Investigating unified reporting system in Germany to achieve climate neutrality by 2050

In October 2009 the European Commission set the objective for the EU and industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared to levels in 1990. Germany set a higher goal, planning to completely decarbonize its national economy by 2050.

CDP Germany and WWF Germany, with the assistance of PwC have embarked on researching a uniform reporting system to enable companies and government to measure and assess climate change-related information. The aim of this project is to propose a uniform basis for climate change reporting in Germany. The project was initiated by the German National Climate Initiative (NKI), a government initiative,  and assisted by PwC and other stakeholders. The aim of the project is to create practical reporting guidelines in German that are accessible for most firms. 

The success of this ambitious national goal depends on the ability of German enterprises to transform their existing business practices to become carbon neutral. To achieve this target, companies need to understand why it is important, for the national economy and for the private sector, to reach carbon neutrality. Furthermore, businesses need to be able to evaluate and understand their existing GHG emissions before undertaking reduction measures.

However, information produced on climate change is complex. There are various organisations collecting data or publishing information on the topic, all of them focusing on slightly different aspects of climate change. There are also a vast number of standards for measuring and reporting GHG emissions. It is therefore difficult for German firms to have a clear understanding, or even overview of the task ahead and the choice of methods to achieve it. The complexity of information and the fact that most of this information is in English makes it difficult for German businesses to prepare for achieving the national goal.

During the project, CDSB has contributed to the evaluation and analysis of relevant international emissions and financial reporting standards and regulation, in order to ensure maximal compatibility and consistency of the ourcomes of this project with existing reporting practices. The team reviewed various national regulations such as the Grenelle II in France and the new requirements of the Companies Act 2006 in the UK, international voluntary reporting standards and processes such as the GHG Protocol, the Climate Change Reporting Framework, the Global Reporting Initiative’s G3 guidelines, and the CDP climate change information request, as well as voluntary management standards like the  German Sustainability Code (DNK). The team also reviewed existing German financial reporting specifications to ensure the compatibility between global and national guidelines.

The essence of the project is to develop emission reduction targets to reach carbon neutrality on a national level by 2050. But with global alignment in mind, CDP and WWF’s work may create consistency on an international level, setting a productive trend for others to follow. CDSB will continue to support this project to ensure that the approach taken uses existing standards to minimize the reporting burden, ensure transparency and to contribute to the success of this ambitious aim.

Find out more about the project at www.klimareporting.de (in German).

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