Study: How Do German Manufacturers React to the Increasing Societal Pressure for Decarbonisation?

The 2021 study by Buettner and colleagues answers this critical question.

Study: How Do German Manufacturers React to the Increasing Societal Pressure for Decarbonisation?

The paper examines how German manufacturing companies react to rising societal pressure and emerging policies by looking at:

❔ Which measures the companies have taken or plan to take to reduce their carbon footprint;

❔ which aspirations are associated with this;

❔ and the structural characteristics (company size, energy intensity, and sector) by which the companies are influenced.

The study uses a mixed methods approach and references data gathered from approx. 900 companies in the sector of the Energy Efficiency Index of German Industry (EEI), along with media research focusing on the announced #decarbonization plans and initiatives.

What is the outcome of the study?

  • There isn't a "one-size-fits-all" approach to decarbonize the industry as the situation and ambitions of companies differ greatly depending on their size, energy intensity and sector.
  • Policymakers and researchers should work more closely with industry to identify and to address their challenges and needs.
  • The majority of measures chosen to reduce the carbon footprint are internal actions (54%) among which 33% are energy efficiency measures, and 21% atributed to self-generation of renewables.
  • 1/3 of the companies does not strive for net carbon neutrality, wether they do not wish to or cannot remains to be explored.
  • Close to half of the 856 companies (45%) indicated that they consider Energy and Resource Consumption and CO2 Footprint in shaping their production process. Of the 36% taking into account the full product life cycle, only a third also looks into the production process.
  • Nearly 60% of companies either plan (27%), have started (31%), or concluded (1%) the implementation to reach the state of net-zero carbon.
  • Of the 489 companies that aim to reach net carbon neutrality, 2/3rds have this goal for 2025 already (surpassing 90% by 2030 and 96% by 2035). This calls on policy makers to create a series of five-year plans to facilitate this, rather than a strategy for 2050 with an interim stop in 2030.

We found this paper insightful, as it gives an overview as to how manufacturers are dealing with current decarbonization targets. It also shows that most of them undertake measures to tackle their CarbonFootprint.

Therefore, we are confident that German manufacturers are on the right track to reducing their emissions and encourage further action. The study is available in open access here:

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