Willingness is not enough to stop climate change

The consequences of climate change are being much talked about around the world. Although more and more companies understand their part in this phenomenon and decide to take significant, environmentally important steps or measures, actual actions from among the numerous declarations remain the exception rather than the rule. In the meantime, the obstacles to change in the field of energy generation are fewer and fewer: renewable green energy is not only important for the future, but it is also easily accessible and cost-effective.

The European Commission’s program to achieve climate neutrality in Europe by 2050 sets ambitious targets for member states. It also lends hope that European and Polish companies will strive to implement the aim of sustainable development faster. The assumptions in the “Energy Policy of Poland until 2040” are less stringent than in many countries. The document does include a goal of reaching a target of half of the energy coming from zero-emission sources, but not until the year 2040.

“Achieving the highest possible share of renewable sources in the Polish energy market is a challenge and requires great awareness, determination, and commitment. Given the complex situation where most of Poland’s energy comes from fossil fuels, it’s easy for companies to emply apparent branding moves instead of focusing on fighting climate change. Obviously, there has been progress over the last few years – first, the wind power market was growing, currently there is a lot of interest in photovoltaics. We also anticipate significant development of biogas power generation in the near future. But change is still happening too slowly, even in relation to the growing awareness of climate change” – says Ruslan Sklepovič, CEO of Green Genius and board member of Modus Group, which implements solar and biogas projects in Europe. Green initiatives in organizations too often come from communications, marketing or those managing human resources teams, he says: “We see similar trends in all the markets in which we operate – insufficient involvement of board members, owners, CFOs and CEOs of companies means that the real economic benefits of projects are often underestimated and decisions take too long to make”.

The Economic factor

Experts dealing with renewable energy note that many business representatives are still afraid to enter onto the path of green energy because they are convinced of the high investment costs and unprofitability of such undertakings. However, today’s reality proves that reducing CO2 emissions is much simpler and inexpensive than one might imagine.

“Company executives often think of their companies as non-energy related businesses, and the main obstacles to decision making are the lack of relevant experience and limited investment potential. The good news for them is that they don’t need to have experience in the power industry or endless financial resources – consultants, grants, and funding serve that purpose. Many investments bring a return after a few years, and then yielding only savings. Every company that consumes electricity should at least try to examine if they can acquire energy from renewable sources” – says Filip Sypko, Head of Global Business Development at Green Genius. As he states, the support of specialists lends not only to pointing to the best technological solutions, but also assistance in obtaining any permits and financing, as well as project supervision.

It takes determination to make real change

As Ruslan Sklepovich adds, when engaging in sustainable projects, one should not stop at mere declarations or certificates. Both in the Polish and Lithuanian markets, entrepreneurs are interested in green certificates confirming the origin of energy from renewable sources. This system, while beneficial to businesses, actually does not encourage the development of the green energy market at all. In Poland, l 75% of energy continues to comes from conventional sources, such as lignite or hard coal (as of 2019, URE [Energy Regulatory Office] report, 2020). Renewable energy is growing, but far too slowly to stop climate change. Poland is in the infamous lead in terms of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere – in 2018 we produced as much as 322.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, ahead of China and India.

“Reducing global CO2 emissions requires not only specific solutions, such as solar, wind and other renewable energy sources but also – and above all – enormous strength and determination to make a difference”, emphasizes the CEO of Green Genius.

Business can inspire and accelerate this process. A good example are the technology giants like Google and Microsoft, who have already declared themselves CO2neutral companies. Google achieved carbon neutrality back in 2007, and now sources its energy exclusively from renewable sources – it is now looking to offset its past carbon footprint since its inception in 1998. It has a plan to become a zero CO2 footprint company by 2030. The same time horizon for erasing legacy emissions has been set by Microsoft. Before that, from 2025, it will also use energy from RES only.

“Green energy will soon become a necessity in global business. There are certainly many interesting changes ahead of u in the Polish market as well”, Sklepovič points out.