The use of renewable resources as well as thinking and acting in material cycles are not an end in themselves. Rather, the transformation of the economy along these guidelines serves to protect ecosystems, preserve biodiversity and the climatic conditions under which human civilization has developed. The warming of the atmosphere with all its consequences, which has been measurable for some time and has been forecast for the coming decades, make the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions particularly urgent. The vision is therefore to transform today’s value chains into CO2-neutral networks.
The platform for Green Transformation and Bioeconomy aims to support Lower Austrian companies through such a transformation. To do this, it is first necessary to develop the appropriate skills. Companies must be increasingly able to map and improve their CO2 footprint. However, the aim of the platform goes well beyond that. It is important to create awareness that the building blocks of CO2-neutral economic activity will create new business models that will continue to be viable in the future.
Numerous building blocks are already in place in Lower Austria to make this vision a reality:
- A number of companies have started to radically question their own actions and to align all aspects of their business with sustainability and CO2 neutrality.
- Other companies are starting to establish individual pieces of the puzzle for CO2-neutral business practices as new business models.
- In numerous industries, new energy sources (such as hydrogen and synthetic methane) and innovative technologies for energy storage and the use of CO2 as a raw material are already being implemented.
However, many building blocks also come from the field of circular economy and renewable resources, the two pillars upon which climate-neutral value creation ultimately rests.
The network that can already be built upon in Lower Austria includes startups with new business models as well as pilot projects from large companies (such as OMV/Borealis, Worthington and ÖBB). Furthermore, it also includes the partners of numerous projects in which countless adjusting screws have been turned in the food, plastics, mechatronics and green building clusters to minimize the CO2 footprint.
The implementation of the vision is currently facing major challenges: In many cases, the companies lack the know-how to be able to determine the carbon footprint of their own business activities. Not only the value-adding processes of procurement and production should be examined, but also all the supporting functions such as logistics, energy supply and fleet management.