Climate Governance Initiative Germany

The German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), together with ESMT Berlin and Board Academy e.V., has joined the World Economic Forum’s Climate Governance Initiative and coordinates its Chapter Germany. The network aims to mobilize non-executive directors and supervisory board members (“Aufsichtsräte”) to align business models with ambitious climate policy and a set of joint Climate Governance Principles.

Important role of supervisory boards in promoting climate action and sustainability

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Climate Governance Initiative highlights the important role of supervisory boards in the long-term stewardship and overall direction of companies.

With its Climate Governance Principles for supervisory boards, it seeks to enable board members to gain climate awareness and skills, embed climate considerations into board decision-making, and understand and act upon the risks and opportunities that the climate emergency poses to the long-term resilience and business success of their companies.

The RNE aims to promote sustainability in businesses and the overall economic model – the transition to climate neutrality plays a crucial role in this endeavor. For this reason, the RNE, together with its domestic partner organizations, ESMT Berlin and the Board Academy e.V., has joined the Climate Governance Initiative in February 2021. The partners have established a Chapter Germany and will engage with supervisory board members and other stakeholders to intensify debates and accelerate climate action.

Urgency to address climate neutrality in business models

The urgent need to address the climate topic requires governments and businesses to accelerate the transition to a new economic model that is consistent with the Paris Agreement and the recommendations of the 2018 special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Climate change is shaping a new reality, creating risks and opportunities for businesses in a diverse number of ways. Investors, regulators and other stakeholders are now challenging companies to take responsibility by adopting an integrated, strategic approach to addressing the climate emergency. Many if not most boardrooms are grappling with how to frame the risks and opportunities and embed a viable transition strategy into their business models.

To fulfil their fiduciary duties in the long-term service of their organizations, supervisory boards need to be fully aware of the implications of climate change, have the skills, tools, processes and information to act, and commit to steward their companies through the challenges climate change entails to embed it within their companies’ strategic planning. Chapter Germany will contribute to this important initiative and look to cooperate with many like-minded organizations and businesses moving forward.


Panel discussion on corporate strategies out of the crisis on December, 1st 2022 as part of the 15th German Sustainability Award in Düsseldorf

“Strategy is sustainability and sustainability is strategy,” commented the discussant Dr. Sopna Sury, Member of the Supervisory Board at Heidelberg Materials and Managing Director of Hydrogen RWE Generation SE, during the panel discussion “Climate Governance Initiative. Sustainability strategies for the realignment of companies”, hosted by the Climate Governance Initiative Germany as part of the 15th German Sustainability Award. After opening remarks by RNE-Chairman Dr. Werner Schnappauf, in addition the invited guests Prof. Dr. Alexander Bassen (RNE Member), Prof. Dr. Kerstin Lopatta (Supervisory Board Freenet & EQS Group, University Hamburg), and Dr. Dorothea Wenzel (Supervisory Board Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA, H. Lundbeck A/S, Dentsply Sirona) discussed corporate strategies in response to current crises and the importance of sustainability reporting in the transformation. The discussion was moderated by the CGI Germany partner Katharina von Frankenberg.

Photo: © DNP 2022, Christian Koester


Panel discussion on sustainability leadership at CGI´s Global Summit 2022 on October 12th, 2022

The Climate Governance Initiative Germany hosted a panel discussion on “Climate and People: Putting Passion into Board Practice” as part of the initiative’s global summit. The guests Robin Stalker (Supervisory Board Schaeffler, Commerzbank, Hugo Boss, former CFO of adidas), Prof. Dr. Katja Windt (Supervisory Board Deutsche Post and Fraport) and Michael Vassiliadis (Supervisory Board BASF, Henkel, Steag, Chairman IGBCE) discussed the importance and power of sustainability leadership. The event was moderated by CGI Germany partner Katharina von Frankenberg. The event was held in English.

Watch the recording of the event here:


Sustainable Business Roundtable “The Board’s Role in Sustainability” on May 18th, 2022

The Sustainable Business Roundtable (SBRT) members and invited guests met on May 18th, 2022 at ESMT Berlin to discuss the role of boards in sustainability. The event was organized by ESMT, one of the founding partners of the Climate Governance Initiative Germany (CGI Germany), with the CGI Germany. The participants discussed topics, such as recent study results on sustainability leadership, board structure for sustainability oversight and reporting and disclosure of sustainability among others. You can find further impressions here. The SBRT is a peer-to-peer learning network founded by ESMT in 2011.

Photo: ESMT Berlin


Webinar of the Climate Governance Initaitive in collaboration with the World Economic Forum on November 23rd 2021


Virtual Summit, 23 March 2021: Climate Governance Initiative Germany: The Dual Board System and Sustainable Corporate Governance

The Climate Governance Initiative Germany has hosted its inaugural session at the Climate Governance Initiative’s global summit on „The Dual Board System and Sustainable Corporate Governance”. The panel with Dr. Simone Bagel-Trah, Joe Kaeser and Reiner Hoffmann among the guests discussed how supervisory boards can boost sustainable development and climate neutrality. This is the recording of our event:


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Dr Marie Peters
German Council for Sustainable Development
Office c/o GIZ GmbH
Potsdamer Platz 10, 10785 Berlin
Phone: +49 (0) 30 338424-368

Joanna Radeke
Center for Sustainable Business and Leadership
ESMT Berlin
Schlossplatz 1, 10178 Berlin
Phone +49 175 356 6320

Katharina von Frankenberg
Board Academy e.V.
c/o Egon Zehnder International
Beisheim Center, Berliner Freiheit 2, 10785 Berlin
Phone: +49 40 32 32 40 33