Meeting ICCGermany

Ahead of the climate conference

Bosch attends the ICC meeting

8 minutes

At the beginning of November, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Germany invited representatives from politics, science, and business to a discussion in Essen. At the “30 days before COP24” event, talks focused on the role of business in protecting the climate.

High expectations

Group ICCGermany
Photography: thyssenkrupp AG

From December 3 to 14, the 24th United Nations Climate Conference is being held in Kattowitz, Poland. The conference aims to establish an international framework of rules for the implementation of the historic Paris Agreement of 2015. This will also serve to define national contributions to climate protection. As the UNFCCC’s official point of contact for all industry and trade associations, the ICC is coordinating the activities of the global business community at the climate conference – and already brought major actors together in Essen, among them HSBC Germany, thyssenkrupp, E.ON, and Bosch. Discussions sought to answer the following question: how can the German business community make an active contribution to protecting the climate?

Government demands on the business community

Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, the Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Environment Ministry, was the keynote speaker at the event. She referred to the most recent special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which presented a clear picture of the consequences of global warming in October. “With a change of 1.5 degrees, we will already be facing the risk of exceeding tipping points in the climate system. In the long term, this could result in an increase in sea levels of several meters.”

She also emphasized the second central message of the publication: “Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is still possible. However, this will require enormous additional efforts. This means, of course, that we must make our targets more ambitious. We already have the necessary technologies in the realms of renewable energy and energy efficiency, for instance”. According to the politician, this is the result of innovative environmental policy. “In the future, too, we will need technological advances and innovation to achieve a carbon-neutral economy and society by 2050.”

In the future, too, we will need technological advances and innovation to achieve a carbon-neutral economy and society by 2050.

Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Environment Ministry
Talk ICCGermany
Demanding more private sector innovation to reach the 1.5-degree goal: Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Environment Ministry (Photography: thyssenkrupp AG)

The German Federal Government’s new climate program

In her speech, Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter not only spoke of the private sector’s responsibility, she also presented the activities of the German Federal Government. With its Climate Protection Plan 2050, the corresponding targets, and fields of action that include the transport, buildings, agriculture, industry, and energy sectors, climate change is being addressed in a comprehensive manner. The Parliamentary State Secretary also announced that the German Environment Ministry is launching a new funding program for the decarbonization of industry. The program aims to help industries with energy-intensive processes – among them the steel, cement, lime, or chemicals industries – to invest in climate protection technologies from 2020 onward.

How the private sector’s contribution could look

Bernhard Schwager talking
Bernhard Schwager, the head of the Sustainability Office at Bosch (Photography: thyssenkrupp AG)

One of the private sector representatives was Carola Gräfin von Schmettow, the head of the HSBC bank’s German activities. In an interview with the Westdeutsche Zeitung, she stated that the bank would not finance any new coal-fired power plants, except in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam. “The financial sector has the power to drive the green economy of the future,“ she said.

Bernhard Schwager, the head of the Sustainability Office at Bosch, represented the company at the event, where he presented the processes of the energy management system that Bosch applies. The company aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 35 percent compared with 2007. To achieve this, Bosch has taken a systematic approach across business sectors. The board of management sets targets for the divisions, and the CO2 steering committee controls them every quarter. CO2 coordinators are charged with driving individual projects forward at the divisions. In so doing, they are supported by regional coordination offices. The plants continuously gather data on energy consumption and report to headquarters via a data acquisition tool. The approach has borne fruit: compared with 2007, the Bosch Group has already reduced its CO2 emissions relative to value added by 32.8 percent.


Bosch relies on green energy

Self-generation of power is an important building block in reducing CO2 emissions. For example, Bosch already uses regenerative energy systems at more than 30 locations – from photovoltaics and solar thermal energy to biomass, geothermal energy, hydropower, and wind energy. In 2017, energy output stood at 86.6 GWh, which represents 1.1. percent of total energy needs for electricity and heat.

The Bosch site in Nashik, India is a pioneer in the self-generation of power. In 2017, the biggest solar power facility in India’s automotive industry began operations: 36,000 solar panels generate peak capacity of 10 megawatts. This covers around 20 percent of the plant’s energy needs. The site is planning to cover half of its energy needs with solar energy in the near future.

–32.8 percent

is the reduction in relative CO2 emissions that the Bosch Group achieved in 2017 over the 2007 reference year (target: 35 percent reduction by 2020 compared with 2007).


Ahead of the 24th World Climate Conference, the ICC invited representatives from politics and business to thyssenkrupp in Essen. At the event, the state secretary of the German Environment Ministry announced that a decarbonization program for energy-intensive industry is currently in planning. Companies like Bosch have already successfully reduced their CO2 emissions with systematic energy management.

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