Focusing on Green Technology
Green Technology for a Sustainable Future
The first key topic of our Knowledge Hub – Structural Change in the Rhenish Mining Area in the Wake of the Coal Phase-Out focused on how to achieve an “economic, ecologically sound, socially acceptable, and sustainable transformation” in the wake of structural change in the Rhineland’s mining area. In our second key focus – Green Technology – we will also explore how to achieve a sustainable transformation that is ecologically, economically, and socially successful.
Major global challenges and pressing issues – first and foremost the threat of accelerating climate change and the destruction of our environment – require a significant change in our way of life and the global economic systems. We must act now, not only because the EU has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050, but because it is of existential importance to all of us.
In light of the global challenges mentioned above, it simply is in all of our interest to work towards a sustainable future. Technological innovations that are developed with climate protection in mind and allow for an economically compatible transformation of all our economic systems are essential for getting us on that path.
Green Technology, abbreviated GreenTech, brings together environment and technology as well as science and business and focuses on forward-looking developments while adhering to environmentally friendly production. GreenTech stands for innovative green technologies and effective measures in the fight against climate change, resource consumption, and environmental degradation, and thus for sustainability. So, if we think responsibly about the future, if we really are interested in saving our planet and ensuring decent life for future generations, then we must work towards more sustainability. We need a holistic approach that considers ecological, economic, political, and social dimensions. As a future-oriented form of business, GreenTech successfully combines these different dimensions and promotes new business models that pursue resource-saving technologies in almost all sectors. So this is about much more than just sustainable products. Green technology enables green markets with dynamic growth prospects and thus many jobs.
Germany has a unique role to play here; it is considered one of the world’s most important drivers of innovation and, according to the Global Innovation Index 2021, it is one of the ten most innovative countries globally.
GreenTech is a cross-sector industry, as it generates sustainable products and services for almost all areas of life. The aim is always to protect the climate, the environment, and resources – while also fostering people’s health and well-being at the same time. For this reason, factors such as social compatibility, fairness, and the fight against poverty are also relevant.
The Green Disruption: Sustainable Development
It has been taking place for some time now and, fortunately for all of us and our planet, it can no longer be stopped: the ecological, profound transformation of our economy and society, the green disruption called sustainability. Because many are convinced: Sustainability is on track to become the second major disruption after the digital disruption.
At the same time, increasing digitization is enabling companies to operate in exceedingly energy-efficient ways – on a scale that could not be achieved otherwise – thereby immensely supporting sustainability efforts. Sustainability and energy efficiency are the two big themes of GreenTech.
To better explain the term energy efficiency, we would like to give you a description from the Federal Environment Agency, or UBA for short, Germany’s central environmental authority:
Energy efficiency generally describes the ratio of a particular benefit – for example, the provision of light or heat – to its energy input. The less energy has to be used, the more energy-efficient a product or service is.
Umweltbundesamt (German Environment Agency)
Every Single One of Us can Contribute
Like in other countries, consumers in Germany are increasingly interested in buying sustainable products. They are rethinking their consumption habits and sometimes wasteful use of natural resources resulting in large carbon footprints, and want to take a new, green direction. They are more aware that CO2 emissions have been rising for years and are the leading cause of climate change.
It is clear: Everyone can do their part to protect our climate! We can all significantly impact whether CO2 emissions are finally reduced by simply trying to save energy wherever we can. For example, we can buy regional and seasonal products, switch from cars to bicycles and public transportation, or at least carpool whenever possible. There are also many more ways to help.
But industry and businesses must also be measured by their ecological footprint, energy balance, and contribution to politically agreed climate protection targets. Before any production activities start, the following question must first be answered: “How sustainable is our product, our service?” In doing so, companies must also pay attention to the entire product life cycle and recycling issues. In other words, they must strive to establish a Circular Economy for their product.
People will expect such production transparency concerning environmentally friendly business practices more and more in the coming years, and companies worldwide will have to adapt to this. After all, we expect them to play their part in making the world a better place and thus ensuring society’s future viability within the planetary (ecological) boundaries.
Neo-Economics as a Megatrend: Sustainability Is Not a Fad
The renowned German think-tank, the Zukunftsinstitut (Future Institute), names twelve so-called megatrends as the major drivers of change. Among them is the concept of neo-ecology, which describes “the major process of societal change toward a resource-efficient, sustainable economy.” It also states:
Whether purchasing decisions, social morals, or corporate strategies are concerned: The neo-ecology megatrend is now establishing a new set of values that extends into every area of our daily lives. The sustainability paradigm reprograms the code behind our global society, culture, and politics - and fundamentally realigns entrepreneurial action and the entire economic system.
Our local communities immediately and painfully felt global climate change and its enormous effects in the summer of 2021 when the flood disaster took many lives and destroyed countless livelihoods in North-Rhine Westphalia – and climate change only keeps accelerating. This fact, along with the increasing scarcity of resources, or, most recently, the dependence on Russian oil and the complicated supply chains in the wake of the Ukraine war, has led to an increased demand for renewable energy and efficient environmental technology. That being said, this demand was probably not all driven by the realization that things cannot go on as before, but more so by fear of financial and economic disadvantages and dependencies.
Fortunately, there is an awareness that the sustainability factor has created a momentum that can no longer be stopped, but that is instead leaving everything behind that has gone before. We know that we must succeed in the urgently needed transformation towards a sustainable world that also successfully secures the basic needs of a steadily growing world population without further destruction of the ecosystem and our livelihood. This fact has caused a shift in thinking in the business world and encouraged unprecedented economic growth in the green tech industry. The goal of sustainability has become a growth engine for the future.
Read on and find out how Green Technology acts as a driver at the political level .
Team Knowledge Hub