Sustainable development is one of the key socio-political challenges. The global community once again emphasised its importance with the adoption of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015.
The imperative of sustainable economic activity is increasingly forcing companies to face the strategic challenge and embrace their corporate social responsibility (CSR). They must review and adapt both their product ranges as well as their processes and supply chains from social, environmental and economic perspectives. The strategic integration of sustainability into the core business is increasingly becoming a locational and competitive factor.
Sustainable economic activity also gives rise to conflicting goals. For although the social, ecological and economic dimensions of sustainability should be given equal consideration, they may well contradict each other. At the same time, the interests of the numerous players inside and outside the companies – including management, employees, employee representatives, committees, investors and NGOs – also differ.
With regard to co-determination, trade unions and employee representatives – both on supervisory boards and works councils – play a decisive role in addressing and implementing sustainability issues. Whether and how sustainability aspects are permanently and successfully mainstreamed in companies therefore depends first and foremost on the negotiation processes between the company representatives and the executive management.
The IG BCE Foundation for Labour and the Environment focuses its work on helping employees and employee representatives specifically contribute to the corporate sustainability discourse and play an active part in shaping it.