Lanxess and Wacker Join Foundation 2°

13.07.2021 - Lanxess and Wacker have become the first two chemical companies to join Foundation 2°, a German corporate initiative lobbying for effective market-based conditions for climate protection and recognition of the “problem-solving skills of German companies.”

Sabine Nallinger, managing director of the foundation named for its most important goal, limiting average global warming to well below 2°C, said the chemical industry is a “solution industry” forging ahead toward carbon neutrality. Germany’s transition away from fossil fuels and digitization depends  on chemistry-based innovations. Without chemistry, “there would be no LEDs, no electric cars, solar modules, or wind turbines.”

For Lanxess, climate protection is a “business case,” said CEO Matthias Zachert. While underscoring the company’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2040, he stressed that in order to maintain the entrepreneurial advantages of sustainable management “the political framework conditions must be right.” 

The Cologne-based chemical producer’s many years of experience in reducing greenhouse gases will be beneficial to Foundation 2°, Zachert said, pointing to projects aimed at reducing its worldwide emissions, including eliminating nitrous oxide emissions at a site in Antwerp. Lanxess’ climate footprint has also become one of its key performance indicators for investments in new plants, acquisitions, or compensation of top management, the CEO added.

Wacker’s CEO, Christian Hartel, said the Munich-based chemical producer is taking a “value-adding, emission-reducing approach to the waste product CO2. Facing the challenge head on, he said Wacker has already electrified over 60% of its production processes. To take this approach forward, “it needs large amounts of renewable electricity at internationally competitive prices.”

On the one hand, Hartel said, the company is reducing the CO2 footprint of its production and, on the other, making projects economically feasible with innovative, low-greenhouse-gas hydrogen projects such as RHYME BAVARIA . What’s needed now, he said, “is swift cooperation from politicians, business, and society. Foundation 2° will be an important bridge-builder in this regard.”

In collaboration with companies from several sectors, energy think-tank Agora Energiewende and consultants Roland Berger have compiled recommendations for action by the political sector. Among them are expansion of renewable energy, competitive electricity costs, establishment of an H2-based economy and a circular economy, along with carbon capture and storage.  Negative emissions, promotion of research, innovation and efficiency technologies round out the “wish list”, along with introduction of Contracts for Difference (CCfDs), in which companies are compensated for the added costs of key low-carbon technologies.

Other chemical producers working together with Foundation 2°, Roland Berger and Agora Energiewende on a Climate Neutrality 2050: What Industry Needs From Policymakers Now policy paper include BASF, Bayer and Covestro.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist