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“Bold and visionary decisions“

The association “Klimaschutz-Unternehmen” (climate protection companies) wants to play a pioneering role in the transformation of the economy. CEO Philipp Andree explains what this means. 

Carsten HauptmeierCarsten Hauptmeier, 10.10.2023
Philipp Andree from the association “Klimaschutz-Unternehmen” (climate protection companies)
Philipp Andree from the association “Klimaschutz-Unternehmen” (climate protection companies) © bildschoen Fotografie / Claudia Basermann

The association “Klimaschutz-Unternehmen” regards itself as a pioneering initiative that aims to achieve Germany’s climate policy targets with innovative solutions. Since 2009, Germany’s Federal Economics Ministry, Federal Environment Ministry and Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry have been certifying firms as climate protection companies. CEO Philipp Andree talks about the necessary investments in climate action, exchange between the pioneering firms, and progress in the transformation of the German economy.

Mr Andree, what sets climate protection companies apart?
The fact that protecting the climate and the environment is unequivocally enshrined in their corporate DNA. They are pioneers because they serve as role models in the area of climate action. They take bold and often visionary investment decisions. And they prove that protecting the climate is an investment that ultimately pays for itself.  

How does the association check that the strategy that has been laid down is actually implemented and followed?
To become certified as a climate protection company, firms have to undergo a several-stage application process. They must demonstrate their commitment to protecting the climate on all levels, from their supply chains to their own in-house energy efficiency. This is verified by external experts, because only firms that really take climate protection seriously can receive certification.  

How big are the differences between the member companies, or how much do they have in common?
We have everything from small craft businesses to major mechanical and plant engineering firms in our association. In this sense, the companies could hardly be more different. What they do have in common, however, is their conviction and passionate commitment to climate protection.  

One key challenge for us is to ensure that application processes are designed such that firms from all industries can become members. To this end, we look at each company individually, as the conditions and requirements in the various sectors of the economy differ very considerably. 

How important is it for the companies to share ideas and experiences in the area of climate protection?
One of the central objectives of our initiative is that companies should engage in exchange and learn from one another. We have seen that our member firms are extremely open to approaching other companies when they face problems and challenges. They simply pick up the phone and call their colleagues in another firm. In turn, we as an association set up platforms and offer workshops.  

Many firms have realised that more climate action improves their chances of economic success.
Philipp Andree, CEO of the association “Klimaschutz-Unternehmen“

Does exchange also take place on an international level?
Yes, on the one hand in the sense that many companies operate internationally. When companies apply, we of course also look at their global climate protection strategies and the requirements they lay down for their worldwide locations. Generally speaking, however, there is certainly potential for growth when it comes to cross-border exchange and international cooperation.  

Are you seeing any progress as far as the transformation of the German economy is concerned?
Society in general has become far more aware of climate change in recent years, and this is also true of companies. Many firms have realised that more climate action improves their chances of economic success. However, companies, as well as the state and consumers, first need to invest massively in climate action now.