GreenTech – what remains of it

This year marked our first time to attend the GreenTech Festival and, naturally, we came with high expectations. “GreenTech” has a ring of innovation, digital features, sustainable products from raw materials we never even heard of, as well as solutions and alternatives to the environmentally harmful processes that are still being used. In short: projects that will make life worth living for all organisms on the planet and that are SUSTAINABLE above all. Looking back, we have been wondering: What remains of our expectations? How sensible is the GreenTech Festival and its presentation of companies and their ideas? Which takeaways are worth remembering?

Location remains a key factor

The venue, Berlin’s former airport in Tegel, definitely offers plenty of space, and it will continue to the used, which makes it arguably a sustainable location. Although it takes some time to get there from certain parts of Berlin, the location is conveniently accessible by public means of transportation, including an EV shuttle that was recently added.

Exciting ideas

We saw many ideas, products and initiatives. Here are some examples we loved:

- MOYU offers erasable notebooks made of sandstone paper,
- everwave collects plastic waste from rivers,
- Shavent developed a plastic-free metal shaver,
- Google Maps has introduced eco-friendly routing,
- the green bus stop is getting greener yet,
- the “train of ideas” by Deutschen Bahn is a realistic optimisation of day-to-day reality,
- “vertical farming” is now possible in server racks using LED technology.

- Secalflor sells plastic-free roof greening solutions
- motorists can rejoice over a wider selection of electric vehicles, both cars and bikes.

We would like to see more of the same. Regardless of whether such solutions are intended for the end consumer or businesses, these are the solutions we want and need!

Speakers, panels and big stages

Several areas large and small had been set aside for presentations and discussions, which provided welcome breaks from the exhibition, and which touched upon important issues. In the future, we would like to see more critical topics on the agenda. In addition to the definition of goals, there should be opportunities to discuss problems and ways to solve them with representatives of large corporates, major economic sectors and the industries that strain the environment more than others.

Providing space and setting up collaborative ventures

Recent years have seen such a large number of angles, ideas, concepts for environmentally friendly projects and implementations that it makes the exhibition seem comparatively small. Perhaps the event needs better publicity, or perhaps incentives and options should be created to include small start-ups with smaller budgets. We have no doubt that many of these are constantly looking for ways to present and communicate their ideas to the outside world.
In her summarising remarks about the GreenTech Festival, Louisa Dellert proposed so-called partner booths where large corporates sponsor small upstart companies that are just emerging as a force for good. Why not? We believe it is a splendid idea!

Green washing should be avoided

Occasionally, we detected articles at exhibition stands that were not exactly representative of sustainability, such as mobile phone covers in plastic wrappers and plastic pens. From our point of view, it would make sense to advise exhibitors ahead of time that such giveaways have no place at the fair. We also noted that companies like Nespresso and Shell were conspicuously absent rather than presenting sustainability concepts or answering pressing questions during panel discussions.
We need these companies to transition to a sustainable strategy, which predictably raises the question: Are the exhibitors truly concerned about issues related to environment and sustainability, or do they merely exploit the GreenTech Festival for image purposes? Are their staff familiar with the issues? Is there any evidence for a mental shift in-house and for solutions to make their work more sustainable?

The next GreenTech Festival is sure to come

In sum, it is an event that was conceived for sound and significant reasons, that is worth seeing, and that provides plenty of stimulation. The concept, while leaving room for improvement, is rich in potential. Venturing a prediction, we assume that the GreenTech Festival will get bigger in the years ahead and become more inspiring yet.

A question that has been on our minds is this: Why don’t the decision-makers sit down with the people who have been committed to these issues since the inception of the environmental movement? Still, we may support next year’s event, just in case – we’ll see!


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