Contrary to what we had all hoped, the Corona pandemic is currently occupying us more than it did a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, business operations can continue smoothly when working from home. In addition, we were able to successfully advance and implement many projects and topics together with our clients despite the difficult general conditions that prevailed for most of the year.
Like many other companies, we had begun a slow, voluntary return to the office under hygiene regulations in late summer. Even though the current intensified pandemic situation and the return to mandatory working from home again are painful steps backwards, we are looking forward to the personal exchange with our business partners in the coming year.
Unfortunately, as you know, 2021 was marked by significantly more difficult market conditions for the natural gas industry compared to previous years, mainly due to rising wholesale prices in recent months. Consumers in all sectors are feeling the effects of this development, which is only partly due to the CO2 price introduced at the beginning of the year, with significant cost increases.
Decarbonisation will continue to challenge us in all sectors in the coming years and decades. In July, the European Union specified in the "Fit for 55" package how it intends to become climate-neutral by 2050 with the European Green Deal and thus be the first climate-neutral continent. To achieve this, CO2 emissions must be reduced by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. The World Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26) in November 2021 showed that Europe continues to be a global pioneer in this regard.
It will be of great importance for the natural gas market whether the European Union will classify electricity from natural gas power plants as sustainable. The background to this is its important bridging function for medium-term security of supply. The development of an efficient hydrogen economy will also play a central role throughout Europe. But the question of where the enormous quantities of hydrogen that will be needed in the future will come from is still unresolved. As a feedstock for hydrogen production - for example via methane pyrolysis - natural gas can become one of the decisive keys to decarbonisation here as well.
But what is the long-term future of gas as an energy source? The World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2021, which was recently published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in October, gives a clear answer to this question: natural gas continues to be a fundamental energy source worldwide and will continue to play an important role in energy security and energy supply in the coming years. In direct comparison to coal and oil, the demand for natural gas will continue to rise in the medium term. In addition, the WEO 2021 forecasts that natural gas will also become an important feedstock for the production of climate-friendly hydrogen.
But back to the European market and the role of WINGAS as your partner in all aspects of natural gas supply. Against the backdrop of the very challenging general conditions this year, we were particularly eager to see the results of our customer satisfaction survey this year. We received many open and honest answers that gave us important insights into what you expect from us. We are pleased that we received approval and praise from the majority of our customers. Equally, we would like to thank all those who gave us open and constructive suggestions for improving our business relationship. We appreciate the suggestions and of course take these recommendations seriously. We are very proud of the fact that almost 80 percent of the participants rated their business relationship with WINGAS as very positive: 92 percent appreciate the high level of security and reliability, 81 percent confirm the commitment of the WINGAS employees and see us as a competent and reliable partner.
I would like to thank you personally for your trust and positive feedback! We are pleased that we were able to continue to maintain a good exchange with you in this once again difficult year and look forward to successfully continuing our cooperation with you. We are also pleased to welcome our new customers to WINGAS.
For the new year, we hope that the current market turbulence will be quickly overcome. In order for natural gas to continue to make its important contribution to achieving the climate targets and to security of supply in Germany, Europe and the world, it must be able to play out its economic advantages for all consumers.
Christmas is now just around the corner. We wish you contemplative, peaceful holidays and that you can start the new year in good health!
Together with my colleagues, I look forward to continuing to work with you in 2022.