14 Sep 2021, 12:47
Jessica Bateman

German employees mostly back more climate action by companies but are reluctant to take part - survey

Clean Energy Wire

Private sector employees in Germany are largely in favour of their companies opting for tougher climate protection measures but are sceptical about their implementation, a survey commissioned by the Bertelsmann Stiftung has found. Fifty-five percent of the 5,000 employees surveyed said they agree corporations should take more responsibility when it comes to climate and environmental protection, whereas about 25 percent rejected the idea. However, "support drops significantly when people become directly impacted," the survey found, as just 42 percent said they are in favour of more sustainable measures at their own companies. Fifty-one percent said they would not be ready to cover any of the costs assoicated with more climate action by their employer, whereas a third said they would do so. The state with the highest level of overall agreement was northern city state Hamburg (63.7 percent), while rural eastern state Thuringia was the lowest at 45.4 percent. This chimes with the result that most employees smaller companies with up to 250 staff members, which tend to dominate in rural areas, are pessimistic about the opportunities offered by climate policies, whereas those employed by larger companies have a much more optimistic outlook on future business opportunities. But overall, numbers were not hugely different between the "old" western states of the country (58.1 percent) and the formerly communist eastern ones (52.2 percent). However, a clear majority of 70 percent of respondents said they do not expect climate policies will bring substantial changes to their own work. "This could be a misconception," said Bertelsmann's Christian Schilcher.

Germany’s goal of net carbon neutrality by 2045 has brought about calls for companies to do their part in achieving this aim. In May, the government came to an agreement on the supply chain law, which aims to ensure environmental and human rights protection along global supply chain lines.

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