About a month ago was Earth Day. On this occasion, we at KRIEGER thought about what good we can do for the environment in our everyday working lives in order to increasingly anchor sustainability in companies.
“Sustainability” is being talked about more and more these days, but what does the term mean?
A classic definition of sustainability states that sustainable development occurs when the needs of the present can be met without risking that these needs can no longer be met in the future. In the past, sustainable action was primarily understood in terms of protecting the ecology. But today, in addition to the ecological component, social and economic interests also play an indispensable role in sustainable action. The three pillars of sustainability are therefore often spoken of in this context. Accordingly, sustainable action is only possible if ecological, economic and social aspects are equally taken into account.
How can sustainability be implemented in tax firms?
The implementation of sustainability strategies in everyday company life requires correspondingly sustainable business models. However, there is no single answer to the question of how it can be implemented. It depends on many factors, such as the motivation of the employees, the willingness to act or the technical equipment.
How do you go about implementing sustainable business models?
First, concrete key figures must be determined that can then be measured. For the ecological component, for example, a suitable key figure would be the reduction of CO2 emissions. There are also criteria that need to be followed for the other two pillars of sustainability.
The German Sustainability Code (DNK) has created guidelines to establish sustainable business practices in companies and to make it easier to get started. This is divided into the following four criteria areas:
- Strategy: Strategic analysis and measures, materiality, goals, depth of the value chain
- Process management: responsibility, rules and processes, control, incentive systems, stakeholder participation, innovation and product management
- Environment: Use of natural resources, resource management, climate-relevant emissions
- Society: Employee rights, equal opportunities, qualifications, human rights, community, political influence, behavior in accordance with laws and guidelines
These criteria can serve as instructions for sustainable business, but can also be reduced to the points relevant to the company and supplemented with your own points. However, it should not be seen as a prerequisite for starting a sustainable working life.
What exactly needs to be done?
This question cannot be answered in general terms either. The most important thing, however, is that there is a beginning and it is not constantly postponed into the future. A first measure could, for example, be to communicate the advantages of sustainability within your own tax office and among clients and thus bring more attention to the topic. Once this first step has been completed, the individual sustainability points (e.g. DNK criteria) should be broken down as much as possible and linked to the tasks of the employees. It is important that everyone involved is aware of the relevance of this topic and the associated tasks; this could be reinforced with incentives if necessary.
The following measures are intended to make getting started even easier and are also relatively easy to implement:
- Economics: Use funding for sustainable business models, achieve financing advantages in bank valuations, announce the sustainable development of the tax office to the outside world, etc.
- Ecology: Determine the CO2 footprint of the law firm and clients, promote sustainable operational mobility, develop approaches for sustainable lifestyles for employees, reduce resource consumption such as water and paper
- Social: Support further training, promote voluntary work among employees, introduce company health management
Furthermore, a tax firm also benefits from its sustainability management.
In addition to promoting ecological, economic and social concerns, tax firms can derive some advantages from a sustainable orientation.
These can be, for example:
- Profitability, which can be increased through energy-efficient everyday office life
- Access/bond to clients is improved
- Better positioning through a differentiated range of services
- Increasing the image and brand value of the tax office
- Cost reduction due to procurement and disposal
What do we at KRIEGER do for environmentally friendly business?
Since we as a tax law firm also see ourselves as responsible for supporting society’s development towards greater climate protection, we are making our everyday work more and more sustainable. Our sustainability strategies already include a paperless office, a modern IT landscape with high-quality digital solutions and sustainable approaches to our employees’ lifestyles.
The independently operating company Digital Office 24 is developing a digitally functioning solution for collaboration between clients and tax firms. For the start-up, the topic of sustainability is one of the basic principles of entrepreneurial activity and is lived every day. That’s why DO24 already handles the digital office organization and tax processing of clients in a 100 percent CO2-neutral manner.
Sustainable action is more important than ever these days and it is all of our responsibility to protect our environment. Therefore, do not hesitate to incorporate sustainable aspects into your everyday life.