German Attitudes to Greening Industry

Hearts and minds are on a course for a greener Germany

Concerns about climate and the environment have climbed significantly on the agenda of German companies over the last year, according to a survey of 400 businesses conducted by consultancy EY and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

The number of companies calling climate change and environmental damage one of Europe’s largest challenges has almost tripled since last year to 27%, newspaper Die Welt reports. Wuppertal Institute head Manfred Fischedick said the shift among companies had been “remarkable”, with climate change and measures to abate it having become “a key playing field for companies” that hope to make a viable business model out of emissions reduction and other measures included in the European Green Deal.

65% of Germans have a fundamentally positive attitude towards biofuels. That was the outcome of a representative survey conducted by the Kantar market Research Institute on behalf of the biofuels industry. Provided that production is sustainable and that greenhouse gases are cut by at least 60% compared with mineral oil, almost 70% of respondents would use biofuels in their vehicles. 43% of survey participants expect biofuels to become increasingly significant in combatting climate change.

70% of all respondents, and even half of those with a sceptical stance, would fill up with biofuels provided these are certified as sustainable and guaranteed to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 60%.

However, this week, The European Central Bank has no democratic mandate to play a direct role in fighting climate change and greater activism could risk undermining its independence, German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said.

With climate change posing a growing risk to the global economy, policymakers are debating what role central banks should play in tackling it. ECB President Christine Lagarde has long advocated greater activism, calling it “mission critical”.

But Weidmann, a conservative policymaker who is often at odds with mainstream views in the ECB’s Governing Council, made the case for only a limited role.

“An active role in climate policy — or other fields of politics — could undermine our independence and, ultimately, jeopardise our ability to maintain price stability,” Weidmann said in a speech. “Central bank independence is an obligation to stay focused on our primary objective.”

Lagarde has argued that the ECB’s secondary mandate, a vaguely worded clause in the EU Treaty that requires the bank to support the general economic policies of the bloc, gives it the necessary powers. Weidmann, however, said climate change is a political issue and not a job for unelected bureaucrats.

ECB HQ, Frankfurt


Companies Across Europe Combine Forces for Climate Action


  1. Climate action surging on German companies’ agendas as EU Green Deal splits opinions, 2020-11-04
  2. Germans Want More Biofuels in their Vehicles, Bundesverband der deutschen Bioethanolwirtschaft e.V.
  3. ECB has no mandate for direct role in climate change fight: Weidmann, KFGO, 2020-11-20

by Lukas Frisch Tonkinson.

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