What can companies do to protect the climate?
The topic of sustainability has countless facets - many challenges we can only overcome together. STIHL therefore works with specialists from FutureCamp, who advise the company on many issues relating to climate protection. In the guest article, Managing Director Annette Gruß explains why sustainability is not only important for a company's customers.
February 13, 2018, was an important date in European emissions trading: The price for one ton of CO2 emissions, which had been trivial for years, topped the ten-euro mark for the first time. That was the start of a steep rise that has continued to the present day. One ton of CO2 emissions now costs more than 30 euros – an amount that has huge ramifications for businesses.
After all, harming the climate also harms the bottom line. That prompts companies to cut costs by doing things like identifying areas where efficiency is possible and shifting to greener fuels. In the past, the CO2 price only applied to companies that are required to participate in emissions trading, such as electricity generators and primary industries, but that has changed. Carbon pricing has now been expanded as of January 2021. From the fuel used to run a vehicle fleet to heating the plant grounds and gas heaters at home, there is now a charge for the use of fossil fuels, and it will rise annually. In addition to meeting emissions standards and specific measures in individual industries - Germany's shift away from coal is a good example - carbon pricing is the most farreaching obligation companies have to meet.
But CO2 pricing alone won't do the job. Another key driver in terms of protecting the climate is customer requirements. Demand for climateneutral products is reshaping the face of entire industries - the automotive sector is an especially good example of this. To me, though, the key question isn't what companies have to do, but rather what they can actively do to help protect the climate.
According to a recent study by the United Nations, two-thirds of the world's population now views climate change as a threat. What that means for companies is that a new form of credibility is needed, toward both a company's own workforce and customers. We can no longer allow our actions to threaten our existence. We need to think of our grandchildren. To consistently shift companies toward climate neutrality as soon as possible, we need to examine all our processes. Local employees' knowledge is crucial to this, and getting them involved is a huge opportunity. This includes identifying potential for efficiency gains within the plant alongside measures that affect our day-to-day behavior, such as zero-emissions commutes and offering a climate-friendly menu in the cafeteria. If we meet these challenges openly and with participatory approaches, transforming companies and moving to climate neutrality can be a great opportunity as we deal with audiences not just outside, but also inside the company itself.
Annette Gruß, Managing Director FutureCamp Climate GmbH
FutureCamp is a corporate consulting firm based in Munich. Since 2001, the company's approximately 30 experienced experts have been providing advice on climate protection, sustainability, energy efficiency, environmental management and innovation. FutureCamp offers its clients strategic and operational support and both shortterm and long-term collaboration in fields including climate and sustainability strategy, calculating carbon footprints, CO2 compensation, climate neutrality, CSR reporting, CDP, energy and environmental management, applying for grants and subsidies, EU emissions trading, the German Fuel Emissions Trading Act (BEHG), and the CO2 market. Their clientele is broad and international: corporate groups, government agencies, municipalities, medium-sized businesses and public education institutions.