Four days prior to decisive national election: German companies commit to a 1.5° pathway to climate neutrality

(22.09.2021)

At the New York Climate Week eleven top of class companies from major German industries announce their participation in the UN initiative for climate neutrality: Race To Zero.

Just before the much-anticipated national election, German companies are sending a bold signal of climate action to international investors. By joining the UN Initiative Race To Zero, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Schüco International KG, thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG, Wacker Chemie AG and Union Investment– all member companies of Stiftung 2° – are voluntarily committing to a 1.5° pathway to climate neutrality. These companies are joining a group of frontrunners of Stiftung 2° which just recently had announced their participation in the Race to Zero: Allianz SE, Aurubis AG, Deutsche Telekom AG, HeidelbergCement, Otto Group and PUMA.

“It is important that major companies from key industries lead the way towards climate neutrality. We are proud that eleven of our member companies are now participating in this important UN initiative,” says Sabine Nallinger, Managing Director of Stiftung 2°. “Together with the next German government, our companies want to make climate neutrality made-in-Germany a reality, a seal of quality and international competitiveness.” The announcement took place at the event “Climate Neutrality made in Germany – Making decarbonization work for all sectors”, which was organized by Stiftung 2° and Brunswick Group at the New York Climate Week.

The companies from key sectors such as digitization, financial service providers / insurance, fashion / sports, transport / logistics, but also energy-intensive sectors such as cement, chemicals, and steel voluntarily commit to develop and implement targets in line with 1.5 ° pathways of the Sciences Based Target Initiative (SBTi) and continuously report about progress.

Four days prior to the German national elections, two months prior to COP26 and ahead of next year’s German G7 Presidency, the voluntary self-commitment of these companies was expressly praised by the political participants of the event. “I am delighted to welcome these German companies into the critical Race to Zero and applaud them for showing how even energy-intensive sectors such as chemicals, steel and cement are rapidly taking action to deliver a 1.5° world. In doing so, companies across the real economy are making a very important contribution to the success of COP26 and our collective efforts to deliver the promise of the Paris Agreement”, says Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Champion.

German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze welcomed the companies‘ commitments in a video message. It would pay off to tackle the challenge of climate neutrality early and decisively, it would make companies more competitive and more crisis-proof. It would be the task of politics to create the right incentives for this and to minimize risks, the Minister said.

 

STATEMENTS

Dr. Dominik von Achten, CEO, HeidelbergCement: „We set ourselves ambitious climate protection goals and are doing everything we can to achieve them. With projects such as our CCS project in Brevik, Norway, we pioneer worldwide the scale-up and implementation of low carbon breakthrough technologies. By joining the UN initiative for climate neutrality, we want to emphasize our commitment. Now, we need rapid and decisive political action to create the right framework conditions, especially in the area of CO2 infrastructure and market incentives for low-emission building materials.”

Alexander Birken, CEO, Otto Group: “The Otto Group has set itself the goal of becoming climate neutral within its own business operations by 2030. In parallel, we are working on approaches and measures to become even more effective along our entire value chain and achieve the 1.5 °C target. Here, our focus is particularly on emissions in the upstream supply chain, where we want to achieve far-reaching and measurable improvements together with our partners. Politics also has a responsibility for this joint task, so that long-term programs can be set up with funding to support awareness-raising and the implementation of measures in supplier markets.”

Andreas Engelhardt, Managing Partner with Unlimited Liability, Schüco International KG: “Worldwide the building stock plays a key role in achieving climate targets. 80 % of buildings are, in some cases, considerably below the energetically required level. By joining the UN initiative for climate neutrality, we want to clearly promote the sustainable modernization of existing buildings.”

Bjorn Gulden, CEO, PUMA: “As co-founder of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, PUMA has been involved in the UN initiative for Climate Neutrality from the very beginning.  Together with our partners we want to reduce our emissions along the value chain by at least 60 percent relative to sales by 2030. For PUMA’s own entities, we are moving to 100% renewable electricity. The long-term goal is to be climate-neutral by 2050 at the latest.”

Roland Harings, CEO, Aurubis AG: „We have great confidence in our innovative strength and we can achieve climate neutrality well before 2050. That is why we were one of the first companies to join the UN initiative for climate neutrality. However, what we need now is: sufficient availability of green electricity at competitive prices, as well as reliable political framework conditions.”

Dr. Christian Hartel, CEO, Wacker Chemie AG: „As one of the first chemical companies worldwide, we are today joining the UN initiative on climate neutrality. The transformation in our sector needs international cooperation. Only with large quantities of renewable electricity at internationally competitive prices can the energy-intensive industry successfully move towards climate neutrality.”

