Germany says ‘willkommen’ to The Chancery Lane Project

Germany – home to the largest legal sector in the European Union – is embracing The Chancery Lane Project (TCLP) and the move towards climate contracting.

In the last six months more than sixty lawyers have joined TCLP in Germany – creating eight collaborative teams across the country that are now adapting, also known as ‘transposing’, TCLP’s climate clauses to make them relevant and usable in Germany.

TCLP’s German Transpositions Team includes both German and UK firms with offices in the major legal centres across Germany. CMS, Hogan Lovells, Dentons, Clyde & Co, Baker McKenzie, Allen and Overy and Noerr are the firms who have joined TCLP in Germany so far. The commercial real estate experts, JLL, are also taking part.

With Germany being a world leader in pharmaceuticals, construction and the car industry – all major greenhouse gas emitters – the potential for TCLP’s climate clauses to deliver rapid decarbonisation at scale – from Hamburg to Munich and Bonn to Berlin – is huge.

Julia Fünfgeld from CMS Stuttgart said: “Over the last 12 months we’ve heard a lot about the ‘Last Generation’ activists. Now, we want to be the first generation of German lawyers actively seizing legal instruments against climate change. We want to drive positive change in a real-world, commercial way – using the power of contracts.”

Since April this year there have been four steps to TCLP’s growth in Germany. 

  1. Working with lawyers across Germany, TCLP analysed greenhouse gas emissions from the major sectors in the German economy, plus the contracts that govern them.
  2. Using the results from this analysis, TCLP identified the intervention points where its climate clauses would deliver the greatest carbon savings.
  3. Then, by mapping these findings against its existing climate clauses, the German Transpositions Team identified which clauses will create the most impact when transposed into German law, and which clauses may require fresh drafting for German law.
  4. The latest step is the transposing work now taking place: making TCLP’s climate clauses relevant for this jurisdiction.

Becky Clissmann, TCLP’s Chief Legal Officer, said: “It is so exciting to see how lawyers across Germany are signing up to TCLP and dedicating their time and expertise to climate contracting. We’re excited to see the potential for accelerating TCLP’s impact all around the world – especially in major economies like Germany – so that every commercial contract enables a solution to climate change.”

“The climate crisis is too big for any one of us to tackle alone. Progress will only come through collaboration. In Germany, TCLP is offering a really exciting opportunity for more and more law firms and businesses to work together, to apply their legal expertise and to enhance their climate-conscious drafting skills. Together, we can make sure that you and your clients can use climate clauses in your contracts now and create rapid decarbonisation at scale.” 

Germany offers TCLP a colossal, dynamic market – the fourth largest economy in the world – combined with a culture and policy framework that has been committed to sustainability for more than 20 years. 

In 2002, Germany adopted a National Strategy for Sustainable Development, making sustainability a guiding principle for national policies and turning Germany into a pioneer in environmental protection and sustainable development. Today, the German economy is living proof that decarbonisation and commercial growth can go hand in hand. 

Looking ahead to 2023, Becky Clissman said: “There are three fundamental pillars now in place in Germany; a culture that is dedicated to sustainability, major corporates that are also major emitters, and a fast-growing legal sector that is increasingly turning to The Chancery Lane Project for the climate clauses it needs to deliver rapid decarbonisation at scale. 2023 could be a pivotal year for climate contracting around the world, and I think we’re seeing that momentum build here in Germany.”