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Sector: Corporate Affairs

Grayling acquires specialist consultancy in Berlin to expand German business

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Grayling, part of Accordience, continues to strengthen its offer in Germany with the new acquisition of Berlin-based Advice Partners, a consultancy specialising in Public Affairs and Crisis Communications.  This further bolsters Grayling’s unmatched network across Europe, adds a third office in Germany in addition to Frankfurt and Munich, and provides further value and integrated capabilities for its global clients.   

Sarah Scholefield, Grayling Global CEO, said: “As a major political and economic player in Europe, Germany continues to be a key market for both Grayling and our clients. This acquisition enables us to provide more integrated approaches to engage with a wider variety of stakeholders and is highly complementary to the Grayling portfolio. 

Advice Partners has built a long-standing and excellent reputation across a range of industries, and they are well positioned to support companies as they navigate an era of profound transformation.  We are delighted to welcome them to the Grayling network.”   

Advice Partners will continue operating under its current brand name. Its leadership team of Nicole Heyder and Boris Barth will join Grayling Germany’s management board and report into Grayling Germany CEO Geraldine Schroeder.   

The acquisition follows Grayling’s appointment of Schroeder in 2020, and Marco Dautel as Head of Munich in 2021.  

Beyond the Glasgow Climate Pact

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The Glasgow Climate Pact, agreed late on Saturday 13th November, finally drew COP26 to a close. Speaking at a press conference the following day, the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the summit as a success and the ‘world is undeniably heading in the right direction’ but even he acknowledged that much work remained to be done and the final agreement fell short of the aspirations of many.

While the COP26 agreement is a milestone and significant progress has been made in some areas, the new emission pledges still do not yet achieve the 1.5C target agreed in Paris. Importantly though it lays down the expectations of what countries are expected to do ahead of the next round of negotiations next year. So, the Glasgow Climate Pact potentially paves the way for more radical plans to be presented at COP27 in Egypt and for nations to scope out how that target can be achieved, instead of the current forecast 2.4C trajectory.

It is also important to look at what’s been achieved beyond the deal, including agreements on deforestation and 500 global financial services firms agreeing to align $130 trillion to the Paris goals. However, there is lingering regret that key issues have been left unresolved or ‘watered down’, including fossil fuels after India and China’s last-minute intervention to change the language from ‘phasing out’ to ‘phasing down’ their use.

Post-Glasgow, a fundamental question now is what needs to change to get even more traction on this and other challenges, with the clock ticking towards what scientists warn are dangerous levels of climate change on the horizon. After all, Egypt will not be able to mobilise the diplomatic resources for COP27 next year that the United Kingdom has brought to bear in 2020 and 2021.

While the answer to that is multi-faceted, one potential driver of change is Sino-US leadership on climate change that re-emerged at Glasgow. Despite their wider bilateral tensions, and China’s continued addiction to coal, this G2 partnership to tackle global warming could be a potentially very important during the remainder of Joe Biden’s presidency.

Reactions to the deal have been very mixed. António Guterres, UN Secretary General said: “It is an important step but is not enough. We must accelerate climate action to keep alive the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.” While most global leaders have acknowledged progress, there is also a sense that the final deal falls short. Many poorer countries, while acknowledging that some finance has been made available, are disappointed about the lack of recognition of the principle of loss and damage and that the level of finance on the table is not nearly enough. The sense of disappointment is shared by climate activists. John Kerry, the US Climate Envoy, perhaps summed up the deal’s impact most accurately when he said that though it will not end the climate crisis, a new ‘starting pistol’ had been fired to address global climate change post-Paris.

All eyes now turn to COP27 in Egypt. Next year’s meeting will aim to secure further pledges from each nation to make major carbon cuts to get much closer to the 1.5C goal with greater movement needed by larger emitting countries such as Russia and India to get there.

One of the key lessons of the last six years since Paris is that delivery is now critical with implementation of climate deals best through national laws. So, the country ‘commitments’ put forward so far, will be most credible – and durable – if they are backed up by legally-binding legislation. If that happens, and key powers including the United States and EU continue to raise the bar of overall global climate ambitions, the 1.5C aspirations of Paris can still potentially be kept in play.

