German Chemical Industry Association (VCI)

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Frankfurt, Germany
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Climate Lobbying Overview: Royal DSM is lobbying positively on climate change policy and is strategically engaged in the EU and US. The company’s lobbying has become more positive since 2018, voicing strong support for top-line ambition such as limiting warming to 1.5°C, and for carbon pricing, and for the decarbonization of transport. However, it opposed the US reconciliation bill in September 2021 and retains membership to associations engaging negatively on climate policy such as the US Chamber of Commerce and the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI).

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Royal DSM is strongly supportive of urgent action on climate change in its top-line messaging. The company has consistently stated support for efforts to reduce global emissions to limit warming to 1.5°C, for example, the CEO signed a joint letter in November 2022 supporting GHG emissions reductions in line with the target. Ceres reported in May 2021 that DSM supported a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 in the US. On its corporate website, accessed in February 2022, the company was supportive of long-term government policies and strongly advocated for carbon pricing policies globally. The CEO signed a joint letter in November 2022 calling for governments to set Paris-aligned Nationally Determined Contributions before COP27.

In addition, DSM North America has mostly supported the climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act. However,in September 2021, when asked to comment on Build Back Better and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s advocacy against it, CEO of DSM North America Hugh Welsh stated that while DSM North America supports climate action, it ultimately agreed with the Chamber in its opposition to the bill, due to its tax increases. In October 2021, DSM North America signed a joint letter to Congress broadly supporting the climate provisions in the bill, noting a desire for continued discussions over revenue provisions. Later, in February 2022, the company participated in meetings with members of Congress coordinated by Ceres to urge passage of the climate investments in the bill.

Engagement with Climate-Related Policy: Royal DSM has become more supportive of climate policy in recent years. In a February 2022 C2ES joint letter, DSM North America strongly supported the specific clean energy tax credits contained in the Build Back Better Act. The company also stated support for a carbon border adjustment mechanism in the U.S. on social media in September 2021. In its 2021 CDP Climate Change Disclosure, DSM supported ambitious reform of the EU Emissions Trading System, and strongly advocated for carbon taxes, stating that competitiveness risks should not be overstated and used as a reason to not act on climate change. On its corporate website, accessed in February 2022, DSM supported energy efficiency and renewable energy policies. In June 2021, the Co-CEO Dimitri-de Vreeze signed a joint letter advocating to policymakers to support interim emission targets in line with the 1.5°C goal, and in a Ceres joint letter in September 2021 supported high-range ambitious light-duty vehicle GHG emissions standards in the US.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Royal DSM is strongly supportive of the energy transition. On its website, accessed in February 2022, the company strongly supported the transition of the energy mix away from fossil fuels, and advocated for the removal of fossil fuel subsidies. In a December 2021 position paper, DSM was supportive of an increased role for biomass, while recognizing the need for standards to avoid risks associated with of increased biofuel use. Ceres reported in August 2022 that DSM North America supported the climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, including those to drive clean energy innovation and reduce methane emissions. DSM actively supported the decarbonization of transport in 2022, for example, it supported legislation such as the Advanced Clean Cars II Standard and the Advanced Clean Truck rule in joint letters to US policymakers in July and August 2022.

Industry Association Governance: Royal DSM disclosed a list of memberships of industry associations and some board memberships on its corporate website. However, the company does not clearly outline the climate change policy positions of its associations, and it has not published a review of its alignment with these groups. Through its US branch DSM North America, the company is a member of the US Chamber of Commerce which engages negatively on climate policy. In Europe, DSM is a member of the Corporate Leaders Group However, a Co-CEO, Dimitri-de Vreeze, is on the board of Cefic and is Chair of the Sustainability Advisory Forum, and it is a member of the Dutch Employer’s Federation (VNO-NCW) and the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) which are engaging negatively on climate policy.

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