FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 49

german Edition

According to the „Wall Street Journal“, no listed company is managed more sustainably than Sony.

The world’s ten best sustainably managed companies: leadership as a role model is important for sustainably managed companies. A ranking of the world’s most sustainably managed companies has now been conducted, distinguishing between „green washing“ and actual purpose. However, a CO2 balance can be calculated relatively easily by investing in reforestation projects. Sustainability therefore always refers to the way we deal with employees and stakeholders. capital.dewsj.com

CDU accuses Environment Minister of hesitation in reducing greenhouse gases: The CDU/CSU parliamentary group accuses Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze of being too hesitant in transposing the EU’s second Renewable Energy Directive into national law. The main point of criticism is the planned greenhouse gas reduction quota of 16 percent by 2030, which is „far from sufficient“, according to letters to other ministries, as the draft is currently in the process of departmental coordination. It is „equally incomprehensible that the existing six percent reduction rate is not to be changed by 2024“. The Ministry of the Environment is thus accepting that there will be virtually no change in the transport sector. handelsblatt.com

Around 42.8 percent of Germans are in favour of a ban on the combustion engine, 42.3 percent against. The rest did not want to commit themselves or did not provide any information. Most of the proponents, on the other hand, are in favour of an end to the combustion engine by 2030 at the latest, slightly less pleaded for 2025.  mobile.de

Trouble over insect protection: The Federal Environment Ministry accuses the CDU-led Agriculture Ministry of blocking the fight against insect mortality. Nature conservation associations also criticise Julia Klöckner. Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary in the Federal Environment Ministry, criticises a „total blockade by Federal Minister Klöckner against any progress in legal insect protection and in the restriction of harmful plant protection products“, for example in the case of the plant protection product glyphosate. In 2019 the action programme for insect protection was adopted. From 2021, for example, weed killers and certain insecticides are to be banned in nature reserves. The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for implementation.  Flasbarth complains in his note that Klöckner Ministerium „has so far delivered the following: nothing“. On the contrary, the Ministry is blocking the draft bill with which the Federal Ministry for the Environment wants to reduce insect damaging light sources and increase pesticide-free field margins. taz.de

Federal Environment Ministry with new packaging law: The Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) wants to get the flood of packaging under control with a new packaging law.  In future, cans and disposable plastic bottles will only be allowed to be sold with a deposit. In particular, online trading platforms are to be given more responsibility. To this end, it is planned to check whether online traders register their packaging properly and, above all, whether they pay the disposal costs. The problem child is also the Ro-Go area, not only for coffee cups. BMU wants to strengthen value-added packaging. The plan is that whenever food to go is offered, reusable packaging must be offered in addition to disposable containers. fleischwirtschaft.detaz.de

More focus on climate change: The ECB’s banking supervisory authority wants to examine the climate change risks for financial institutions in the euro area much more closely in future. At the beginning of 2021 the institutions will be asked to carry out a self-assessment of their climate risks and to draw up action plans based on the results, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced on Friday. reuters.com

Repairing instead of throwing away: Obsolescence is the term used to describe the service life of a product as planned by the manufacturer of a product. Now a study shows that users of, for example, televisions, smartphones, washing machines or notebooks in Germany could save € 3.67 billion per year if these devices lasted longer. The right to repair decided by the European Parliament is only a first step. What is needed is a culture of repair and long-term utility. However, this is not necessarily in the interest of manufacturing companies. vzbv.de , taz.de


Die Stunde der Politik – Ein Essay über Nachhaltigkeit, Utopien und Gestaltungsspielräume

The Corona Year brings more crisis than ever before – but what does this mean for sustainability policy and its scope for action?
Günther Bachmann, the long-standing Secretary General of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), lets us look behind the scenes. His essay tells of political events at close quarters and proposes new perspectives through the maze of conferences and resolutions. Bachmann puts entrenched attitudes in their place: „Too often we talk down the successes, too much paralyses the constant rhetoric of crisis and rescue. In his view, greater progress would be possible, but too many opportunities remain unused.
The book pleads for a paradigm shift. Politicians must realise that sustainability is about power and not just about the technical implementation of goals once they are set. It calls on businesses and citizens* to have more confidence in politics. „We have to get sustainability policy out of its creative coma“ – Bachmann shows how this can be done.. oekom.de

