Read about our Sustainability Strategy for 2024!

As the Service Design Network, we will continue to prioritise sustainability and diversity in 2024. Learn more about our goals for next year in this headline and join us to support the mission!

Our Sustainability Strategy for 2024

We, the Service Design Network, want to continue our focus on sustainability and diversity in 2024. Guided by the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we will have a particular focus on the goals:

  • Gender Equality
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
© United Nations


  • The thrice-yearly service design publication "Touchpoint - The Service Design Journal"
    • "Responsible Consumption and Production": The ecological footprint is minimised by reducing the printed circulation and increasing the focus on the digital circulation. To this end, we are entering into a partnership with the Berlin-based publishing house Logos. The remaining print run will be printed exclusively with recycled paper.
    • In terms of content, we will focus on "Decent Work and Economic Growth," and the first issue in 2023 will focus on "The Employee Journey."
    • We will consciously strengthen gender equality on the editorial board and among female authors.
  • The annual global service design conference
    • "Responsible Consumption and Production": reducing emissions caused by travel by designing a hybrid conference, selecting the venue according to sustainability principles. Selection of all partners and suppliers according to sustainability principles.
    • "Reduced Inequalities": Financial Inclusion" according to World Bank standards.
    • "Gender Equality & Diversity" as a core principle in assembling the conference team and in selecting all speakers and workshop leaders. 
    • "Reduced Inequalities &Gender Equality & Diversity": all conference partners sign the Partner Pledge
  • The Service Design Network Academy
    • "Responsible Consumption and Production": The SDN Academy will work exclusively in virtual space to eliminate emissions from travel. No print products will be produced, working exclusively with digital materials
    • "Reduced Inequalities": Financial Inclusion" according to World Bank standards.
    • "Gender Equality & Diversity" as a core principle in the selection of all trainers and workshop leaders.
  • The Headquarters
    • "Responsible Consumption and Production": The headquarters works 100% in a home office. An open house meeting with all employees takes place once a month in Cologne. Travel is exclusively by public transport.
    • "Gender Equality & Diversity" as a core principle in the selection of all female employees. A "Young Talent Board" is being set up to work closely with headquarters and leadership to ensure that the interests of the next generation are taken into account in all matters.
    • "Decent Work and Economic Growth": Cultural Principles for SDN Team Collaboration will be developed and implemented. A playbook for working with our volunteers will be developed and implemented.

The achievement of objectives is monitored on a monthly basis via our KPI and OKR monitoring. The business management is responsible for this.


Other General Sustainability Goals for 2024

Financial Inclusion 

At the SDN, we are committed to achieving a more diverse community of global practitioners unconstrained by economic barriers that may hinder them from accessing everything our organisation has to offer. Using the World Bank's country income index as a guiding framework, all our products and services will be based on where you live or your current financial situation. 




 -- © United Nations
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Employees are entitled to paid training; beyond these training days, they can participate in any of our SDN Academy offerings at any time, free of charge.

There are no work-related injuries, the sickness rate is far below the German average.

Employees' working hours vary between 12 and 40 hours. Working hours are documented, they are flexible and there is only authorised overtime, which is very rare.



 -- © United Nations
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The responsibility

The responsibility lies with the president and management of the Service Design Network gGmbH

In the Leadership Team, the Headquarter Team and the Young Talent Board there is a regular monitoring on the achievement of goals.

Rules and processes

The sustainability strategy is published in the Office Playbook and the Volunteer Playbook of SDN gGmbH. It is thus a natural part of the rules of the game. Implementation is reviewed monthly in the KPI and OKR meetings.


Key performance indicators for the further development of the sustainability strategy will be developed during 2024 and a corresponding measurement system will be implemented. 

Incentive systems

The topic of sustainability is included as a fixed component in the annual employee appraisals. Our remuneration system is based on the TVL and does not provide bonuses. However, in the non-profit GmbH, all participants are intrinsically motivated.



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Innovation and product management

As a non-profit service provider in the field of service design, our ecological impact lies primarily in the production of a print magazine and in the CO2 values produced by our events. 

Through digitization and offering hybrid events, which we continue to improve, we have significantly reduced this footprint and will continue to do so.

As an employer for a team of 9 female employees, we put the highest emphasis on gender equality and diversity - we have 7 female and 2 male employees coming from 9 different countries in total.

Otherwise, our organisation is run by volunteers. Our values reinforce an open-minded, diverse and equitable culture. Our Volunteer Playbook anchors these values.

Our organisation is supported by partners. In the Partner Pledge, we anchor a just, open and diverse culture. We see this as a prerequisite for partner partnership.

The content we produce and communicate reinforces a participatory, co-creative and sustainable approach. We put "planet-centred design" at the centre of our thinking and actions.


 -- © United Nations
© United Nations

Workers' rights

As a non-profit micro-enterprise, we naturally follow all labor law requirements. We conduct an employee survey once a year. We conduct an ergonomic workplace survey once a year. We follow the "Cultural Values" we have developed to create a fair, respectful and developmental work environment. In the weekly team meetings and in the once a month open house there is the possibility to give feedback and solve problems together if necessary. We have extremely flat hierarchies and open and constructive communication. 

Equal opportunities

We have 9 employees, 7 female and two male. The average age is 27. Two of the female employees are mothers and receive all possible support from us to balance family and career. The employees come from nine different nations - you couldn't ask for more diversity. We attach great importance to careful onboarding to ensure integration. We pay according to TVL. 

Human rights

Based on the above, no further measures are required to ensure compliance with human rights.


 -- © United Nations
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Use of natural resources & resource management

  1. We work in a digital environment and electricity is the main raw material. We encourage our female employees to turn off the devices completely whenever possible. 
  2. In particular, the conference held once a year leads to travel. We encourage participants to use public transportation and carbon offset. We have also reduced travel by approximately 50% by creating a hybrid event.  We work with certified partners, e.g. there is only vegetarian and vegan food, tap water, recyclable tableware. 
  3. Touchpoint, the journal published three times a year, consumes paper. We have focused on digital distribution through cooperation with the publishing house Logos in Berlin. Printed copies are printed exclusively on recycled paper.


 -- © United Nations
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As a recognized non-profit organisation, we per se contribute to the community through our activities. We are in close dialogue with many associations in the public sector, we promote participatory and co-creative collaboration between diverse stakeholders.




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Political influence

We do not make submissions, lobby, receive grants or make donations.

Conduct in compliance with laws and policies

Compliance is the responsibility of management. Since we have no procurement and no significant expenses other than personnel costs, we do not have a comprehensive system for compliance. Given the size of our company, things are extremely transparent.



 -- © United Nations
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The value chain

All partners of the conference sign the Partner Pledge

Stakeholder participation

Important stakeholders of our gGmbH are universities, service design agencies and companies that apply service design.  All stakeholders of the global network are regularly informed about sustainability topics via our newsletter "Insider". Approximately every three months a "Global Cafe" takes place, where the members of the network are in dialogue with us. Once a year, the global Service Design Conference provides a platform for personal exchange. Once a year, we conduct a survey of our community to obtain feedback on key topics such as sustainability.

 -- © United Nations
© United Nations

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