Egological renovation through future-oriented industry

1 Jun

Need of sustainable industry

Three weeks ago I wrote the blog post “The future of our world…” describing the basic ideas of the Club of Rome, to name some key aspects, it was concerned with the limits to growth. However growth does not necessarily lead to collapse and horror-scenarios. “Collapse follows growth only if the growth has led to overshoot, to an expansion in demands on the plant´s sources” (Book: Limits to Growth, The 30 Year Update). So what is happening now is that “human resource use is currently some 20 percent above the global carrying capacity” (Book: Limits to Growth, The 30 Year Update), to put it in other words, world´s population uses more resources up than the world can bear to be sustainable.

Therefore I was wondering, how companies, politicians and other important groups respond to these scientific findings. This will be my focus for the next four blog posts. I would like to get to know and inform you about the countermeasures that are taken and about different perspectives of several groups.

This week, I will focus on the companies´ view point, above I would like to know, what actions managers take, and what kind of decision do they make in order to secure our world´s future.

Management decision making

To get a better understanding, I will focus on the example of Robert Bosch GmbH and its facility in Hildesheim, where 1 500 of the 113 600 Bosch-workers in Germany are employed. Bosch is active in the area of electrotechnology and had to cope with serious problems in 2002. This was not only a year of crises in the electrotechnological sector, but also the year, when Bosch management decided to build up a new facility in Hungary, where costs were less. Therefore the managers in Hildesheim felt forced to reduce the employee number by more than 50%, 830 employees, in Hildesheim in order to guarantee the survival of the facility. This management decision was not accepted by the work councils and consequently another solution had to be found in order to satisfy both parties.

So here comes the connection to the Club of Rome, which intended to raise awareness on environmental issues and to give the economy´s main actor incentives to operate more sustainably.

Introduction of a innovative product range

It became clear to the management that they had to focus on more future-oriented and sustainable products to ensure workplaces on the long-run. Together with specialized workers and the work councils management was looking for a new product range. All parties were concentrated on “green-products” that save resources and reduce pollution emission. As a consequence Hildesheim should convert into a knowledge-based location. Thus management had to initiate training and education programs.

The new focus was on hybrid motors and engines. This innovative product range was well established in 2008. Now Hildesheim concentrates on product development. Another idea is to construct electro motors that do not need a start-stop system and therefore emit a reduced amount of CO².
The new “green product” range to secure jobs

Moreover management took further action: Firstly, it decided that all needed services should be provided by their own employees and not by external firms. Secondly, development and innovation took a superior and special position in the location Hildesheim. Last but not least, management wants to concentrate on future-oriented products in order to secure workplaces.

The Economy-magazine Capital honors Franz Fehrenbach, the CEO of Robert Bosch GmbH, with the title „Greentech-Manager of the year 2011“

As far as all these changes are concerned, management emphasized the driving force of the employees and work councils, who contributed a lot to the “green product” range, and finally led to more specialized workers and an increase of workplaces.

Increased awareness about environmental issues

To conclude, the first book of the Club of Rome “triggered a widespread debate” and “increased awareness and concern about environmental issues in the early days of the environmental movement” (Book: Limits to Growth, The 30 Year Update) and therefore contributed to the change in minds of the people and the focus on future-oriented and environment-friendly industry. Thanks to the affords of the Club of Rome and of environmental movements “leading firms are pushing successfully for ever higher eco-efficiency” (Book: Limits to Growth, The 30 Year Update).

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2 Responses to “Egological renovation through future-oriented industry”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. He didn´t walk over to the east side of campus… « hit the nail on the top - June 8, 2012

    […] my last post, I wrote about the shift of industry to “green products” and sustainable growth, as a reaction […]

  2. Green Industry from many points of view « hit the nail on the top - June 15, 2012

    […] So there is no doubt that the demand for “green products” is steadily rising as the consumers get increasingly conscious about environmental issues, sustainability and ecological renovation. […]

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