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QM-Corner: Sustainability and management systems

Sustainability issues are playing an increasingly important role in mechanical and plant engineering – and the company’s quality management team is often involved in their implementation. Thanks to its many years of experience in operating management systems, quality management is predestined to integrate the new requirements into the existing management system.

On 1 February 2024, ProduktionNRW organized the virtual QM Corner to discuss the interfaces between sustainability and management systems.

Standards comparison matrix for sustainability requirements

Dr. Frank Bünting, Deputy Head of Department at VDMA Business Advisory, first presented the results of the central VDMA Quality & Management working group: Among other things, the participants in the working group addressed the question of where ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) issues should be anchored in the company.

A distinction was made between “organizational unit”, “organizational” and “technical”. Furthermore, this committee developed a standards comparison matrix for sustainability requirements, which shows which sustainability requirements can already be covered by existing management systems. This matrix was presented and then made available to the participants.

Practical report: Sustainability meets quality management

Nithin Sharma, QMB and Sustainability Manager at SPALECK GmbH & Co. KG, then presented the company-specific approaches in the area of sustainability. In 2018, the company began balancing its corporate carbon footprint (CCF) in order to identify the main emitters in the company and derive specific measures for the product, process and location, such as the modernization of individual machines.

In addition, a materiality analysis was carried out as part of the CSRD (Non Financial Reporting Directive) in order to identify and evaluate the various sustainability issues for the company. Sustainability reporting can then be based on the results of the analysis.

These approaches require successful implementation by a dedicated sustainability team. At SPALECK, employees from different areas of the company were brought together for this purpose and anchored internally. The individual measures from this team were developed and implemented using a bottom-up approach.

Exchange of experience and discussion

In the concluding discussion, the economic consequences for the sustainable orientation of a company were emphasized in particular. This is because modernization and energy-saving measures initially mean additional costs that will only pay off in the coming years through energy savings.

It was also emphasized in the context of CSRD that Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are easy to cover, while Scope 3 emissions (greenhouse gas emissions along the value chain) represent a key challenge – this is a problem that many companies in the mechanical and plant engineering sector are confronted with.


The event was organized by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the cluster for mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is organized by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks with each other and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.