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2017 Sustainability Report
published 2018/08/01

The 10 guiding principles of the Economy for the Common Good and where we at VAUDE stand


1. The Economy for the Common Good strives towards an ethical market economy designed to increase the quality of life for all, rather than to increase the wealth of just a few.

VAUDE is a family-owned company that takes its responsibility for people and the environment seriously. The strength of our brand and the quality of our products are our greatest assets. Therefore, at VAUDE we focus on our defined values across all departments rather than on short-term profit maximization. It is a real challenge for us to do this in the current economic climate. The government, for example, does not take social and ecological added value into account in its tax legislation.

2. The ECG promotes the values of human dignity, human rights and ecological responsibility in day-to-day business practices.

We take full responsibility in everything that we do: for our fellow human beings, the environment and for future generations. In doing so, we take the entire supply chain of our products and services into account. As a company that acts sustainably, we focus on long-term/future-oriented, ecological, social and economic objectives.

3. The Common Good Matrix indicates to what extent these values are put into practice in a company. The Matrix is continually improved upon in an open, democratic process.

The ECG matrix represents all the common welfare-relevant environmental, social and economic aspects of a company. These aspects are taken into consideration in the VAUDE sustainability strategy.

4. The Matrix provides the basis for companies to create a Common Good Balance Sheet. The Common Good Report then describes how a company has implemented these universal values and looks at areas in need of improvement. The report and the balance sheet are externally audited and then published. As a result, a company’s contribution to the Common Good is made available to the public.

VAUDE agrees with the principles of the ECG. We became a member of the ECG in 2013 to express our full support. In 2011, VAUDE produced its first Balance Sheet and Report and had them audited by an auditor. For the 2016/2017 financial year, we have prepared a second Balance Sheet in accordance with the Standard 5.0 and had it audited.

Thus, in addition to the VAUDE sustainability report, we are offering another comprehensive analysis of our company and demonstrating VAUDE’s contribution to the common good in a transparent manner.

5. Common Good companies benefit in the marketplace through consumer selection, cooperation partners and common-good-oriented lending institutions

Awareness of environmental and social issues in consumers and specialist retailers has risen sharply in recent years. This is a welcome and necessary shift. VAUDE is generally perceived as an authentic and sustainable brand, engages in “best practices” on these issues, and offers products that are often purchased for this precise reason.


Despite this – or perhaps because of it – we are confronted daily with several issues of conflict, such as the rift between sustainability and a product’s technical performance or between sustainability and the product price. Sometimes we can create a win-win situation for all sides through more sustainability. But sometimes, conflicting goals can also simply be incompatible. When this happens, we don’t give up, but look for the best solution for all sides. VAUDE is a business enterprise and is dependent on the profits we generate through product sales. We consider it important that we always take the common good into consideration, and when goals aren’t reached that we talk about it honestly and self-critically.

6. To offset higher costs resulting from ethical, social and ecological activities, Common Good companies should benefit from advantages in taxation, bank loans, and public grants and contracts.

It is in the interest of a company to engage in sustainable business practices. We therefore consider it worthwhile that sustainable action be supported with legal advantages, for one, to balance the effort and costs invested, and secondly, to encourage more companies to meet their social responsibilities in practice. The economy for the common good is well suited to measuring and evaluating the CSR commitment of companies.

7. Business profits serve to strengthen and stabilize a company, and to ensure the income of owners and employees in the long term. Profits should not, however, serve the interests of external investors. This allows entrepreneurs more flexibility to work for the Common Good and frees them from the pressure of maximizing returns on investments.

Companies belonging to external investors are often under high financial pressure because their investors / shareholders expect the highest dividends possible. This is understandable for individual investors, but it’s often not in the best interest of the common good. Business decisions that support environmental protection or more social responsibility often don’t “pay off” in the short term. The pressure to pay out the highest possible profit can have a negative effect on how a company acts in the public interest.

VAUDE is 100 percent family-owned. The Board of Directors consists of the founding family, von Dewitz, and there are no external investors in the company. There is therefore no profit distribution to external owners. This means profits can primarily be re-invested in the company, and the company’s goals — including those for environmental protection and social responsibility — can be pursued.

8. Another result is that companies are no longer forced to expand and grow. This opens up a myriad of new opportunities to design businesses that improve the quality of life and help safeguard the natural world. At work, appreciation and fairness as well as creativity and cooperation are more likely to develop.

VAUDE is a very value-oriented company and we live these values on a daily basis. Two of our core values are trust and appreciation: We trust our employees and support, encourage and challenge them so that they are able and willing to perform their best.

Nevertheless, we are running a business enterprise in a very competitive market for the international outdoor industry. To ensure that we remain autonomous and independent, we first need growth and to increase our equity ratio. But we agree with the ECG that growth is not an end in itself.

9. Limiting wealth inequalities increases the chances for equal participation of all in economic and political life.

In principle, VAUDE is in favor of an economic system in which income disparities are truly substantiated and equal opportunities apply. VAUDE has therefore introduced a salary system that makes the subject more transparent and clear. Employees performing similar activities should be paid a similar salary. Equal opportunity is a concern for us in our production facilities outside of Germany; we are working closely together with the Fair Wear Foundation on this issue.

10. The Economy for the Common Good movement invites you to take part in recreating an economy based on these values. All our ideas about creating an ethical and sustainable economic order are developed in an open, democratic process, will be voted upon by the people, and will be enshrined in our constitutions.

VAUDE understands that the establishment of a future-oriented, socially and environmentally sustainable economic order into the constitution is a comprehensive political and social task. To this end, we are involved both in political discussions and events as well as industry associations for sustainable development.