Dusseldorf The protest on the streets fell silent, the cars disappeared from the streets, the planes out of the sky: the corona pandemic has pushed public life back into the houses and apartments, but the voices of those who speak out for sustainable management and against climate change , have not become quieter. Sustainability is still one of the most pressing issues of the time, perhaps the most pressing.
“We have to demonstrate and demand sustainability very clearly,” said Michael Diederich, CEO of Hypovereinsbank in the Handelsblatt Update Sustainability 2020 as a live stream, in which the bank and the Audi car group were initiative partners.
The industrial structures in Germany have grown over decades and are very successful, he said. They would now have to change fundamentally: “If it is not just the end product that should have a certain carbon footprint, but the value chain along the way, it will not work overnight. It is a process, but it has been initiated. “
Robert Haßler also comes to this conclusion. He is part of the management team of the rating agency ISS, which has been dealing with the topic of sustainability since 1985. “Germany has overslept the issue in the past decade,” he explains.
In other European financial centers, significantly more has developed. But now the federal government has also set big goals and the companies have also done a lot: “I’m pretty sure that this trend is unstoppable and will intensify.”
“The next crisis is already lurking”
The mass of companies have somehow attacked the subject, he says. But there is still room for improvement. “We are reasonably satisfied with around 23 percent of the companies we rate worldwide,” said Haßler. In the next five years there will probably be a big boost – and there must be a boost – if companies start to bring sustainability into their core business.
The corona pandemic could also reinforce this trend, said Anna Alex, founder of the start-up Planetly, which advises the company on managing its carbon footprint: “As humanity, we have become aware of the vulnerability of the system. We know that the next crisis is lurking around the corner and we have to tackle it now. ”However, there is no“ not the one panacea ”when it comes to reducing CO2 and other sustainability issues. Companies should always look at what is available to them.
Frosta CEO Felix Ahlers, in an interview with Handelsblatt editor-in-chief Sven Afhüppe, also emphasized another point that should be considered when it comes to sustainability: “When you talk about sustainability, you also have to talk about the fact that it costs money. You have to be able to explain that to millions of consumers so that they are willing to pay a little more for it. ”
After all, a company must be able to sell its products. Frosta was difficult at the beginning, but that would have changed.
Audi also faces this challenge. Sales and Marketing Director at the car manufacturer, Hildegard Wortmann, said clearly: “It takes radical change. We are in a transformation of the entire automotive industry that has never been seen before. ”
That is why Audi is rebuilding almost the entire portfolio: “We all agree that climate protection does not allow a delay and we have to work consistently on this.” That is why the Federal Government’s measure, plug-in hybrids and electromobility is also due to the economic stimulus package to promote “only consistently if we all want to create this change in society now.”
Boris Herrman can always see the effects of climate change. The professional sailor, who brought activist Greta Thunberg to the United States last year, said that on her trip with Thunberg alone, they experienced four tropical depressions, which is very unusual.
“But I also made trips through the Arctic and Antarctic and experienced extreme minimun ice formation there. Some of our races around the world were also heavily influenced by this. ”He emphasized:“ Hopefully you will see that there can be a strategy of sustainability as a business model. ”It is very important that the companies form alliances and do lobbying. This is the only way for the government to create the framework conditions “with which we can move forward” in this area.
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