Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt: Groundwork for Sustainable Organizations

Co-developing a Sustainability Compass

Sustainability isn’t limited to an organization’s ecological footprint, but includes many more dimensions, such as social responsibility and management issues. With the project “Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt” that started in 2020, we aimed to co-create strategies, tools and knowledge with and for non-profit organizations.

Although sustainability has been a major topic for years, many aspects of it have yet to be addressed - especially in the context of non-profit organizations. This includes questions about improving diversity and inclusion, creating responsible financial strategies, and establishing democratic and transparent processes in order to elicit lasting positive change.

Reflecting on these topics, we spoke with fellow organizations and found a strong need for advice and guidance, as well as a surprising scarcity of good examples or literature on sustainability in non-profit organizations. Thus, we initiated a workshop series with partner organizations, facilitated by Dennis Hoenig-Ohnsorg. Having set up the sustainability department at Zalando, he is now helping non-profits to develop their strategies and contributions to a more sustainable future.

The whole workshop was very inspiring and supportive for me and my career plans. The informal exchanges during lunch breaks and topic-related discussions in triads provided me with many new insights on sustainability.

Participant’s feedback in a post-workshop survey

Peer Approach

Together with the Global Diplomacy Lab, MitOst, the Goethe-Institut and Mietkhe, a medium-sized German company, 3 workshops were held in August and September 2020 and in January 2021. These were accompanied by 2 iac Berlin Impulse Sessions with KomBüse und Greenstorming on sustainable event management and communication.

Both event series gave organizations the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge, and the feedback received was highly positive and emphasized the need for these kinds of exchanges.

The initiative resulted in the creation of a peer-learning group specifically on this topic. Furthermore, the knowledge gained through the workshops helps us here at the iac Berlin as we continue to work on developing effective sustainability strategies.

In Spring 2022, the next 3-workshops-series of the “Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt” will be hosted. Again, non-profit organizations are invited to work on this topic together, build on the learnings established so far, deepen our shared understanding of the matter, and co-develop additional tools and strategies for functioning sustainability compass.

Details on the timing as well as the registration will be posted soon!

Do you want to learn more about the project or the sustainability compass? Or do you want to participate in the next workshop series? Please get in touch with:

Eva Behringer