06 Jun 2019, 14:20
Benjamin Wehrmann

Many German industrial companies ill-prepared for decarbonisation – labour union

Clean Energy Wire

A large number of industrial companies in Germany will have a hard time coping with the changes brought about by the transition to a low-carbon economy and by digitalisation, labour union IG Metall says based on an analysis of about 2,000 companies. “About half of the companies are insufficiently prepared or not prepared at all to cope with the transition” and many workers would have to brace for new business models and learn new skills, union head Jörg Hofmann said. According to IG Metall, companies from the car industry will be especially affected by the impending changes across the economy, with more than half of all companies expecting their staff numbers to fall in the future. “More than anyone else, industry suppliers could face an existential threat if they only have modest capital reserves and no new business models,” Hofmann argued. He called on companies to give up their “defensive” posture and embrace change by investing in new products, procedures and business aims, adding that the government had a duty to provide companies with clear industrial policy guidelines. “Many businesses are treading carefully because they are in the dark regarding the framework conditions of the energy and transport transition,” Hofmann said.

The energy transition is seen as a major opportunity for many companies in Germany, with climate action measures that already generated about 50 billion euros in turnover in 2017. But the transition also poses a threat to many others still successful with conventional technologies. The country’s mighty carmakers have long remained hesitant regarding a transition to e-mobility and lobbied to favour efficient combustion engines instead. However, they gradually gave up resistance in the wake of the industry’s "dieselgate" emissions fraud scandal and one after another, announced ambitious plans to ramp up the share of e-cars in their portfolios.

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