How can the government promote sustainability

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The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) supports the sustainable management of companies by creating market-oriented and technology-open framework conditions and promoting products and processes that conserve resources and the environment. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Economics is working in the State Secretaries' Committee for Sustainable Development on the further development of the German Sustainability Strategy (DNS). The dialogue version of the further development of the strategy in 2021 was decided on September 30, 2020. The online consultation, in which interested citizens and stakeholders can participate, will run until the end of October 2020. The proposal by Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier for an alliance between society, business and the state for climate neutrality and prosperity also supports sustainable development and shows new solutions for achieving the sustainability goals.

Committed to the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Agenda 2030 was adopted in 2015. Its main goal is to create a decent life around the world. This includes economic, ecological and social development aspects. The core of the 2030 Agenda are the 17 sustainability goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The Federal Ministry of Economics is paying particular attention to goals 7, 8, 9 and 12:

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Energy is a fundamental requirement for economic and social development. Clean energy sources are a key factor for environmental and climate protection. For Germany, this includes the goal of almost complete decarbonization of energy systems, in particular by focusing on renewable energies, energy saving and the greatest possible energy efficiency by 2050 at the latest.

Goal 8: Doing business sustainably as an opportunity for everyone
Globalization holds many opportunities for greater prosperity. However, not everyone reaps the benefits of globalization in the same way. For example, when it comes to good work with minimum social standards and adequate wages, Germany still faces many challenges internationally.

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Sustainable economic growth, sustainable production, sustainable cities and sustainable education and health systems as well as a whole range of important sustainability goals are inconceivable without intelligent innovations, modern infrastructures and efficient industry.

Goal 12: Produce and consume sustainably
Our planet has only limited resilience. In order to be able to live well in the future, we need to change our consumption and production techniques. One building block for this are rules for dealing with limited resources, for occupational, health and environmental protection.

Strong economy - a prerequisite and engine for sustainability

Sustainable development depends on innovative, competitive and economically strong companies. The social market economy offers the best prerequisites for this. It succeeds in combining economic efficiency and social cohesion with the goal of “prosperity for all”, provided that the state and society allow companies the freedom to act on their own entrepreneurial responsibility.

The manufacture of high-quality and future-oriented systems and products is a traditional domain in Germany, not least because of the excellent qualifications of engineers and skilled workers. The large German industrial groups contribute to the success of sustainable development, as do the predominantly small and medium-sized enterprises and companies. In the industrial sector, these are, for example, automobile construction, mechanical and plant engineering, electrical engineering and electronics or the chemical industry as technological pioneers with a high proportion of innovation and research and development expenditure.

Create intelligent framework conditions and funding programs

Economic incentives, the use of quality seals or advisory and information programs can support the development and market introduction of sustainable production processes. The use of the diverse range of advisory services, aids and incentives can create additional efficiency gains for the economy. With start-up programs, innovative companies can be promoted from the start-up idea to the expansion phase. Innovation networks make it easier for companies to get started with technology-specific funding. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Economics provides help in uncovering material-saving potential, which can be of valuable help, especially for small companies.

Sustainability ensures global competitiveness

The demand for sustainable products is growing faster and faster. Improving energy and resource efficiency in companies all over the world will play an even greater role in the future. The expertise and technology available in Germany strengthens the leading position of German companies in international competition and enables Germany to achieve a great deal in the area of ​​sustainable development.

With the increasing importance of sustainability, companies are also becoming more interested in assuming social responsibility. This can be seen, for example, in the development of internal company codes of conduct or voluntary participation in environmental management systems. Many companies are now publicly documenting how their actions contribute to sustainable development. This can also represent an advantage in the competition for customers and markets.

Sustainable economic policy relies on corporate responsibility, but also demands this. Politicians, on the other hand, have to ask and answer the question to what extent the framework conditions are set correctly or where improvements are necessary.