Megatrend Climate change: solutions for a greener planet
Climate change: What are the solutions to better protect the climate?
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In the face of climate change, our planet is at a critical juncture. There is an urgent need for the development of sustainable solutions for climate protection and mitigation to address the escalating challenge. This requires a strategic focus on mitigating and adapting to climate change and raising public awareness. But what exactly does this entail?
First and foremost, it is crucial that we recognise the negative impact that human activities are having on global warming and on our environment. As a result, proactive measures to protect against climate change are essential today. Secondly, we need to prepare for the expected future changes so that we can minimise the impacts and maximise the opportunities - a process known as ‘climate change adaption’.
At Wilo, we’re following the call of various organisations such as the Global Compact and have committed to defining science-based emissions targets.
How to increase climate change awareness?
Educational programmes, including climate change in curricula, and active engagement in media discussions have the potential to help raise awareness. These efforts can motivate people to take action, both individually and collectively. All over the world, a variety of governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have launched campaigns to raise awareness of climate change and to promote concrete solutions. One exemplary initiative is the United Nations' "SDG Action Days". With the aim of making the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more tangible, various activities have been planned around the world to motivate action and raise awareness. Overall, the SDG Action Days place particular emphasis on education and the importance of partnerships in achieving sustainable solutions globally. They also highlight the role played by communities and local stakeholders in implementing the SDGs. Through various events, workshops and interactive sessions, participants can share best practices, connect through workshops and co-create solutions. In addition, these gatherings serve as a platform for governments, NGOs, companies and individuals. International engagement is a prime example of collective responsibility. This kind of global cooperation for a sustainable future has great potential for the development of solutions to climate change that can be applied globally.
Living climate protection, taking responsibility
However, political action on its own is not enough. Businesses also have a key role to play, as they not only contribute significantly to global CO2 emissions, but also have the resources and innovative capacity to drive sustainable change. There is ample evidence of the environmental and economic benefits of climate-friendly business models. Genuine sustainability has become an economic factor that can give companies a competitive edge. Companies like Wilo are already involved in initiatives and projects in support of climate protection and the setting of industry standards. These include investing in renewable energy, developing sustainable products and reducing their own carbon footprint. By acting as role models and bridging the gap between consumers, politicians and other societal stakeholders, companies can use their reach and influence to establish collaborations and alliances with NGOs, educational institutions, and even other companies to raise awareness of climate protection. The involvement of business is essential for a comprehensive, cross-sectoral response to climate change.
The magnitude of climate change
The science is clear: human activity has contributed to significant changes in our climate, many of which may have irreversible consequences for our ecosystems, communities, and economies.
8 possible solutions for climate change protection and mitigation
Tackling climate change requires a multi-faceted approach:
From improved building insulation to energy-efficient household appliances and advanced industrial processes, innovative technologies can lead to significant reductions in energy consumption. Not only do these measures lead to reductions in CO2 emissions, but they also lead to significant cost savings for both consumers and businesses. By creating the right framework conditions, energy efficiency can be positioned as a key contributor to economic growth. It can also provide new job opportunities in the technology, construction, and engineering sectors.
By investing more in wind, solar and hydropower, we are reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. These sources of energy are not only sustainable. They also deliver long-term cost savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Advances in technology are making renewable energy sources more and more accessible and competitive. The incorporation of storage solutions is a key factor in the reliability of renewable energy systems. In addition, regional energy networks can benefit from the diversification of energy sources, resulting in increased energy reliability.
Reforestation and Forest Conservation
Not only do forests provide vital habitats for a wide range of species, but they also act as important reservoirs of carbon. A global reforestation initiative could have an impact on the reduction of carbon levels in the atmosphere. In particular, the German government has outlined climate policy principles and targets in line with the Paris Agreement in its Climate Protection Plan 2050. In addition, forests play a key role in water management and contribute to the regulation of the local climate.
Transitioning to low-impact or organic farming is a crucial step in conserving our biodiversity, as sustainably managed soils have a much greater capacity to regenerate. Sustainable agriculture is also often associated with reduced greenhouse gas and methane emissions. This is due to the increased use of agroforestry and the conservation of natural habitats. As well as producing healthier food, sustainable agriculture improves farmers' livelihoods while protecting the ecosystem. Reduced use of pesticides and herbicides has the added benefit of protecting groundwater, and innovative farming methods such as vertical farming and aquaponics have the potential to play a crucial role in solving food shortages.
Research and Innovation
Ongoing investment in research is driving the development of low-emission technologies, which are essential to the transition to a green economy. This includes developing technologies to capture carbon, renewable energy sources and sustainable materials. Research is not only a driver of technological innovation, but also a catalyst for the discovery of more efficient climate change mitigation strategies. It also opens doors to economic prospects by creating new sectors and employment opportunities. International research collaborations specially make efficient use of resources and accelerate the dissemination of solutions.
A focus on recycling and reuse within the economy not only minimises waste but also promotes the efficient use of resources. Concepts such as "cradle to cradle" are an integral part of this strategy. Circular economy practices are critical to resource conservation and environmental impact reduction, while also opening new economic opportunities. Products are designed to be easy to disassemble and recycle at the end of their life. Companies that embrace circular economy principles can also enjoy increased customer loyalty and a better brand reputation.
A coordinated international strategy, underpinned by agreements, partnerships, and joint research, is essential to address global challenges. Collaboration enables the sharing of best practices, technology transfer and the establishment of joint financing mechanisms. International organisations, such as the United Nations, serve as a platform for nations to define shared goals and strategies for tackling climate change. It is imperative that both the Global North and the Global South work together to develop effective and equitable solutions.
The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, signed by 195 countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the European Union (EU), commits to limiting global warming to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, and aims to ensure that it does not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius. This has led to the creation of the European Climate Change Act, which comes into force on 29 July 2021 and makes it a legal requirement to meet the EU's climate target of reducing emissions by at least 55%. In order to meet these targets, individual countries have come up with their own plans. The German Federal Government, for example, has set out its climate policy principles and objectives in its Climate Protection Plan 2050.
Climate protection in businesses
Companies around the world are increasingly recognising their social responsibility in the fight against climate change. From overhauling their supply chains to introducing greener production methods, they are being forced to adopt sustainable business practices and make climate change commitments. But those who recognise the opportunities for innovative solutions in these obligations can secure a real competitive advantage in the long term. As one of the "50 Sustainability and Climate Leaders", Wilo is leading the way towards a greener, more sustainable future.
In Dortmund, Wilo has created a brand-new world of work spanning over 180,000 squar metres. At the head office, the Wilopark in the centre of Europe, a ‘state of the art’ workplace for around 2,000 employees from administration and production has been created after just five years of construction. The rating provider Ecovadis awarded the Wilo Group the platinum medal for sustainability in 2022 and 2023. Following silver (2019 and 2020) and gold (2021), the multinational technology group has received the rating agency’s highest award. Only one per cent of the 90,000 companies assessed worldwide by Ecovadis obtain the platinum rating.
Central Bank Dublin, Ireland
Green Wilo pumps contribute to the overall efficiency of the Central Bank’s new HQ – from heating, cooling and cold-water supply to products for rainwater utilisation. The campus is an eco-friendly development certified in accordance with BREEAM, the world’s leading method for assessing sustainability. The bank had set itself a series of objectives for the building’s sustainability – one of the main requirements was the exclusive supply of high-efficiency pumps from efficiency class IE4 to comply with BREEAM criteria. The Central Bank had set itself a series of objectives for the building’s design, such as guaranteeing environmental sustainability.