Optimism despite corona

The coronavirus has caused the greatest crisis in recent history. Is it possible to see anything about it in a good light? Three developments that encourage optimism.

Nature is flourishing: waterfall in the Black Forest
Nature is flourishing: waterfall in the Black Forest Shutterstock

The climate has benefited

During the first six months of 2020 roughly 1.6 billion tonnes – or 8.8% – less CO2 was emitted into the atmosphere worldwide than during the same period of the previous year. This was the finding of a study in which the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) participated. The strongest reduction was recorded by overland transport at 40%, followed by the energy and industrial sectors at 22 and 17% respectively. Germany generated 53 million tonnes – or 14.9% – less CO2 than it had during the same period of 2019. A 7% fall in global CO2 emissions is expected for the whole of 2020.

Traffic is decreasing: an autobahn near Stuttgart
Traffic is decreasing: an autobahn near Stuttgart picture alliance/dpa

Working conditions have improved

The shift to working at home has resulted in improvements in working conditions for many employees in Germany. This was one of the findings of a study by the DAK health insurance fund. It found that 21% of employees regularly felt stressed by work before the pandemic, whereas the total was only 15% during the corona crisis. Of those who now regularly work at home, 56% said they are more productive there than in the office. And two thirds stated that they are better able to reconcile work and family life.

Digitalisation has made progress

The corona pandemic has given a boost to digitalisation at large companies in Germany. This was one of the findings of a representative survey by Bitkom Research carried out on behalf of IT service provider Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Three quarters (75%) of companies with 100 or more employees have increased investments in digital devices, technologies and applications as a result of their experiences in the corona crisis. Four out of ten firms (40%) said the corona crisis has accelerated the digitalisation of their business model – in other words, it has led to a change in their product and service offering. One in four (25%) have increased the rate at which they are digitalising their business processes. Practically no companies (0.2%) claim that corona has not had any impact at all on digitalisation.

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