Dr. Arnd Köfler, CTO, thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG: “We are proud to take part in the Race to Zero campaign and ready to decarbonise our steel production by 2050 at the latest. This requires a massive transformation and multibillion Euro investments by both industry and governments in scaling new technologies and infrastructure. The EU Fit-for 55 package must contribute to unlock investments in decarbonisation. But we cannot build a fence around Europe, it is therefore key that we get internationally harmonized climate policies to collectively decarbonise value chains and ensure fair competition.”

Melanie Kreis, Chief Financial Officer, Deutsche Post DHL Group: “We are convinced that limiting global warming to 1.5°C is crucial for our planet. The decisive factor is how we jointly shape the transition to a climate-neutral world. As a logistics company, we are rising to this challenge and investing 7 billion Euros in sustainable and future-proof transport solutions by 2030.”

Dr. Günther Thallinger, Member of the Board of Management, Allianz SE: “As a founding member of the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, Allianz has been supporting the shift to a climate-neutral global economy since 2019. We are consistently implementing the 1.5°C degree target in our core business and accordingly reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our investment and insurance portfolios to net zero by 2050 at the latest via ambitious interim targets.”

Hans Joachim Reinke, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Union Investment: “We want to achieve sustainability through a credible transformation. For us as an active investor, this means supporting companies that reliably pursue ambitious goals into a sustainable future. In this way, we will make our portfolios CO2 neutral by 2050.”

 

ABOUT UN RACE TO ZERO

Race to Zero (R2Z) is a global UN initiative where companies (but also cities, regions and investors) take the lead and the responsibility to get on a pathway to climate neutrality. It is led by the High-Level Climate Champions for Climate Action Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz.

To participate in the Race to Zero, companies voluntarily commit to

  • achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible, and by 2050 at the latest
  • set an interim target for 2030 in line with a science-based 1.5° target
  • explain what actions will be taken toward achieving both interim and longer-term pledges within 12 months of joining
  • report publicly both progress against interim and long-term targets, as well as the actions being taken, at least annually.

There are several ways to formally join the UN Race to Zero. The most common of which is joining through the campaign “Business Ambition for 1.5°C° that is supported by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

Stiftung 2° and Brunswick Group support companies with the participation and implementation procedures.

So far, more than 1300 companies, 450 cities, 74 investors, 23 regions and 560 universities participate in the Race to Zero campaign. Together with the 120 countries of the Climate Ambition Alliance, these actors account for 25 % of the global CO2-emissions and for more than 50 % of the GDP. It is the biggest climate alliance in history.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

Race to Zero
Science Based Targets Initiative 
Link zur Veranstaltung

 

ABOUT STIFTUNG 2°

Stiftung 2° is an initiative of chairmen, managing directors and family entrepreneurs. Its aim is to call on politicians to establish effective market-based conditions for climate protection and to support the problem-solving skills of German companies. The foundation is named after its most important goal: to limit average global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. The supporters of the foundation are: AIDA Cruises, ALDI SÜD Dienstleistungs-GmbH & Co. oHG, Allianz SE, DAIKIN Airconditioning Germany GmbH, Deutsche Bahn AG, Deutsche Post DHL Group, DEUTSCHE ROCKWOOL GmbH & Co. KG, Deutsche Telekom AG, Deutsche Wohnen SE, Dirk Rossmann GmbH, DRÄXLMAIER Group, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, Unternehmensgruppe Gegenbauer, GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG, GOLDBECK GmbH, HeidelbergCement AG, INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH/ALBA Services Holding GmbH, Lanxess AG, Otto Group, OTTO FUCHS KG, Papier- und Kartonfabrik Varel GmbH & Co. KG, Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG, PUMA SE, Salzgitter AG, Schüco International KG, Schwäbisch Hall-Stiftung bauen-wohnen-leben, thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG, Union Asset Management Holding AG, VTG Aktiengesellschaft and Wacker Chemie AG.

 

ABOUT BRUNSWICK GROUP

Brunswick is a strategic advisory firm focused on critical issues and critical stakeholders. Our purpose is to help our clients play their role in the world successfully. We advise on critical issues and critical stakeholders at the center of business, politics and society, and help our clients – the leaders of large, complex organizations – understand and navigate these interconnected worlds. Brunswick is one firm globally, operating as a single profit center. This allows us to respond seamlessly and effectively to clients’ needs wherever they are in the world. Brunswick has a presence in Germany since 2001 with offices in Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich. For more information, visit: www.brunswickgroup.com.

 

STIFTUNG 2° CONTACT FOR UN RACE TO ZERO

Till Kötter, Senior Advisor, European and International Affairs
Telefon: +49 (0)30 2045 4458
E-Mail: till.koetter@2grad.org

 

PRESS CONTACT

Dr. Mikiya Heise, Senior Advisor, Communication & Public Affairs
Telefon: +49 (0) 163 8827595
E-Mail: mikiya.heise@2grad.org