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Breaking the silence: German companies (and citizens) speak up against the far right

On January 16, we wrote about how the business ethicist Thomas Beschorner criticized companies for their silence on the rising influence of the far right. The past few weeks have seen hundreds of thousands protest against the rightwing surge in German cities. Many companies, too, have since broken their silence and published statements in support of democracy, diversity, and the rule of law.


The grocery store chain Edeka published a video with the slogan Wir lieben Vielfalt und stehen auf gegen Rechts (‘We love diversity and take a stand against the right’), showing rows of half-empty store shelves from which non-German products had been removed to illustrate the damaging effects of xenophobic policies.


Otto, a retail and e-commerce company, posted pictures of the anti-far-right protests in Hamburg, where its headquarters are based. Stating its commitment to democratic values, Otto commended those of its employees who joined the protests for rejecting “extremism, terror, and antisemitism”. Similar sentiments were shared publicly by numerous German CEOs such as Telekom’s Tim Höttges, Siemens’ Roland Busch and Bosch’s Stefan Hartung.


In an interview with Handelsblatt, Sebastian Ebel, CEO of the tourism company TUI, condemned all forms of discrimination, but also stressed that the economic policies of the far right, including Germany’s exit from the European Union, would endanger the country’s prosperity if enacted.


In the greater Berlin area, dozens of business leaders organized in the local chamber of commerce (VBKI) signed a declaration stating that: “Far-right plotting and agitation threaten social cohesion as well as the fundamental values of our community—freedom, the rule of law, and democracy.”

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