sustainability performance of your organization, and in determining potential gaps.

A status assessment should be the starting point for any systematic approach concerning CR and sustainability. Companies are involved in a multitude of activities in these areas already, however, not necessarily following a systemic approach. Using competitor benchmarks and a trend analysis helps us to understand: What topics are addressed by relevant competitors and to which degree? How do companies use their leadership role in sustainability for differentiation in the market? We identify potential gaps in a joint workshop and help determine the path forward for your organization.

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Strategy development

S&C supports you in defining strategic objectives and operational targets, measures, and metrics.

Strategically positioning a corporation successfully with regard to corporate responsibility requires a holistic approach, using a state-of-the-art methodology. The corporate strategy has to contain clearly defined aspiration levels and specific, realistic, and measurable CR objectives. These objectives have to be matched with the necessary measures for implementation. This systematic, iterative process should involve all relevant staff and line functions within the company. The results of the materiality analysis are the starting point for developing strategic objectives.

S&C develops a company-specific process to develop strategy and objectives, as well as to determine measures. We guide you in identifying the relevant managers and employees who should be involved. We can act as a sparring partner across all project steps, if desired on-site.

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Implementation

S&C supports you in planning the strategy implementation, which includes defining roles, responsibilities, organizational structures, and reporting lines. If desired, we can support our clients throughout the entire implementation process.

Implementing strategic CR objectives consistently calls for certain requirements in organizational structures and processes to be fulfilled.

In the medium term, every employee should understand CR measures as part of their area of responsibility and not as a voluntary add-on that can be dealt with at lower priority. In order to reach this, specific CR objectives and measures should be integrated in established work flow and planning processes. The degree of target fulfillment should be checked periodically by a suitable corporate function. This level of integration typically requires time in order to reach this type of thinking across the corporation. Furthermore, the integration requires cooperation across department boundaries.

Since CR and sustainability topics often touch multiple departments in organizations, setting up a competence center (in corporations) or placing the responsibility with a specific employee (in small or mid-sized companies) can be a suitable approach. This function should report directly to the board of directors or the managing director, respectively.

The description of the roles and responsibilities covers both the development and/or refinement of the strategy, as well as management control, which determines whether operational targets have been met at each location.

Furthermore, we recommend setting up a committee, including the main business units and cross-cutting functions, with regular meetings and a pre-defined agenda.

Last but not least, successful implementation requires efficient reporting structures and processes which are capable of collecting and assessing metrics and other information at different levels of aggregation.

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Please contact us for additional information

Responsible Sourcing

Companies are increasingly expected to create transparency in upstream processes and to provide evidence that environmental, social, and anti-corruption standards are being met, even beyond operational boundaries. Considering the complexity of today’s global supply chains and the high number of (direct) suppliers, a systematic and effective management approach is essential.

Using a management approach for responsible sourcing enables companies to (better) evaluate risks and opportunities in purchasing and the sustainability performance of suppliers. The goal is to minimize risks for the company and to develop more sustainable products.

Your Contacts for Responsible Sourcing

Hotspot analysis

The objective of S&C’s hotspot analysis (HSA) is to determine, evaluate, and prioritize CR topics for a product or category of products along the entire value chain.  Based on these results, we can determine the need for action in a workshop setting.

S&C developed our Hotspot Analysis approach in 2010 and has since applied it to more than 40 product categories covering various industries and sectors – agriculture, chemical, metal, food – for renowned national and international companies. S&C is a global partner of the chemical company BASF SE for hotspot analyses.

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Country and sector risk analysis

The objective of S&C’s country and sector risk analysis is to identify and evaluate sustainability topics and resulting risks at country and sector levels. Companies can use the results to assess whether their (direct) suppliers are at risk of non-compliance with sustainability standards – such as upholding human rights and anti-corruption – due to external conditions (such as the degree of law enforcement). This groundwork can allow companies to determine required measures and an effective management approach.

