Go back

 | 21-09-2023


About the art of holding a candle to a metropolis


The principle of all things is water. Everything is made of water and everything returns to water.  (Thales von Milet)



On to new shores!

HAMBURG WASSER is responsible for Hamburg's water supply and Hamburg's urban drainage. As a public service company, HAMBURG WASSER has the topic of sustainability and its social contribution firmly anchored in its DNA. A lot has already been implemented organizationally. HAMBURG WASSER had set up its own sustainability program, carried out a materiality analysis and defined and approved initial projects for key sustainability topics. HAMBURG WASSER was now faced with the challenge of supplementing the sustainability program with further medium to long-term goals. These should be in line with the vision and mission of HAMBURG WASSER and dovetailed with existing sustainability efforts.


Set the sails

The development of the new sustainability goals took place in several steps:

In the spirit of a focused approach, the topics were selected for which goals were to be developed in the further process. In addition to the existing materiality analysis, the current status within the topics and the resulting need for action were crucial. For these topics, fors.earth carried out a comprehensive analysis and qualitative assessment of the status quo. Different frameworks for sustainability in the economy and society, but also specific requirements from the Hanseatic City of Hamburg and from general regulations – such as the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, the EU taxonomy and the CSRD – were used here.

The inventory was the basis for the subsequent development of target proposals by internal experts at department level at HAMBURG WASSER. They worked in interdisciplinary teams using a methodology developed by fors.earth. This ensured that the proposals build on HAMBURG WASSER's status quo, but also address the requirements of the various stakeholder groups and contribute to fulfilling HAMBURG WASSER's vision.

The centerpiece was two days of workshops, during which the recommendations developed were presented and comments from an outside perspective were incorporated. The management also took part in the workshops, so that the decision-making level was able to feedback questions and comments at an early stage. In addition to the conception, fors.earth also moderated the two days.

Building on the results of the two workshops, the goals were then finalized in an iterative exchange between sustainability management and the individual working groups and presented to the management for approval.



Clear to go

HAMBURG WASSER was able to substantially supplement its sustainability program and create a clear and impact-oriented concept for the coming years up to 2030. The sustainability program thus offers a focused roadmap that specifies which measures should be implemented along the entire value chain. In addition to specific goals for the supply chain and our own environmental impacts, this also includes raising awareness among water consumers in Hamburg and addressing social concerns regarding future urban development.

At the same time, the individual sustainability topics have already been anchored at departmental level thanks to the participatory approach. This brought along several advantages. Existing thematic overlaps between the individual departments were identified at an early stage and existing information was shared. The diverse mix of working groups from all specialist areas made it possible to examine sustainability topics from different perspectives. Last but not least, the collective development of the goals provided motivation for the subsequent implementation – in the spirit of a serious and shared understanding of sustainability.



Your Point of Contact:


Philipp Schär

Managing Partner

Phone: +49 151 54035800
Email: philipp.schaer@fors.earth