Managing Director of Stiftung KlimaWirtschaft
You have been managing director of Stiftung KlimaWirtschaft since 2014. What role is the foundation playing in the transformation to climate neutrality and how are you supporting companies on this path?
Stiftung KlimaWirtschaft was not only one of the first initiatives of its kind, but even now continues to contribute actively to the discourse on climate policy. It paves the way for dialog between politics and business and acts as a driving force for pushing industry down the path to climate neutrality. Accordingly, we see ourselves as initiators and mediators. Both independently and in cooperation with our sponsoring companies, we develop climate policy solutions, commission studies and surveys, and ensure a continuous dialog on climate issues between the relevant stakeholders. At the same time, we are the connecting link between our various sponsoring companies in Berlin, and in this role we organize the exchange of ideas and make strategic plans for political communication. Because one thing is for sure: We must absolutely stick to the goal of climate neutrality, even though the challenges are huge. It is our duty to leave behind for future generations a planet worth living on.
In the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region, structural change is in full swing due to the planned phase-out of coal. What potential do you see here – especially for companies in the energy sector?
The phase-out of coal combustion is considered an essential prerequisite for Germany to achieve the European climate targets and to become climate neutral by 2050. At the same time, the phase-out of fossil fuels means that we need more renewable energies and lots of skilled workers in these areas. Structural change in the affected regions can therefore also be seen as an opportunity to build this infrastructure.
From your perspective, what are the biggest political and structural hurdles in the socio-ecological transformation of the economy?
Let us be completely clear: There is no lack of willingness in the business community to change and to embark on a path of climate neutrality. Many companies, and especially our sponsors, have long pursued this path. And for two reasons: Firstly, because society as a whole is responsible for protecting our planet and facing up to climate change and its consequences. And, secondly, because it is economically imperative for them to do so. Only a company that commits itself to climate-neutral economic management, and aligns its corporate philosophy and strategy accordingly, will remain competitive. After all, all economic regions are beginning to adjust to these requirements. Seen in this light, transformation is not only a major challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity. It has to be said that companies are already doing a lot. They are changing their processes; they are ready to invest. What they need, however, is planning certainty and clear policy guidelines as to where the journey is headed. In view of the German government’s many changes of direction and the discussions it has conducted in the public arena in recent months, many companies have become impatient. They need more clarity and commitment.
The interview was conducted in October 2023