Switzerland: tough supply chain law has been rejected. tagesschau.de
EU Commission: Confirms German coal phase-out. sueddeutsche.de
Designated US Secretary of the Treasury: Janet Yellen has great influence on climate policy through the so-called „Dodd-Frank Act“. klimareporter.de
Medium-sized businesses: Between COVID-19 pandemic and European Green Deal, challenges are almost impossible to cope with. fair-economics.de
Siemens and Thyssen-Krupp: Supporting hydrogen from Russia. manager-magazin.de
Hamburg: Bush wood from Namibia should be burned. deutschlandfunk.de 
Quantum computers: The digitalisation of the energy industry is increasing the computing power of computers. handelsblatt.com
Air quality: has improved significantly in Europe. eea.europa.eu
Stade nuclear power plant: Deconstruction takes longer than planned. ndr.de
Federal Office for Radiation Protection: Climate change increases risk of skin cancer. rnd.de

The seventeeen goals Magazin presents inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can contribute to achieving sustainability goals.


Impending overload of the power grids: From 2021 electricity for electric cars could be rationed and the German expansion of electric mobility could be slowed down. Electricity grid operators from several EU countries want to restrict charging current at private charging stations from 2021. This should prevent the distribution networks from becoming overloaded during peak periods. focus.de

More climate-friendly transport policy: The Öko-Institut wants to make transport policy more climate-friendly and socially acceptable. To achieve this, existing instruments can be redesigned to make them fairer and contribute to climate protection, say the Freiburg researchers. fair-economics.de

Hydrogen trains in Deutsche Bahn test: While the first hydrogen trains in Lower Saxony have already been in regular service for two years, Deutsche Bahn also wants to test the use of hydrogen-powered trains. The company wants to start a one-year test of a regional train in Baden-Württemberg in 2024. On the line between Tübingen, Horb and Pforzheim a hydrogen train will then replace the existing diesel-powered trains. A diesel-powered locomotive will be replaced here. The railways want to become climate-neutral by 2050 and since 13,000 kilometres of rail network are still not electrified, 1,300 diesel-powered trains will have to be replaced by then. . tagesschau.de

Rail 2: By 2030 the German government wants to increase the railways‘ market share in freight transport to 25 per cent. This can only be achieved by shifting transport from road to rail. So far, the freight railways hold a market share of 19 percent. The non-profit association „Pro-Rail Alliance“ presents not only the problems but also solutions. eurotransport.de

Tesla: not only builds Gigafactory but also the world’s largest battery factory in Grünheide. dw.com
Rail: Noisy goods trains to be banned from December.  spiegel.de 
Daimler: dispute with the trade union over e-campus. stimme.de

FDP criticises Euro 7 exhaust standard: The FDP parliamentary group considers the new Euro 7 exhaust standard proposed in an expert opinion for the European Commission to be excessive. In a motion (19/24640), which will be on the agenda of the Bundestag on Thursday, the members of parliament write that the planned tightening means a de facto ban on combustion engines. Due to further requirements such as the EU fleet limits, only primarily battery-powered e-vehicles would offer an alternative. However, they argue that it is important to keep an open mind on technology instead of forcing electric mobility through the back door with Euro 7. In view of the current crisis in vehicle construction, the industry itself is also extremely critical of considerations regarding a Euro 7 emissions standard, as currently discussed by the EU Commission, the motion states. It warns against the effects of a policy of bans and overregulation on existing value chains. Germany, as the leading automotive location in Europe, would be particularly hard hit by this.


Fundamental right to decent work: The Left Group wants a fundamental right to decent work which secures one’s livelihood to be enshrined in the German constitution. This is the aim of their draft law (19/24692), in which they criticise the fact that the welfare state does not adequately fulfil its tasks. As a result of the Corona pandemic, however, the economic crisis is accelerating and the extent for the labour market is not foreseeable, the MEPs write. Good work and social security, especially in times of crisis, and ecological sustainability are the guidelines for a socio-ecological transformation towards a sustainable society and a self-determined life, the draft says. The Group therefore calls for the following paragraph to be added to Article 12 of the Basic Law: „At the centre of working and economic life is the welfare of the individual. The protection of his working capacity takes precedence over the economic interests of his contractual partner or employer. Everyone has the right to decent work and training that will secure his or her livelihood. A wage is a living wage if it provides at least an adequate livelihood“.

