ZNU goes Zero

ZNU goes Zero

ZNU Statement on the STERN Article from April 29, 2021


Dear Sir or Madam,

with great regret we have taken note of the STERN article (29th of April, 2021) about Plant-for-the-Planet, https://www.stern.de/-plant-for-the-planet---spendengelder-versenkt--zweifel-an-stiftung-wachsen-30501150.html.

In a decided form it is presented that the Plant-for-the-Planet approach could be a dubious approach in summary. The article ends with: "Until today, they (the PWC assessors) have not yet started their work."

The STERN article and in particular this last sentence aims at the transparency offensive demanded for months by the ZNU, which must be carried out by Plant-for-the-Planet and is due to the ZEIT article (16.12.2020) now pressing more than ever. The contents of these transparency activities are not least the preparation of a certificate for the verification of the use of funds and planting protocols by an independent auditor (PwC) as well as the establishment of corresponding scientific committees for the verification of statements, e.g. on the CO2 sequestration capacity of trees or realistic growth rates of planted trees. So far, Plant-for-the-Planet has not extensively complied with the ZNU demands despite multiple follow-ups.

We at the ZNU have decided to suspend our relationship with Plant-for-the-Planet with immediate effect until the report of the auditing company (PwC) is made available to us. However, we explicitly reserve the right to terminate the relationship completely. We have also recommended this procedure to the ZNU partner companies involved.

In principle, we stand for sound and credible climate protection with our 5-step ZNU goes Zero approach - as we always focus on "avoid and reduce" including green electricity and emphasize that only unavoidable CO2 emissions are to be compensated in a double procedure.


Why do we need ZNU goes Zero?

Climate change is accelerating. According to current scientific knowledge, humans are the leading cause for climate warming since the mid-20th century. The years between 2014 and 2019 were on average the hottest since the beginning of the industrialisation (Source: Statista, 2020). This development is caused by the rising CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere which have reached the highest levels ever recorded in human history. The projected climate impacts have serious ecological, social and economic consequences.

More: Climate diagram and consequences for business

Aim of the initiative

For this reason, the ZNU – Center for Sustainable Leadership of the University of Witten/Herdecke (Faculty of Economics, Management and Society) and its partners are taking joint responsibility, demonstrating their sustainable leadership role and setting an example for other economic actors:

The ZNU would like to identify possible approaches for ZNU partners to act responsibly with regard to climate protection. During this process, the ZNU wants to work participatory and cooperatively together with partners who are genuinely committed to the goal of climate protection. By participating in ZNU goes Zero, companies simultaneously fulfil the requirements of the Allianz für Klima und Entwicklung initiative (BMZ). The ZNU has been a member of this initiative since 2019 and recommends that participants register there as well (https://allianz-entwicklung-klima.de).

The ZNU is aware of the importance of considering the entire value chain, therefore Phase I (until the end of 2022) focuses on Scope 1 and 2, and will then be incrementally expanded to include Scope 3 criteria.

More information: Commitment of the ZNU partners

How is this goal achieved and certified?

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Who is the ZNU – Center for Sustainable Leadership?

The application-oriented research institute in the Faculty of Economics and Society at the University Witten/Herdecke was founded in 2008 by Dr. Axel Kölle and Dr. Christian Geßner. The ZNU currently employs 15 people.

Our mission is to make sustainability tangible and to inspire people for the opportunities of sustainable business management. The focus lies on research and education, training of managers and the organisation of working groups and conferences.

The ZNU has developed and established the ZNU-Standard Driving Sustainable Change, which helps companies to become more sustainable step by step. The Standard is the only field-tested and externally certifiable standard for sustainable management that integrates all three dimensions of environment, economy and social as well as requires and promotes the development of an integrated sustainable management system.

More information: ZNU Standard – Driving Sustainable Change