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S!-Check //Sustainability Check – Detailed analysis at project level

Once you have identified a measure it is useful to conduct a detailed analysis of it prior to its implementation. In this way, linear impact assumptions and blind spots with regard to the sustainability dimensions can be uncovered. The resulting findings can be used to systematically refine the project proposal. The S!-Check is a dialogue-oriented instrument for assessing the sustainability of municipal projects and can be conducted repeatedly throughout the project cycle. However, it is recommended to use it already in an early project stage.


Better understanding of the potential impacts of a municipal project on the different dimensions of sustainability (ecology, economy, society) and development of a working basis for the respective refinement of the project.


The Sustainability Check is a dialogue-oriented instrument for assessing the sustainability of municipal projects. It maps the three areas of sustainability (ecology, economy, society) as well as the framework conditions and long-term effects of municipal projects. The Sustainability Check provides pointers and food for thought: How sustainable is a municipal project? How can it become more sustainable?

The S!-Check primarily serves as a tool for a better understanding and holistic decisions of a concrete measure. It is not meant to be a final assessment of the sustainability of a project. Rather, it is a basis of discussion of the different dimensions of sustainability. The S!-Check is also a reflection and communication tool and can be used well for comparing several projects or project versions.

The impact of a project is assessed in the individual areas with the help of the respective guiding question and shown in colour. Red stands for an inhibiting effect and green for a promoting effect. A weak impact can be represented by a coloured circle. If no effect is to be expected, this is represented by a grey dot. If no statement can be made (e.g. because information relevant to the answer is missing), this is noted with a black dot in the field for comments. The decision of the processing team is made transparent and comprehensible by brief comments in the form.

After all questions have been answered, a coloured overall picture of the impacts of a project is created.


S!-Check, Sample template for assessing the sustainability of municipal projects (printed or digital), Pencils (green, rad, grey, black)


The S! check is preferably carried out by interdisciplinary teams, which can also be opened up to external parties beyond the administration. Interdisciplinary processing enables different perspectives and allows integrative approaches to solutions.

In the case of larger teams (more than 5 people), a division is recommended; one S!-Check is then prepared for each small team. In a second step, the individual group results are combined by the whole team into one S!-Check.


2 to 3 hours


Detailed, easy-to-read Sustainability Check of a municipal project as a basis of discussion and refinement.


 Sustainability Office of the State Institute for the Environment Baden-Württemberg, Germany: