The health sector is a less known climate sinner but nevertheless leaves a significant climate imprint. As part of the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, a climate debate provided answers on how Denmark’s key industries can contribute to the green transition.
Climate change is the number one challenge today. Modern lifestyle and increased emissions of CO2 call to action now! The Danish clusters and networks invited to a climate debate during the C40 World Mayors Summit where mayors and delegates from 94 of the world’s greatest cities met to take bold climate action.
Fifteen debaters from transport, energy, construction, production, ICT and the health sector gave their views on significant climate challenges within their industry and solutions that can be put to use.
– I feel a sense of urgency. Today we have seen people willing to confess their climate sins and to be part of the solution. I am glad to see that so many addresses the challenges and are ready to enter partnerships to develop the solutions needed. It is not just about companies making more climate efficient solutions – there has to be a demand. The consumers, patients and citizens have to see the value, and today’s debate tells me that we are getting there, says Christian Graversen, CEO, Welfare Tech.
Compromises and pressure from employees
The green transition will affect us all. But are we willing to change our behaviour and pay the price?
– Imagine telling the doctor: “Here is the second-best implant for your patient – but it is climate-friendly”, and imagine the doctor say to the patient: “We will treat you with the second-best implant – but it is climate-friendly”. What do you think the answer will be, Jonas Dahl, Director, Randers Regional Hospital asks.
The doctors will, in any case, use the product that is best for the patient and the industry will, in any case, recommend the most profitable product. Still, Regional Hospital Randers has taken up the climate challenge. They have entered into dialogue with the medical suppliers and is now looking into reducing waste, mainly focusing on the proportion that is incinerated. In Central Denmark Region alone, hospitals generate up to 7,000 tonnes of waste per year.
– 70 % of our waste and CO2 come from medical waste and equipment, and we burn 60-70 % of our waste. Only a little can be recycled, says Jonas Dahl.
The employees and the management of the hospital support the climate-friendly agenda.
– The last year I have experienced a big change among the employees. The nurses have shifted rapidly. They are used to sort their waste at home, so why not do it at work? As management, we need to respond to this and show that it is possible to make a change. The management must meet these kinds of request from the employees, says Jonas Dahl.
Today plastic waste is sorted. Some are still sent for incineration; others are cleaned to be disposed in the ordinary daytime renovation or resold and recycled by others.
– We distinguish between “waste collectors” who investigate how we can recycle more waste and “piggy bags”, who investigate how we can convince the industry to lower the plastic packaging, says Jonas Dahl.
Need for investment and political leadership
All industries must contribute to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The large industries have already lowered their CO2 emissions significantly, but there is still a long way and need for both change of attitude and innovations.
The question is: Are we investing enough in innovation? And are we willing to pay the price for the green transition?
– Yes, we lack innovation. Part of the solution is to ensure that we get that innovation. We have realised the problem. We need to solve it. And solve it fast, said Thomas Woldbye, CEO, Copenhagen Airports.
The aviation industry is well aware of its negative impact on climate changes. The industry accounts for 2-3 % of global CO2 emissions. That has to change! The industry focus on several fronts.
In addition, to look at ways on how aeroplanes make the most out of fuel, Copenhagen Airport has initiated a green climate fund. All passengers travelling through a Danish airport will be charged a small amount contributing to the Fund. It is expected to raise DKK 250-300 million annually for innovation of more climate-friendly aviation. The target is a CO2-free airport in 2030 and a CO2-free industry in 2050; which is in line with the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The growing climate awareness pushes the green transition in the right direction. Unless the end-users are demanding and willing to pay for the green solutions, companies will not offer them. Companies must be able to see a business model in green solutions.
To boost innovation, the debaters called for political leadership that sets ambitious climate goals such as green buildings and CO2 neutral transport.
– We are lucky to live in a country that is heavily funded by the public sector. A lot of the funding in the next years will be contended on solutions within this area. The money will always talk. The public sector should demand climate solutions. The clusters can contribute and push the companies in the right direction. The public funding will help that, said Christian Graversen, Welfare Tech.
The climate debate took place at BLOX in Copenhagen on October 10, 2019. It was organised by Cluster Excellence Denmark in collaboration with Welfare Tech, Danish Healthtech, BrainsBusiness, InnoBYG, Lifestyle & Design Cluster, CLEAN, RoboCluster, MDC Maritime Development Centre and Energy Innovation Cluster.