 

Would you like to know more? Our team can help you navigate post Cop26 developments and support you in your engagement with decision makers and the broader public: cop26@grayling.com

 

Grayling Austria 2x auf der Shortlist für den Staatspreis PR

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Gleich zwei Projekte von Grayling sind für die wichtigste Auszeichnung der Branche – den Staatspreis PR – nominiert: Der Launch von ‚alle jobs‘, umgesetzt im Auftrag des AMS Österreich sowie die #BakeAgainstPoverty Kampagne, die in Kooperation mit dem Vollpension Generationencafé ins Leben gerufen wurde.

Der digitale Talk der zum Launch der AMS Job-Suchmaschine ‚alle jobs‘ veröffentlicht wurde, ist in der Kategorie „PR-Spezialprojekte und Innovationen“ nominiert. Das Projekt wurde von Grayling in Arbeitsgemeinschaft mit UniqueFessler entwickelt und implementiert.

Die von Grayling begleitete Kampagne #BakeAgainstPoverty – der weltweite Aufruf des Generationencafés Vollpension an ‚backkundige‘ Senior*innen – hat es in der Kategorie „Corporate Social Responsibility, gesellschaftspol. Anliegen, Diversity und Inclusion“ auf die Shortlist geschafft.

Der Public Relations Verband Austria (PRVA) richtet den vom Bundesministerium für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort ausgelobten Staatspreis Public Relations aus. In diesem Jahr wurden aus 77 Einreichungen jeweils drei Projekte in fünf Staatspreis-Kategorien nominiert. Die Gewinner werden im Rahmen der PR-Staatspreis-Gala am 24. November 2021 bekannt gegeben.

 

Credits:
Kunde: AMS
Johannes Kopf, Gudrun Pallierer

Agenturteam: ARGE Grayling Austria/UniqueFessler
Moritz Arnold, Michaela Desch, Anna Steiner, Theresa Steffner, Sophia Hintermayer – Grayling
Robert Judtmann, Thomas Appl, Nathalie Neuwirth – UniqueFessler

Mit Unterstützung von: Uschi Juno, Beraterin für Onlinekommunikation, Geschäftsführerin MOKS und Fabian Pimminger, Web-Developer und IT-Experte

Kunde: Vollpension
Hannah Lux, Moriz Piffl-Percevic, Manuel Gruber, David Haller, Stephanie Cox, Annemarie Bernhardt

Agenturteam: Grayling Austria
Moritz Arnold, Kilian v. Dallwitz, Michaela Schützinger, Johanna Wenzl

 

Für Rückfragen:
Berith Hagvaag, Grayling Austria, berith.hagvaag@grayling.com

What is next for the German energy sector?

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Energy and climate issues were at the centre of this year’s federal election in Germany. It is obvious that the profound transformation of the energy sector towards a greener future yields significant opportunities and financial incentives for a broad range of industries. Yet it is also true that notable hurdles have to be overcome.

What are the challenges and opportunities for the energy sector under the next coalition government?

Download and read our free analysis here.

As a leading Public Affairs Agency, Grayling is committed to serve their clients in transformative environments. We identify risks and opportunities and devise tailored and long-term oriented communications and dialogue strategies, using a host of proprietary data analysis tools.

Interested to speak to our energy experts in more depth? Please get in touch with Geraldine Schroeder: Geraldine.Schroeder@grayling.com.

 

Fit for 55 – Key players in the European Parliament

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On the 14th of July, the European Commission published the Fit for 55 package, a legislative package that aims to reduce European Union’s emissions by 55% by 2030 and to reach climate neutrality by 2050.

The legislative work is slowly beginning in the European Parliament with political groups distributing files and nominating rapporteurs and shadows.

Our Grayling team in Brussels provides a snapshot of key players to date involved in the race towards climate neutrality.

Click here to download our stakeholder map for free.

Would you like to know more or get in touch with these policymakers? Our Brussels-based Grayling team can help you navigate the European Union, inform you about the latest developments in the European institutions and support you in your engagement with decision makers:brusselspa@grayling.com.

5 things to look out for in the European Commission’s new work programme

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Behind the headlines of the “Fit for 55” climate package and COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission has been quietly planning its work for 2022. The current legislative term will reach its halfway point next year, and the publication of the Commission’s annual work programme (CWP) on 19 October provides a roadmap on the measures to come.