Human rights due diligence

Several regulatory frameworks require companies to conduct risk assessments focusing on human rights and core labor standards in supply chains and value chains: the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, the UK Modern Slavery Act, the law “Devoir de Vigilance” in France, the non-financial reporting requirements in Europe, the German National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, among others.

S&C assesses risks regarding violations of core labor standards / human rights using hotspot analyses and country and sector risk analyses.

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Management approach

Companies can gain insight into risks and opportunities in their supply chains via the risk and hotspot analyses described above. Based on this knowledge, a systematic approach for responsible sourcing should be developed.

The S&C management approach for responsible sourcing typically consists of the following building blocks:

  1. Identify and evaluate topics and risks in supply chains
  2. Develop and implement polices (code of conduct)
  3. Prioritize and inform suppliers
  4. Assess and monitor suppliers
  5. Develop corrective action plans
  6. Measure and report on progress

S&C is highly experienced in developing and implementing such management systems for responsible sourcing. Please contact us if you are interested in more information regarding the individual building blocks mentioned above.

S&C recommends defining an industry-specific approach or joining industry initiatives (e.g. BSCI, Sedex Global, or Together for Sustainability), when possible. Such an approach not only saves resources, but also prevents survey and audit fatigue due to the use of multiple codes of conduct and audits. S&C is glad to support you in the selection of such approaches and initiatives.

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Supplier code of conduct

A supplier code of conduct describes a company’s sourcing requirements. It is used to educate suppliers regarding CR standards and to ensure that these specific requirements are met.

S&C supports you in selecting a suitable code of conduct / policy and in developing an individual code based on identified risks.

Capacity building

A key success factor regarding responsible sourcing and sustainability in supply chains is appropriate communication. It is important to consider one’s suppliers as partners.

For one thing it is necessary to educate one’s own purchasing team, including clarifying goals, measures, and processes. On the other hand, companies should convince their (direct) suppliers that following CR standards is not a competitive disadvantage, but rather the precondition for business relationships in the future, and thus necessary for a supplier’s future readiness. This is often the more challenging task.

S&C has considerable experience regarding training workshops for purchasing teams as well as raising awareness among suppliers and training them worldwide. Our services range from the conception and development of workshops on specific topics to internal training sessions of purchasing teams or suppliers in a certain region.

You can find further details regarding planned workshops and business meetings at Events and at Knowledge & Innovation.

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Please contact us for additional information

Stakeholder Communication & Reporting

Including stakeholders’ interests and expectations in decision-making processes and communication is relevant for every organization. In a dynamic environment, interests can change and it is essential to establish a structured and active dialog with all relevant stakeholders.

Your Contacts for Stakeholder Communication & Reporting

Reporting

Transparent and credible reporting on CR and sustainability performance is expected, not only from expert stakeholders, but also from clients, consumers, suppliers, and employees.

The pressure on (public-interest) companies to systematically address sustainability issues and to regularly report on targets and progress has increased for a variety of reasons, one of them being non-financial reporting that is required by law (such as the EU non-financial reporting Directive).

S&C has aided in the preparation of approximately 80 CR, CSR, and sustainability reports. A number of these reports have won prizes. Reference projects can be viewed here.

We support you in the preparation of:

  • CR/CSR/Sustainability reports according to GRI, IR, or SASB guidelines
  • Environmental statements
  • The UN Global Compact progress report (CoP/Communication on Progress)
  • Progress reports for CDP, Detox, etc.
  • Non-financial statements that fulfill the reporting obligations under current non-financial disclosure requirements in Europe
  • The German Sustainability Code declaration of conformity

We provide you with all the necessary services to create your report. If needed, we collaborate with your service providers or our long-standing partners – excellent copywriters, graphic and online agencies, editors and translators. We have the structures in place and possess extensive (project management) experience to successfully manage complex and time-critical report projects with multiple partners.

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Responding to questionnaires

Alongside their own sustainability reporting, increasingly more companies are required to report specific data, facts, and targets to organizations such as CDP, EcoVadis, Oekom, RobecoSAM (for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, DJSI), or Vigeo EIRIS.

