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Tech for Future - Green digitalization against climate change

Climate change is arguably the greatest challenge of the 21st century and affects every single person living on Planet Earth. How can we, as a global community, shape a future in which social justice, environmental protection, and the fulfillment of personal interests and prosperity are not in constant conflict?


The global economic system is designed for constant growth. But how can unlimited growth succeed when the earth's resources are limited and running out ever faster, as is made clear by Earth Overshoot Day, which advances every year in the calendar? Is unlimited growth even desirable? How can we prevent ourselves from soon reaching the limits of growth without the entire global economy collapsing?

The (Green) Digitalization Factor

Many answers lie in digitalization and the companies that develop and use new software. We are convinced that in a few years, the majority of all companies will also have evolved into software companies, in order to be able to hold their own against competitors and at the same time operate in a more resource-efficient and ecological way. At Wikipedia, the central conclusion of the study (The Limits to Growth. A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind) conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is quoted thus:

"If current increases in world population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and exploitation of natural resources continue unabated, absolute limits to growth on Earth will be reached over the next hundred years."

To prevent this, digitization should be used wisely and more sustainable systems created. These don't just come into being overnight. While digitization brings many benefits, it is also part of the problem. We will rethink and reshape almost all of the processes and systems that are currently prevalent in the Earth's economic system. In the future, the movement towards "green digitalization" will increase dramatically and will be one of the most decisive factors in solving the climate problem. We present exciting digital projects that are already offering solutions to protect our planet and reduce the burden on the environment.

The human factor

Not only companies, but also we as consumers from the industrialized nations bear a great responsibility, because we are the ones who cause the majority of greenhouse emissions. Critically questioning one's own consumption behavior is enormously important and, for many, triggers the first step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Information reporting and attention in the area of sustainability, environmental protection, common good economy and other important civilization topics arrived in the mass media at the latest with the Fridays for Future movement. One thing is certain: it is our duty to do everything humanly possible in terms of intergenerational justice to develop new technologies that relieve the environment instead of exploiting it.

Currently we seem to be on the best way to global climate catastrophe, but we should not despair, there are many smart people who have dedicated themselves to the task of developing new technologies to prevent climate collapse. Software will play one of the key roles in this. In the B2B and B2C space, new applications, platforms and apps are coming to market every day to help lead the way to a new greener future. Before we take a sneak peek at some amazing projects, we need to talk about the number one climate killer and what we can do about it.

Climate killer carbon dioxide

The climate killer is and remains CO2 . An incredible 100 million tons of carbon dioxide were emitted and released into the Earth's atmosphere every day in 2020 from human activities alone. We all need to emit less of this harmful gas and reduce our ecological footprint. Reducing emissions as well as offsetting emissions is an important part of this, which must be carried out by companies as well as the consumption, nutrition and mobility behavior of us consumers. Climate policy set the 1.5 degree target at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit and created new incentives for participation in the climate program and emissions trading. The International Energy Agency estimates, for example, that about 9.4 billion metric tons of CO2 would have to be saved by 2060 to meet the goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees. Policymakers could set the course through stronger CO2 pricing so that as much as 16 billion metric tons would have been saved by then. Some companies are currently experimenting with capturing the gas and storing it underground. This and other technologies that are to be used to slow down climate change fall under the umbrella term geoengineering. Further geoengineering solutions for the future could be: mirror systems in space or in deserts, alkalization of the ocean, fertilization of the oceans, increasing ice areas in the Arctic, reforestation of forests naturally or by artificial trees, BECCS - "Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Sequestration" and many more...

Green Economy & Green Startup Incubators

Besides such highly complex and strongly science-driven projects, there are also more and more Green Businesses in the free economy - the Green Economy or Green Valey. They are looking for innovative and sustainable solutions, are committed to climate protection and develop new business models incorporating economic, ecological and social sustainability and equity. Often, startups are supported by incubators during the startup phase. A prime example of this is the Green Startup Incubator, under which more than 900 green startups have grown in the last 10 years. These green companies have embedded climate protection as one of the core issues in their corporate strategy. They are addressing the challenges posed by climate change and accompanying megatrends such as urbanization, glocalization, mobility and energy transition. Let's now take a closer look at a few future-proof projects:

Start-up Tracks - Platooning

Platooning (engl. electronic drawbar) is supposed to be the innovation in freight transport. In this process, several vehicles are connected one behind the other in a truck convoy. The start-up Tracks is developing the software that will make this possible on highways in the future. The slipstream created by platooning is expected to lead to particularly high fuel savings and significant CO₂ reductions. For each standard truck covering a distance of 130,000 kilometers, this could save around 4.5 metric tons of CO₂ per year through lower fuel consumption. In terms of total German freight traffic, this would amount to around 1.6 million metric tons. In the EU, platooning is currently still in the test phase, while some American countries have already legitimized platooning technology.

