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Sustainability now in Hamburg's corporate governance code

Compliance to code effective from New Year

The Senate Commission for Public Companies has extended the Hamburg Corporate Governance Code (HCGK) and complies large public companies to adhere to sustainability regulations from January 1, 2020. Companies that meet two of three criteria i.e. a balance sheet total greater than EUR 20 million, sales revenues over EUR 40 million or that have more than 250 employees must publish a sustainability report and report to their supervisory board every two years. Around 30 companies in Hamburg are covered by the code.

Compensation for air travel

“Our new regulations on sustainability mean we are further developing the values catalogue for our public companies at a crucial point. The topic of sustainability is far more than climate protection. It takes a holistic view of companies and their employees and includes social as well as economic aspects,” said Dr. Andreas Dressel, Senator for Finance. The code obliges companies to pay compensation payments to the Climate Control Centre of the Environment and Energy Authority for business air travel.

HCGK complements sustainability strategy

Certain companies like Stromnetz Hamburg or Stadtreinigung are already setting good examples by publishing their sustainability reports. The code supplements the Hamburg Ministry of Finance’s sustainability strategy in green financing, sustainable purchasing and sustainable property management “In addition, we want to align budget management and reporting more closely with the sustainability goals,” Dressel added.

Existence of code

Introduced in 2009, the code sets standards for good corporate governance and applies to all companies in which the City of Hamburg or the Hamburger Gesellschaft für Vermögens- und Beteiligungsmanagement mbH (HGV) have a majority stake and that have their own business activities. Companies are required to submit a Declaration of Compliance with the Hamburg Corporate Governance Code once a year and explain possible deviations.

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