Paying lip service to sustainability is not good enough for Barbara Hotwagner, Head of Competence Unit at Zühlke Vienna. It’s about walking the talk.
“We have to save what’s left of the natural environment while we can,” Barbara says, “That’s why I’m involved in helping build a more sustainable future. The cost of inaction is too great to ignore.”
It’s something everyone at Zühlke feels strongly about. Climate change, deforestation, global pandemics, soil exhaustion and natural disasters are the price we’ll all pay if we don’t act now.
“Sustainability is not just a corporate responsibility, but everyone’s responsibility. It’s our environment, our planet and the place we call ‘home,” Barbara asserts.
Zühlke’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond the office doors. For us, it’s about daring to think differently and, most importantly, caring enough to follow through with action.
It starts with inclusion
Barbara certainly represents the change she wants to see. As well as championing sustainability, she also hosts and participates in several of Zühlke’s diversity groups. In her spare time, she’s actively engaged as a mentor to women seeking to advance their careers.
This leadership contributed to her election by colleagues to the Steering Committee of Green Energy Lab, Austria, Austria’s largest innovation laboratory for green energy. The Steering Group consists of 19 members, from academic institutions and representatives from industry who meet to develop sustainable innovations for test markets in Vienna, Lower Austria, Burgenland, and Styria
“It is a wonderful honour to serve on this committee and be part of such a hugely ambitious goal, which is to herald in a new era of green energy for Austria,” says Barbara.
Never stop learning
Barbara’s commitment to lifelong learning will be a big asset in the role. She has a master's in Security and IT Management, a masters of art in Communications and an MBA in Business Strategy. At Green Energy Lab, she clearly relishes the opportunity to put that knowledge and expertise to practical use, with the added incentive that she can make a real difference to people’s lives.
Being able to bring the best of academia and industry together turbocharges the work of the committee. Barbara is part of a team that evaluates the viability of innovation ideas. “When we look at ideas, we consider whether they’ll contribute to the lab's overall goals, whether they’ll impact Austrian society, customers and companies,” she says.
The Green Energy Lab has already launched a variety of successful projects such as the “Open Data Platform” - a central interface within Green Energy Lab in which all results generated by Green Energy Lab flow together.
Green at the core
For an idea to launch it's got to be more than just technically brilliant. First and foremost, it must be sustainable, have a solid business case, be profitable and have an implicit value for customers and end users.
Here at Zühlke, we actively engage in sustainable initiatives and projects including a recent energy harvesting project.
Our code of conduct guides our decisions about which clients to work with—and we encourage clients to use sustainable materials wherever possible. We’ve even developed our own methodology for creating sustainable consumer goods.
For Barbara, the Green Energy Lab is a way to apply her talents to an important cause, as well as a continuous source of inspiration. It offers crucial insight into the sustainability market, what innovations are viable and how to turn them into reality.
Zühlke as a member of the Green Energy Lab
“We bring our business and technological expertise to the table to further develop and enrich ideas ,” she says.
Barbara believes the biggest advantage of having Zühlke as a member of the Green Energy Lab is that it covers the whole innovation cycle.
“We’re not a pure technology company or a pure consulting company,” she says. “We have over 1,300 experts from different disciplines working together to solve complex, gritty problems. It’s a really inspiring environment.”
Our expertise is being put to good use –– trying to solve one of the most pressing questions our species currently faces. Can we change our energy systems and stop emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere?
The inconvenient truth is that we are all complicit in the climate crises, whether we want to admit it or not. But we also have the collective power to rewrite the course of history by acting now, so that future generations enjoy a rich, fulfilling life on this planet just as we have.
At Zühlke, we believe in making that vision a reality. If you want to build a sustainable future too, we’d love to talk.
Barbara Hotwagner joined Zühlke in 2019 as Head of Competence Unit, responsible for growing high performance software delivery teams. Before that, she worked at Microsoft, Oracle and SAS, and has over 20 years of in-depth knowledge of the IT industry. As a member of the Technology Steering Group of the Green Energy Lab, she is highly committed to a sustainable future.