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Based on its leading position as one of the most sustainable technical service providers in the Netherlands, Unica translates measures relating to the energy transition into practical solutions that help clients meet their climate goals. Sustainability also plays a significant role in internal business operations.

The urgent calls by government and industry to take climate action remain prominent. In November, the Glasgow Climate Conference 2021 was organised by the United Nations to discuss climate change. The summit concluded with the adoption of the Glasgow Climate Pact. In this Pact, the signatories committed to a gradual reduction in the consumption of coal, to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030, to reduce the emission of methane gas, to stop the sale of combustion engines by 2035 on the major markets and worldwide by 2040, and to mobilise climate financing from every possible source. The overall picture of the conference was disappointing, in particular due to the absence of clear objectives and key themes. The UN described the results itself as ‘An important step, but it is not enough’.

In the Netherlands, too, the Cabinet target of reducing emissions by half by 2030 is still not in sight. As a result, the pace of the energy transition will have to be (massively) increased. In both society and politics, the calls for a proactive and ambitious approach by businesses are becoming increasingly urgent. A further incentive is a new regulatory framework developed by the European Union. This framework includes reporting obligations for companies that call for proactive, long-term plans on the integration of sustainability and corporate social responsibility in business strategy and value chains.

Following an almost exclusive focus by society on COVID-19 in 2020, the attention for climate goals recovered in 2021. Sustainability and the energy transition are set to play a prominent role in every strategic decision for years to come. Companies like Unica play an essential role since the built environment, in which most of their work as technical service providers is carried out, is responsible for 40% of the total CO2 footprint. Together with other sectoral players and clients, Unica can make a clear difference even though the alarm bells for achieving the climate targets will have to be sounded louder. Converting ambitions into realistic targets causes delay, even though there are already sufficient opportunities to set to work right away. With its in-depth knowledge of the market and state-of-the-art solutions, Unica is in a perfect position to assist in achieving the climate targets and ambitions while meeting energy needs from A to Z, where necessary with performance guarantees and financial backing.

Practical support from Unica was called in to implement the installation for the redevelopment of De Koepel in Haarlem. This listed prison building will be converted into a multidisciplinary building, open to the public, with 21st century standards for sustainability and comfort. Unica developed the complex thermal energy storage facilities for De Koepel and the hotel being built on the surrounding site. The energy storage system will also be operated by Unica over the next few decades, relieving the client of the need to finance the project. In Steenwijk, Unica developed an installation for another client, that will deliver cold from a sand extraction site to a nearby business park. A connection was made at the campus of the University of Amsterdam to an existing ATES power station, in line with the ambitions and spearheads of the University. For a housing estate in Wageningen, Unica will implement a plan for disconnecting the entire estate from the gas supply in 2022.