How is the German forest doing? Experts in the Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety have assessed the condition of German forests in different ways. In a public expert discussion on Wednesday, 25 November 2020, the majority of the experts spoke of a dramatic situation, while a minority referred to the natural self-healing powers of the forest bundestag.de

No renaissance for nuclear power plants: According to the Economic Committee, there will be no renaissance of nuclear energy. At its meeting on Wednesday, the committee rejected motions by the AfD parliamentary group urging a renaissance for nuclear power (19/22434, 19/22435, 19/23955). At the same time, it took note of a report of the Federal Ministry of Economics on a recent ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court. In the judgement of 12 November 2020, the court found the financial compensation for power plant operators in the course of the nuclear phase-out insufficient and demanded subsequent improvements.

Ban on plastic bags – approval in committee: On Wednesday morning, the draft First Act amending the Packaging Act (19/16503) was voted on by the coalition parties and the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group. The AfD and FDP parliamentary groups voted against it, while the Left Party abstained. An amendment tabled by the CDU/CSU and SPD groups, which provides for an extension of the transitional period until 1 January 2022, was adopted by the coalition groups. The draft law will be finally discussed in the Bundestag plenary session on Thursday. However, even within the coalition, there was restrained criticism of the project. A representative of the CDU/CSU faction admitted to the goal of avoiding unnecessary plastic consumption, but admitted that his faction would have liked to have examined the ecological balance sheet of different packaging before the ban. Bans were always a major market intervention, and the voluntary commitment made by retailers in 2016 had worked well.

FDP wants regulation of the wildlife trade: The FDP parliamentary group is in favour of effective and unbureaucratic regulation of the legal trade in wild animals in a motion (19/24593). This is to be achieved through simplified documentation and reporting requirements, minimum standards that can be implemented easily and effective enforcement control. The motion is on Thursday’s agenda for the Bundestag plenary session, together with two motions from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen group and the CDU/CSU and SPD groups. The background to the motions is the fight against zoonoses, i.e. against diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

Development of rural areas: In Germany, a nationwide, gigabit-capable digital infrastructure is to be achieved by 2025. Quality of life for all generations is also linked to a good and accessible supply of facilities, goods and commercial and public services, according to a briefing (19/14250) of the Federal Government on the Federal Government’s third report on the development of rural areas. According to the report, one task for the coming decade remains to promote the development of rural regions and to create equal living conditions and to ensure a social, economic and ecological balan

Causes of insect mortality complex: According to the German government, the causes of insect decline are diverse and complex. The causes of insect mortality include the loss of insect habitats, the use of pesticides and the introduction of nutrients and pollutants into soil and water, writes the Federal Government in its answer (19/24273) to a minor question (19/23619) from the FDP parliamentary group. The reply further states that 7,787 insect species are listed as endangered in the nationwide Red Lists. This corresponds to almost 24 percent of the insect species recorded in Germany.


What would happen if we did not do it, if the WWF were to withdraw from this region now? – In my opinion, and in our opinion and I think in the opinion of many, many communities, everyone would then have lost, both nature and governance systems and the people on the ground.

Eberhard Brandes of WWF Germany, responds to the accusations that WWF projects repeatedly lead to serious conflicts between gamekeepers and the local population. The organisation has therefore been accused of human rights violations. An investigation has now shown that the accusations are often justified – but that the organisation’s own staff are not involved. …Our mission, the mission of the WWF, is not just to protect nature alone, but to bring nature and people back into harmony, and the current pandemic and Covid show us how important it is to bring this out-of-control balance between people and nature back together again. We (the WWF) have so many examples in which we could show that detailed involvement with local communities, careful listening to our colleagues on the ground – this would not be done directly from Germany, but with the WWFs on the ground – would contribute to finding solutions that are really viable in the long term, and with many, many discussions. He (Brandes) would be in many African countries himself and talked to the councils of elders there and got a good feeling for how complicated it is, even if very different worlds come together. This can only be achieved together and we are working hard to achieve this and would certainly do so even more strongly. deutschlandfunk.de


