Go green or go home! That was the message delivered by Gerd Müller, Director General at UNIDO and former Germany’s Finance Minister, at the Greentech Festival. For Mr. Müller, cooperation and green entrepreneurship are the watchwords around which the work being done by the private and public sectors should be anchored. For him – and several other personalities and keynote speakers at the festival – the tools and resources to clean up and go green are known and available, but cooperation and political will are lagging a long way behind.
With the motto “Together We Change the World for the Better”, the Greentech Festival, a Berlin-based, sustainability-focused event organized by former Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg, provides a platform for sustainability-driven personalities and entrepreneurs in the sustainability space to network, showcase innovations, voice their concerns and debate about the role the private sector can play in driving the much-needed shift towards greener and carbon neutral economies. From small entrepreneurs to global corporations, the two-day festival (22-23 June 2022) brought together like-minded people who are dedicating their efforts to solving the environmental crisis. For UN CC:Learn the event provided an opportunity to better understand the latest buzzwords from within the industry, to showcase the importance of education and training pathways for change and to … network too!
Many companies now understand the importance of education of the workforce and supply chains as a way of changing mindsets and driving action at all levels of business. But there was clearly more of a sense of delight in much more tangible things that can be done be it through the design of new products – such as “biocarbons”, which are high-quality materials with different types of use that are made through innovative processes that take out CO2 from the atmosphere – or systems and procedures. In a discussion hosted by Lufthansa for example participants thought that airlines should give priority treatment not to those with the most airmiles but rather those who offset the GHG emissions the most. What a visible and direct way this could send the message to consumers that things are changing.
Day 2 included an excellent series of bootcamps on “Green Leadership, Goal Setting and Aligning Company Values”. These were highly interactive, engaging and expertly lead opportunities to get to grips with very practical challenges being faced by companies; such as how to ensure that offsetting is meaningful; how car companies can communicate more effectively with consumers (in particular the under 35); and what the airline industry can to go net zero. For UN CC:Learn these bootcamps served to further demonstrate how important education is as a pathway towards sustainable solutions.
All of this said, there was still very much as sense that the future is still about developing and selling products, albeit products with a much lower carbon footprint. The ability of the earth’s systems to deliver on such a future was less in evidence in either the number or the discussion. For some it appears obvious that more and more products cannot be the way forward.
UN CC:Learn is looking to work with the conference organisers to identify a possible role in promoting education, training and awareness. The GreenTech Festival is also hosting events in London and Singapore, as well as New York in the future. UN CC:Learn is very grateful for the support of the Nico Rosberg Family for their support in facilitating our participation.