The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) today announced an unconventional global initiative, in partnership with leading German associations, to accelerate the decarbonisation of industry and the development of renewable energy projects supporting the global green agenda as well as Germany’s National Hydrogen Strategy. The ‘Green Chain Initiative’ aims to develop new, renewable energy value chains by combining a crowd-sourcing platform with blockchain technologies to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
Inspired by Germany’s leadership in driving clean technologies, and its ambitions for a net-zero carbon world, the pioneering ‘Green Chain Initiative’ was announced by Badr Al-Olama, Head of the GMIS Organising Committee, during the Virtual Edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (#GMIS2020). Also present during the announcement were Holger Lösch, Deputy Director General and member of the Executive Board of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Dr. Volker Treier, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), and Dr Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, Deputy Director General and Managing Director, External Relations and Policy Research of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
Al-Olama said the pause in day-to-day human activities over the past few months highlighted just how big of an impact humanity was having on the planet. During lockdowns imposed by various governments to stall the spread of the pandemic, pollution levels in urbanised areas dropped dramatically, resulting in cleaner air in cities around the world.
“Taking the events of the past few months into consideration, we wanted to initiate a legacy that can truly make a difference to our world, ensuring green energy to make green products that can be bought using green currencies,” Al-Olama said. “Hence, I’m proud to formally announce, on behalf of the Organising Committee for #GMIS2020, our new legacy initiative called The Green Chain. The Green Chain Initiative will crowdsource renewable energy projects that will use 4IR technologies to create the outcome of a greener planet for all.
“This initiative truly converges the interests of governments – by providing new sources of green energy, with the interests of industries – that will produce green products by decarbonising their manufacturing facilities, with the interests of consumers – who are able to opt for green crypto-currencies to purchase these products. What is also unique about this initiative is that it includes all countries of the world, not just those with fossil fuel resources, and not just those with renewable energy. In that sense, what better partner for us to adopt and co-lead this initiative than Germany, a country with a proven track record in launching strategies for carbon neutrality.”
To define the concept and shape the objectives of the Initiative, GMIS formed a working group, comprised of leading industrial experts representing the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), the Association of German Engineers (VDMA), the German Electrical, Electronic Manufacturers Association (ZVEI), and the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GHORFA).
Innovation to tackle climate change
Volker Treier said tackling climate change remains one of the major issues facing humanity. However, he said there needs to be a common understanding at a global level or at least a European understanding, to fully address the challenge.
“Right now Germany is a good role model, but we need a European approach in order to maintain competitiveness because we are a highly industrialised country,” he said. “The problem is that policy makers are acting more or less on a national basis, and not on a European or a multilateral fundament.”
Dr. Hiroshi Kuniyoshi pointed out that the International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted that CO2 emissions in 2020 would fall by 8% compared to 2019 levels. Despite the massive slow-down in economic activities, this is still far below what is required to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.
“We need to introduce something more, and that is innovation,” he said. “We need to introduce innovative technologies, including renewable energy and energy conservation technologies. Manufacturing and industry needs to help the whole world by actively working on that direction and we all need to work together to achieve this.”
Lösch said reductions in CO2 over the past few months had come at a very high price in terms of the disruption to people’s livelihoods and that the fallout from the coronavirus will likely continue for years to come. “To protect the climate we have to change everything about the way we are doing business, and therefore, we really have to focus on enormously intelligent and efficient ways to tackle this problem.”
Defossilsing the energy system globally is the main priority, he said, followed by major investments in energy efficiency, and followed by the ability to couple sectors intelligently, highlighting the example of getting the mobility sector to defossilise in combination with the energy sector. “All of this is very demanding, but it can be done by technology and by innovation. And this is, of course, a core competence of industry,” Lösch said.
Badr Al Olama, Head of the Organising Committee of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation, added: “#GMIS2020 was originally scheduled to be held in Germany alongside Hannover Messe in April before we shifted to our first Virtual Summit in line with COVID19 concerns. I am truly excited to advance our collaboration with Germany and launch the Green Chain Initiative. Together with Germany, we look forward to accelerating the decarbonisation of industry, through the transfer of knowledge and best practices, and addressing the challenges of climate change. The Green Chain Initiative will truly leave a legacy following #GMIS2020.”
Under the theme – Glocalisation: Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Global Value Chains, the #GMIS2020 Virtual Summit took place on September 4-5 and gathered a cross-section of close to 100 global leaders from the public and private sector participating across more than 20 virtual sessions. The first day of the Virtual Summit featured a series of keynote opening speeches and German-focused discussion on critical topics including Germany’s ‘Marshall Plan with Africa’ and the ‘Global Hydrogen Economy’. There was also a series of working group sessions which involved high-level representatives from industry and world-renowned organisations to discuss the development of a number of new initiatives the Summit plans to launch in the near future.
The second day of the Summit featured a series of keynote addresses and panel sessions involving Heads of State, Ministers, and thought-leaders from some of the world’s leading organisations. Discussions focused on the major issues facing the manufacturing sector and will explore how the adoption of 4IR technologies, localising production capabilities and capacity building, and spreading inclusive and sustainable development will all be critical to the future of global value chains.