Sustainable technology: Germany still leading the way in Europe
Germany place high importance on environmental issues
Not content with a thriving economy, and one of the best football teams on the continent, Germany is also leading the way when it comes to sustainable technology. New research1 has suggested that progressive attitudes towards environmentally-friendly technology are far more common in Germany than in the UK:
Of those asked, 65% of German organisations placed high importance on environmental issues – easily the most in Europe. Their businesses were also found to be more likely to have staff with responsibility for sustainability (68%), and more likely to view sustainability as a necessary cost (50%). In contrast, just 28% of UK organisations felt the same way – reflecting a willingness to reduce environmental impact, as long as it doesn’t have an impact on budget.
In Germany, where the link between sustainability and lower overheads is more widely acknowledged, they’re reaping the benefits – outperforming other countries when it comes to device reliability and lower energy use in particular. But although the benefits to individual businesses are well documented, it might be official recognition that helps to set Germany apart.
Since 1978, the country has awarded the ‘Blue Angel eco label’ to products which are more environmentally friendly than other ‘comparable, standard products and services’ across the full life cycle. The label is widely recognised, and 39%2 of German consumers say they consider it in their purchasing decisions.
The wider picture
It’s not just national initiatives that are pushing Germany in the right direction, either. Their government is on board with the EU’s Green Public Procurement (GPP) tool, which helps purchasers to make environmentally-friendly choices. In 2009, Germany was named as one of the ‘Green 7’ – the group of countries with the highest rate of GPP implementation in Europe.
These official moves towards sustainability have contributed to a wider acknowledgement of its benefits within German society, where 66% of people believe that climate change is ‘a very serious problem’. That figure dwarfs the 27% who feel the economic crisis is the biggest problem facing the world3.
Mind the gap
It’s clear that for the UK to catch up with Germany, there’s a knowledge gap that needs to be addressed. While Germans are familiar with the benefits of eco-friendly technology, UK organisations still see sustainability as an expensive extra. That’s despite the reduction in total cost of ownership – as well as the inherent gain in looking after the world we all live in.
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1Sustainability study, Quocirca, May 2016
2The world’s first eco-label goes international; Technical Information The Blue Angel http://www.innovationseeds.eu/ImagePub.aspx?id=163193
3Eurobarometer, Special report on climate change 2011: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_372_en.pdf
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