While the 2021 CWP was highly anticipated for its details on the EU’s climate legislation overhaul, its sequel has faced lower expectations. It is however no less consequential to a wide range of economic sectors.

The planned proposals are intended to implement the key cross-sectoral strategies stemming from the European Green Deal, including on circular economy, pollution prevention, and sustainable mobility. The introduction of these new rules will be guided by the ‘one-in, one-out’, ‘do no significant harm’ and ‘digital-by-default’ principles to address administrative burden, sustainability, and digitalisation in all EU decision-making.

Here are the five things to look out for in the Commission’s 2022 work programme.

Plastics – Major steps on microplastics

Building on the EU’s circular economy and zero pollution action plans, the Commission is planning to adopt significant legislative proposals on microplastics in 2022.

These emerging pollutants are a major concern in the environmental strategy of President von der Leyen’s Commission, which has set a target to reduce the amount of microplastics released into the environment by 30% by 2030. To this end, the 2022 CWP foresees the adoption of measures to restrict intentionally added microplastics (Q4 2022) and measures to reduce the release of microplastics into the environment from tyres, textiles, and pellets (Q4 2022).

The planned restriction is expected to prevent 500,000 tonnes of plastic particles from ending up in the environment to an estimated cost of €11-19 billion on companies currently including microplastics in their products.

Chemicals – Streamlining a stricter framework

Like the ‘Plastics package’, the key chemicals proposals in the CWP are focused on tackling pollutants of concern, such as endocrine disruptors, from ending up in the air and waterways. Revisions of the Classification, Labelling, and Packaging Regulation (May 2022), the list of surface and groundwater pollutants (September 2022), and the Detergents Regulation (December 2022) are all intended to place new requirements on the making available and handling of substances in line with the Commission’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.

The higher costs on the industry from the new labelling obligations are expected to be offset by improvements to the functioning of the single market. These include the easing of some labelling requirements with new classification categories for chemicals, alignment of the electronics sector with the ‘one substance – one assessment’ principle, and streamlining the scientific and technical work of EU agencies on chemicals.

Health – Overhaul of pharmaceutical legislation

The COVID-19 crisis has pushed European health policy into the spotlight. While the Commission’s focus in 2021 was, understandably, on crisis response and preparedness – with key action notably on vaccine roll out and the proposal for a Health Emergency Response Authority (HERA) – 2022 will be another big year for health.

Under the ambitious Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe (adopted in 2020), the European Commission will revise the basic pharmaceutical legislation. This long-awaited overhaul of the legal framework aims to bring the rules into line with technological developments, ensuring patients can access affordable medicines, addressing ‘unmet needs’ (rare diseases and antimicrobial resistance), fostering innovation and reducing regulatory burden – as well as integrating lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic around issues such as security of medicine supply. A Commission proposal is expected for Q4 2022.

In parallel, the Commission will also revise EU legislation on medicines for children and rare diseases, simplifying current rules while revisiting how pharmaceutical companies are incentivised to fulfil these patients’ needs.

Digital – Geopolitical semiconductors

Introduced to the European Parliament as a part of Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech this September, the European Chips Act is intended to do no less that to ‘put Europe back in the tech race’. The Commission’s directorate for communications network (DG CNECT) is currently considering how to come up with major initiatives to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the European semiconductor – or “chip” – industry. The purpose of the act is to address the EU’s strategic dependencies on imported semiconductors by strengthening the security of supply and accelerate production capacities beyond domestic demand.

In lieu of concrete next steps, the Commission is expected to roll out a strategy on semiconductors in Q2 2022 to outline a package of future legislative measures.

Mobility – Single framework for multimodal travel

In addition to the proposal on a framework for measuring transport emissions foreseen for Q4 2022, the Commission is looking to set up legislative standards for EU-wide digital ticketing. While the adoption of a common ISO standard for emissions reporting can be expected to reduce administrative burdens on the supply side, the legislation on multimodal digital mobility services (MDMS) is expected to make it easier for the demand side to choose more environmentally friendly and efficient travel options as a part of their journey.

The European Green Deal sets a target for 90% emissions reductions in the transport sector by 2050. So far, the focus has been on transport companies and fuel suppliers, while less attention has been given to the practical solutions on how to empower travellers to decarbonise. The Commission’s initiative considers repealing the existing code of conduct for computerised reservation systems (CRS) – digital platforms used to search and buy airline tickets, hotel rooms, and rental cars, among other activities – in order to incorporate these ticketing services into the regulatory push for more environmental travel choices.

