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    References

    Setting new standards instead of standard solutions

    We advise, publish, discuss and give essential impulses on sustainability. Here you will find a selection of clients, projects and references.

    Kunden, Projekten und Referenzen.
    They trust us

    Companies and organisations we have advised

    Referenzen Managementberatung Nachhaltigkeit
    • Boge
    • Bosch
    • Covestro
    • Eppendorf
    • Fresenius
    • Krones
    • Merck
    • OSRAM
    • RWE
    • Siemens
    • Zeiss
    • Four of the top 4 premium car manufacturers in Germany
    • Best-known German personal care manufacturer
    • Best-known German food manufacturer
    • Leading global chemical group
    • World’s leading synthetic fibre manufacturer
    • Leading global producer of gases
    • and more
    Referenzen Managementberatung Nachhaltigkeit
    • adidas
    • Bonprix
    • Coop Schweiz
    • Crate&Barrel
    • Dr. Oetker
    • Klingel
    • Lidl
    • Marc´O Polo
    • Otto
    • REWE
    • s.Oliver
    • Tchibo
    • Valora
    • Willy Bogner
    • 2 of the top 3 discounters in Germany
    • Germany’s best-known high-fashion brand
    • Leading German lifestyle fashion brand
    • 2 major German multi-brand fashion retailers
    • Market leader B2B distance selling of industrial equipment
    • and more
    Referenzen Managementberatung Nachhaltigkeit
    • German Telekom
    • Hermes Logistik
    • MVV Energie AG
    • Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)
    • Major German bank
    • Top 2 in the German mobile communications market
    • Top 2 in the German telecommunications market
    • and more
    Referenzen Managementberatung Nachhaltigkeit
    • Aid by Trade Foundation (Cotton-Made-in-Africa, CmiA)
    • AVE (Außenhandelsvereinigung des Deutschen Einzelhandels e.V.)
    • Bevh (Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland e.V.)
    • Federal Ministries: BMBF, BMUB, BMZ, BMJV
    • DEG (Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH)
    • GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit)
    • HDE (Handelsverband Deutschland)
    • NABU (Naturschutzbund Deutschland e. V.)
    • Stiftung KlimaWirtschaft
    • UBA (Umweltbundesamt)
    • Umweltstiftung Michael Otto
    • Universities: Flensburg, Hamburg, Pforzheim
    • WWF (World Wildlife Fund)
    • and more
    Success stories

    Challenge

    A variety of different sustainability issues were to be integrated into the corporate strategy of an Italian confectionery manufacturer.

    Approach

    In the sustainability perspective, we reached 2,400 stakeholders through a conjoint-based stakeholder survey, who rated 28 topics in terms of sustainability relevance. Thus, each topic was rated about 4,300 times.   

    We also compared the stakeholders’ subjective assessments with impact analyses at company and product level along the entire value chain.  We conducted these analyses with our proprietary tool estell. 

    This interim result of sustainability relevance was discussed and validated with structured interviews and workshops.  

    In addition, 35 decision-makers assessed the business relevance of the themes based on value drivers – efficiency, brand value, resilience and innovation – and anticipated business potential. Based on this, the level of ambition of the themes was finalised with 13 managers in two management workshops.

    At the end of the project, there was a clear strategic framework and overarching strategic guiding themes that summarised the overall goal of the confectionery manufacturer in the area of sustainability and were translated into a concrete roadmap.  

    Result

    With the project, Systain developed a clear strategic framework on the topic of sustainability, through which the company was able to define its strategic fields of action to ensure its future viability. 

    Challenge

    An international retail group with more than 50,000 employees and a turnover of over 13 billion euros wants to redevelop its group-wide sustainability strategy. 

    Approach

    The sustainability strategy was further developed in two parallel work streams. On the one hand, we developed concrete content with the Group: the overarching vision, fields of action, KPIs, targets and measures. Secondly, we dealt intensively with governance – on the topics of decentralised control, collaboration, empowerment and incentivisation.  

    Through an agile process, the work results were developed iteratively by involving different stakeholders, e.g. through sounding boards with management (top down) and piloting with group companies (bottom up). The work streams were controlled centrally by a project management office (PMO). 

    Gebäude mit Bäumen

    Result

    The final result was a decentralised management system that takes into account the individual responsibility of the Group companies and their specific business models, as well as enabling centralised control according to overarching and consolidated Group goals. In order to ensure a group-wide exchange of knowledge, topic-specific Group-wide Expert Circles were also initiated, which bring together representatives from the various specialist departments of the respective Group companies. An IT-based solution has been developed to manage and control the success of the sustainability strategy and regular reports are submitted to the Executive Board. 

