Step 1 – Data Collection
The collection of relevant information is based on the assessment categories. It is carried out in a two-step process:
Desktop research: Relevant information about the organization is collected via websites, company reports, advertising brochures and other media. It should provide a rough overview of the status quo of sustainability in the analyzed company. The absence of central information in external communication is also a statement and can already point out an important field of action.
Field research: The information that cannot be collected via secondary sources is collected through interviews. Since business partners generally have little time, a targeted preparation in advance is essential. In addition to general principles of good cooperation (see CASE Guide), the following questions should be clarified:
- Who are the interview-partners? (CEO, head of department,…)
- Is a visit of the company possible?
- Which issues can be gathered only over a face to face meeting?
- What are the expectations of the partners?
- Should the analyse cover the whole enterprise or only divisions?
For each interview however it is crucial that cooperation has priority to information.
Step 2 – Analysis
Sustainability Assessment: The core element of the tool is the sustainability assessment, which provides a depth analysis of sustainability performance for each business-area or division of the company. The areas are assessed through sustainability indicators, which are formulated as statements and explained through impulse questions. In accordance with the project-partners a two-step procedure is recommended for the evaluation of the single criteria:
- Assessement, conducted by students
- Discussion of the results with the external partners
- Alternative: Self assessement of the project partners and afterwards discussion with students
SWOT Analysis: At the beginning of the actual company analysis a SWOT analysis can be conducted. The focus lies on the assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks with regard to sustainability issues within the company. The SWOT analysis can be used as a starting point and an overview, or as a short analysis, without a deeper detailed analysis. In case of case studies, the SWOT analysis can be carried out by students; in case of cooperation projects with external partners, the involvement of company partners is indispensable.
Step 3 – Report
The final report summarizes the results of the assessment and the SWOT analysis. It is prepared by the project group, has to be approved by the teacher and agreed with the project partners before finalization.
Depending on the requirements, the final report can also be presented directly towards the management and / or staff of the partner company.