First play the climate buddy, then that dirty business in australia pull through. The failed PR stunt by Siemens boss Joe Kaeserwho initially understood the movement "Fridays For Future " announced, but then referred to the need to comply with contracts, not only shows how quickly you can make yourself unbelievable. The additional problem for managers: Since "Fridays for Future" is no longer just a cute demonstration, but has named profiteers from environmental degradation, it has become increasingly difficult to come to terms with solidarity among young people.
Kaeser tried it anyway and got a lot of mockery. However, there were also commentators who commented that Siemens could not allow demonstrators to dictate its business. According to a SPIEGEL survey, the population is in Germany pretty much split in two here,
At the Munich group, however, it was Kaeser himself who spoke of the social benefits that his company had to deliver – and set the goal that the company should be climate neutral by 2030.
Wind power for the cement industry
Despite this verbal greening, various projects that contradict climate protection continue to be launched and maintained – at Siemens apparently even in the supposedly sustainable sector wind power, The company had to take criticism, for example, when it became known that it was in the Morocco occupied Western Sahara for the Moroccan government. However, it becomes even more absurd if you look at what the electricity generated there is used for. It hardly benefits the people in the occupied region. Instead, it flows into the Moroccan cement industry.
A wind farm supplies almost exclusively to the state-owned OCP Group, which uses the electricity to break down phosphate and transports it via a 100-kilometer conveyor belt to the Atlantic port, from where it is supplied to fertilizer producers. The Ethics Council of the Norwegian state pension fund said that the company did not respect the wishes and interests of the local population.
How much the Siemens business still depends on conventional power plant technology becomes clear when you look into the control rooms of the worldwide operating kiln. According to a group spokeswoman, around 3,000 power plants work with Siemens control technology. She didn't want to say how many of them are coal-fired power plants. Indonesia is currently being supported by Siemens in building new coal piles – the Siemens Bank is to help with the financing. Siemens did not want to reveal how many such projects the in-house bank financed.
But it is not just Siemens that is finding it difficult to escape the old, environmentally harmful and apparently still lucrative industries. Regine Richter can report about it. For years, the activist of the non-governmental organization Urgewald has urged banks and insurance companies to get out of coal financing. The insurers at least "have moved," says Richter. As early as 2018, the Munich-based Allianz group presented a coal exit plan for the entire group. "So far, however, the plan has been limited to own investments," Richter admits – and they only make up a small part of the Allianz investment. If the group manages fund funds for third parties – such as in the USA – the voluntary commitment no longer applies.
According to Richter, the situation in banks is even worse, "little has happened there".
If you look at the appearances of Deutsche Bank boss Christian Sewing, it is hard to believe: Sometimes it almost seems as if the group is changing Sewing to the ecobank. At the last Annual General Meeting, the boss of the board thanked climate activist Luisa Neubauer for her criticism. The bank supports the Paris climate agreement and has also withdrawn from financing new coal-fired power plants. A corresponding strict regulation has been in place since 2016 and it also applies to coal mining, a company spokesman said on request.
But does that also apply to oil and gas production and the controversial fracking technology? The spokesman speaks of project reservations. With oil and gas, however, one is still working on a "new policy".
Project reservations? Richter believes it is unbelievable that financed companies stick to it. "They have the creativity to work around this." This also means Greig Aitken from Banktrack, an organization that examines questionable investments by financial institutions.
The Chinese company Yanzhou Coal Mining, which specializes in coal mining, said Aitken that Deutsche Bank provided around $ 265 million in 2018. How does that fit with Sewing's promise? For "legal reasons", said a spokesman, one could not comment on this.
After months of research, Aitken and colleagues from five other NGOs also found that between 2016 and 2018, the bank was the world's second largest financier, exploiting Arctic oil and gas deposits, at almost $ 1 billion. The loans from the oil and gas business amounted to 7.5 billion euros, another 8.8 billion euros are loan commitments, according to a report by the bank.
But the spokesman rejects the numbers of the report far from himself. His explanation: After all, "no direct projects related to Arctic oil and gas deposits are financed".