Sustainability controlling is the only step in the entrepreneurial practice, because often there are “more important things to do”. “If you want sustainability in the company and in the Controlling of anchoring, you must know that it is a multistage process that requires a clear direction, patience, and commitment,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Sailer, author of the ICC book “sustainability controlling”. In this Interview, a Professor of Economics, are important tips.
UVK: Mr Sailer, what is the role of the Controlling in the area of sustainability?
Ulrich Sailer: sustainability professional to manage and to take such measures, the most effective and most efficient are of increasing importance. The times that you take some measures with uncertain impact on the sustainability. This, no company can afford more. Thus, if a company uses economic, ecological and social objectives, the Management of comprehensive information about how actions have an impact on these goals. The Controlling Department ensures that the sustainability transparency and allow for better decisions. Even if the sustainability controlling is placed in position in the case of the few companies in the professional, seems to be no way to walk past it, sustainability professional. Sustainability controlling is, therefore, no additional controlling function, but the one-sided economically-oriented Controlling is extended to form a holistic, sustainable Controlling.
UVK: Relates to the topic of sustainability controlling only for large companies?
Ulrich Sailer: no, not at all, there are also medium-sized companies in the Stuttgart airport or the DATEV in Nuremberg – the here professionally set up. Ultimately, it is like the traditional Controlling, the larger and more diverse the company is, the higher the coordination effort of learning and therefore, the need for control. But, of course, the medium-sized company needs to know how he targets his sustainability best achieved. What kind of investment, for example, leads to the greatest environmental Benefit or the refusal of a critical supplier contributes to the fact that social standards are met. Many companies think of sustainability to right not only to own Betriebstor, but to the entire value chain – and here there are big and many small companies.
UVK: If a company is for the introduction of sustainability controlling decide what would be the first important step?
Ulrich Sailer: just like the classic Controlling to start not with measures but with targets. The first is to clarify which economic, ecological and social goals you wish to achieve. In the case of the economic objectives we interviewed typically the shareholders, i.e. the Shareholder. Since ecological and social effects relate to the company, this is represented by the Stakeholder, to ask according to your objectives to the company. Most of the large companies, which is why, for several years, stakeholder dialogues. On the basis of these objectives, an appropriate sustainability strategy can be developed, which, in turn, forms the framework for operational measures.
UVK: Where, in your opinion, currently, the biggest challenges in the sustainability controlling?
Ulrich Sailer: most companies have the desire, the sustainability measure. It is no longer enough to take measures that are somehow in a sustainable way. You want to know which action lead to what long-term success. But this is not only a question of suitable work, but this is also a cultural challenge. The Controller must show in addition to economic goal achievement for the environmental and social objectives responsibility. Controlling an extended role requires understanding of the three dimensions of sustainability together and to coordinate in a balanced way. Finally, the Top Management faces the challenge of the sustainability strategy itself then to implement them consistently, if the company is under a high economic pressure. If short-term profit targets if necessary, but on the sustainability objectives, will also align to the Controlling primary to the achievement of the profit targets.
UVK: In her new book sustainability controlling. What should know the Controller and the Manager relating to the management of sustainability, the role of the Controller will be clarified in sustainable business. You can say that these are not-need to continue to source more and more financial criteria?
Ulrich Sailer: Absolutely – the stakeholders, the organization, the “Licence to operate”, only a few financial goals. It is not up to neither the Manager, nor the Controller, the requested-financial targets to reject or ignore. The planning and coordination of goals and measures, the detection of the target achievement and Reporting are the main tasks of the Controller. And this also applies to non-financial objectives, where the objectives are often quantifiable: CO2-savings, increased customer satisfaction, reduction of water consumption, reduction of work-related accidents,… The Controlling is versatile, significant and meaningful.
Thanks for the interesting conversation.
What should know the Controller and the Manager relating to the management of sustainability
1. 2016 Edition, 280 P.
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