    Challenge

    Covestro AG is a listed materials manufacturer with almost 17,000 employees and a complex supply chain. Human rights due diligence is to be implemented in the company’s own business operations and in the value chain.

    Approach

    In 2018, we compared the company’s external reporting on the topic of human rights with the regulatory requirements in Germany and in the international context. Through this gap analysis, we developed appropriate recommendations for action. 

    In another project, we conducted a comprehensive risk analysis on human rights risks in the value chain. This enabled us to identify the human rights issues of highest relevance and derive improvement measures. 

    Most recently, in 2020, we supported the company in developing a management system to fulfil the core elements of human rights due diligence. We also developed a manual for the implementation of human rights due diligence in the various functional areas of Covestro.

    Arbeiter Menschenrechte

    Result

    Through the various projects, Systain was able to create transparency for Covestro on regulatory requirements in Germany and in the international context on the topic of human rights, identify the human rights issues of highest relevance, derive improvement measures and develop a management system for implementing human rights due diligence.

    Challenge  

    An international engineering company with over 20,000 suppliers wants to make supplier management more sustainable. What human rights risks exist in the supply chains?  For this purpose, the company is looking for an efficient procedure that also meets the requirements of the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act.

    Approach

    With our proprietary tool estell, supply chains can be analysed quickly and efficiently with a uniform procedure. The only data required from the company are purchasing values per year, as well as information on suppliers and commodity groups. With our estell methodology, human rights risks are thus made transparent per supplier, but also per risk topic, country and value chain level.

    The client received comprehensive transparency on the human rights risks of its sourcing of goods. In addition, we provided clear transparency on the originators of the risk – by value chain stage (at the direct supplier, in the lower supply chain, at the raw material) and topic (child labour, occupational safety, etc.). The mechanical engineering company was able to view these insights in an interactive visualisation tool.

    Result

    A prioritisation of the suppliers with the highest risks serves the client as a basis for implementing the requirements of the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act and for risk management in the supply chain. The transparency of the risk analysis also formed the basis for a risk-based derivation of measures depending on the risk profile of the suppliers and the value chain.

    Challenge  

    A client has to conduct an annual human rights risk analysis of its direct suppliers according to the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act. He was looking for a viable risk analysis procedure that complies with the new Act. 

    Approach  

    In a concept phase, we developed a procedure for risk analysis taking into account the adequacy criteria of the national Act. For this purpose, the existing data on direct suppliers and actors in the deeper supply chain (e.g. production sites, raw materials) were identified. This internal data was combined with Systain’s risk indicators and value chain information (e.g. origin of raw materials) to design the risk analysis. We also worked with the client to develop how risks should be weighted and prioritised. This close exchange ensured buy-in from the relevant contact persons as well as early identification of interfaces to follow-up processes.  

    Controlling von Maßnahmen zur menschenrechtlichen Sorgfalt

    We took over the preparation of the complex company data (over 10,000 suppliers) for the risk calculation and visualised the results.

    Result 

    To implement the Act’s requirements, the client now has a tool for annual risk analysis that can be updated largely independently of Systain. The client thus obtained a high degree of transparency on risks – also in the deeper supply chain – and knew which measures have priority and should be initiated.

    Challenge 

    If human rights risks have been identified in a company’s own business or in the supply chain, they must be minimised with effective measures and, in the best case, eliminated. 

    Approach 

    We support a company holistically in establishing a process for the risk-based derivation and control of measures. Taking into account the requirements of the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, we first identified relevant measures such as training, self-assessments or audits. We evaluate these in terms of their impact, feasibility and implementation effort. In addition, risk clusters were identified, such as suppliers with a human rights risk through the use of a risk raw material. By allocating the measures to the risk clusters, we created the basis for a selection of precisely fitting measures that address specific risks. 

    At the same time, we created security of action for the company through clear internal processes and guidelines. To ensure that the measures are implemented according to the specifications, we also designed and implemented a controlling concept that enables impact measurement and reporting in accordance with the requirements of the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act. 

    Result  

    Together with the company, we implemented a concept for the risk-based derivation and control of measures in order to fulfill the requirements of the national Act, to adequately address the human rights risks in the supply chain and in the business area and to realistically implement them.   

    Challenge   

    Many of our clients need to embrace the requirements of the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act and understand, among other things, which processes need to be adapted accordingly. 