The initiative is expected to be adopted in Q4 2022.

What happens next

The Commission will begin the preparatory work already this year, with the first public consultations on the planned proposals expected to be published within the next month. The full process from an impact assessment to the final legislative proposal will take months and provides numerous opportunities for stakeholders to be heard in the development of the new EU rules – as long as the positions are coherent and actively voiced to the right policymakers.

The subsequent legislative procedure will of course offer further opportunities to shape the legislation in the European Parliament and the Council, but by missing the early stages in the Commission, a concerned stakeholder has already given opposing interests a substantial head start.

 

Get in touch with our team in Brussels (brusselspa@grayling.com) and follow the conversation on the Fit for 55 package on Twitter @TheEULobby

What to expect at COP 26

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The clock is ticking to the start of the COP 26 climate summit with public, private and third sector organisations making final preparations for engaging with what may prove to be the largest ever UK-hosted international event. While COPs are held every twelve months, except for 2020 during the first year of the pandemic, Glasgow is the most important since Paris, and UK ministers have sought to learn key ‘lessons’ from that landmark 2015 conference.

One of those learnings is the importance of a long ‘run-in’ prior to the event with French officials engaging international stakeholders for two years before the start of Paris. The French Government threw the full weight of the state behind that 2015 event with then-foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who was in the 1980s France’s youngest ever prime minister, the most effective ever COP president.

Former UK business secretary Alok Sharma is this year’s COP president and he has done extensive diplomatic legwork having flown to more than 30 countries this year alone. Yet, while he has clocked up the air miles, UK preparations have been significantly hampered by the pandemic and geopolitical tensions, and London is currently still scrambling to try to ensure attendance of key world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping who at the time of writing has still not confirmed whether he will attend.

Xi’s absence, if he doesn’t travel to Glasgow, could be a particular challenge for the UK Government delivering a successful summit. China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions and Xi, alongside then-US president Barack Obama, was a pivotal player in the build-up to Paris in 2015. This included the momentum he brought to the signing of the US-China climate agreement that year that helped pave the way for securing the new global climate treaty in France.

The fact that there is still much left to do, diplomatically, to get Glasgow on track was highlighted by Sharma earlier this month when he made a point of warning that “COP 26 is not a photo op or a talking shop. It must be the forum where we put the world on track to deliver on climate. And that is down to leaders”.

Climate diplomacy super-surge in October and November

With ‘success’ in November far from certain, London along with key allies is now engaged in a global diplomatic climate super-surge.  This began in New York last month at the United Nations when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met counterparts from across the world to try to get progress in five key priority areas, namely;

  • The energy transition
  • The shift to zero-carbon transport
  • Adaptation and resilience
  • Nature and safeguarding of ecosystems
  • Unleashing green finance

It will be enormously hard to get substantive deals in all of these areas this Autumn. Privately, some key figures involved in the talks have admitted that a key headline goal of securing enough pledges on greenhouse gas emission cuts from major economies will most likely fall short of the halving needed this decade to limit global warming to the 1.5C cap agreed in Paris.

The goal instead may therefore become that of trying to keep 1.5C ‘alive’ with Glasgow potentially setting a pathway to avoid the worst impact of climate change in the decades to come. Any such Glasgow deal could allow for future updates to emissions pledges in the next few years to try to allow the world to stay within scientific advice on carbon levels.

Yet, even that goal remains in the balance for now, and that is why the UK Government is undertaking a diplomatic surge, including at this month’s G20 leadership summit in Italy. In New York last month, for instance, UK efforts were aided by several high-profile announcements, including US President Joe Biden’s pledge to work with Congress to try to quadruple the US financial commitment to help developing nations confront the climate crisis to 11.4 billion dollars per year.

However, even with this new money, the target for an important new fund of 100 billion dollars from industrialised countries for climate help to the developing world is still an estimated 10 billion dollars a year short. So other countries will also need to dig deeper into their pockets too.

