Electrifying the world with our partners
ABB Electrification’s President, Morten Wierod opened the gathering by highlighting the growth through partnership ABB has undergone over the past year and the company’s focus on technology, innovation, and sustainability. He stressed how important channel partners are to the value chain, noting how important collaboration is in driving solutions to some of world’s biggest challenges.
With ABB Electrification currently the second largest in its field in Europe, Morten outlined the growing business opportunities across the continent, covering utilities, data centers, renewable energy and within buildings. Reminding the audience of ABB’s mission to bring safe, smart, and sustainable electrification to its customers, he stressed the need to continue to pursue profitable growth, drive innovation and technology leadership and embed sustainability at the core of all activity. In delivering those goals, he emphasized ABB’s strong value set of courage, care, curiosity and collaboration, with integrity at the core.
How ABB is harnessing the power of partnership to deliver the energy transition was outlined by Morten, with major new collaborations with tech giants, like Microsoft and Samsung, supplementing ABB investments in artificial intelligence start-ups and scale-ups, like Brainbox AI and Tallarna, and acquisitions such as ASKI Energy, and Eve, the smart home technology firm. Pointing to the year’s strong revenue driving ABB Electrification’s success he expressed confidence in the ongoing development of these partnerships and pointed to new collaborations and investments to come.
Region leading approaches
Morten highlighted how the Northern Europe region is a leader in sustainability and the energy transition. ABB Finland’s site in Porvoo was illustrated as one indicative benchmark of progress reflective of the region. The site, which is part of ABB’s evolving decarbonization program, Mission to Zero™, recently achieved the status of net-zero operation and in manufacturing products for ABB customers including ranges that use bio-circular material.
He highlighted how partnership and collaboration are key to seizing the full opportunities of sustainability in action. He noted how they are vital for driving circularity at scale and essential to advancing sustainable practices, e.g. take-back schemes. In particular, he highlighted how electrification of transportation is a key opportunity.
Morten concluded his opening address by noting the enormous opportunities for partners present across the region, and the benefits from continued cooperation and partnership under the shared mission of electrifying the world in a safe, sustainable, and smart way. He stressed how collaboration has always been a core theme for ABB and how as a company it continues to streamline and strengthen internal collaboration at every level in order to deliver a more seamless customer experience. He emphasized how the voice of the customer informs everything ABB does and explained its objective to keep empowering partners to deliver in the market as the experts in their field; that ABB aims to always give partners what they need to be successful.
The speed and scale of the energy transition
Ana Rovzar, a Brussels-based international energy professional and expert on sustainable energy in emerging economies, gave an overview of the significant macroeconomic, geopolitical, and societal developments that we can see happening worldwide and that are both driving and impacting the speed and scale of the global energy transition. With experience operating in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, she gave a nuanced and detailed overview of the global trends shaping debates and policymaking on clean energy and climate action, and sustainable development.
Interactive insights from division presidents
ABB Electrification Division Presidents gathered for an interactive Q&A session with audiences. A range of themes and issues were discussed including existing and new offerings coming to the market of particular relevance to the Northern Europe market, the divisions’ business outlook for 2024, and how partners can seize new opportunities in the e-mobility sector.
Sustainability in action
Anton Kotov, ABB Electrification’s Head of Strategy, Business Development and Sustainability looked at how sustainability principles are taking hold globally. He noted how five key megatrends are driving action. Firstly, the shift to electricity, with final energy consumption from electricity expected to reach up to 50 percent for buildings, transport, and industry by 2050, growing from 17 percent in 20101. This will be augmented by the wider energy transformation; by 2050 the world’s energy supply will become more renewable and decentralized – up to 67 percent of the supply will come from renewables, growing from 9 percent in 2010, with rooftop solar PV systems alone increasing nearly tenfold to 240 million systems since 20202.
