Strong alliance for the 2° target

Deutsche Wohnen supports Foundation 2°, an alliance for business-based climate protection.

With light, air conditioning and heating, buildings account for around a third of Germany’s carbon emissions. This sector therefore has a crucial part to play in the national climate protection targets being achieved. With this in mind, Deutsche Wohnen is comprehensively investing in its holdings. It has now been actively working with Foundation 2° – German Businesses for Climate Protection since 2017. This initiative of chairpersons, CEOs and family businesses is working to support policymakers in establishing free-market framework requirements for climate protection and to activate German businesses to find solutions for climate protection.

Following its involvement in the The Road to a < 2° Economy joint project of Foundation 2° and WWF Germany in 2017/18, Deutsche Wohnen helped the foundation to draw up a policy paper as part of the foundation’s Climate Protection Act Business Initiative ahead of the federal government adopting its climate package in September 2019. Since November 2019, Deutsche Wohnen has also been one of the 20 sponsors of the foundation, which takes its name from its primary goal of limiting average global warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius.

Three questions for Michael Zahn, CEO of Deutsche Wohnen

What goals is Deutsche Wohnen pursuing with its sponsorship of Foundation 2°?

In supporting Foundation 2°, we are coming together with business owners from all industries and sectors to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement and are underscoring our commitment to greater climate protection. Every industry needs to live up to its responsibilities in this regard. The buildings sector in particular has to take more of a stance with respect to climate protection. With our portfolio of around 170,000 residential and commercial units, we not only have a huge responsibility – we also have major potential: by implementing the right measures, we can lower energy consumption within buildings and thus also contribute to reducing carbon emissions. Our targets for the next few years in this area are set out in our strategic sustainability programme.

Deutsche Wohnen is the first and currently only real estate company among the sponsors of Foundation 2°, making it a pioneer in the industry. What is specific to the buildings sector when it comes to climate protection?

As a real estate company, we have to think far ahead. Buildings have a long service life. In order for our holdings and new builds to be part of a climate-neutral buildings sector, we have to be laying the foundations now. This is the only way in which the federal government’s declared target of greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050 – which I consider to be ambitious and right – can be achieved. It would otherwise be nothing more than a hollow promise. However, we need reliable political parameters that will give us long-term investment and planning reliability. Through our involvement in Foundation 2°, we wish to actively contribute to establishing such parameters.

So climate protection can’t be achieved single-handedly?

Climate protection is a major task and one for the whole of society. The state, businesses and citizens must all rise to the task together in equal measure. But climate protection is costly too. And it has to be implemented in a socially acceptable way. This needs to be addressed and discussed frankly. We have to identify fair solutions and get everyone who is involved on board. Environmentally friendly business and conduct must be appropriately rewarded, for example with smart carbon pricing. Through exchange and in the projects with the Foundation 2° companies, we can jointly come up with solution-oriented and cross-sector answers to questions on the topic of corporate climate protection.

Sabine Nallinger, Managing Director of Foundation 2°

Sabine Nallinger has been the Managing Director of Foundation 2° – German Businesses for Climate Protection since 2014. The urban, traffic and environmental planner spent many years working for environmental organisations and engineering firms and at the public utility company Stadtwerke München.

From 2008 to May 2020, Sabine Nallinger was a Munich city councillor for the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen political party, dealing primarily with energy, urban development and transport policy issues.

In 2014, she was a candidate for the office of mayor in Munich. She is also a member of the Supervisory Board of Vattenfall Wärme Berlin AG.

Three questions for Sabine Nallinger, Managing Director of Foundation 2°

The topic of climate protection has been given a huge boost in Germany and elsewhere by the Fridays for Future movement. Has this also had an impact on the work of your foundation?

We are currently sensing real climate protection momentum. To a great extent, this comes from the Fridays for Future, which have taken the topic of climate protection to the streets and have built up considerable pressure. As a result, climate protection has risen to the top of the agenda. But this development isn’t attributable exclusively to schoolchildren; I am sensing that more and more companies are recognising the responsibility they have towards climate protection, are also seeing this as an opportunity and are increasingly becoming the drivers of debate. I often have the impression that many companies are ahead of some areas of politics.

What opportunities does foundation sponsorship offer the participating companies?

Foundation 2° is the progressive voice of German industry which is speaking out in favour of ambitious climate protection. It brings together large companies from all sectors that see climate protection as an opportunity and are making it a part of their business models. We are also a platform for action in the area of corporate climate protection; we bring companies together to highlight very specific climate protection solutions and develop emission-reducing projects. We are therefore something of a trailblazer for the policymakers and the business world with regard to corporate climate protection. Our sponsor companies can use this as an opportunity for themselves – and as a way of further advancing climate protection in their business field and their industry.

What does Deutsche Wohnen’s sponsorship mean to Foundation 2°?

With Deutsche Wohnen, we have acquired a very important player from the real estate industry for the foundation’s work. We want to jointly harness the buildings sector’s potential in the area of climate protection and seek solutions that get all the stakeholders in the field of housing on board. From working with Deutsche Wohnen, I also know that many motivated people within the company will now be working with us on topics and projects – I am especially delighted by this as, like everything else, climate protection ultimately comes down to the people involved. I therefore look forward to continuing to work with Deutsche Wohnen and to our jointly advancing the buildings sector in the area of climate protection.

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