China is the largest emitter of CO2 in the world. You probably already knew that.
The reason is: We Europeans have been moving our "dirty" production there for more than 20 years. Since then, we have the clean air, the clean streams, rivers and lakes - and China is home to the dirty plants such as steel mills, foundries, galvanizing plants. Without filters and onerous environmental regulations.
How much is the energy transition costing Germany?
China is investing 0.9 percent of its GDP, or US$135 billion a year, in the global energy transition. We in Germany only 0.8 percent. Even our "little" neighbor, the Netherlands, is ahead in this respect. They invest 2.1 percent of their GDP in the conversion to clean energy production.
I sometimes wonder why we in Germany always act as if we were the great pioneers of the energy transition.
Now I'm not a particular friend of China. But I think their efforts in climate protection are noteworthy. And it's important to remember that it's largely products made by European companies for the European market that are driving up CO2 emissions there.
Until 2004, we at @allsafe, like all our competitors today, had 100 percent of our products manufactured in China, shipped them to Germany in containers and then distributed them here. However, the fact that we then started to bring the manufacture of our load securing products back to Germany and Europe initially had other reasons than environmental protection.
Is production in China profitable?
If you develop an expensive product, secure the patent rights to it in Europe and then send it to China for production, then in six months your competitor will also have your ingenious invention on offer. Because the Chinese suppliers will sell on your idea. In this respect, there is no sense of injustice there. That's just the way it is, and there's nothing you can do about it.
The second is production know-how, which you inevitably transfer to China. At some point, I realized that it's not me who benefits from making my Chinese suppliers smarter and better, but always the others.
Therefore, 18 years ago, we at allsafe started to relocate our production to Germany and Europe. First of all for corporate strategy reasons. But ultimately also to make our contribution to global environmental protection and the global energy transition.
Can I produce profitably in Europe?
It was an extreme challenge. The main problem: redesigning our parts so that they could also be produced economically in Germany and Europe with the significantly higher labor and tooling costs.
Nevertheless, I can recommend that you take on this challenge. And if you now pull out your calculator to work out what it will cost you: Take a look at your total cost of ownership! Because in our case, it actually turned out to be the case: We were able to save a lot of "soft" costs related to quality assurance, repairs, and complaints once we had succeeded in producing high-quality products in Europe.
That's why I can tell you today with complete conviction: Yes, production in Europe is profitable!
One great (side) effect of this, which we did not originally have in mind, but which I am all the more pleased about today: We have very significantly reduced our global CO2 footprint in this way. We are no longer outsourcing responsibility for climate-friendly and energy-saving production to China. We are taking care of the energy turnaround here at home.