“Climate change and the demands of our growing population are huge challenges. At the same time, we live in the best world in history. And never have we had such powerful technologies at our disposal,” said Stefan Scheiber, CEO of Bühler Group.
He added that the crucial point is that industry, research and politics must use these new and sustainable technologies to cope with these challenges and that these various players must work together toward this goal. “Our aim is to reduce energy requirements, water consumption, and waste by 50% in our customers’ value chains,” said Scheiber. “Industry must become part of the solution.”
An enormous need for action exists to build sustainable value chains in food and feed production and mobility. “Since our first Networking Days, the challenge has increased. It is urgent now,” said Ian Roberts, CTO of Bühler. Just a few figures demonstrate this: Whereas three years ago it was assumed that the global population would rise to about 9 billion by 2050, it is now growing much faster. Now we expect almost 10 billion.
At the same time, global warming is increasing. The chances are dwindling that it can be limited to below 1.5°C. Agriculture accounts for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions and 71% of all fresh-water consumption. Food production accounts for 30% of global energy consumption, with 30% of all food being wasted or discarded. Despite this, 800 million people are still going hungry. Of eight million animal and plant species, roughly one million are in acute danger of extinction because of climate change and the destruction of their habitats.
“The coming ten years will decide what heritage we will pass on to the future generations,” Roberts said. “We must act now. We must collaborate within our entire ecosystem. And we must radically change our behavior as industries, as companies, and as individuals.”
Bühler has therefore decided to increase its sustainability goals and to add water as a new aspect. Bühler’s next-generation process solutions are to become 50% more efficient. In other words, they are to use 50% less energy, consume 50% less water, and produce 50% less waste.
“We have not changed our targets because we have achieved our original goal of 30%, but because we have concluded that they are simply not high enough,” said Roberts.