There are also specific questionnaires from banks, insurance companies, and institutional investors. ESG aspects (environmental, social, governance) are increasingly being integrated into investment decisions, for lending and the calculation of interest and insurance policies.

In addition to the challenge of answering the large number of diverse questions, the quality of the answers determines, for example, if the EcoVadis Gold-Standard is achieved, or if a company can maintain its position in indices such as the DJSI or the FTSE4Good.

Do you need support in the preparation of information or would you like to improve your rating? S&C can support you.

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Stakeholder survey

Conducting stakeholder surveys is an effective tool to gain insight into the knowledge and opinion of stakeholders regarding the organization, as well as their need for additional information. Furthermore, surveys can be useful in learning about new CR topics that are on stakeholders’ minds and to evaluate stakeholders’ interests in a continuous dialog. Regular and systematic stakeholder surveys are a key element of any established approach to stakeholder management.

S&C supports you with designing, conducting, and evaluating stakeholder surveys.

In the past years, S&C has designed and conducted over 200 stakeholder surveys for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as stock-exchange listed companies with a total of more than 10,000 participants.

Global surveys are our specialty. Besides English surveys, we can carry out surveys in German, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, and Spanish. Through our global partner network, interviews and surveys in many other languages are also possible.

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Stakeholder events

S&C supports companies in many other areas of stakeholder communication and dialog, for example, in the planning and implementation of stakeholder roundtables or stakeholder days.

Assistance in investor relations

S&C supports IR in answering ESG questionnaires, as well as in designing Roadshows.

Communication concept

Every successful communication strategy requires a solid plan. Which stakeholders should be reached and with what message? Which communication channels should be used; what medium is the best and how often should stakeholders be informed?

S&C supports you with analyses of relevant stakeholders and their specific questions and expectations, as well as defining the need for action. Subsequently, we develop a tailor-made communication concept and will gladly support you in its implementation.

Please contact us for additional information

Impact Assessment

Assessing the impacts of measures and projects, as well as an organization’s CR and product performance is becoming more and more relevant. Only by measuring impact can the success of corporate actions be assessed and, thus, CR and sustainability topics be managed in a resource-efficient way.

Your Contacts for Impact Assessment

Key performance indicators

S&C supports you in identifying suitable metrics to manage and control relevant CR/sustainability issues. We recommend selecting key performance indicators after having determined the material issues (see materiality analysis), and in parallel with defining strategic objectives and measures. All key performance indicators must be precisely defined and described so that everyone has a good understanding of them.

Suitable CR software (see software) should be used efficiently to collect, validate, aggregate, and consolidate the data.

Indicator management

To manage the large number of existing CR- or sustainability-related metrics, companies should implement a systematic indicator system. S&C supports you in defining an indicator system that is customized to your needs.  We assess and evaluate existing KPIs and reporting methods, and support you in setting up a suitable process for collecting, consolidating, calculating, validating, and analyzing KPIs.

In addition, we aid with the selection and scoping of suitable software tools from Excel tools for small and medium-sized enterprises to state-of-the-art software solutions for multinational companies (see Software).

Footprint calculation

S&C has expertise in analyzing the environmental and societal impacts of both organizations and products. How many greenhouse gas emissions does a product emit in the supply chain, and in its production and consumption processes? How much (virtual) water is hidden in a product? What are the other environment-related and social impacts of the product?

We are happy to support you in the implementation of a footprint calculation and lifecycle analysis (LCA). We offer LCAs and input-output-services together with our partners Sustainable Solution Corporation and ifu hamburg.

Impact assessment

S&C supports clients in conducting impact assessments that determine the impact of CR programs and projects in economic, ecologic, and social dimensions.

One aspect of this is making the business case for sustainability, in other words, the economic reasoning behind implementing sustainability in the organization.

As a prerequisite for impact and progress assessments, a robust indicator system should be put in place and responsibilities for regular data collection and evaluation need to be assigned (CR controlling).

