SensAbility - the WHU Impact Summit will celebrate its twelfth anniversary in 2023. We finally welcome politicians, activists, entrepreneurs, students, investors, scientists, thinkers, and decision-makers back in Vallendar to exchange ideas and projects. SensAbility has always revolved around the question: how can we as individuals help shape a more sustainable future? How can we put our ideas into action? How can we create projects and organizations that are bigger than ourselves? And that have a sustainable impact on society and the environment? This year’s theme focuses on the vibrant startup scene, inspiring and innovative ideas, and disruptive future technologies.
Since our last on-campus event, SensAbility - the WHU Impact Summit has grown tremendously. While approximately 90 participants got a ticket for the 2019 event, we welcome over 335 participants from all over Europe to our campus this year. This growth is representative of the increasing relevance attributed to environmental and social sustainability in the global discussion - from a fringe movement decades ago into the core of politics and society; and, increasingly, our economy. Therefore the quest for more sustainable thinking and action doesn’t stop with the individual - it has become an attractive business model fueled by investors, government subsidies, intensive R&D, and emerging ventures.
The SensAbility - the WHU Impact Sumit 2023 team, is thrilled to gather speakers and sponsors from the most established ClimateTech funds, emerging startups from Foodtech and NewSpace, and far-sighted decision-makers from industry and politics for two days in Vallendar.
Speaker & Content
Participants and Communication
With speakers such as Ralf Schulz, Andreas Herrmann, Christina Diem Puello, and David Shakory, participants of our Future of Mobility panel will gain an understanding of the latest developments and trends in mobility, and learn how to identify and support sustainable and equitable mobility solutions. The panel will also discuss potential drawbacks of emerging technologies and the role of industry in shaping the future of mobility.
Sustainable mobility solutions are becoming increasingly urgent, as the global carbon footprint of transportation continues to rise. The emergence of new technologies such as electric and autonomous vehicles presents opportunities to reduce emissions, but also raises questions about the social and environmental impacts of their widespread adoption. Despite these challenges, the future of mobility presents a growing market for sustainable solutions, with the potential for innovative business models such as Mobility as a Service (MaaS) to transform the way we move.
Aim: Showing the difficulties of transitioning to a completely carbon neutral energy sector.
Due to the difficulties (high costs) of storage of renewable energies, it seems that we will most likely always need energies based on natural resources such as gas, oil or nuclear power to compensate for the different amounts of power usage. It’s more apparent than ever that something has to change, especially when it comes to the reliance on other countries (such as Russia), as this made the energy prices skyrocket.
Climate change is the biggest of our current time and generation. Clean energy and power supply is the key factor to being successful in solving the climate crisis: Energy is the largest sector of greenhouse emissions in Germany and the EU. However, countries like Germany are still not even close to accomplishing the goal in the foreseeable future.
In 2021, while the energy consumption in Germany rose, the share of renewables was actually declining, according to preliminary numbers from the BDEW. Although the share of renewable energies in comparison to the total output (about 150 billion kWh) already reached over 50%, there are still immense costs associated to storing energy. Considering one of the main drawbacks to solar and wind energies - that they are very dependent on the time of day and/or natural forces - it is easy to understand where many people see the difficulties when politicians talk about only using renewable energies (Germany’s aim of 80% by 2030 & 100% by 2035).
Another main problem can be seen when analyzing the development within the German energy sector during the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. The energy prices in Germany skyrocketed, especially due to the sanctions placed on Russian gas and Russian oil. The invasion and uncertainty following the actions by the Russian leaders, majorly hampered outlooks for a normal supply in the future, meaning that the prices of resources, and consequently energy, increased.
However, the EU has now set out a plan that they want to become completely independent from Russian coal, gas and oil from 2030 onwards. It was also stated that there should be a quicker move to more renewable energies. Nonetheless, oftentimes it does not seem like everyone supports this Idea. As von der Leyen said:
"We need to act now to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for next winter and accelerate the clean energy transition. The quicker we switch to renewables and hydrogen, combined with more energy efficiency, the quicker we will be truly independent and master our energy system."
As everyone knows, it will not be easy breaking a working system such as the working energy sector, to enhance and implement newer technologies, which might not be as efficient. Thus it will be exciting to hear about the topic in the panel discussion: Transforming Energy: Shaping or Breaking Business?
This panel will explore the future of food and the growing importance of food alternatives in addressing environmental and health issues. Participants will learn about the different types of food alternatives available, such as plant-based and lab-grown meat, and their benefits and challenges, including taste, nutrition, and cost. The panelists will also discuss the global impact of food alternatives in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and alleviating pressure on natural resources.
The panel will highlight the role of consumers and policy makers in driving the adoption of food alternatives and address the challenges and opportunities for the food industry in transitioning to a more sustainable model. By the end of this panel, participants will understand the significance of food alternatives in creating a sustainable and equitable food system. They will have the knowledge and tools to make informed choices about their food consumption and contribute to a more sustainable future.
The food industry is a massive global industry, with trillions of dollars in sales each year. The industry is involved in every stage of food production, from farming and fishing to processing and packaging, and distribution. In recent years, the industry has become increasingly globalized, with many companies sourcing ingredients and products from all over the world.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the food industry employs more than 1 billion people worldwide, making it one of the largest employers on the planet. The industry is also a major contributor to national economies, with food exports accounting for a significant portion of many countries' GDP.
However, the food industry also has a dark side. Many of the products we consume are linked to environmental degradation and poor working conditions, particularly in developing countries where many food ingredients are sourced. The industry is also a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution.
What is being done about this?
To address these issues, a growing number of companies and governments are taking action to improve the sustainability of the food industry. This includes efforts to reduce waste, promote more sustainable farming practices, and support local food systems.
In addition, many countries are considering or have already implemented laws and regulations to improve the social and environmental impact of the food industry. These include laws to ban harmful chemicals and pesticides, regulate the use of antibiotics in livestock, and improve working conditions and wages for food workers.
Overall, there is a growing recognition that the food industry has a significant impact on our health, the environment, and social justice. Efforts to improve the sustainability and equity of the food system are essential for creating a healthier and more equitable world. Here are some additional facts:
Look forward to a get-together on the Burgplatz!
SensAbility welcomes you back to the Burgplatz!