Industrial and commercial areas are rarely considered role models in terms of climate protection and sustainability. Even in the Donautal in Ulm, which borders a nature reserve, not all businesses have a climate protection concept yet. Furthermore, a survey by Donautal Connect and the University of Ulm shows that more than 80 per cent of the 20,000 employees travel to work by private car. Despite the fact that the business park is connected to public transport, they often have to put up with traffic jams during rush hour. This situation makes the industrial estate the ideal location for the new "Klima Connect" real-world lab. Local industries include metalworking companies, mechanical and commercial vehicle engineering, logistics and building materials companies, as well as the food and pharmaceutical industries. "Together with company managements and employees, we want to develop an overarching climate protection strategy for the Donautal until 2030," explains Professor Martin Müller, head of the "Klima Connect" project and the Institute for Sustainable Corporate Management at the University of Ulm.
The KliConn project focuses in particular on the areas of mobility (Uni Ulm), greenhouse gas balancing (Uni Ulm) and energy efficiency, climate adaptation measures and ecology (University of Applied Sciences Aalen).
Within the framework of a real-world lab, the project makes a valuable contribution by co-developing an overarching climate protection strategy for the Donautal industrial area. Real-world labs are a new form of cooperation between science, business, municipalities and citizens. With them, scientists accompany, for example, the redevelopment of city districts or the introduction of new mobility and energy systems. Practitioners from municipalities, social and environmental associations or businesses are involved in the research process from the very beginning.
The special feature of the real-world lab format: employers and employees are already involved in the development of the real experiments that pave the way to a more sustainable Donautal. This personal commitment should ultimately contribute to more action competence in climate protection. Fields of action range from energy savings to new mobility concepts. Overall, the real-world lab should achieve a so-called spillover effect into other areas of life. "Climate protection requires exchange across company boundaries. The real-world lab offers ideal conditions to discuss and even try out different measures," explains Michael Hiete, Professor of Business Chemistry at the University of Ulm.