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Please contact us for additional information

Software

An indicator system is essential for consistent implementation of a company’s CR strategy and for tracking progress towards sustainability goals.

Up-to-date targets and metrics are needed regularly for internal and external reporting (including CR report, CDP, RobecoSAM, EIRIS, EcoVadis, Sedex, as well as regulatory reporting requirements like the non-financial disclosure requirements in Europe or national guidelines, such as the German Sustainability Code). The main challenge lies in obtaining data and facts from multiple (international) locations, as well as validating, aggregating, consolidating, and reporting them in a suitable format. This task is often not feasible using Excel or Word.

The market offers a multitude of software solutions that can be useful and effective for management, controlling, and reporting of CR and sustainability topics. Since 2007, S&C has worked with software developers such as Enablon, UL EHSS (formerly known as cr360) and WeSustain. Important to note: S&C works independently. We do not act as a broker or seller of software.

Your Contacts for Software

Selection and scoping

Finding the right CR software is not an easy task considering there are over 50 software providers in the market. Every company has individual requirements – depending on industry, company size and structure, as well as the complexity of corporate processes and existing software systems. We are glad to support you in determining company-specific requirements (for example, in specification sheets) and will assist you in the selection process.

Implementation and training

The implementation of CR software consists of both functional and technical steps.

Some of the functional steps to be taken are:

  • carefully determine and clearly define performance indicators which will be collected, verified, and consolidated with the software,
  • define the types of reports that the software should create (e.g. in tables or diagrams),
  • define the users (contributors, validators, administrators) and their respective responsibilities,
  • define the work flow (incl. required processes), and
  • a mapping of the company structure (geographical, divisional, organizational, etc.).

The technical implementation includes the installation of the database and, if necessary, appropriate programming of digital interfaces or company-specific solutions. This is typically done by the software provider.

Since robust knowledge in using the software is key for a sound data collection, S&C offers on-site or web-based training sessions and coaching for all users, covering the basics for first-time users, but also advanced trainings for administrators.

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Administration

If desired, S&C can assume responsibility for software administration and ongoing operation, for example, by performing the following services, among others:

  • configuration and updating of performance indicators, locations, conversion rates, and users
  • defining, adjusting, and updating data collection processes
  • preparation of internal reports.

First level support

S&C can be your first level support, acting as a helpdesk regarding software questions. We can provide the following services:

  • useful tips
  • identifying errors (operating errors and technical problems)
  • second level support: coordination of support requests with software providers that cannot be solved first-level.

Please contact us for additional information

Knowledge and Innovation

Corporate responsibility is still a relatively young field. In the last 20 years, companies and other organizations have made significant progress, but the path to a sustainable future is still long.

At S&C, we believe that this path is only successful in a cooperative and trusting, competitive environment. In this context, transparency and knowledge about the complexity and interaction of different entrepreneurial and social decision-making factors is vital. This requires much commitment and persuasion.

Your Contacts for Knowledge and Innovation

Knowledge transfer

S&C is committed to knowledge transfer; both as part of and beyond consulting mandates. Our goal is to exchange knowledge on methods and best practices for sustainable development, for organizations to raise awareness with managers and employees on the benefits of sustainability, so that they can contribute to and strengthen sustainable development.

We conceptualize and organize events such as webinars, business meetings, and workshops. You can find event dates under the “events” heading.

We also support partner organizations in developing conference concepts that generate new knowledge and bring together different stakeholder groups. We bring our expertise as speakers, panelists, or moderators to the debate. You can find the event dates under the “events” heading.

As part of our social commitment, we strive to give students a better understanding of the complexities and solutions in corporate responsibility, and hold seminars, lectures, and workshops at universities and colleges.

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Innovation

S&C is committed to further developing knowledge and methods that advance sustainability and corporate responsibility (CR). We do this not only through our own research projects, but also as part of joint projects with universities, the public sector, and companies or foundations.

We also hold innovation workshops and consider ourselves a think tank for sustainable development.

Please contact us for additional information

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