Tackling the climate emergency requires economic transformations of unprecedented scale and speed. But while the OECD’s International Programme for Action on Climate has registered 105 countries with carbon neutrality targets, often by 2050, many are off-track to meet those targets. Indeed, at the global level, climate actions are currently falling short of the measures needed to match the Paris Agreement goals.

This report aims at accelerating climate action to close this gap. It has its origin in the target, declared in 2021 by the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce (HCC) for the business community it represents, to reach climate neutrality by 2040. This is 5 years ahead of the Hamburg city region’s and Germany’s climate neutrality targets, and 10 years ahead of the European Union’s. The HCC target and this report, prepared with the support of HCC, testify to the commitment of the Hamburg business community to lead by example.

This report addresses the challenge from a business and a regional perspective.

  • A business perspective means defining concrete action towards making business models consistent with climate neutrality. With HCC’s ambitious climate target, Hamburg businesses will need to get ahead of the policy agenda to gear business models to climate neutrality, avoiding failed investments and identifying related challenges and opportunities.

  • As this report illustrates, embedding climate action in local economic contexts goes a long way to making climate neutrality an economic success. One reason is individual business action is not enough. Businesses need to work together, often across sectors, to create local synergies and to better exploit new shared infrastructures and ways of transforming and using energy. In Hamburg, this includes making the most of the opportunities provided by Europe’s third biggest port, which is an integral part of Hamburg’s ecosystem.

Taking a regional and business perspective reinforces policy action at the national and international level. This permeates all four chapters of the report.

The report was discussed at the Regional Development Policy Committee (RDPC) on 17 November 2023 and was approved by the RDPC through written procedure on 28 November 2023.

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