20 years of corporate climate action: ClimatePartner celebrates a significant milestone

20 years of corporate climate action: ClimatePartner celebrates a significant milestone

June 11, 2024

ClimatePartner had reason to celebrate in May: the 20th anniversary of Sustainable Partner, the parent company of ClimatePartner GmbH. Back in 2004, still 14 years before Greta Thunberg would be sitting outside the Riksdagshuset, our founder Moritz Lehmkuhl recognised the great importance of companies being able to contribute to climate action.

Voluntary corporate climate action: How it all began 

Moritz first came into contact with the subject when working for an EU-funded project on climate action strategies. He then dismissed the prospect of a straightforward banking career in favour of inspiring companies to get involved in voluntary climate action. This was a difficult endeavour, because when he founded Sustainable Partner in 2004, climate action was still a niche topic in the public eye. With facts, perseverance, and above all, passion, Moritz was gradually able to convince more and more companies to start taking measures for the climate.  

However, the big breakthrough was still a few years away: in 2018, the Fridays for Future movement began to raise public awareness of climate action and encouraged many companies to get involved. Today, around 500 ClimatePartner employees at 10 different locations in Europe and North America support thousands of companies in over 60 countries with this commitment. And 20 years later, Moritz is still tirelessly sharing his experience and enthusiasm for voluntary climate action.  

"When I tried to draw attention to the need for corporate climate action 20 years ago, I was often met with a lack of understanding. In the meantime, climate change is no longer just a scientific prediction, but has become a tangible and visible reality. And this also means that companies are now much more aware of their responsibility. It is negligent not to take this social responsibility seriously – although large corporations and politicians also have a role to play, certainly. We need to rethink the way we deal with emissions and we need to do it quickly."

Moritz Lehmkuhl, ClimatePartner Founder and Managing Director 

Celebrating a year of ClimatePartner certified

From the beginning, we at ClimatePartner have offered our customers the opportunity to communicate their climate action commitment via a label. We have continually developed our offer for this over the years. Since April 2023, ClimatePartner certified and the Financial climate contribution have replaced the well-known carbon neutral label. ClimatePartner certified places higher demands on climate action commitments: it obliges companies to set long-term reduction targets and to implement measures to reduce emissions. In this way, we ensure that companies avoid and reduce emissions in their own value chains, in addition to financing climate projects to make an important and necessary contribution outside the value chain.

We also offer the Financial climate contribution, which transparently confirms that the emissions of a company, product, or service have been calculated and that climate projects have been financed in the corresponding amount. 

How will companies act for the climate in the future?

Like our own solutions, the market will continue to evolve over the coming years. New guidelines such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive will make climate action mandatory for many companies. However, voluntary climate action is not standing still either, with financing climate projects beyond companies' own value chains (Beyond Value Chain Mitigation) taking centre stage, and transparently communicating climate action becoming increasingly important. We are monitoring these developments, are in dialogue with initiatives and the scientific community, and are adapting our own offerings accordingly. Our new CEO, Klaus-Peter Siemssen, has been driving the strategic development and international orientation of ClimatePartner since January 2024. Working closely with Moritz, he is tackling his new task with just as much motivation.  

"The story of ClimatePartner is that of a phoenix rising from the ashes. Though it took years for the issue to get the attention it deserves, many companies finally realised that it makes sense and is necessary to voluntarily engage in climate action. ClimatePartner is now a globally active company with locations in 10 different countries. As CEO, I am able to help shape this transformation from a start-up to a corporate group and dedicate myself to one of the most important tasks of our time: the commitment to protecting our climate."

Klaus-Peter Siemssen, ClimatePartner CEO 

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