Poor sanitary conditions are stopping Africa’s development: Hard to imagine in the so-called Western civilised world, where running water and functioning toilets are taken for granted. But poor sanitary conditions still represent a major health, ecological and socio-economic risk in many African countries. This is the result of new studies by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). fair-economics.de

Stability in the Horn of Africa is fragile: The civil war in Ethiopia is a warning signal for Europe. The country is considered a stabilising factor in the Horn of Africa. Now tens of thousands have fled to Sudan. A powder keg is being built in the region with unforeseeable consequences. welt.de

Africa is being set back far: Export revenues are falling sharply, foreign exchange earnings are dwindling and tax revenues and remittances from exiled Africans are falling. In addition, tourism is collapsing. Millions of people lack sources of income. The measures taken by the G20 countries so far are proving to be inadequate, so there should first be a debt moratorium for those countries that are already in a major debt crisis. Secondly, countries that are in a position to forego debt relief should do so in order not to lose investor confidence in the future. Thirdly, private creditors – such as banks – should also waive part of the debt repayments.Prof. Dr. Robert Kappel’s research focuses on the economy and politics of African countries. He has been President of the Leibniz Institute for Global and Regional Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg and Professor at the Universities of Hamburg and Leipzig. fes.de ,  zdf.de

Zimbabwe’s political mass murders: How does the country deal with the process of coming to terms with the past? Mass graves keep turning up in Zimbabwe. Many civilians were killed years ago, but the wounds have not healed. The big hurdle: the government, say experts. dw.com

Hunger and malnutrition are increasing in Mauritania: According to the German Government, despite progress in poverty reduction and chronic malnutrition, the life and health of the people in Mauritania are significantly affected by hunger and malnutrition. „The degradation of natural resources and recurrent droughts regularly have a negative impact on food security,“ she writes in a reply (19/24428) to a small question by the AfD Group. 11.9 percent of the Mauritanian population is undernourished.


No recovery for the climate: The World Weather Organisation (WMO) has dashed hopes of a breather for the climate in the wake of the Corona pandemic. The extent of climate-damaging emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO₂), has indeed decreased this year. However, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is changing less than the natural fluctuations that occur every year. CO₂ remains in the atmosphere for centuries. The reduction in emissions in 2020 is only „a tiny dent“ in the upward curve. faz.net

Germans eat better: In contrary to four years ago, Germans eat better. The consumption of pork, yoghurt and milk has fallen, and tomatoes, pulses and peas are eaten more often. Soft fruits are more common in German kitchens and on German dining tables. The consumption of unsweetened drinks such as mineral water and herbal or fruit tea has increased. At the same time, the consumption of pork, yoghurt and milk, juices, nectars, spirits and beer has fallen. Obesity remains a problem in Germany: the number of overweight children is stagnating at a high level: between 2014 and 2017, 15 percent of 3 to 17-year-olds were overweight. dge.de

Research good – implementation in need of improvement: According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, German sustainability research is in good shape. However, there is a need to catch up when it comes to the application of knowledge and internationality. This could now be addressed in a newly equipped programme called „Research for Sustainable Development“, or Fona for short. Over the next five years, the programme will have a budget of four billion euros.  Among other things, the money will be used to research how – for example with green hydrogen – climate-damaging process emissions from industry can be further reduced. sueddeutsche.de

Climate Neutral Tiles: Designer pieces from the landfill.  klimareporter.de
India: How the subcontinent wants to achieve the traffic turnaround  spiegel.de
Insect of the year: The mayfly. rnd.de 
Dragonfly of the Year: The migrating dragonfly. bund.net


The building committee of the German Bundestag makes the future of city centres the subject of a public hearing On 13 January 2021, experts are to provide information on this subject before the committee members or virtually.


GM and „Tree Change“ in California:  After it became clear that US President Trump will lose the presidential election, the US car manufacturer GM changes sides. As recently as autumn last year, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and ten smaller car manufacturers joined the Trump government in its bid to deny California’s car industry the right to set its own emissions standards. After Joe Biden’s election victory, GM now wants the stricter CO2 limits after all. heise.de

to the German edition

All pictures, if not stated otherwise: pixabay.com

You are receiving this newsletter because you are interested in environmental and sustainable topics