Darstellung eines Globalen Netzwerks
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2022-01-03 publication

Sustainability


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The rise of sustainability

Bild von Dr. Thomas Becks

»War Technik in den vergangenen 150 Jahren Teil des Problems, so kann sie jetzt Teil der Lösung werden.«

| Dr.-Ing. Thomas Becks / Privat

We can no longer stop global warming. With this real-ization come two questions: how can we limit further warming, and how do we live with the unavoidable consequences of climate change? Though technology has been part of this problem for the past 150 years, it can now become part of the solution. But that’s not all. It can also secure Germany and Europe a lead-ing position among the economies of tomorrow. To achieve this, we need to radically shift our focus towards new and sustainable technologies, companies and solutions in a rapidly changing environment. Unfortunately, however, speed and (revolutionary) change are not known to be German virtues.If you look at where major new companies and industries have emerged in recent years, you’ll see it has mainly been in the US, China and South Korea. Just like Europe, those places are home to many well-educated and creative people, as well as ample capital. The difference is that they have (or have had) fewer rules and more can-do attitude. The automotive industry shows where we’ll end up with too much hesitation. A large German automotive manufacturer once adopted the slogan “Vorsprung durch Technik” (progress through technology), but these days, a different company would probably be more deserving of that tag line. When they examined Tesla vehicles last year, engineers from Toyota determined that the company had a five-year lead over their own developments in the areas of control systems, AI and chips. The result would probably be similar for German companies. This is all the more tragic when one considers that artificial intelligence, software control via a central computer and an in-vehicle bus system were already developed by Siemens here in Germany in 2015. The German automotive industry showed no interest, though. Can we successfully change course? Sustainability and green tech have the potential to become the next big thing for Germany and Europe as a business location and bring fresh momentum to our industry. For this to happen, however, we need to approach the subject dif-ferently at all levels – namely with more dynamism and less fear. With that in mind, I hope you’ll be inspired by this issue of VDE dialog, which explores sustainability from various perspectives.

Yours truly,

Thomas Becks

Head of Technology & Innovation at VDE

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