With much therefore yet to fall in place, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres warned again last month that “if we don’t change course, we may be headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3C this century” above pre-industrial levels. He urged all countries to move as quickly as possible to carbon neutrality to limit temperature rises to no more than 1.5C. Both the UK Government, and the United Nations are therefore now doubling down on the process of encouraging countries to adopt tougher emission reduction targets to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C, and ensure that developing countries on the frontline of the climate crisis get increased financial support.

Creating a post-Glasgow summit roadmap

While Glasgow will be a key staging post in the battle against global warming, Guterres and other key players are already looking ahead too in case the COP fails to deliver on the high expectations surrounding it. Following the challenges of the Trump presidency, and with Biden in power till at least January 2025, and potentially for four years on top of that, there may now be a 3-7 year opportunity to act in what the US president has called a ‘decisive decade’.

What key UN officials and others are hoping, if this opportunity can be harnessed, is development and implementation of a clear roadmap into the 2030s. While this bridge to the next decade still requires greater definition, it involves not just setting ambition targets, but also creating the framework for meeting them.

This requires implementation of the Paris and any Glasgow deals through national laws where politically feasible to make them most effective. The country ‘commitments’ put forward so far, which will hopefully be enhanced in November, will be most credible — and durable — if they are backed up by legislation where this is possible.

In the United States, part of the reason then-president Donald Trump was able to go about unravelling Obama’s Paris ratification so relatively straightforwardly is that it was, politically, impossible to get the treaty approved in Congress. Obama therefore embedded the agreement through executive order, which Trump rescinded, before Biden reinstated it this year.

Compared to executive orders, legislation is more difficult to roll back. And this is especially when supported — as in many countries — by well informed, cross-party lawmakers who can put in place a credible set of policies and measures to ensure effective implementation.

While world-wide climate pledges made are not yet enough for 1.5C, domestic legal frameworks are being put in place that are potentially crucial building blocks to measure, report, verify and manage greenhouse gas emissions. In the future, the ambition must be that these frameworks are replicated in even more countries, and progressively ratcheted up. And there are some clear signs of this happening already in numerous states, from Asia-Pacific to the Americas, as countries seek to toughen their response to global warming.

Going forward, Glasgow therefore still has the potential to help co-create, and implement, what could be a foundation of global sustainable development for billions across the world. This must start with speedy, comprehensive implementation of Paris, but needs to move beyond this and capitalise on the greater climate ambition that November’s summit will hopefully offer.

Andrew Hammond leads Quiller Consultants, and heads the global affairs offer of Quiller and Grayling. He has been engaged in the COP process since Copenhagen in 2009, and is providing strategic counsel to clients before and after the Glasgow summit on ESG issues.

For more information, please contact: globalaffairs@grayling.com 

What to expect at COP 26

  |   By  |  0 Comments

The clock is ticking to the start of the COP 26 climate summit with public, private and third sector organisations making final preparations for engaging with what may prove to be the largest ever UK-hosted international event. While COPs are held every twelve months, except for 2020 during the first year of the pandemic, Glasgow is the most important since Paris, and UK ministers have sought to learn key ‘lessons’ from that landmark 2015 conference.

One of those learnings is the importance of a long ‘run-in’ prior to the event with French officials engaging international stakeholders for two years before the start of Paris. The French Government threw the full weight of the state behind that 2015 event with then-foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who was in the 1980s France’s youngest ever prime minister, the most effective ever COP president.

Former UK business secretary Alok Sharma is this year’s COP president and he has done extensive diplomatic legwork having flown to more than 30 countries this year alone. Yet, while he has clocked up the air miles, UK preparations have been significantly hampered by the pandemic and geopolitical tensions, and London is currently still scrambling to try to ensure attendance of key world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping who at the time of writing has still not confirmed whether he will attend.

Xi’s absence, if he doesn’t travel to Glasgow, could be a particular challenge for the UK Government delivering a successful summit. China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions and Xi, alongside then-US president Barack Obama, was a pivotal player in the build-up to Paris in 2015. This included the momentum he brought to the signing of the US-China climate agreement that year that helped pave the way for securing the new global climate treaty in France.

The fact that there is still much left to do, diplomatically, to get Glasgow on track was highlighted by Sharma earlier this month when he made a point of warning that “COP 26 is not a photo op or a talking shop. It must be the forum where we put the world on track to deliver on climate. And that is down to leaders”.

