Being one of the most influential countries in the history of human existence, the German economy has been a major consumer of energy and consequently, a major emitter of carbon dioxide. Until 1973, Germany’s energy needs were fulfilled predominantly by coal, mineral oils and nuclear plants. That year, the Arab dominated OPEC placed an embargo on several Western nations, including West Germany, for supporting Israel. The energy crisis that followed prompted Herbert Gruhl, widely considered Germany’s first green politician, to pen his bestseller “Ein Planet wird geplündert- Die Schrekensbilanz unserer Politik” (A planet is plundered: The Balance of Terror of Our Politics).
This book is believed to have influenced the German environmental movement. Following the tragic Chernobyl disaster of 1986, the nation lost its confidence in nuclear energy and prominent magazine Der Spiegel ran a cover story titled “Der Klima- Katastrope” (the climate catastrophe). This brought climate change into mainstream German discourse for the first time and the nation began its impressive journey towards energy efficiency, with a strong focus on renewables. In 2019, the country passed its first climate law that mandates emission reduction targets for all sectors until 2030 and is among only a handful of nations that have incorporated climate targets into its national policy – to become greenhouse gas neutral by 2045. One of the many reasons why envoPAP chose to set up its EU headquarters in Frankfurt.
As the world finds itself in a race against time to cut down emissions before it’s too late, we can’t help but mention the B Corp movement, as the world’s leading audit to measure a company’s entire social and environmental impact. Launched in 2007 and currently with over 4000 members, B Corp has done unparalleled work in galvanising corporate contributions towards ensuring the health of our planet and its people. Every year, it compiles a ‘Best for the World’ list of the best performing companies across multiple categories and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 8 German companies made that list in 2018. March is celebrated as B Corp month and in our 3rd year observing it, we would like to take a moment to recognise the contributions of 3 German B Corps towards preserving our planet.