Working together for a green economy

Green Economy Conference in Berlin Working together for a green economy

Climate action and sustainability are a profitable modernisation programme for national economies, declared Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks at the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) Ministerial Conference in Berlin.

Wind turbines in the offshore wind farm 'Baltic 2' in the Baltic Sea off the island ofl Rügen

Sustainability in climate and environmental projects is also becoming increasingly important for the global economy

Photo: picture-alliance/ZB/Jens Büttner

More growth, employment, education and social justice are beneficial for political stability around the world, she added.

Human wellbeing and prosperity, as well as peace and security, are only achievable if global economic activities change radically, said Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks at the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) Ministerial Conference in Berlin.

The PAGE Ministerial Conference was held on 26 and 27 March in Berlin. More than 300 leaders from the realms of politics, business, civil society and the media, as well as members of the general public discussed how to make national economies and financial markets more sustainable.

Living within ecological limits

Barbara Hendricks pointed out that we must all learn to live within the ecological limits of our planet and to stop living beyond our means. It is also important that everybody benefits form the economy.

"Even if the headlines about world politics sometimes give a different impression, I think that something has been set in motion that is very positive," said Barbara Hendricks. She can see a change of heart, for instance, in the fact that the Paris Agreement on climate change came into force within only a few months. Only nine months after the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted, 44 states have already been willing to report on how they intend to implement the Agenda.

A further boost from the G20 summit

The G20 summit, to be held in July in Hamburg, is to send a strong signal for the further implementation of the 2030 Agenda, stressed Barbara Hendricks. The summit is also to adopt a G20 climate and energy action plan.

The minister called on all G20 states to present long-term strategies before 2020. And those who decide on global financial flows must align these decisions with the climate targets laid out in the Paris Agreement. This applies above all with a view to sustainable investments in infrastructure projects.

Initial recommendations indicate how the private sector can invest in sustainable "green" projects. One proposal looked, for instance, at common standards for "green bonds", while others focused on achieving greater openness in the financial world for climate and environmental projects, explained Barbara Hendricks. In some places enormous private engagement can already be seen. Private businesses are not only increasingly investing in green bonds, but are also demonstrating their innovative capabilities in finding "green" solutions to problems.

Transparency for a better reputation

Investors, businesses and informed consumers are rightly demanding more information, said Barbara Hendricks. This goes from respect for human rights in the supply chain to corruption prevention and respecting employees’ concerns.

Companies offering more transparency than required by law in these areas have competitive advantages and enjoy an enhanced reputation, declared the minister with conviction. The German government intends to encourage moves in this direction:

• Germany and Morocco have thus founded the NDC Partnership, which is a forum that fosters the important North-South dialogue. In this way the German government aims to provide targeted support to developing countries and emerging economies in the field of climate change mitigation.

• The German government has also launched the transnational multi-stakeholder network "Partners for Review", whose mission is to push forward with the implementation of the global sustainable development goals.

• And last but not least, the German government is to provide another two million euros to foster the work of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE). This support for PAGE goes to one of the key actors in promoting structural change to achieve socially and environmentally sound growth.