A guest commentary by Jasmina Klein and Egbert Schark of d-fine on MiNaBo: Sustainablility metrics of small and medium enterprises.
How the transformation of the economy can be supported by a neutral and fair data ecosystem

In the future, customers, business partners, authorities and credit institutions will regularly request various environmental and social indicators from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Serving the various requests requires a high amount of time and effort from the SMEs. In addition, SMEs face the challenge of having to securely transmit the often sensitive data to authorized parties at the right time. For the credit institutions, there is currently the problem of obtaining the data in a high quality. This is currently often not the case due to the large number of different questionnaires used by banks and commercial providers.

The solution to these problems is a standardized questionnaire, which is filled out centrally by the SMEs and which is transferred to the respective credit institutions, associations or authorities via a neutral data ecosystem. The necessary prerequisites for this will be provided by the MiNaBo (“Mittelstands-Nachhaltigkeits-Box”) application. In cooperation with credit institutions, a standardized sustainability questionnaire specifically for SMEs is being developed and continuously refined. The questionnaire consists of only a few questions that can be easily answered by the SMEs, e. g. their energy consumption. However, the questionnaire will contain all the relevant information that the financial institutions need to meet their requirements.

The collected data is stored in so-called data lockers at the data trustee EuroDaT. Via a simple web application, the SME determines who may view the stored data. EuroDaT ensures that there is no unauthorized access by third parties and, conversely, that the authorized credit institutions always receive the current data. EuroDaT as a neutral data service provider and company of the state of Hesse ensures that the data is used in accordance with the contract.

The questionnaire is completed by SMEs via a simple web interface in the open-source platform Dataland. Dataland is a public good initiative for an open data ecosystem focused on sustainability information across Europe.

By combining the services of EuroDaT and Dataland, the technical and time effort of the entire process, from the collection and updating of the data, to the storage and release of the data to the credit institutions or associations by the SME is minimized. The credit institutions benefit from the uniform database and fast access to existing data, e. g. for new customers, without having to send out their own questionnaires.

For the provision of the infrastructure by EuroDaT and Dataland, only a usage fee is charged in total.  Neither EuroDaT nor Dataland earns anything from the data itself. The data remains the property of the SME.  For the SMEs, the use of MiNaBo is free of charge. The service fee is paid by the users of the data, i. e. credit institutions or associations.

Guide for a Sustainable Client Dialogue

The NZBAG published a Customer Dialogue Tool (CDT) on 23 March 2023. Below you will find all the related information.

NZBAG Update 2023

Since February 2021, the eight member banks of the Net Zero Banking Alliance Germany have been working on the operational implementation of climate protection measures in and by banks. At the start of 2023, we report on the goals for this year.

The Net Zero Banking Alliance Germany

Eight German banks have formed the Net Zero Banking Alliance Germany. The participating financial institutions are BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, DKB, DZ Bank, ING, LBBW and Umweltbank that have pledged to steer their portfolios towards climate neutrality, in line with the Paris Agreement. This means that CO₂ emissions associated with investments or loans must be reduced to net zero by mid-century at the latest.

The Green and Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany supports the Net Zero Banking Alliance Germany in developing pre-competitive foundations, steering and governance approaches as well as advisory capacity for climate neutral loan portfolios and investments.