Major German companies’ CO2 emissions jump back to 2019 levels after pandemic dip
Half of the major companies listed in Germany’s Dax 40 stock market index increased their CO2 emissions in 2021, as recovery effects from the pandemic allowed many businesses to resume activities restricted during lockdowns. According to a report in business daily Handelsblatt, emissions across the Dax 40 companies rose by 6 percent, or roughly 16 million tonnes of CO2. This is the same as the entire city of Berlin’s annual CO2 emissions, said the newspaper. “We’re back at 2019 levels in terms of emissions,” climate researcher Manfred Fischedick of the Wuppertal Institute told the newspaper. Given the distortions to emissions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, total emission values would still be within the margin envisaged by the German government, especially for industry. However, Fischedick warned that the changing of energy sourcing patterns in the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine is likely to lead to increased emissions for the next three years. “As soon as the [energy] supply crisis has been overcome, we must address reduction with double speed,” through more renewable power, hydrogen production and carbon storage measures, the researcher said.
Credible emissions reduction strategies are becoming an increasingly important asset for listed companies who must abide by tightened sustainability criteria in line with the so-called ESG (environmental, social, governance) principles. The German government has announced financial assistance programmes for industrial companies who push ahead with energy efficiency and decarbonisation measures, and vowed to greatly boost the availability of clean energy produced with renewables to allow companies to wean themselves off fossil fuels.