Here is part two of my update from the first Sustainability Conference in Nürnberg.
Todays Key Note was done by Klaus Töpfer, our Ex-Minister of Environment. He talked about “Sustainability in a worlds of crisis. His message was, that only investments, that would focus on both, the economy and the environment would really make sense, instead most of the goverments investments are focusing just on boosting the economy, sometimes with a negative effect on the environment. What’s more critical to us, the destruction of our planet or the breakdown of our economy, he asked. He criticized the “Abwrackprämie” for German cars and said instead there should have been a premium to replace the outdated heating systems in German schools, which would have an impact for economy and environment. I really liked that comparison! It is a shame, we miss this opportunity to do something really meaningful with all that money.
He also believes, the new focus on environment by the the US goverment will help to speed up new product developments, as more competition will arise, in particular from the US. Also he criticized the focus on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of the well-being of a country. He shared the example of the Himalayan country Bhutan, where the king had introduced a new index, the Gross National Happiness index to measure the well-being of his population. You find an article in on this topic under the following link:
I quite like this concept, as it shifts the focus away from money to a more social dimension of well-being.
The aspect of todays discussions, that I found most interesting was the topic of labeling. Dr. Ulf Jaeckel introduced a new label, the German government wants to use. It is the well known “Blue angel / Blauer Engel”, which was the first enviromental focused label worldwide, introduced by the German Government in 1978. Now this label wants to define a new sustainability standard. You find background information on this new label also on Utopia:
According the Dr. Jaeckel Germany wants to put criteria for a 100 product groups together for the “Blue Climate Angel / Blauer Klima Engel” , all within the next 2 years. I find this whole discussion very confusing and discussing this with other participants, we were all wondering, whether this would truley help. I feel, along with many others, that there are already to many labels and standards, and reducing this would help us consumers more, I think.
What is your opinion?
Marina Hoffhaus from the LOHAS Competence Center talked about Greenwashing. What bothered me, was that she used exactly the same style, she criticized. She made the claim, that 20% of all Germans are LOHAS? I am not sure, where she gets that number from. If this was true, why is not 20% of our consumption with sustainable product. I think, we have to differentiate between “LOHAS talkers” and “LOHAS walkers”, who truley translate the talk into action. Anyways, there is no doubt, the LOHAS movement is growing!
Do you know what LOHAS is and do you see yourself as part of this life style?
I want to close for today with another one of Klaus Töpfers statements:
“Our life style and consumption behaviour is not a successful article to export to other countries”
“Unser Lebensstil und unser Konsum Verhalten sind kein erfolgversprechender Export Artikel für andere Länder”
I think he is right about that, and this is exactly were we can contribute to make a difference!