Who’s Leading The German Sustainability Scene? | German Sustainability Award 2021



The future of a sustainable Europe is being discussed at the German Sustainability Award. Last 2nd and 3rd of December, Luxiders Magazine, as media partner of the event, met the people who are changing the world. There, we understood where we need to direct our efforts. Here,  all you should know about the event.


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Sometimes one feels privileged of being in a certain place at a certain moment. Last 2nd and 3rd December, Luxiders Magazine, media partner of The German Sustainability Award 2021, could witness a moment of unprecedented change. A passionate community of visionary creatives, scientists,  politicians and entrepreneurs are waking up every day to create a better future. This is no an easy task and requires an "out of the box" vision and high levels of financial investment. There are many things that need to change.

The German Sustainability Award (Deutscher Nachhaltig­keitspreis) was presented for the 14th time in Düsseldorf, Germany. The award recognized innovative ideas for the future and top achievements in sustainability in the fields of economy, research and communities. At a difficult time like the one we are currently living Worldwide (with the uncertainty created by Omicron and the business and financial shake-up it could mean for the world), it was a joy seeing big sustainability leaders attending the event. There are issues that cannot be delayed any longer. Sustainability is one of them.

As EU Commission President Dr Ursula von der Leyen, said: "It is therefore important that your valuable ideas are not only shown in the niche but across the board.“ Here is the place. She added: "Europe doesn't just rely on the regulatory framework. A third of 800 billion euros goes to the Green New Deal (...) We want to achieve that all people can walk the path of transformation. Investment, financing and social compensation for emissions trading will be the way.“



These composed the main topics discussed during the congress.



40% of CO2 emissions are produced by the construction or building industry. That is why this is one of the most discussed topics at German Sustainability Award Congress. As Prof. Dr. Lamia Messari-Becker said, “laws are 50 years old, but we want to build the future. That is incongruent. It must be possible to implement ideas. The future will bring us trees and concrete for the infrastructure as well as wood for the houses.”

“We are building a global platform to connect all churches, from every religion, with society. The goal is to assure a sustainable development, from implementing solar panels over the roofs of churches to spreading the message among our diels”-  said Cardinal Peter Turkson.

This year, the German Sustainability Award for Research recognized new ideas for climate resilient cities. It was awarded for the tenth time in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The focus of the award was on adapting to climate change and dealing with extreme weather events in cities and regions. The project "HeatResilientCitiy" convinced the jury and the public with its development of effective measures for adapting to periods of hot weather with special consideration of the needs of citizens.

This year's winner of the German Sustainability Award for Architecture is the "Einfach Bauen" project in Bad Aibling, Bavaria. Lightweight concrete, solid wood and masonry were used to construct three identical buildings. This made it possible to reduce building materials, optimise recycling potential and reduce construction time and costs. The jury praised the project as an important impulse for the construction industry. The German Sustainability Award for Architecture is awarded jointly with the German Sustainable Building Council - DGNB e.V. and with the support of the Federal Chamber of Architects, the Association of German Architects and the Federal Foundation for Building Culture as well as CAPAROL.

The winners of this year's German Sustainability Award for Cities and Municipalities are Stuttgart, Geestland and Fuchstal. They convinced the jury as role models for sustainable urban development. The award is endowed with €20,000 per winner earmarked for sustainability projects by the Allianz Environmental Foundation and is supported by the Bertelsmann Foundation as part of the SDG Portal and by the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) of Engagement Global with funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).



Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius listed some priorities for science: "to bring earth system and humans to equilibrium; to promote man as part of the network of life; use indigenous knowledge also in science; to offer education for all; to priorise the good state of the environment, to accelerate transformation through environmentally friendly measures that should  be rewarded...". 
Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer said there is a big change in culture. "Knowledge and value attitude of consumers are completely overrated". To her, there are some conflicting goals: "The ecological issue cannot be solved with the concept of increase and growth (...) The Pre-modern society did not know waste, only our new generations do know it." According to Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer, we should think on "reward instead of punishment from the market and politics". 
Only 9 percent of all consumers buy sustainably, although surveys say 75 percent of consumers would like to buy sustainably. This gap can be explained by the fact that consumer decisions are made almost exclusively on an emotional level. Therefore, it is even more important for brands to build a strong brand and to communicate well. 




“Climate change is progressing; the Glasgow document falls short of expectations. The Corona pandemic has not been overcome. A new federal government is stepping in to set the political framework for solutions. But change only works if business, communities, research and each and every one of us shape it" - says Stefan Schulze-Hausmann, initiator of the German Sustainability Award.