Climate diplomacy super-surge in October and November

With ‘success’ in November far from certain, London along with key allies is now engaged in a global diplomatic climate super-surge.  This began in New York last month at the United Nations when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met counterparts from across the world to try to get progress in five key priority areas, namely;

  • The energy transition
  • The shift to zero-carbon transport
  • Adaptation and resilience
  • Nature and safeguarding of ecosystems
  • Unleashing green finance

It will be enormously hard to get substantive deals in all of these areas this Autumn. Privately, some key figures involved in the talks have admitted that a key headline goal of securing enough pledges on greenhouse gas emission cuts from major economies will most likely fall short of the halving needed this decade to limit global warming to the 1.5C cap agreed in Paris.

The goal instead may therefore become that of trying to keep 1.5C ‘alive’ with Glasgow potentially setting a pathway to avoid the worst impact of climate change in the decades to come. Any such Glasgow deal could allow for future updates to emissions pledges in the next few years to try to allow the world to stay within scientific advice on carbon levels.

Yet, even that goal remains in the balance for now, and that is why the UK Government is undertaking a diplomatic surge, including at this month’s G20 leadership summit in Italy. In New York last month, for instance, UK efforts were aided by several high-profile announcements, including US President Joe Biden’s pledge to work with Congress to try to quadruple the US financial commitment to help developing nations confront the climate crisis to 11.4 billion dollars per year.

However, even with this new money, the target for an important new fund of 100 billion dollars from industrialised countries for climate help to the developing world is still an estimated 10 billion dollars a year short. So other countries will also need to dig deeper into their pockets too.

With much therefore yet to fall in place, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres warned again last month that “if we don’t change course, we may be headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3C this century” above pre-industrial levels. He urged all countries to move as quickly as possible to carbon neutrality to limit temperature rises to no more than 1.5C. Both the UK Government, and the United Nations are therefore now doubling down on the process of encouraging countries to adopt tougher emission reduction targets to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C, and ensure that developing countries on the frontline of the climate crisis get increased financial support.

Creating a post-Glasgow summit roadmap

While Glasgow will be a key staging post in the battle against global warming, Guterres and other key players are already looking ahead too in case the COP fails to deliver on the high expectations surrounding it. Following the challenges of the Trump presidency, and with Biden in power till at least January 2025, and potentially for four years on top of that, there may now be a 3-7 year opportunity to act in what the US president has called a ‘decisive decade’.

What key UN officials and others are hoping, if this opportunity can be harnessed, is development and implementation of a clear roadmap into the 2030s. While this bridge to the next decade still requires greater definition, it involves not just setting ambition targets, but also creating the framework for meeting them.

This requires implementation of the Paris and any Glasgow deals through national laws where politically feasible to make them most effective. The country ‘commitments’ put forward so far, which will hopefully be enhanced in November, will be most credible — and durable — if they are backed up by legislation where this is possible.

In the United States, part of the reason then-president Donald Trump was able to go about unravelling Obama’s Paris ratification so relatively straightforwardly is that it was, politically, impossible to get the treaty approved in Congress. Obama therefore embedded the agreement through executive order, which Trump rescinded, before Biden reinstated it this year.

Compared to executive orders, legislation is more difficult to roll back. And this is especially when supported — as in many countries — by well informed, cross-party lawmakers who can put in place a credible set of policies and measures to ensure effective implementation.

While world-wide climate pledges made are not yet enough for 1.5C, domestic legal frameworks are being put in place that are potentially crucial building blocks to measure, report, verify and manage greenhouse gas emissions. In the future, the ambition must be that these frameworks are replicated in even more countries, and progressively ratcheted up. And there are some clear signs of this happening already in numerous states, from Asia-Pacific to the Americas, as countries seek to toughen their response to global warming.

Going forward, Glasgow therefore still has the potential to help co-create, and implement, what could be a foundation of global sustainable development for billions across the world. This must start with speedy, comprehensive implementation of Paris, but needs to move beyond this and capitalise on the greater climate ambition that November’s summit will hopefully offer.

Andrew Hammond leads Quiller Consultants, and heads the global affairs offer of Quiller and Grayling. He has been engaged in the COP process since Copenhagen in 2009, and is providing strategic counsel to clients before and after the Glasgow summit on ESG issues.

