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.