COO Dr. Karrer participates in panel discussion on the 50th anniversary of the Southern Upper Rhine Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Around 400 guests attended the chamber of commerce and industry’s summer festival at the Offenburg University of Applied Science’s campus. And the weather was top-notch, giving them the perfect opportunity to network and take a look at the various research projects by both students and teachers. Given that it was the 50th anniversary of the Southern Upper Rhine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it was also the right time for the event to revolve around one of the chamber’s four strategic areas: sustainability.
“The way the chamber of commerce and industry saw itself 50 years ago was completely different – the mere idea of members being ‘service providers’ was about the furthest thing from anyone’s mind at the time. But that’s exactly what we want to be today: service providers for the economy,” is how Dr. Dieter Salomon, the CEO of the Southern Upper Rhine Chamber of commerce and Industry, welcomed the various entrepreneurs and stakeholders from society and the world of politics at the event. The chamber of commerce and industry is currently focusing on four strategic areas: sustainability, digitalization, skilled workers, and locations.
The fact that the companies and researchers in the region covered by the Southern Upper Rhine Chamber of Commerce and Industry take sustainability very seriously became self-evident during the panel discussion. The panelists were representatives from the industrial sector and politicians, and their discussion was moderated by Dr. Salomon. During the discussion, Koehler Group COO Dr. Stefan Karrer put it as succinctly as possible: The industrial sector needs fewer regulations, more planning certainty, and greater latitude.
With its 2030 Koehler Promise, the Koehler Group wants to generate more renewable energy using its own plants than it requires for the production of its paper by the end of the decade. Karrer spoke at length about the enormous challenges that energy-intensive companies face in Germany and how this requires a long-term vision and the realization that it will take more than just government incentives to get things done. “We need a lasting boost to our competitiveness and the certainty required to make plans. If we are truly to take on these issues, we need a framework that will enable us to act quickly,” he continued. In fact, it is precisely in energy-intensive industrial areas such as steel, glass, aluminum, chemicals, and paper that the question of whether large investments in Germany are even worth it is becoming increasingly important.
Figure: Dr. Dieter Salomon, CEO of the Southern Upper Rhine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; André Olveira-Lenz, lead manager for environmental concerns of the chambers of commerce and industry in Baden-Württemberg; Prof. Dr. Niklas Hartmann from the Institute of Sustainable Energy Systems (INES) at the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences; Prof. Dr. Stephan Trahasch, President of the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences; Dr. Stefan Karrer, COO of the Koehler Group; and Ulrike Kahle-Roth, head of the Executive Board’s Supply Chain & Fulfillment portfolio at Sick.
Image source: Michael Bode for the Southern Upper Rhine Chamber of Commerce and Industry