01.08.2019

Interview with Dr. Gregor Weber

In his new book, Dr. Gregor Weber writes which tools and software support sustainability management in the company and how important "fun" is in operation. "CSR and Sustainability Software: Software Applications, Tools and Tools" is a practical guide for CSR managers and provides a transparent overview of the associated management software. In the interview, Weber (ecoistics.institute) also talks about digitalization and sustainability and explains sustainability management as "THE management of the future".

Dr. Gregor Weber

The well-known CSR management book series by René Schmidpeter (Springer Gabler) already includes over 40 books on all aspects of sustainability. Why does the market now also need this book on sustainability software?

In my training courses and consultations in and with companies, the last few months have seen an increase in the question of which tools and software are available on the market that can efficiently support companies in the field of sustainability management, certainly also due to the establishment of the CSR-RUG (law on reporting). The market is diverse, the products different and the research complex for companies. This is where the idea for the book emerged, in which everything is concentrated in one place. It offers an initial orientation, which has not existed before.

Mr Weber, you have dealt with so many CSR softwares - virtually the entire established sustainability software on the market - in the course of creating the book. In your opinion, what makes a really good solution for sustainability management?

The software should be easy to understand and use, take into account the needs of the user (keyword: functional scope) and bring the hoped-for benefit (work facilitation, structure). This is very important:

It must be fun to work with it. Then the system is also lived and used to support business decisions, it becomes part of the daily work. "By the way" it can also support the preparation of the sustainability report. 

VERSO is also presented in your book. Why did you decide to include VERSO in your book?

The book should contain a comprehensive description of what is available on the market and VERSO is clearly one of them.

From your perspective, what is the greatest added value that the VERSO software offers CSR managers?

It's simple - even I could work intuitively with Verso without much introduction - the interface is very pragmatic and it's fun to "play" with it. In management meetings, for example, I can simply drag infoboxes and graphics to bring a wide variety of topics onto the monitor and display the status overviews that match the question in hand, without jumping from mask to mask. This is fun and comes across professionally - try it out, then experience it for yourself.

A look into the future: What effects could new technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence), blockchain or machine learning have on CSR management and the associated software?

Well, I don't have a crystal ball. But when I see how rapidly these issues are evolving, it's inevitable that management systems adapt to them. There is a lot of talk about integrated management systems at the moment and so also about the so-called HLS (High Level Structure). Due to the system-induced inertia of the ISO development process, HLS is only slowly gaining momentum - but digitization is exponentially faster. I would therefore venture to claim that a cleanly structured and software-supported sustainability management system is THE management system of the future.

Why is sustainability management ``THE management system of the future`` for you?

After all, most other management systems (such as energy, environment, etc.) converge in it and sustainability management also supplements the social points and thus also allows interactions to be mapped. Another point is the missing possibility to verify sustainability strategies, i.e. to determine the truth objectively and neutrally. This is a field in which AI and digitisation still have tasks ahead of them that urgently need to be solved. Then we will really be able to evaluate and classify companies accordingly.

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