Country

Länderprofile - Deutschland
02 Dec 2014

Summary: Germany is a federal, parliamentary and representative democratic republic in Western-Central Europe. The country consists of 16 federal states; the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres and has around 80.3 million inhabitants. It is the most populous member state of the European Union, of which it was a founding member in 1957. Germany ranks among the major economic and political powers of the European continent.

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Historically, Germany has an eminent role in many theoretical and technical fields. The German political system operates under a framework laid out in the 1949 constitutional document known as the Grundgesetz. The president, primarily invested with representative responsibilities and powers, is the head of state. The second-highest position is that of the Bundestagspräsident (president of parliament). The third-highest office, i.e. chancellor and head of government, is currently held by Angela Merkel.

Germany has the world's fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP, the fifth-largest by purchasing power parity and was the biggest net contributor to the EU budget in 2011. This country is the second-largest exporter and third-largest importer of goods. Germany has a social market economy with a highly skilled workforce, a large capital stock, a low level of corruption, and a high level of innovation. The service sector contributes approximately 71% of the total GDP, industry 28%, and agriculture 1%. The official average national unemployment rate in May 2012 was 6.7%.

  • Contact point
  • Name
  • Sebastian Franke
  • Organisation
  • VCI
  • Position
  • Expert
  • Phone
  • +49 30 2005-9913
  • E-mail
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Website
  • http://www.vci.de/ 

Mineral oil, natural gas, black and brown coal and renewables are the main constituents of the German energy mix. In energy production in Germany, renewables have been on the increase visibly during the past three years so that they have become a major energy source – second only to brown coal and followed by black coal and nuclear energy.

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 DE primary energy consumption

DE customers energy consumption 

The chemical industry is a key industry in Germany, with a wide range of products at the beginning of numerous value chains. Base chemicals make up some 37% of production. Specialty chemicals – including paints and coatings, crop protection products, specialty plastics and consumer chemicals – account for 43% and thus for the lion's share of the chemical output in this country. The remaining 20% are pharmaceuticals.

Given the above-mentioned wide range of products, the chemical industry has close supply relations with almost all other industries. In terms of production value, chemistry is the 5th largest industry in Germany. With a production volume of 153.8 billion euros (2011), over 10% of the manufacturing industry's total output originates from chemistry. In the years 2000 to 2008, the chemical industry achieved real production growth of 3.3 percent per annum, so that growth was much more dynamic in chemistry than in the overall industry nationwide. With 445,800 staff, over 6% of the total industrial workforce is employed by chemical companies.

The German chemical industry has a good position domestically and is also part of a strong global network. Thanks to its strong competitiveness, chemistry ranks among the "model" industries in this country. Germany is one of the few net exporters of chemicals worldwide and the 4th largest chemical producer globally after China, the USA and Japan. This makes the German chemical industry the no. 1 inside Europe. In 2011, German chemical companies exported goods worth 80.1 billion euros.

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An overview of the chemical sectors highlights the focus on specialty chemicals. This is attributable, inter alia, to the strong innovation capability of the German chemical industry. Another factor is the continuous rise in energy prices which makes base chemicals production unprofitable in the long term.

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DE largest locations

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Small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the proverbial backbone of the German chemical industry – which has around 2,000 companies, of which over 90% fall under the SME definition. This is where some 150,000 persons (more than one third of the total chemical industry staff) are engaged in development and production, accounting for ca. 30%
(= 56 billion euros in 2012) of the overall sales by this industry. Numerous chemical SMEs are world market leaders in their fields of activity. Well-trained personnel, a strong customer-orientation, good product quality and a close network with large businesses are the components of their international competitiveness.

Many chemical SMEs have opened up one or several niches with their products and, in many cases, they have achieved global market leadership in such niches. Unlike in other industries, chemical SMEs are not the suppliers but the customers of large businesses. Quite often, large businesses provide the inputs which SMEs process into final products, e.g. paints and coatings, colorants, adhesives, sealants and putties, plant protectants and disinfectants. Thus, the strength of SMEs lies in the manufacture of tailored chemical products for special uses by other industries or end consumers. In Germany, roughly 40% of so-called fine and specialty chemicals are manufactured by small and medium-sized enterprises.

DE pharma 2010

DE pharma 2010 size groups

The German Responsible Care (RC) program was launched in 1991, based on the chemistry and environment guidelines which were adopted by the Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) already back in 1986. Around 80% (in terms of staff) of the ca. 1,650 VCI member companies are actively taking part in this program. In an international comparison, this means that Germany has one of the major RC programs. Management and staff are daily working to improve occupational health and safety, the protection of the environment, and safety and security generally in chemical plants.

For the past six years, the VCI's annual data gathering exercise and the implementation of the RC program at nationwide, federal state and company levels have been examined by an independent audit company. With the existing achievements, further improvements in classic environmental protection are difficult to measure statistically. For this reason, for some years now the German program has been focusing on projects where Responsible Care can be highlighted by way of examples. The annual Responsible Care competitions are about good ideas, e.g. the awards 2012 went to good ideas for resource efficiency.

Regarding Responsible Care, the VCI is closely cooperating with the German Federation of Chemical Employers' Associations (BAVC) and the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (IG BCE). Furthermore, the VCI and the chemicals trade organization Verband Chemiehandel e. V. (VCH) have concluded a partnership agreement on Responsible Care.

As an initiative of our time, Responsible Care makes important contributions to the sustainable development of the chemical industry in Germany.

Further information is available here.

  • Contact point
  • Name
  • Martina Schönnenbeck
  • Organisation
  • VCI
  • Position
  • Responsible-Care-Manager
  • Phone
  • +49 69 2556-1535
  • E-mail
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Website
  • http://www.vci.de/ 
  • Contact point
  • Name
  • Bernd Berressem
  • Organisation
  • VCI
  • Position
  • Responsible-Care-Manager
  • Phone
  • +49 69 2556-1477
  • E-mail
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Website
  • http://www.vci.de/ 

The German chemical industry is implementing numerous voluntary agreements which partly include the supply chain too.

Since 1984, the German chemical industry has been taking a proactive approach with voluntary agreements where potentials for action can be identified and utilised actively. For example, within voluntary agreements the German chemical industry is making strong commitments, inter alia, for the protection of the climate and water and in nature conservation generally.

More information can be accessed here.

A voluntary agreement that has been signed recently by the German chemical industry is the Energy Efficiency Networks Initiative.

On the 3rd of December 2014, the Energy Efficiency Network Initiative was founded by the Federal Government and 18 of the country's most important business associations. Its aim is to reduce the power consumption of the participating companies by taking advantage of the expertise provided by the networks itself.

In line with the "Energiewende", the initiative's goal is to support the spread of energy-efficiency networks among companies, including the help of business associations such as the VCI serving as connectors. The idea is to set up at least 500 new networks by the year 2020.

But how does it all work?

Ideally, at least 5 but not more than 15 companies decide to set up a network. With the help of an experienced energy consultant, measures to reduce the company's power consumption will then be identified. The network also sets itself a non-binding efficiency target which it stepwise tries to accomplish. During the entire process, a moderated dialogue takes place in which the company's representatives exchange their ideas and experiences.

Nowadays, the efficient use of energy is not only an economic but also an ecological must; being part of a network will also help the companies prepare for the next energy audit which has become mandatory for most businesses in Germany since 2015.

For further information, please visit http://www.effizienznetzwerke.org/ 

 

Other EU member countries

For a summary overview of other member countries profiles, please follow this link.

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