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Monday, November 7, 2016 - 09:30 | Berlin Forum 2016

econsense – Forum Sustainable Development of German Business and the German Global Compact Network invited renown speakers and over 400 guest to discuss a solution oriented approach towards the implementation of the SDGs and the review of the German Sustainability Strategy.

Dr. Wolfgang Große Entrup, Chairman of the Board of econsense, and Marcel Engel, Executive Director of DGCN, welcomed guests and speakers to an inspiring and informative conference day.

       Dr. Wolfgang Große Entrup, econsense                     Marcel Engel, DGCN

Ulrich Grillo, President of BDI, decribed the SDGs as a compass for corporate responsibility in the 21th century guiding every actor towards their own way. German business can and will play a significant role - with dialogue and new cooperations coming into special consideration. 


      Ulrich Grillo, BDI und econsense


The speakers of the first panel pointed out that the SDGs are a guide for all actors, however, every state and every corporation has to find their own way towards the goal. Politics is needed to define the framework, so business knows reliably where the journey will take them.

                                                                                     Tanja Gönner, GIZ

       Dr. Jürgen Hambrecht, BASF                                   Lise Kingo, UN Global Compact

       StS. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, BMUB


The second panel discussed the huge potential of digital solutions for a sustainable development and their capability to initiative new business models. Digitization is first of all a neutral concept and not a sure-fire success - but has to be put into the service of SDGS by politics and business. Especially with issues like mobility and health lie great potentials within the new era of digitization - when used responsible and with sense of proportion. The societal transformation around digitization has to be led by values. Privacy and data security are important social values, however they need to be balanced with other values like optimal public health care. 

                                                                                     Dr. Rüdiger Grube, Deutsche Bahn 

       Samantha Putt del Pino, WRI                                   Dr. Bernhard Rohleder, Bitkom

       Peter Lacy, Accenture Strategy                                Ursula Mathar, BMW Group

Keynote-Speaker Ministry of State Prof. Dr. Helge Braun explained that the Federal Chancellery has followed the five "P's" when developing the National Sustainability Strategy: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, Partnerships. On all five point various initiatives are on their way - from combating the cause of flight to climate protection. The review of the German sustainability strategy should be finalized by end of the year. Due to the alignment with the SDGs the know strategy has been extensively redesigned with all stakeholders involved in the process. This dialogue should also be continued in the future. 


       StM Prof. Dr. Helge Braun

Ulrich Grillo and Dr. Jürgen Hambrecht introduced a new initiative at the Berlin Forum:  „Made in Germany – The responsibility of German business in the global competition“. Business need to demonstrate with what kind of attitude it plans to take on global responsibility in order to fullfil its claim to promote the benefit of mankind. The initiative will start with sustainability-hubs, trainings and global networks in important supplier markets for the German industry. Companies and the Federal government are welcomed to participate - the dialogue with civil society is also part of the initiative. Dr. Karsten Schröder (, deputy executive director of econsense, can be contacted by all organizations who are looking for more information. 

      Dr. Jürgen Hambrecht, BASF und Ulrich Grillo, BDI (v.l.n.r.)

In the following panel the global responsibility and the limits of corporate engagement in global supply chains where discussed. Sector initiatives with a voluntary corporate und sectoral engagement as a possible solution were discussed in more detail.


       Dr. Daria Taglioni, The World Bank Group              Prof. Jürgen Eigen, Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform     

       Dr. Meike Niedbal, Deutsche Bahn                          StS. Stephan Steinlein, Auswärtiges Amt


       StS. Thomas Silberhorn, BMZ

In the subsequent Skype conference Gabriela Ramos (OECD) expressed her optimism towrds the recent development like SDGs or the Paris Agreement, which are a clear break-through after years of deadlock. Achim Steiner (Oxford University) would like to see the discussion around climate protection more as a chance, especially when discussing with German business. Both are expecting a clear leading role of the G20 states. The G20 can not replace negotiations of UN level - but they can and must show leadership with German leading by example in 2017 at the Hamburg meeting.


       Gabriela Ramos, OECD




Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business e.V.

econsense is an association of leading, globally active companies and organisations of German business specializing in the area of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Founded in 2000 on the initiative of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the goal of econsense is to provide a dialogue platform and think tank, with the dual objectives of advancing sustainable development in business and assuming social responsibility.