Energy giant RWE AG has become the first public company in Germany to sign up to the new German Sustainability Code.
The backing of the Essen-based energy company is a major boost for the code, which was developed by the German Sustainability Council (Rat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung) and unveiled in October 2011.
Before RWE, the code had formal backing from just six companies: city cleaner Berliner Stadtreinigung, retailer Otto Group, supermarket chain REWE, paper firm Steinbeis, auto certifier TÜV Rheinland and mountain sports supplier VAUDE.
The code contains guidelines for corporate reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.
Peter Terium, RWE’s Executive Vice President for Corporate Responsibility, called for sustainability information to be taken up by the capital market in making investment decisions.
It comes amid a push by the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in Germany, where there are now 30 signatories, including eight asset owners.“International investors increasingly look for sustainability criteria in their investment decisions,” said PRI chairman Wolfgang Engshuber. He called the new code a “milestone” that could help set European standards.
Council Chair Marlehn Thieme added: “It is not enough to offer green products – the processes behind products and services are equally important for the sustainability debate.”
RWE is a member of the blue-chip DAX stock index. Observers had previously told RI that if RWE were to join, it could lead to a slew of other DAX firms joining.
Formerly one of Germany’s biggest nuclear firms, RWE is investing €3.9bn in renewable energy by 2014. In a separate development, RWE’s Innogy division has had a naming ceremony for one of its two new offshore wind installation vessels.
‘Victoria Mathias’ will be used in building the 295MW Nordsee Ost wind farm in the North Sea. It is the first of its kind worldwide to be able to transport up to four multi-megawatt offshore wind turbines. Link (German)