The Federal Republic is an export country, also in the area of environmental protection products. But the connection between the economy and ecology is evident not only when it comes to opportunities on the international market.
There are also tangible economic reasons for us to advance ecological structural change here in our own country.
The German Environmental Management Association [Bundesdeutscher Arbeitskreis für Umweltbewusstes Management or BAUM] estimates that 2-5 percent of any given business’s total costs can be saved through efficient environmental management.
According to BAUM, this amounts to a total potential savings of roughly 150-200 billion DM per year in Germany.
In view of increased competition on the markets, however, the real question is: can we afford, can a company afford, not to take advantage of this potential?
Doesn’t the very act of neglecting environmental protection endanger Germany’s status as a location for business and industry and thus put German jobs at risk?
By the way, on this point, people often overlook the fact that a modern environmental infrastructure is also an important selection factor for foreign companies that are choosing investment locations.
To reiterate: this is not about legitimizing environmental protection on economic grounds.
It is about understanding the fact that environmental protection lies in the interest of everyone.
I want to motivate businesspeople to view environmental protection as an opportunity, and I also want to encourage them to achieve results in the Alliance for Jobs.
Success will only be possible when all of the partners understand the opportunities offered by the discussions.
Only then will it be possible to move beyond an exchange of familiar positions. Only then can we move to the really crucial question, which is not: “Do we need ecological structural change?,” but rather: “How do we bring it about?”