Conference Takeaways: Austrian Business in SEA

ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA SINGAPORE pulled off an excellent inaugural Austria Connect conference in our region.

Valuable and relevant content focusing on ‘How South East Asia will turn green’ uniquely blended with two days worth of networking with mid-sized and industry leading Austrian businesses – add a few delicacies (veal schnitzel, Zweigelt and Kaiserschmarrn) and Geselligkeit with old friends and new contacts.

Some learnings:

š—„š—²š—°š˜†š—°š—¹š—¶š—»š—“/š—£š—¹š—®š˜€š˜š—¶š—°š˜€/š—–š—¶š—暝—°š˜‚š—¹š—®š—æ š—˜š—°š—¼š—»š—¼š—ŗš˜†:
1. Requires an approach by all stakeholders along the value chain, solo efforts will run into walls.
2. When China stopped importing used plastics a few years ago, it created a positive effect: companies had to look harder for sustainable solutions.
3. Buying (used) PET bottles as bales has harsh competition. Bottle2bottle recylcers are easily outpriced by garment recyclers who pay a premium.
4. If bale prices are higher than virgin material, brands will almost always decide on cheaper price, unless regulation ‘nudges’ them (see 1).
5. Bale prices are determined by a very intransparent mechanism, sometimes lacking any of Adam Smith’s logic.

š——š—²š—°š—®š—暝—Æš—¼š—»š—¶š˜‡š—¶š—»š—“ š˜š—µš—² š˜€š—µš—¶š—½š—½š—¶š—»š—“ š—¶š—»š—±š˜‚š˜€š˜š—暝˜†:
1. Annual efficiency improvements by large shipping operators can yield 10-15% energy reduction, not bad – but by far not sufficient for the 2030 targets.
2. The 3 (current) options for zero carbon fuels all have challenges:
– Bio fuels: simply not enough supply + competition for it (each year shipping uses ~2.5% of the world’s fuel)
– Methanol: the TW hours of renewable electricity required are off the charts
– Ammonia: early stage, still lacking engines, no fueling infrastructure and sufficient ships that’ll sail with it.

š—˜š—»š—²š—暝—“š˜† š˜€š˜‚š—½š—½š—¹š˜† š—¶š—» š—¦š—˜š—”:
1. Majority of coal fired plants are 10 years and younger across many ASEAN countries.
2. Early retirement of coal is costly (who pays for lost investments?) and risky in case energy demands aren’t met.
3. Not enough equity: too many renewable projects are debt funded; more blended finance options are required.
4. General perception: climate change was not ‘invented here’ and we’re not going to do much until someone pays us for it.

This sounds like many problems. But all speakers were extremely solution oriented. The award for best panel goes to Dietmar Schwank from WKO Vietnam combining a PHP, VN, MAL & THAI project or specialist.

Good food for thought and a welcome opportunity to present the recruiting capabilities of Fiducia Executive Search Partners in the renewable sector together with our friends from Fiducia, an Acclime company.