"Negotiating green" for climate protection

Those who want to operate sustainably must be able to negotiate systematically

Everyone wants to surf the green wave. But how exactly can sustainability be implemented in day-to-day business? If you want to be climate-neutral, you have to shop differently than before. This is where negotiation mechanisms that achieve "green" results through systematic and rational calculation can help.

Anyone who wants to be considered a sustainable company faces the task of actually implementing the noble principles from the corporate values and mission statements in day-to-day business. Thus "green purchasing" stands for a purchasing policy with which companies orientate their procurement towards environmental protection. For a long time now, price alone has not been the deciding factor. Those who want or have to be climate-neutral have to buy differently than before. Both buyers and purchasers are facing complex negotiations in order to take a wide range of qualitative sustainability criteria into account in purchasing decisions. Good results can often only be achieved with a negotiation system based on game theory. This was pointed out today by René Schumann, Managing Director of the consulting firm Kerkhoff Negotiations (KN), in a conversation with the editors.

Schumann and his team are specialized in solving complex and conflict-prone negotiation cases of all kinds, for example in purchasing, sales, M&A projects or employee matters, for clients from all over Europe with the game theoretically based negotiation system. "Especially in sectors such as automotive, IT and telecommunications, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, mechanical and plant engineering, basic industries and logistics with their large order volumes, it makes particular sense to negotiate green," Schumann emphasized.


Negotiating green means systematically introducing environmental and climate protection components into negotiations and mastering their technical and legal complexity so that variable negotiation packages can be put together. According to Schumann, this is often a challenge, especially in long-term business relationships where everything has been going on in the usual way for years. Under the pressure of the public debate on climate protection, renegotiations are increasingly being called for, for example to equip a delivery with a lower-emission product variant or to reorganize entire supply chains.

According to Schumann, green negotiations therefore begin with an analysis of the negotiating situation: Which aspects of environmental protection are important for both sides in the future? Many a supplier has already shown little understanding when it comes to using recycled materials, for example. Just as many buyers are not interested in more sustainable offers because these were not previously included in their plans. "Instead, as many options as possible must be put on the table, multi-optional negotiation being the key word." Only those who systematically analyze the playing fields, develop negotiation designs appropriate to the situation and create scenarios about the behavior of negotiating partners can build up their reputation as sustainable companies. "Negotiating green therefore means negotiating systematically, " Schumann said.

René Schumann has been Managing Director and founder of Kerkhoff Negotiations since 2018 and has been working for the Kerkhoff Group since 2015. Prior to that, Schumann spent eight years at Daimler AG, where he was in charge of negotiation teams in the purchasing and sales department, and another three years at a renowned consultancy as a negotiation expert. His hobbyhorse is the negotiation of complex, difficult and strategically important situations. Over the last 15 years, he has set himself the goal of systematizing negotiations in order to maximize the results for his clients.

Kerkhoff Negotiations is a leading consulting firm based in Düsseldorf, Germany, which specializes in solving complex and conflict-laden negotiation cases of all kinds, for example in purchasing, sales, M&A projects or employee matters, for its clients from all over Europe using the game theory-based negotiation system. KN supports, advises and trains companies and organisations with an annual turnover of more than 500 million Euros. Special focus is on the automotive, IT & telecommunications, chemical & pharmaceutical, mechanical & plant engineering, basic industries and logistics sectors. KN is a company of the Kerkhoff Group. The Kerkhoff Group offers highly specialized solutions for the entire value-added process. The consulting services are aimed at achieving measurable efficiency increases in the areas of supply chain, purchasing and production. For more than 20 years, the group of companies has stood for highest consulting quality and a strong implementation orientation. Further information is available at www.kerkhoff-negotiations.com and www.kerkhoff-group.com. 

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