Selected by the jury as one of only 35 persons with an extraordinary potential to shape German business, civil society and policy-making to impact the future, Julia Roemer has been awarded the title of “Vordenker 2021“ (Thought Leader 2021, linked content in German). The “Vordenker” initiative and its high-level jury is assembled by a cooperation of the German “Handelsblatt” newspaper and Boston Consulting Group.
Under this year’s motto “Crisis as chance: Who drove the transformation in the pandemic” the jurors recognised Julia Roemer’s and Coolar’s work on novel solar thermal off-grid refrigerators that enable access to basic health care and especially vaccination – a key issue during a pandemic in which, as put by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “none of us is safe until all of us are safe” and vaccinated.
Rolling out vaccines to some regions and communities is more difficult than to others. However, to protect everyone equally and prevent silos to which the virus can retreat and mutate further, they will have to reach every corner of the planet.
In a crisis that likely pushed over 100 million more people into poverty, and in regions in which 1 billion people rely on health clinics that don’t have electricity access, delivering the highly temperature sensitive vaccines is a challenge. According to the recent “Chilling Prospects” report by UN-linked “Sustainable Energy For All” (SEforAll), 2.7 billion people are unlikely to get dependable access to Covid-19 vaccines based on current logistics and cooling infrastructure. Many of these people are located in Sub-Sahara Africa, South and South-East Asia.
Not only for logistical reasons, the Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts, that 85 countries will not have widespread access to Covid-19 vaccines before 2023. As the build-up of supply chain capacity and especially off-grid refrigerators for these vaccines gets underway in order to be ready when the doses finally do arrive, Coolar is also ramping up production. The team is currently working to set up the manufacturing of its refrigerators close to where they will be needed and at a quality that will mean they can help deliver basic healthcare and crucial vaccines far beyond the current pandemic.
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