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What does software have in common with sustainability?

Late summer 2019: The Brazilian Amazon – the earth’s green lung – is on fire like never before. Aside from that, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg crosses the Atlantic in a sailing boat to take part in the climate summit in New York City. Her goal: to get to the USA with as few emissions as possible. The media presence around Greta Thunberg and the Amazon certainly reinforces the fact that the topics of sustainability and climate protection are discussed increasingly. More and more consumers and companies are trying to find new ways how they can make their behaviour and products more sustainable.

Climate change will affect everyone sooner or later. That is why as many people as possible should take responsibility for our climate as soon as possible. A healthy level of consumption or the renunciation of certain products is certainly a challenge for some people, depending on what it is actually about. The greatest challenge, however, is not to ignore the latest fast fashion trends or do without meat, one’s own car and long-distance travel. The question is whether humanity can live with more moderate growth or even without it. Growth, not at least the digital transformation, has determined our economy for decades and sometimes even large parts of our society. The commitment to sustainability and climate protection is at the same time a commitment to frugality, deceleration and preservation. Economy without growth – is this even possible in favor of a sustainable climate policy? A transformation in a completely different direction than before, which should also have as many positive side effects as possible for people. Under no circumstances should there be a vicious circle of collapsing companies, unemployment and falling consumption. From an economic point of view, there is thus a complex question behind the whole topic, which has hardly been solved so far.

What does a software manufacturer have to do with climate change? The good news is that the production of software does not directly pollute the air or the climate, such as for instance industry, tourism or private transport. Further, a software that is programmed in a clever way consumes less electricity and conserves resources. Nevertheless, there are a few points where every company, and ultimately every single employee, can act. You can read the concrete recommendations for action in our tips for climate protection at the end of this article.

Until science, politics and business have developed solutions for a whole series of major challenges, it is up to each individual to implement these three simple tips for climate protection:

1. Rethink your consumer behaviour: Consume more reflected – do I really need this? Go shopping regionally and seasonally preferably because fruits and vegetables from overseas cause high CO2 emissions. Conserving value in dealing with things of personal (professional) life, second-hand purchases and, if possible, use products jointly, rent or repair them as the production of products consumes energy and raw materials. Waste less food because less wasteful behaviour also reduces the ecological CO2 footprint.

2. Use green power: Since coal is usually burned for electricity, try to save electricity. Ideally, you switch to a green electricity supplier.

3. Conscientious use of means of transport: Use public transport, set up car pools or use bicycles instead of cars. Last but not least: think about your travel habits. When the next holiday planning is due: is there really a need for a long-distance trip, or is a beautiful destination accessible by overland route a nice alternative? Anyhow, Europe and your own country have a lot to offer.