These developments will follow the wider urbanization trend. By 2050, 68 percent of the 9.8 billion global population will live in urban areas, growing from 52 percent of 7 billion in 20103. This will be matched by ever-increasing digitalization and connectivity; more than 65 billion connected devices will be in operation by 2026, for 8.2 billion people4. Five billion people will be using smartphones by 2030, almost 60 percent of the global population, increasing from around 600k and 8 percent of people in 20105. And, with the share of the population aged 50+ rising to 45 percent by 2050 in OECD countries, it is expected that this multigenerational workforce will demand more diverse ways of working, supported by technology6. All of which, influence ABB and its mission to electrify the world in a safe, smart and sustainable way.
The practical application of our sustainability credentials was also highlighted, with Local Product Group Manager Mikaela Ahlnäs-Mäkeläinen joining the event live from ABB's Mission to Zero factory in Porvoo, Finland. She outlined the journey to achieve net-zero operations, tips for other sites interested, and how the journey will continue in Porvoo. With the new SAGA™ range of bio-circular, recyclable wiring accessories being manufactured there, its current focus is on saving resources wherever possible. Anton highlighted that 80 percent of ABB's products and solutions are now covered by a circularity approach.
Sebastiano Paganini, Global Product Line Manager in Energy Management Solutions, provided a different perspective on sustainability in action with the InSite energy management system, which helps customers identify energy savings potential highlighted through its application in a range of circumstances - from the retrofit of a royal residence in Edinburgh, Scotland to a large dairy factory in Shuangcheng, China.
Looking at circularity, Emmanuel Logakis, Sustainability Manager in ABB Smart Buildings explained how, given we live in a closed system with finite resources, there is always a risk of overexploitation of resources – a risk that circularity addresses by cutting waste, increasing recyclability and reusability, and making products more durable. He highlighted how ABB is committed to the goal that 80 percent of revenues be covered by the ABB circularity framework by 2030.
This circularity framework sets eight levers or KPIs across a product or solution’s life cycle. For example, one lever is sourcing – in the past year, the Smart Buildings division has substituted 1,000 tonnes of traditional fossil-based plastics with recycled or biobased sustainable alternatives. Other levers include manufacturing, efficiency and end of life, where divisions are making significant progress in reusing waste, reducing energy use and reassigning materials to re-enter the use cycle.
Emmanuel concluded by explaining the use and value of independent Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) as well as ABB’s EcoSolutions labelling initiative which provides a direct QR code link to a product’s circularity credentials, and all relevant documentation.
The electrification of transport
ABB experts then held a lively session on the electrification of transport, practically examining how far we have come with today’s electric vehicle options covering cars, bikes, scooters, buses, boats, and trains. They also noted also how these new vehicles are manufactured through a complex global network of logistics powered partially if not entirely by electricity.
The experts demonstrated how ABB has been part of electrification of several industries in the past and is at the core of electrification of transportation presently, and it has ambitions to grow this business. In consultation with partners at the event, the challenges of electrification of transportation and the opportunities for its continued growth were explored.
The last formal session of the event involved an engaging discussion with a panel of customers looking particularly at the issue of e-commerce, moderated by ABB executives in ABB Electrification, Smart Power, and Smart Buildings divisions. Discussions included improvements to e-commerce readiness covering planned improvements to ABB-provided product data, potential means to leverage distributors' digital media initiatives, and options to increase the visibility of distributors on ABB online touch points.
Celebrating partnerships and networking to new opportunities
With the event starting the night before with a gala dinner, the Channel Partner Event ended with a final opportunity for all attendees to socialize and network concluding a successful day that served to highlight the vast range of opportunities available in a region truly leading the way in both sustainability and the energy transition.
1 BP, IEA, McKinsey; 2 IEA; 3 UN; 4 Frost & Sullivan, UN; includes devices with network connection in applications like vehicle telematics, smart grid, smart home, building and industrial automation, medical devices or PoS terminals; smartphones, tablets or PCs are not included; 5 Strategy Analytics, UN; 6 OECD, which has 38 member countries.