    Approach  

    First, we establish in-depth knowledge in the company about the requirements of the new Act in moderated workshops. Through structured interviews and document checks, the status quo of the current implementation in the company is then illuminated. Essential gaps and suitable starting points for the adaptation of processes are identified. Benchmarks and the company’s level of ambition then provide the framework for concrete fields of action and corresponding target images. In interactive workshops, we show the company how due diligence can be implemented efficiently and sustainably in the long term, based on our experience and knowledge of best practices.  Finally, we develop concrete roadmaps including an assessment of internal efforts, responsibilities and a time schedule. In this way, our clients receive certainty of action for the timely and appropriate implementation of the legal requirements in the company. 

    Result   

    Companies gain an in-depth understanding of the new national Act and where there is a need to adapt processes and structures. Clear objectives and roadmaps give them the confidence to successfully implement human rights due diligence.  

    Challenge

    A leading life science company with headquarters in Germany and locations worldwide commissioned us to develop a climate protection strategy for the company (locations, company cars, transport, business trips). 

    Approach

    We first drew up an initial balance sheet of CO2 emissions and shed light on the main drivers. We then conducted interviews and workshops with individual locations and business units to identify suitable measures. We determine their contribution to climate protection, examine the requirements for feasibility, as well as costs and benefits. In doing so, we also drew on our many years of experience regarding potentials, possible obstacles and approaches to solutions as well as success factors. We also took into account the future development of the company and how emissions will develop accordingly.

    Result 

    An ambitious climate protection strategy with eight fields of action was developed, which is backed up with concrete measures. The roadmap with the measures includes an assessment of costs and benefits as well as CO2 reductions and the definition of responsibilities within the company. The climate protection strategy was adopted by the Executive Board.

    Challenge

    A Swiss mechanical engineering company with a turnover of >10 billion EUR wanted to determine its Scope 3 (upstream) greenhouse gas emissions and set a reduction target. A calculation approach for Scope 3 based on life cycle assessments would have been too costly and incomplete.

    Approach 

    The company decided to determine the emissions with the help of our proprietary tool estell. For this purpose, the company provided the monetary purchasing data with commodity groups and country of manufacture. We modelled the data and calculated and analysed the emissions. The client had a dashboard to perform in-depth analyses by business unit, commodity group, country, supply chain level and more. 

    Dashboard eines Carbon Footprints

    In order to determine how improvement measures and business growth affect greenhouse gas emissions, we created reduction scenarios in a second step. In this process, possible measures were evaluated with regard to jointly developed criteria. Based on these reduction scenarios, we developed a reduction target for Scope 3 together with the company. 

    Result

    The mechanical engineering company gained transparency about the hot spots in its supply chain including suppliers, business units and product groups. Based on these analyses as well as development scenarios and the evaluation of measures, a fact-based climate protection target could be defined.

    Challenge  

    A company from the food retail sector would like to find out how it can achieve its science-based climate targets in individual product ranges (focus on fruit and vegetables) in the form of an action roadmap.

    Approach 

    We rely on the following building blocks for the solution:

    • Collection of measures and GHG impact analysis
    • Assessment of the feasibility of the measures with the involvement of the relevant departments 
    • Building quantitative greenhouse gas reduction scenarios
    • Derivation of action roadmaps 

    We used our proprietary quantification tools estell and estell harvest to derive a fact-based prioritisation of attractive and cost-effective measures. This not only takes into account the mitigation potential of the measures, but also market developments, regulatory requirements, decarbonisation of the electricity mix and projected business growth.

     

    Result 

    By incorporating internal structures for implementation and our deep understanding of food production supply chains, we have developed an effective roadmap for achieving the set climate targets, defined minimum requirements for suppliers and identified potential lighthouse projects with transformational character.

    Challenge 

    Monitoring the GHG footprint, especially in the supply chain, is a major challenge for many companies. A large German retailing company commissioned Systain to design a pragmatic accounting system that consistently and completely maps the annual changes in the GHG footprint of the supply chain and builds on available data systems within the company.

    Approach 

    A one-fits-all solution for GHG accounting in supply chains is not yet available on the market, so we developed a company-specific solution in which we took into account the industry, positioning and, above all, the specific company structure and data availability.  

    Together with the retailing company, we first evaluated external data sources and methods for collecting GHG emissions in supply chains and compared these with possible measures and the necessary available internal data in the company.  

    On this basis, we derived recommendations for the development of a baseline model for GHG emissions recording in Scope 3.1, which is strictly oriented towards the criteria of the GHG Protocol which is able to reflect market developments and implemented measures to a sufficient extent. We also defined interfaces between external emission factors and internal activity data at product, supplier and assortment level for later implementation.

    Result 

    The retailing company received a GHG accounting concept tailored to its business, which is able to show the annual emission changes in different perspectives and is oriented towards the accounting guidelines of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the SBTi. 

