Sustainability benchmarking

Fraunhofer IPK provides small and medium-sized enterprises with sustainability benchmarking as an entry point into corporate sustainability management. This method is an excellent opportunity for companies in various industries to demonstrate their commitment to the environment and society, enhancing their image. Through benchmarking, companies can attract new customers and strengthen their position in the market.

Nachhaltigkeitsbenchmarking für mittelständische Unternehmen
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Benchmarking is an excellent opportunity for companies in various industries to demonstrate their commitment to the environment and society. Companies can improve their image and attract new customers through this process. Fraunhofer IPK provides an entry point into corporate sustainability management for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through sustainability benchmarking.

Understanding Sustainability as an Opportunity

Companies must operate sustainably and socially responsibly today, also due to expensive energy. Sustainability models are essential in this regard.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often feel a special responsibility towards their region, employees, and society. To translate this responsibility into targeted action, it is important to know how sustainable practices are being implemented and where untapped potentials lie.

As part of the "Sustainability Benchmarking for SMEs" project, an integrated sustainability model has been developed to assist SMEs in integrating tools and concepts to enhance sustainability aspects and facilitate industry-specific comparisons with other SMEs. The sustainability benchmarking was tested in collaboration with the BVMW e. V. and 60 medium-sized companies from various industries. Thematic focuses include resource efficiency, environmental protection, and product responsibility, as well as equality of opportunities and social responsibility.

Using a detailed catalog of criteria, companies can analyze and compare their strengths and weaknesses. This allows them to identify their sustainability performance and the associated individual potentials for sustainable projects. For the criteria catalog, over 1,700 existing key performance indicators from common sustainability analyses were reviewed and specifically tailored to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The result is a questionnaire with around 40 indicators.

Sincere social and ecological sustainability also contribute to increasing attractiveness as an employer and preventing the shortage of skilled workers.


How does sustainability benchmarking work?

Using resources more efficiently saves money. Benchmarking demonstrates how.

Sustainability benchmarking provides options for companies to operate more sustainably in competition. Evaluating corporate sustainability performance reveals weaknesses and strengths. Further improvement measures can be derived from comparing with competitors.

The process helps companies measure and improve their sustainability performance. It involves analyzing environmental, social, and governance data (ESG data) to assess the impact of corporate decisions on sustainability goals.

These data provide companies with a crucial framework to ensure the sustainability of their business model by assisting them in setting priorities and deploying resources efficiently.

Once the sustainability performance has been measured, one's own progress can be easily determined. By comparing the performances of different companies, benchmarks can be established, providing a reference for companies to improve their sustainability further.


Selected examples from participating companies:

  • The Stuttgart construction company WOLFF & MÜLLER saves 722 tons of CO2 annually through the conversion of their fleet.
  • At Zedler – Institute for Bicycle Technology and Safety, 81,540 liters of rainwater from cisterns are used for toilet flushing, bicycle cleaning, and garden irrigation.
  • The natural cosmetics manufacturer Kneipp from Würzburg was able to save over 250.000 kWh of electricity annually through various measures.
  • Piepenbrock from Osnabrück has planted 83,442 trees in its own forest.


Initiate your sustainability benchmarking now.

You will receive a benchmarking report that shows you where you currently stand.

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What benefits do entrepreneurs expect from pursuing the topic of sustainability?


Start sustainability benchmarking now

Take advantage of the opportunity to compare your own sustainability performance within the industry and benefit from free entry with reduced scope (currently in German only).

Get in touch!

We would be happy to support you with your challenges. For example, if you want to set up systematic sustainability controlling with key figures, the results can be incorporated into a sustainability/CSR report.