As a horizontal sector, environmental technology plays a key role in the long-term sustainable development of business and society. Bavaria offers the perfect conditions for actors in the field of environmental technology.
Environmental technology provides the basis for an economy which protects resources while increasing productivity. The finding that environmental technology is the key to ensuring that tomorrow's world is worth living in means high potential for growth in the sector. Bavaria is in a good position here and offers opportunities for companies in all fields of environmental technology, including waste management, soil remediation, water treatment, air pollution control and regenerative energy technologies.
Bavaria is home to over 2,000 predominantly small and medium-sized businesses in environmental technology, accounting for around 20 per cent of the German companies active in this field. They supply environmental technology products both nationally and internationally and provide the full range of sector-relevant services, such as project planning and development or plant construction. Initiatives such as Bavaria's environmental pact give Bavarian companies greater personal responsibility for environmental protection, thus strengthening the position of the entire sector.
Over 100 research institutions are at work in the field of environmental technologies in Bavaria. The areas of research include regenerative energies, cogeneration and processes for air, water and soil pollution control, as well as specialist fields such as the production of innovative materials and heat insulation. Bavaria's commitment to research is immense, successfully acquiring funding for innovative projects with high economic potential for companies producing environmental technology. Between 2005 and 2007, five Bavarian universities held top positions in the acquisition of EU funding for sustainable energy systems.
Education in environmental technology is just as well-organised as research. The spectrum of qualification options at Bavaria's universities is broad and ranges from Bachelor degree programmes in fields such as Renewable Energies, Environmental and Process Technology and Environmental Protection Policy to Masters programmes such as Renewable Raw Materials. In addition, apprenticeships in environmental technologies provide the next generation of specialist staff, so that Bavaria's environmental technology companies will find a supply of excellently-trained staff on the labour market in future, too.
Companies and institutions in the environmental field work together in a large number of regional, sometimes specialised, networks which are especially organised around economic chambers and associations, such as in KUMAS – the Bavarian Center of Competence in Environmental Technologies and Affairs – or Netzwerk Umweltkompetenz Nordbayern (North Bavaria Environmental Competence Network, UKON). The Internet platform BAIKUM campaigns for strengthening innovation capability, competitiveness and the export capacity of Bavarian environmental technology.
At a higher level, the Bavarian Environment Cluster brings together Bavarian expertise in the fields of waste and recycling; drinking water and sewage treatment; alternative energy generation, especially energy from waste and biomass; air pollution control; and resource efficiency.
The core objective of the Bavarian Environment Cluster is to actively encourage the innovative activity and internationalisation of the sector, in order to strengthen Bavaria sustainably as a business location and to establish it as a leading centre for expertise in environmental technology worldwide. This includes securing existing and creating additional highly-qualified jobs in the environmental economy in Bavaria.