Sustainability Reporting for SMEs

The 'Ready4ESG' project aims to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in reporting their company-related impacts on the environment, society and corporate governance (ESG reports) through a web-based platform.

Initial situation

Stakeholders from politics, society and business are increasingly increasing the pressure on SMEs to provide information about their ESG activities. The complexity of various guidelines on ESG reporting and the dynamic development trends in the legislative environment pose major challenges for SMEs. In addition, many SMEs need support in collecting relevant sustainability data in order to make it usable in the form of key figures for reporting. Currently, ESG reporting requires enormous financial and human resources, which most SMEs lack. For this reason, the 'Ready4ESG' research project is developing a platform that enables SMEs to create ESG reports in line with requirements with minimal effort and supports them in collecting the necessary sustainability indicators.

Solution approach

The 'Ready4ESG' research project is developing a digital platform that takes into account the specific requirements of SMEs and ongoing updates in the context of ESG reporting.

  • Consolidation of ESG guidelines and derivation of stakeholder-related requirements to reduce the complexity of various ESG guidelines.
  • Development of a meta-data model that helps SMEs to record the necessary sustainability indicators and establish efficient data management.
  • Development of the web-based platform to support SMEs in collecting the necessary information and for the semi-automated creation of ESG reports in line with requirements.
  • Development of tools to regularly update the ESG guidelines to effectively address the constantly changing requirements.

Expected result

The platform developed in the 'Ready4ESG' research project will support SMEs in ESG reporting. The solution facilitates the collection of relevant sustainability data and helps SMEs to efficiently create reports that meet requirements despite complex guidelines and limited resources.

Benefits for the target group

SMEs need to develop the skills to secure their long-term competitiveness,

  • ESG activities and initiatives using suitable data and developing measures to optimize them,
  • to be able to demonstrate sustainable and responsible action (ESG report) and
  • to be able to react quickly to changing regulations and requirements.

The results of the 'Ready4ESG' research project will support them in this.


  • Services public/private
  • Energy/Water/Disposal/Recycling
  • Vehicle, special Vehicle and Automotive
  • Consumer Goods
  • Machinery and Plant Engineering
  • Transport and Logistics
  • Associations
  • Research and Development

Topic Area

  • Business Transformation

Research Focus

  • Digital Leadership

FIR Navigator

  • Strategic Sustainability Management
  • JRF Guiding Topic

    • Industry & Environment


    Funding no.
    23152 N
    Project homepage
    Funding information

    The IGF project 23152 N of the Research Association FIR e. V. at the RWTH Aachen University is funded via the AiF within the framework of the programme for the funding of cooperative industrial research (IGF) by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag.