The pressure to act on climate protection is increasing. Only recently, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the targets of the Climate Protection Plan 2050 are insufficient. As a result, the German government had to bring forward the target to greenhouse gas neutrality by five years and sharpen intermediate targets. Germany is now to be greenhouse gas neutral by 2045. The fact that this decision also has a direct impact on companies is already becoming clear, as the Federal Ministry for the Environment is now increasing the pressure on individual sectors of the economy and passing on the tightened emission reduction targets. This comes as no surprise to far-sighted climate protection pioneers, but what about the broad mass of companies? myclimate has made random enquiries to find out how well prepared CSR managers currently are when it comes to targets and measures to curb global warming.
These are the three most important climate protection motives for companies
First, myclimate asked the companies about their reasons for setting their own emission reduction targets and implementing carbon offset measures. The respondents were able to name several reasons. Almost two thirds stated that corporate market opportunities can be optimised through carbon offset measures. In addition, employer branding, i.e. positioning the company as an attractive and promising employer, is an important motivating factor for climate protection for another 60 percent. Slightly more than half see legal framework conditions as a driving factor. myclimate Germany Managing Director Stefan Baumeister is pleased about this: "It is not the legal requirements and minimum standards that are the top priority for companies when it comes to climate protection, but the positive market opportunities that open up and the increase in attractiveness as an employer. This motivation is the right foundation for strategic and long-term climate protection.
Much potential still unused in the CO2 balancing of one's own company
In addition to motivation, the calculation of the corporate carbon footprint forms the basis for corporate climate protection, which is what the next question in the myclimate survey referred to. Here, the answers show that two thirds of the survey participants have already dealt with the greenhouse gas balance of their business activities. About 35 percent of the participating companies are a big step further, because they have already created a Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF) for Scopes 1 to 3. In addition to direct emissions (Scope 1) and emissions from purchased energy (Scope 2), other indirect emissions (Scope 3) are also included in the calculation.
In contrast, however, around 20 percent have not yet dealt with life cycle assessments. A positive sign, however, is that 12 percent of the survey participants plan to calculate the CCF in the next two years. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve the tightened target of the German government, it is important that companies set reduction targets. About half of the participants indicated that they have formulated CO2 reduction targets. The self-imposed targets vary in ambition and range from "climate neutrality in 2025" to the planned achievement of this target in 2050.
Set science-based emission reduction targets under SBTi
To provide companies with science-based targets, the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) was founded a few years ago. It offers companies a clearly defined pathway to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and thus helps to prevent the worst effects of climate change. To myclimate, half of the participating companies said they had already dealt with SBTi. More than a quarter, however, do not know what SBTi is. There is still a need to catch up here, because SBTi offers an effective and strategic approach to permanently reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is positive to note that participants who have already dealt with SBTi have either already defined SBTi-compatible goals or will develop them in the coming months.
CO2 offsetting is an important component in any climate protection strategy
In order for a company to be able to call itself climate neutral, all unavoidable CO2 emissions must be offset with the help of CO2 certificates from carbon offset projects after the avoidance and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Three quarters of the participating companies stated in the myclimate survey that CO2 offsetting is an integral part of their climate protection strategy. Half of the companies base their CO2 offsetting on Scope 1 and 2 emissions. While the other half either fully or partially offset Scope 3 emissions in addition to Scope 1 and 2. The fact that more and more companies are offsetting their unavoidable CO2 emissions is clearly felt by myclimate. "Companies, organisations and private individuals offset around two million tonnes of CO2 in 2020 via myclimate's high-quality GoldStandard carbon offset projects. This means an increase of around 500,000 tonnes compared to the record previous year!", emphasises Baumeister. Of the companies for which carbon offsetting has not yet been used, half are considering starting carbon offsetting.
Central building blocks within a climate protection strategy
At the end of the survey, myclimate asked the companies which components of a climate strategy are most important to them. There were several answers from four different categories to choose from: Measurement, Organisation, Reduction, Communication. The highest level of agreement (98 percent) was for the point that the employees of a company must be taken along on the path to carbon neutrality and sensitised accordingly. The result is not surprising for myclimate, and it is precisely for this reason that the non-profit organisation with headquarters in Reutlingen, Berlin and Düsseldorf has also been offering workshops for company employees for many years. Another decisive building block in a climate protection strategy was named by 88 percent as the CO2 balance for companies. This is understandable, because for the first step towards a sustainable company it is important to record the status quo. Furthermore, the strategic anchoring of the carbon offset commitment across all corporate divisions is important. 77 percent of the participants share this view with myclimate.
The survey by myclimate shows that most companies are intensively dealing with the very important topic of climate protection and many are already committed. However, it is particularly important for companies that their planned goals and measures are embedded in an overarching climate protection strategy and build on each other in a meaningful way. With its broad range of services and solutions, myclimate offers comprehensive consulting services as well as employee workshops, educational programmes and CO2 offsetting through high-quality Gold Standard projects.