With the honorary awards, the German Sustainability Award Foundation recognises prominent national and international actors who stand up for ecological and social concerns and fight for positive change. EU Commission President Dr. Ursula von der Leyen accepted her award for the European Green Deal; Oscar winner Forest Whitaker was honoured for his many years of social commitment and his work for peace; Chris de Burgh also received an honorary award for his numerous efforts for charitable causes; actress Lily Cole was honoured for her commitment as an activist; and soul icon Joss Stone received the award for her cooperation with aid organisations in two hundred countries around the world.

As one of the world's most renowned climate researchers, Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber was also honoured at the Design Award Ceremony on 2 December for his extraordinary influence on politics, science and business. World star Billie Eilish uses her influence to draw the attention of the young generation to the issues of climate change and protection and to motivate them to take action. For this, she accepted the honorary award virtually. 



The German Sustainability Award for Companies honours business players who lead the way as good examples of sustainable change in one of the transformation fields of climate, resources, biodiversity, supply chain or society.

Transformation Field Biodiversity: PRIMAVERA LIFE GmbH

Primavera Life is a manufacturer specialising in organic aromatherapy and organic natural cosmetics products that is highly committed to biodiversity. This is also impressively reflected by the company's location in Germany: the building has a plant canopy on the approximately 5 ha site.

Transformation Field Society: Sonett GmbH

Sonett's detergents and cleaning products are manufactured according to strict sustainable guidelines. This applies both to the products made from 100% biodegradable, purely vegetable and mineral raw materials and to the packaging. The company goes one step further and has constituted itself as a foundation company.

Transformation Field Climate: GREEN IT The System House GmbH & Schneider Electric SE. 

GREEN IT helps its customers to achieve "zero emission IT", including cloud services, by operating the data centres with wind power or supplying customers locally with solar power. For this purpose, the medium-sized IT service provider, which acts as a system house, cooperates with windCORES/Westfalen WIND IT and Smartflower.

Schneider Electric is active in the fields of electrical power distribution, industrial automation and software solutions, and supplies technology for micro-grids, cooling systems for data centres and power supply. By 2025, the electrical engineering group, which is represented in 150 countries, has committed to helping its customers save or avoid a total of 800 million tonnes of CO2 compared to 2020.

Transformation Field Resources: Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG

Kärcher is known as one of the leading manufacturers of cleaning solutions such as high-pressure cleaners. For some time now, the company has been focusing not only on the durability and robustness of its products, but also on a resource-saving and climate-friendly value chain.

Transformation field supply chain: EcoVadis SAS

More than 85,000 companies worldwide and over 750 global purchasing organizations, including leading companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Continental, Henkel, Dr. Oetker, Nestlé, Salesforce, Michelin and BASF use EcoVadis Ratings to assess and collaboratively improve sustainability performance in their supply chains."Supply chains play a central role in determining all dimensions of sustainability, the expert jury stated when presenting the award. "Through its holistic approach, EcoVadis enables a comprehensive transformation along the scope of impact across a wide range of industries. By combining robust rating methodology and leading platform technology, EcoVadis offers a comprehensive action tool that empowers buyers* to structure their supply chains in a sustainable way. For this, the jury honors EcoVadis with the German Sustainability Award for Business 2022." 

Global Corporate Partnerships 

The German Sustainability Award Global Corporate Partnerships was presented for the fourth time on Friday evening. The award recognises partnerships between a company based in Germany and a partner company from the Global South that jointly assume responsibility in their supply chain. This year's tandems belonged exclusively to the textile industry. The winner is the company Deuter Sport GmbH with its Vietnamese partner company Vina Duke, which, in addition to production, also handles a large part of the international logistics and is also a certified BlueSign system partner. The prize is awarded jointly with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) of Engagement Global.

Packaging of tomorrow

The Büttenpapierfabrik Gmund GmbH & Co. KG was awarded the special packaging prize of the German Sustainability Award for its hemp paper. Hemp offers a number of ecological advantages: the fibres are more resistant, can be harvested and recycled more often and do not require harmful pesticides. The special award for particularly innovative and sustainable packaging ideas was presented for the third time by the German Sustainability Award Foundation in cooperation with REWE Group.

Green Founders - The Next Economy Award

The Next Economy Award (NEA) honours young companies and organisations that provide answers to the social and ecological questions of our time with their ideas designed for growth and expansion. The three winners of this year's NEA are Enpal GmbH from the solar energy sector, the producer of e-fuels and e-products INERATEC GmbH and the non-profit organisation Wasser 3.0 gGmbH. The award is presented by the German Sustainability Award Foundation in cooperation with the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK).