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Bosch participates in Europe-wide „Green eMotion“ Initiative and in the German research project „MeRegioMobil“
The European Commission has kicked off a 4 year cross-European initiative to promote electromobility. The partners in the initiative are to accumulate experience with electromobility in existing and new test regions within Europe and refine the technology. Key issue is the development of European processes, standards and IT solutions that allow customers of electric vehicles easy and seamless access to charging infrastructure and related services throughout the European Union. Standardization is also the key factor for a fast and cost-efficient European rollout of electromobility. The total number of charging spots within the existing demonstration regions will be more than 10,000, with approximately 3,600 in Berlin. In Denmark, the country with the world’s largest share of wind-based power generation, car importers expect to put 2,000 electric cars on the roads over the course of this year and as many as 2,000 public and semi public charging stations will be installed in Copenhagen, Bornholm and Malmö. “Electromobility will make an important contribution toward reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Green eMotion is intended to ensure the fast-track success of electric vehicles,” said Siim Kallas, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner responsible for Transport. The project volume has been budgeted at 42 million euros, of which the European Union will contribute as much as 24 million euros.
Bosch’s subsidiary Bosch Software Innovations develops technology solutions for a networked electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Charging stations, mobile devices and billing systems are connected by modern web technology. Bosch Software Innovations also participates in the „MeRegioMobil“ project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology (BMWi). MeRegio stands for “minimum emission region”, and the research project’s aim is to further optimize CO2 emissions through the use of renewable energy. The aim of MeRegioMobil is to use modern information and communication technology (ICT) to develop key technologies and services for the integration of electric vehicles in existing energy and traffic networks, and to test them in Baden-Württemberg. In connection with the MeRegioMobil research project the first smart charge spots have gone into operation at Stuttgart airport. The prototype is intended to help drivers of electric vehicles to buy electricity at charge spots from different suppliers, independent of the manufacturer. Over the next few weeks, roughly 260 further charge spots will be installed in Karlsruhe and Stuttgart.
Bosch makes one million euros of emergency aid available for the victims of the catastrophe in Japan
The Bosch Group is making one million euros of emergency aid available for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The money will support the relief work being carried out in the country by the Japanese Red Cross. Further measures will be taken once there is a clearer picture of the extent of the damage and of the reconstruction work that needs to be done.
“The catastrophe in Japan deeply shocked us all at Bosch. This donation is an initial token of our deepest sympathy,” said Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of the Bosch board of management. He added that one could at present only guess at the actual extent of the destruction. For this reason, he explained, Bosch intended to postpone any decision as to how Bosch could best help the country and its people in the work of reconstruction.
As far as is known, no one was killed or injured at any of the Bosch locations in Japan. The exact extent of damage to buildings is still being assessed. It is certain, however, that none of the buildings at Bosch locations collapsed and no fires broke out. An emergency services coordination team set up by the Japanese regional company coordinated the necessary action for Bosch associates in Japan. Most of the Bosch expatriates have now left Japan. Bosch had given them the option of leaving the country and had provided them with assistance. Bosch has suspended all travel to Japan for all associates worldwide.
Production at Bosch locations in Japan has been temporarily scaled back due to the remaining uncertainty in the country and, in part, the serious infrastructure restrictions. Some plants have no reliable supply of power or water. And, in many regions, fuel continues to be in very short supply. Bosch has been present in Japan for 100 years. The company currently employs some 8,000 associates at 36 locations in the country. They develop and manufacture products for the Automotive Technology, Industrial Technology, and Consumer Goods and Building Technology business sectors.
Immediately after the earthquake and tsunami, a shocked Franz Fehrenbach said, "We are deeply concerned by the extent of the catastrophe in Japan caused by the massive earthquake and the subsequent tsunami. Following the extremely critical situation that has arisen with respect to the nuclear power plants, we are worried about our associates, customers, suppliers, and partners, as well as about the Japanese people affected." Many suppliers close to the epicenter suffered considerable damage, but have been able to resume their work in part. Bosch has tried to provide targeted assistance to those suppliers whose circumstances are most dire. Reflecting on the effects of the catastrophe at the nuclear power stations in Fukushima, Franz Fehrenbach said, "We simply cannot take certain risks anymore. We must regard this fact as technical progress in itself."
Bosch Diesel Systems has now presented awards for outstanding associate projects on three occasions
Well over 80 percent of Bosch associates firmly believe that the Bosch Group makes valuable contributions to the environment and society. CSR activities at Bosch not only enjoy broad support among associates. Numerous activities in fact originate from associate initiatives.
In 2008, Bosch Diesel Systems (DS) launched “DS Appreciation” to recognize its associates’ commitment. Following a comprehensive review of its CSR activities, the division launched the CSR award to raise awareness of these activities and promote communication on the commitment being demonstrated in the Bosch Group’s five areas of CSR activity. At the end of 2010, the executive management of Diesel Systems awarded the “DS appreciation for special orientation on associates” to a total of 18 associate projects.
The honors went to projects with a social commitment in 2008, the focus was on energy efficiency and cutting CO2 emissions in 2009, while the internal CSR award was all about associate orientation in 2010. A large number of projects were once again submitted. This underlines the importance of corporate social responsibility at Bosch and in the Diesel Systems division. The award-winning projects cover a wide range of activities – from competence management and encouraging young talent to ideas management, intercultural cooperation, and promoting a culture of dialog and feedback. Examples include a mentor program that enables associates in India to support knowledge transfer and understanding between the generations. Three projects received awards for the exemplary way they took on board the results of the global associate survey. Bosch Diesel Systems associates can once again apply for an award for their CSR activities in 2011.
Chairman of the Board of Denkwerk Zukunft and expert to the Enquete Commission on "Growth, prosperity and quality of life"
The German government has commissioned a new Enquete Commission on the subject of "growth, prosperity, and quality of life". Why are we having to re-evaluate our perception of prosperity and growth?
Miegel: Because prosperity and growth have long been used as synonyms and measured largely on the basis of material considerations only. Both of these assumptions have proved false. All sorts of things can grow without there being a corresponding rise in prosperity. Prosperity can even fall if, for instance, finite resources are used up or the environment is damaged. What's more, it has been shown that material considerations are not the only, and certainly not the primary, factor to influence most people's perception of prosperity. Other factors such as health, an intact family, friends and leisure are just as, if not more, important. We have to take account of these findings in future. Otherwise, the indicators we use won't reflect reality.
Where do you see the ecological and social boundaries of growth and is there still scope to grow within these confines?
Miegel: The boundaries will have been reached when nature, the environment, individuals, and society can't go on any further or, to be more precise, when they all show signs of exhaustion. The cost of repairing the damage done is a relatively accurate gage of this. If this is constantly on the rise, it's time for a change of direction. Calculations show that a large proportion of growth is already used to rectify the damage caused by the growth itself – if this is even possible in the first place. This is no way to run things. Conversely, it is possible to achieve growth while respecting the physical and psychological limits of depletion. But this must be a different type of growth and not the one practiced since the beginning of industrialization.
Prosperity is mostly measured in terms of material wealth in industrialized countries today. You envisage certain options for a future prosperity model. What roles do the ability to be frugal and the ability to innovate and change play in your new model?
Miegel: Both play key roles. Without groundbreaking innovations and the ability to adapt comprehensively to fundamental changes in living conditions, seven billion people – soon to be nine billion – will be living in inadequate conditions if they survive at all. Humankind has a lot of work to do. And even if it is successful, which I hope it is, the wealthier nations, including us Germans, will have to accept reductions in their material standard of living. Our current lifestyle is neither generalizable nor sustainable. It's much too costly for that.
Are people and society ready for a wide-ranging debate on these issues and what general impetus do you expect the Enquete Commission to give in this respect?
Miegel: No, the majority of people are not ready for a wide-ranging debate. However, the willing minority is growing faster than I ever dared hope. For example, having announced at the beginning of this legislative period that growth is the key to everything, the German Chancellor now admits that "putting growth above all else" was "one of the gravest errors". This is a remarkable development and one that gives reason for hope. I think the work of the Enquete Commission will continue in this direction.
Since GDP is now considered an unsuitable measure of prosperity and societal advancement, the European Commission wants to devise new measurement indicators for prosperity by 2012. France submitted its proposals at the end of 2009. Where should Germany's focus lie?
Miegel: The German efforts are embedded in a large number of activities. That's why the Enquete Commission first of all prescribed a thorough study of all existing material. And there's mountains of it. It will, however, devote particular attention to the opportunities and limitations of decoupling the consumption of resources from technological progress and the matter of how to bring about the changes deemed necessary within the regulatory framework of a social market economy. The latter issue, in particular, could become the trademark of German input.
Can a new measure of prosperity act as a catalyst for a new form of doing business, one that does not over-exploit resources?
Miegel: Yes, it definitely can. The biggest weakness of the current method of measuring prosperity is that it does not sufficiently reflect the cost of this prosperity. If this were taken into account, we would see that the progress made in increasing prosperity has been much more modest than many assume and that the costs associated with it have risen sharply in recent times. To put it another way, if we used a more accurate gage of prosperity in future, the exploitation of resources and the load on the environment would have to be cut back dramatically before we can achieve an increase in prosperity.
Bosch Solar Energy and the Arnstadt public high school sign cooperation within the context of the Wissensfabrik
The Bosch Solar Energy business division and the public high school “Staatliches Gymnasium” in Arnstadt, Thuringia have signed a cooperative agreement to promote an early career orientation of students. For Bosch this is the 100th educational partnership within the context of the Wissensfabrik. The goal of this association – founded by German firms like BASF, Thyssen-Krupp und Trumpf – is to trigger enthusiasm for technology and business among boys and girls as early as kindergarden on through high school. As emphasized by Dr. Wolfgang Malchow, board member for human resources at Bosch, "In Germany I consider it a duty for companies in particular to promote interest in technical occupations through active interaction with children and youth. This is the only way we can win over qualified junior staff for tomorrow and beyond."
The cooperation initiated in Thuringia offers students an opportunity to become familiar with Bosch Solar Energy. They receive information about promising, sustainable careers in the photovoltaic industry. The agreement is intended to help students make timely decisions about their future professions and to make the transition from school into the working world easier. Furthermore, students can take part in various projects and activities adressing questions pertaining to renewable energy sources and thus become sensitized to actively participate in a more environmentally aware society. The cooperation also actively involves the teachers of mathematics and the natural sciences in order to jointly determine the special requirements a technically oriented company places on curriculum and students.
"This partnership creates a good foundation for an ongoing dialog between school and company that will actively structure teaching in support of potential future generations" states Dr. Martin Wöhr, Head of Human Resources for Bosch Solar Energy AG. Christine Löber, the high school's principal adds, "This cooperation with Bosch Solar Energy AG is an outstanding opportunity to identify individual talents and interests of students in order to help them make qualified decisions about their professional careers.”
Robert Bosch GmbH is a co-founder of the Wissensfabrik [knowledge factory] educational initiative founded in 2005. Its goal is to make Germany's economy viable for the future and to prepare the next generation for the challenges of a knowledge-based society. Till the end of 2011 Bosch plans to set up 25 new educational partnerships.