Inspiring young people to think and live sustainably

Solar Impulse and Covestro leaders encourage students to innovate for sustainability at NTNU Campus Forum

• Achieving the impossible by pushing boundaries and challenging our own assumptions • Every individual contribution can make a difference
Following an invitation from National Taiwan Normal University, Bertrand Piccard – initiator, chairman and pilot of Solar Impulse – and Covestro CEO Patrick Thomas spoke to an audience of more than 450 people about how their vision for a cleaner and more sustainable future can become a reality. Central to any success, they said, is finding like-minded partners with whom to collaborate on innovative and clean technology. Both Piccard and Thomas shared personal stories about their sustainability journeys and encouraged students in Taiwan to pursue their dreams and to think and live sustainably.

“The big challenges in our society are no longer conquering Everest or going to the Moon. The big challenges nowadays are all about improving the quality of life on this planet; fighting poverty, human rights, better governance, health, education, sustainable development, clean energy – that is where we need pioneers,” said Bertrand Piccard.
Piccard made history in 2016 when he completed the first solar-powered round-the-world flight in Solar Impulse, taking turns piloting the single-seater aircraft with André Borschberg. Born into a family of explorers, his goal behind this ambitious adventure was to show the world that existing clean technologies and materials can do more than we ever thought possible. He has since founded the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions (WAES), which will select 1,000 profitable solutions to help governments and companies reach their environmental targets. These will be presented at UNFCCC COP 24 at the end of 2018.
Thomas’ company Covestro teamed up with the Solar Impulse team to build the 25kg cockpit essential for protecting the pilots during their multi-day flights. To make an aircraft capable of flying day and night without a drop of fuel, the technologies and materials employed by Solar Impulse were key, and Covestro was central to this success. Covestro materials were widely used on the aircraft, especially the lightweight insulation technology used in the cockpit, which protected the pilots from the harsh conditions and 80-degree swings in outside temperature. “The insulation material used in Solar Impulse is the same material that makes modern refrigerators energy efficient,” said Thomas. “Solar Impulse shows that by combining existing clean technology and energy-efficient materials you can create sustainable solutions for our world. But you've got to keep pushing the boundaries.”
Covestro also partnered with UNEP to promote young innovators for sustainability  through the “Young Champions of the Earth” program. “I believe we have a duty to encourage and develop young talent wherever in the world this may be. Innovation is not in the sole ownership of companies and organizations, and the youth of today has so much to offer us, providing new ways of thinking to tackle some of the more complex environmental challenges we face,” added Thomas.
“Taking a concept from vision to reality, and opening the possibility of a more sustainable future, is a fairly hard task, but these two speakers managed it!  Through the true stories of pushing boundaries that these two pioneering leaders shared with us yesterday, students could learn the meaning and importance of pursuing a sustainable future for humankind, and also find the courage to build their dreams and make them come true,” said Professor Yao-Ting Sung,  Executive Vice President of NTNU.

“Solar Impulse has shown us the potential of clean materials and technologies, and when we add intelligent design and perseverance in practicing it, then great things can be achieved by thinking outside of the box,” said Professor Shin-Cheng Yeh, Chairman of Graduate Institute of Environmental Education of NTNU, and the moderator of the event.  

This campus talk was organized by National Taiwan Normal University, co-organised by the Institute for Information Industry, and sponsored by the Green University Union of Taiwan, the Northern Environmental Education Regional Center, the Graduate Institute of Environmental Education of NTNU, the Enviromental Safety Center of NTNU, and Covestro Taiwan. Both Patrick Thomas and Bertrand Piccard have been invited to Taiwan by WCIT 2017 and acted as keynote speakers for the circular economy session and have a leaders’ dialogue with the Vice Minister of Economic Affairs on September 11 at WCIT 2017.

About the Solar Impulse Foundation and WAES:     
The Solar Impulse Foundation created the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions – which it fully administers and funds thanks to partners and private donors – following the success of the first solar flight around the globe. As one of the direct legacies of Solar Impulse, the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions also benefits from the media, political and institutional relations developed over the course of the project.

The World Alliance for Efficient Solutions brings together start-ups, companies, institutions and organizations producing, implementing or supporting the use of clean technologies. Together, the members share experiences and create synergies in order to improve the overall value chain and demonstrate concrete solutions to support governments, corporations and institutions in reaching their environmental targets, advising them depending on their specific situation.

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About Young Champions of the Earth:
Young Champions of the Earth is a forward-looking prize awarded by the United Nations that is designed to breathe life into the ambitions of brilliant young environmentalists. Each year, six young people – one from each global region – will be named Young Champions of the Earth. These winners receive seed funding, intensive training, and tailored mentorship to help them bring their big environmental ideas to life.  

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About NTNU:
NTNU took the lead in echoing the global trend of Green University, incorporating the green idea into its development plan and overhauling the physical environment of its campus and teaching software in aspects of research innovation, teaching program, environment management, student life, art and aesthetics, and social services, in the hope that its students leave school with comprehensive and competitive green awareness, and that the school be in line with the global trends of low carbon and green economy.

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About Covestro:
With 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has 30 production sites around the globe and employs approximately 15,600 people (full-time equivalents) as of the end of 2016.

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Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports, which are available at the Covestro website Covestro assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.