The Technology Opportunity
The Sustainable Business Council’s blueprint to achieving a sustainable economy and society in NZ (Vision 2050), and the plan to achieve it (Action 2020), are two important and powerful steps forward towards attaining a state of resilience and prosperity for our country.
The vision and the plan are definitely in the vanguard of global sustainability initiatives. As a provider of technology solutions in support of the global megatrends – urbanisation, globalisation, climate change, demographic change and digitalisation – Siemens can attest to the urgency of addressing these challenges. More than 40% of our revenue now comes from products and solutions that counter the worst effects of environmental challenges or challenges to the sustainability of our communities. The growth of our portfolio in this area is directly in response to the needs of customers around the world.
As increasing numbers of people move from rural areas into the cities, city authorities are facing huge pressure on resources – water and energy in particular – and their infrastructure, while globally, as energy demand soars, a reliance on fossil fuel power poses a significant climate change issue.
The mood of the world around these issues is also changing: demonstrating good environmental credentials and real sustainability activities within a corporate agenda used to be a “nice to” – now it’s a “need to”. The emerging workforce of young graduates and workers is demanding it. So are consumers: a company’s environmental and sustainability performance is increasingly an important part of the buyer’s decision-making process – and that includes business buyers.
To its credit, the business world is responding. Behind the green rhetoric there is an astonishing level of innovation occurring to reduce energy cost, and produce clean power, among other things. The emergence of new developments like smart grids, viable electric vehicle technologies, offshore wind farms and digital factories gives a great deal of hope that the human race can solve the problems facing the planet. We can’t continue to utilise around 150% of the world’s resources and technology has a significant part to play in addressing the planet’s future sustainability.
New Zealand has some definite advantages already with almost 75% of the country’s energy delivered through renewable sources – the envy of many nations. But there is also much potential to make our cities models of energy and transportation efficiency, with the quality of life we also seek as urban residents.
Our disadvantages as a trading nation – principally our distance from the world’s major markets – are an incentive for NZ to get smarter in terms of the technologies it develops and sells to the world and there is good evidence we are capable of this.