As public sector entities, the EMSCHERGENOSSENSCHAFT and LIPPEVERBAND serve the well-being of the general public and the benefit of the members. This means a clear obligation to work economically and avoid unnecessary costs. One important tool for creating and continuously improving efficient structures is benchmarking – a systematic procedure of comparison, whereby one learns from others in the industry and thus continuously develops.

The objective of benchmarking is therefore to identify potential for improvement, and to derive from this the practicable measures that can be taken to improve performance. This allows entire associations, individual departments, individual processes, operating procedures, or business processes to be investigated with a clearly defined starting and end point. The comparison of different procedures is intended to make successful concepts transparent, and to facilitate their implementation in one's own organisation.

Benchmarking has proven its value in the German water management sector as a tool for identifying and adopting successful methods and processes. On 30 June 2005, the German associations of the water and wastewater management sector, ATT, BDEW, DBVW, DVGW, DWA and VKU, signed the expanded "Association Statement on Benchmarking in the Water Management Sector", and thus defined the promotion of benchmarking as a task within the scope of their self-regulation as associations. The major objectives of the association statement also represent commitments for the Association of German Cities (DST) and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB). The associations signed an undertaking to jointly create and further develop the required conceptual framework for benchmarking the water management sector.

We were amongst the initiators of benchmarking from the beginning, and actively promoted the widespread implementation of this concept in the German water management sector.