ZNU Standard - driving sustainable change

In 2013, the ZNU Standard – driving sustainable change was developed to provide even more precise documentation of sustainable management practices and to support companies in their transition to sustainable management step by step. Across Germany, it is the only field-tested and implemented Standard for sustainable management which also integrates sustainable corporate governance alongside the three dimensions environment, economy and social. Furthermore, the certification requires and promotes the development of an integrated management system for more sustainable management. The development of the Standard involved not only the ZNU itself but also partner companies and non-governmental organisations - in 2018 it was also completely revised. In the meantime, a large number of companies have implemented the ZNU Standard, which is externally audited annually. Companies outside the ZNU partner network can also be certified; Johnson & Johnson and the natural cosmetics manufacturer Laverana from Hanover have already done so.

Contact persons

Kesta Ludemann | Kesta.Ludemann@uni-wh.de | +49 2302 926-867

Jona Nelson | Jona.Nelson@uni-wh.de | +49 2302 926-545

ZNU goes Zero

This year, ZNU and its partner network is writing a new chapter and giving corporate climate protection in Germany a credible, scientifically proven home. Or in one sentence: ZNU goes Zero. By 2022, the network has set itself the goal of becoming climate-neutral at all its partners' German locations. The members have committed themselves to avoid, reduce and compensate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in a step-by-step process. However, the compensation is only  effective when all available energy efficiency potentials have been exhausted: In this case, unavoidable GHG emissions are offset by climate compensation projects. Plant-for-the-Planet is the preferred partner here.


Contact persons

Leon Halfmann | Leon.Halfmann@uni-wh.de | +49 2302 926-545

Dr. Axel Kölle | Axel.Koelle@uni-wh.de | +49 2302 926-573

ZNU Future Conference

Since 2009, ZNU - Center for Sustainable Leadership has been inviting decision-makers from the FMCG industry to the ZNU Future Conference every year. Top representatives of manufacturers and retailers inform and discuss the current challenges of sustainability perceived by the FMCG industry. In industry-specific workshops the participants exchange information about trends, challenges and outlook for the future.

Contact person

Alicia Seifer | Alicia.Seifer@uni-wh.de | +49 2302 926-556

ZNU Professional Education

We inspire people for sustainably successful business and enable them to shape and lead sustainable change in their company from within. Since 2009, we have trained more than 300 specialists and managers from trade and industry on the subject of sustainability.

Contact person

Jadwiga Zurad | Jadwiga.Zurad@uni-wh.de | +49 2302 926-545

ZNU Sustainability Manager

Sustainable Leadership Training

ZNU Webinars

Research & Teaching

The ZNU, located at the Witten/Herdecke University, is an application-oriented research institute. Research focuses on the practicable measurement of sustainability at the company and product level. For more than ten years, the founders of ZNU have been dealing theoretically and practically with the evaluation of dynamic learning processes for "Sustainable Management". The economic core of the research is complemented in an interdisciplinary way. As an initiative of science and business, we offer topic and application-oriented teaching that systematically incorporates business personalities. For this purpose, the lecture “Sustainability at company and product level” is offered once per semester.

Contact persons

Dr. Ulrike Eberle | Ulrike.Eberle@uni-wh.de | +49 2302 926-545

Dr. Christian Geßner | Christian.Gessner@uni-wh.de | +49 2302 926-581

Learn more about the research projects

SDG Assessment – Further Development of a Sustainability Assessment Method Based on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations

Berchtesgadener Land

GIZ Compass – Self Check Sustainable Supply Chain for SMEs

The Handprint

ILoNa - Innovative Logistik für Nachhaltige Lebensstile

Future Meat: Sustainable Protein Sustenance in Germany

Food Waste Data for More Sustainability in the Nutrition Industry – Guideline

Efficiency Cluster Logistics Ruhr – CoReLo Joint Project: Integrated Corporate Social Responsibility Management in Logistics Networks


Due to the non-profit character of the university, fjol GmbH was founded in 2011 as a spin-off from the ZNU – Center for Sustainable Leadership of the Private Witten/Herdecke University in order to offer individual consulting for companies.

fjol aims to support organizations in the development and implementation of medium to long-term strategies using the "sustainable management" approach and to promote the dynamic learning process of "sustainability in business".