     

     

    SIEMENS uses our measurement tool to record CO2 emissions from 10,000 suppliers.

    Source: © Siemens AG, 2020

    Challenge 

    Our online retail client wants to empower consumers to make more sustainable product choices in order to reduce the environmental and social impacts associated with their product range. To achieve this, an overarching goal was defined to offer more sustainable products. Implementation has been difficult in terms of external credibility, as there is currently no clear requirement for labeling.

    Approach 

    Nachhaltige Produkte

    We developed clear criteria that enable our client to identify sustainable product alternatives as such. In developing the criteria, we took into account the requirements of external stakeholders, the level of ambition of the company, as well as the availability of measures within a range.  

    Depending on the assortment, different criteria were defined in order to address the relevant impacts of the respective assortment. 

    As a result, our client developed a good understanding of the significant environmental or social risks posed by their products and more accurately identified sustainable product alternatives. 

    Result 

    We enable our customers to identify sustainable products and make them credibly recognisable as such to consumers. The clear definition of the criteria makes it possible to control the achievement of objectives transparently and uniformly in purchasing and category management.

    Challenge 

    Since 2015, EDEKA and WWF have been working on a joint cultivation project in Spain with the aim of making orange cultivation more environmentally friendly.  They wanted to find out with us: How can the environmental impact of orange cultivation be reduced through the project measures and how are these potentially positive effects to be evaluated in comparison to organic cultivation?

    Approach

    Based on primary data on yields, water consumption, pesticides and fertilisers used, we calculated the environmental effects of the orange farm before the start of the project (baseline) and after the start of the citrus project. For this purpose, data over several years were considered in each case in order to compensate for annual differences due to weather events and the associated differences in yield. For this LCA analysis, GHG emissions, airborne and waterborne pollutants, land use and water consumption were considered.

     In doing so, we evaluated the various environmental effects with external costs according to common recommendations, e.g. of the Federal Environment Agency.  This allowed EDEKA and WWF to compare the environmental effects with each other (e.g. how damaging water consumption is compared to GHG emissions). It also allowed them to estimate the economic costs of the environmental impacts compared to the price of the oranges.  

     In addition, we used secondary data to analyse how the environmental effects of organic orange cultivation differ from those of conventional cultivation.

    Result 

    The analysis enabled EDEKA and WWF to evaluate the positive effects of their cultivation project and to compare it with organic cultivation. In addition, the analysis of the organic cultivation allowed the identification of potential improvements that could be incorporated into the citrus project in the future and contribute to a further reduction of environmental effects.  

    Further references

    Where we get involved, publish and discuss. And what others say about us.

    Here you will find an excerpt from our portfolio.

    2022, Cooperation: scope3analyzer, a free carbon footprinting tool for Scope 3

    The scope3analyzer represents the easiest entry into climate protection for companies. The free tool can calculate CO2 emissions in scope 1, 2 and 3 directly on the basis of already available company data (e.g. purchasing data). Common standards such as the GHG Protocol and CDP as well as the SBTi accept the applied methodology of the scope3analyzer. The tool was developed in cooperation with Systain Consulting GmbH, THINKTANK industrielle Ressourcenstrategien and the Institute for Industrial Ecology with the help of funding from Baden-Württemberg’s Ministry of the Environment. ZEISS Group and Robert Bosch GmbH have piloted the tool as industry partners.

    2022, European Commission

    With the draft of a European supply chain law, the EU Commission wants to increase the requirements for respecting human rights in the supply chain at EU level. Our sector study (“Supply Chain Atlas”) served the EU Commission to justify the planning of this law in its draft.

    2019-2020, consortium partner within the framework of Germany’s National Action Plan (NAP)

    Systain was a consortium partner in the German government’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP). We were commissioned to review the success of companies’ voluntary reporting on human rights due diligence. On the basis of this review, the Federal Government was able to determine that not enough companies fulfilled the requirements of human rights due diligence. This is how the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act came to light.

    2019, Value Balancing Alliance

    The Value Balancing Alliance (VBA), a business alliance with BASF, BMW, the Otto Group, SAP and others, was founded in 2019 with an ambitious goal: The VBA is developing a method to become the standard for how companies measure their environmental and social impacts along the entire value chain – namely using monetary values. Systain supports the member companies Bosch and Otto Group in the application of the innovative methodology. Among other things, we applied the VBA methodology & indicators to quantify the external effects of Bosch’s supply chains. This allowed us to gather strategic and methodological insights on the applicability of the methodology in the corporate context and to develop recommendations.

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