Infarm - Vertical Farming as a Future Trend

Not only is living space scarce in metropolitan areas, but so is the space that can be used to grow food. Currently, the CO₂ footprint of food accounts for around 17 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. A problem arises because the cultivation areas are heavily concentrated in certain regions and then only reach the global trade via long transport routes. It would be more climate-friendly if the supply chain between the growing area and the retail trade could be kept as short as possible and the proportion of regionally produced food could be significantly increased. Logistics and transport costs as well as the resulting CO₂ emissions could be reduced many times over. This is the goal of the startup Infarm. The company uses specially developed cabinets to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs, which act as independently functioning IoT devices and send recorded data to the cloud. The cabinets have sensors that can be used to measure and influence important parameters, such as light intensity, pH, temperature and moisture content. Infarm employees use this data to create analyses of which environmental criteria produce the best crop yields.

plastship - Platform for plastic recycling management

A topic that affects us all but comes across as rather unsexy: the increasing amount of waste per household and related waste management, disposal and recycling processes. Various platforms and companies from the recycling industry are making efforts to make the topic of waste and circular economy or circular ecomomy as well as recycling more and more present not only in B2B but also in B2C. It was even part of a dedicated stage program at the Bits & Pretzels trade show. The topic of waste prevention and recyclability concerns us all, because we as consumers can pay attention to consume more and more products that rely on recyclable packaging or even save it partially or completely.

Founded in 2018, start-up plastship is an emerging network for recycled plastics and matching services. Added value through digital approaches can best be created for the circular economy through collaborations and strong exchange. As the first European marketplace for new generation recycled plastics, plastship provides various tools to promote the circular economy online and offline. The mission is to make organization as easy as possible for ventures in plastics recycling and the use of recycled plastics. The platform provides its members with various purchasing and sales tools, as well as support in testing recyclability and creating recycling concepts for closed-loop materials.

zeeroo.me App - How does my lifestyle affect our planet?

All over the world we can see how the climate is changing. Significantly, warming is triggered by rising CO₂ levels. zeeroo.me looks at how we can contribute, one by one, to combating climate change. In the app, you learn more about the composition of your own carbon footprint and what actions can be taken to help us all live on a healthier planet. In a short questionnaire including a "Carbon Footprint Calculator", you get a good assessment of how your own lifestyle (food, energy consumption, travel/mobility, etc.) affects the environment and how big your own CO₂ footprint is. The app also offers various options for reducing or offsetting one's CO₂ footprint by cutting back on consumption or taking compensatory measures. You can also compare your own consumption with that of other people, form teams/groups and challenge each other to stop consuming. You can choose climate protection projects that you would like to support financially and earn badges so that your friends can see how you are contributing to the preservation of the planet.

Karma app fights against food waste

Year after year, food waste worldwide causes nearly as much carbon dioxide emissions as the People's Republic of China emits. Each year, it is estimated that up to one-third of all food produced is thrown away, which in turn leads to 1.3 billion tons of waste. The makers of the Karma app from Sweden have set themselves the goal of declaring war on food waste. The idea is simple: Karma is an app that connects restaurants, cafes and grocery stores with users who want to buy unsold food at a lower price. Karma's vision is to become the resource optimization platform for the food industry and lead the way to a more sustainable society. The app impresses with a crisp UX and the business model behind it, which makes food rescue attractive instead of a cost factor.

Last but not least: Green Tech for Future

Digitization and its impact on our entire planet is almost limitless. Never before has our world been reshaped at such a rapid pace. Many initially highly praised innovations and "dirty" machines invented since the Industrial Revolution have brought us the climate crisis in the first place. Now it is up to each and every one of us to do our part in the green transformation. According to the motto: Each of us is a drop in the ocean, but together we are the ocean. Technologies must make it easier for us humans to become involved as part of the change. Politicians should create further framework conditions and stronger laws to bring about ecological change. Will the "Green Tech for Future" movement soon follow the "Fridays for Future" movement? Here, the "how" will decide. How do we use the new technological achievements sensibly, how do we implement new technologies in a climate-friendly way, and how do we shape our consumer behavior without further exploiting the earth's resources? There are enough good examples, as we have seen. Now it is up to each and every one of us to contribute to the change.

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