Sustainability as a challenge for the export economy

Project: Research

Project participants


A research project investigating whether and how existing sustainability standards – in the face of increasing international competitive pressure – promote the use of sustainability management.

Exports in developing and emerging countries are often associated with high economic and political risks. The German government provides insurance for such deliveries with export credit insurance guarantees, the so-called “Hermes coverage”. In this study these export sales are investigated together with aspects of sustainability as defined in the criteria of the OECD Common Approaches. These standards are under pressure from at least two sides: while NGOs criticise them as too weak to guarantee the sustainability of a project, representatives of German industry call for a weakening of the standards so as to remain competitive against rivals in countries such as China.
Which impacts do the OECD Common Approaches have on companies and which other factors might influence the competitiveness of German exporters? These questions can be answered with the help of conceptual analysis and the findings from an explorative survey of practitioners about the competitive advantages and disadvantages of the OECD Common Approaches and the current competitive situation between actors from OECD and non-OECD countries. In addition the resulting consequences for German exporters and their supporting industries (export credit insurers and banks) will be discussed. And finally solutions have been developed that show how the requirements of the OECD Common Approaches can be used to create a business case for sustainability for companies insured by Hermes. This involved generating recommendations for the supporting industries and the government that would support the creation of a business case for sustainability for German exporters.
A compact seminar for students was part of this project.

"Outreach – Sustainability and export credits" was conducted on behalf of Euler Hermes Credit Insurance together with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Research outputs


  • Studie

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