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The merge of sustainability with technology is a must when it comes to ensure the safety for the future generations. With years of destruction of the environment under our belt, it is about time to start thinking creatively and develop innovative ways to put a halt to the destruction of our planet. In the GreenTech Festival 2021, that took place in Berlin between the 16th and 18th of June, we have seen some examples of the extent of sustainable thinking.
From recycling and upcycling auto parts, ensuring carbon offsetting initiatives, to innovative ways of farming at home and lifelong beauty products; in this year’s edition of the sustainable hub for technology, we took a sneak peek into what a sustainable future could look like.
E-mobility and recycling go big on this year’s edition
We have seen plenty of electric cars and means of transport in this year’s GreenTech Festival. Audi, Sköda, BMW, and many more brands were present, all showcasing their newest models of E-Cars. But there is one thing to tackle, the fact that a car is electric does not mean it is perfect for the environment, since it depends on what kind of energy it uses. In order for it to be fully green, it should also use renewable energy.
Oliver Hoffman, Board Member of Audi, presented the company’s plans on this topic in the Festival Conference. Hoffman claimed that Audi is partnering with green energy providers across Europe, with aims of building new solar and wind plants by 2025. The project is set to start with a solar plant next year in Germany. The goal is to ultimately feed the same amount of green energy as the Electric Audi cars that are on the streets need.
Audi also showcased two very interesting innovations in the field of sustainability: the company developed a new way of chemically recycling old auto-parts, to later use them as raw material for the new models, all while keeping the highest quality. The recycled product comes to replace petroleum. Moreover, Audi launched a supply chain monitoring tool using Artificial Intelligence, that analyses sustainable risks, such as environmental pollution, human rights violations and corruption, over 150 countries.
Hyundai presented an all electric car that was just released in the market as well. The new IoniQ 5 uses the same engine as luxurious cars, but takes it to the middle car sector. Hyundai claimed to having reduced by 20% the CO2 emissions in the production of the new model, as well as using recycled materials to produce the interior of the car. ŠKODA presented its own version of an all electric car, the ENYAQ iV, produced with 13.1Kg of recycled materials, and using PET bottles and leather treated with olive leaf extracts in the interiors. According to Christoph Völzque, who works for the Social Media department, the company carbon offset for every car they sell.
Local production and Technology innovations for the sustainable future
Agrilution is a Munich based company that produces Vertical Farms for the private sector; meaning that you can have your own farm right in your kitchen. We had the opportunity this year to talk with the company’s CEO, Maximilian Lössl, who told us everything about it. Agrilution presented its Plantcube, a sustainable way to harvest greens at home. Using the same amount of energy as a laptop, the Plantcube does all the job, and lets you know through an app when you need to add water, or the produces are ready for consumption.
According to Lössl, by having your own vertical farm, you can reduce the CO2 emissions that the transport of the products from farms to supermarket take, as well as mitigate the need of plastic from buying the greens at the supermarket; reduce food waste, and save water. Resource-wise, the PlantCube uses 98% less water, 60% less fertilizer, and 0% pesticides in the soil. While the price is a little steep for now (3.000 Euros), Lössl is confident on reducing it in the near future.
While you can only have greens in your PlantCube, Agrilution is experimenting with Strawberries and other variants, in order to widen the variety. The Berlin founded Veganz was present at the Festival as well, presenting its partnership with the German Deutsche Bahn, in which people could taste the vegan-versions of typical German food. Blue Farm is another Berlin based vegan company, that developed powder-oat milk, in aims to reduce food waste, making a product that can last longer.
Recycling, recycling, recycling
Und Gretel is a Berlin based, all sustainable, and natural brand. According to Max Franzmann, Brand & Communications Manager, despite of the taste (that might not be the best), you can eat all the products from Und Gretel, since they are all 100% natural. In order to create a Zero-waste economy, Und Gretel presented its “Tagarot for life” Lipstick, made out of 14 Karat of recycled gold, with the characteristic that it is a product for life. Meaning that when you finished it, you can just call the brand, and they pick it up, and refill it for free. Taking into account the amount of makeup that is used, that could be a green innovation at our doors.
Dr. Hauschka was present as well, displaying all its natural cosmetics. L’oréal showcased its newest sustainable strategy for salons, a method that cuts water usage by up to 80% by reducing the size of the drops of water. With their new innovation, the hair stylers can also apply the different products while using the water faucet.
Debuting at the GreenTech Festival, was the German brand Got Bag, that produces bag packs made out of recycled ocean plastic. They work together with fishermen in Indonesia, who catch the plastic with their nets, and then give it to the company, in order to be recycled. From the recovered plastic, they develop the fabric that will later be the finished product. Another clothing brand that recycle plastic is SOMWR, and for every product they sell, they plant a mangrove.
The future is now, and we need to work together in order to preserve it. We have seen in the GreenTech Festival many innovative ideas and plans; but we were left short of ideas for the general public. While many of the products showcased made a great effort towards sustainability, it was clear for us that it was maybe a too-high price for the general public. Even though the Festival was a good way for the brands involved to interconnect and share ideas and goals; we left with a bitter-sweet taste, thinking that the technologies needed for that sustainable jump so hardly needed, are still not available for a large part of society.
+ Words: Leila Salinas, Luxiders Magazine
Journalist | Berlin-based
Connect with her on LinkedIn or Instagram (@leisalinas)