For more information, please contact: globalaffairs@grayling.com 

German Election Brief: What’s next for business?

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Europe’s biggest economy held federal elections on Sept. 26 and the result is already changing rituals and the political power structure in Germany’s rather stable post-war landscape. Both the far-right and the far-left lost voters to the middle. Almost two-thirds of voters did not favour one of the two big parties, the Conservatives and the Social Democrats, with the latter nonetheless narrowly coming out on top, and the Conservatives, Chancellor Merkel’s party, dropping 8% compared to the previous election. While both parties governing by forming a ‘grand coalition’ is not a realistic option for the future, two smaller ones will be the kingmakers; the Green Party and the LibDems will decide upon the country’s next government in two possible 3-party coalitions and they have swiftly launched negotiation talks among themselves, a first in post-war history.

How the political landscape shifted

Germany has long sustained a three-party system with centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), its Bavarian sister CSU, centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), and the smaller LibDems (FDP) helping to establish two-party coalitions. In the 1980s the Green party arrived, becoming a junior partner in an SPD-led government (1998-2005); it is now a fundamental part of Germany’s political establishment. In this year’s election, its continuing success has led to the Green’s first credible shot in competing for the chancellorship, an opportunity that did not materialise as of last Sunday. Yet, with long-time Chancellor Merkel having moved the Conservatives to the centre, sometimes centre-left, her party has increasingly looked and felt like their Social Democratic competitor. Consequently, many voters felt that only Greens and LibDems would bring about the necessary changes in relevant policy areas.

 

Green Party and LibDems taking centre stage

German parties’ colour codes inspire potential coalitions’ names: for example, a ‘Jamaica’ coalition, with yellow Liberals, black Conservatives, and the Greens. While attractive for LibDems given their fiscal policies, the Conservatives’ weakness makes the ‘traffic light coalition’ (SPD, FDP, Greens) more likely. The two options will need Greens and LibDems, who both claim to represent Germany’s progressive centre. Their positions differ sharply in areas such as the state’s role, tax, and energy policies. Yet, shared priorities might prevail, with a boost for new tech, reducing bureaucratic burdens for the private sector and kickstarting the overdue digitisation of Germany’s public sector and infrastructure.

Regarding taxes, while timing differs, both parties support ‘super write-offs’, with companies investing in climate-friendly technologies to get deductions. Investment in public infrastructure, another contested issue, could be reconciled by a compromise: financing transmission networks, charging infrastructure for e-mobility, fibre-optic cables, and public transport from a sovereign wealth fund rather than exploiting state budgets. Controlling the state budget remains vital for the LibDems who, in contrast to the Greens, vehemently support preserving a government budget ‘debt brake’.

The Green Party’s stance is unwavering regarding climate protection policies: this is its core project; everything else comes second. LibDems and Greens agree on ETS being an important instrument in turning economies greener, with a high CO2 price also solving another potential bone of content, Germany’s continued phase-out from coal-fired electricity and further increasing the use of wind and solar power. While many of Germany’s top CEOs remain sceptical about introducing greener energies technology due to costs, the influential automotive sector has fallen into step, suggesting concrete targets for more ambitious climate policies.

Foreign policy absent from the elections – well then?

Foreign policy has played a startlingly small role in the election campaign. With its single-minded focus on climate change, the Green Party, not ruling out tax raises and even more public sector debt, is more likely to adopt a flexible approach on budgetary policy at an EU-level. Both Conservatives and LibDems have pledged against tax raises; both pursue a conservative budgetary policy and will definitely continue this approach on an EU level. The Franco-German relationship will continue to be prioritised to develop further and hold together the EU. The countries differ on energy policies, e.g., German Social Democrats need France to institutionalise international climate policies.

One can expect any new German government to support the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and protect German industry, locally rooted R&D and manufacturing, and the German health sector. As to handling ‘Big Tech’, another push on the international level is expected, with the Greens pledging to curb the power of platform companies and ‘monopolistic structures’. The Greens also advocate for an ambitious implementation of the DMA at a European level and look to establish a European digital supervisory authority under the umbrella of an independent European cartel authority.

Change is in the air

Though it remains to be seen who will finally govern Germany, one thing seems clear: many Germans feel simply carrying on with minor policy adjustments is not an option. They voted to tackle changes in several policy areas.

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