Skadi Menne

The posi­ti­ve rou­te to more sustainability

Klasmann-Deilmann hosts Indus­try Dia­lo­gue with IAV and IHK

No con­sen­sus could be achie­ved on the issue who is respon­si­ble for sus­taina­bi­li­ty. One appeal was to make sus­taina­bi­li­ty the respon­si­bi­li­ty of the government, ano­t­her belie­ved it was the duty of each and every citi­zen, and yet ano­t­her put the indus­try in the front line. One of the out­co­mes of the recent “Indus­try Dia­lo­gue” hos­ted by the Indus­try Employ­ers’ Asso­cia­ti­on (IAV) and the Cham­ber of Indus­try and Com­mer­ce (IHK) of Osna­brück-Ems­land-Graf­schaft Bent­heim Regi­on con­clu­ded that ide­al­ly, all the­se par­ties should reco­gni­se their own respon­si­bi­li­ty and act accordingly.

The IAV and IHK of Osna­brück-Ems­land-Graf­schaft Bent­heim Regi­on had invi­ted peop­le to their annu­al joint “Indus­try Dia­lo­gue”. Last year’s key­note topic, “Digi­ti­sa­ti­on”, was now fol­lo­wed by “Sus­taina­bi­li­ty”. In view of the second extre­me­ly dry sum­mer in suc­ces­si­on, the “Fri­days for Future” move­ment and the incre­a­sing popu­la­ri­ty of “green” issu­es with public and poli­ti­ci­ans ali­ke, the event made its own con­tri­bu­ti­on to this high­ly topi­cal debate.

This year’s Indus­try Dia­lo­gue was hos­ted by Klasmann-Deilmann GmbH, which is great­ly con­cer­ned with the idea of sus­tainab­le deve­lo­p­ment, an atti­tu­de which has ear­ned the com­pa­ny its lea­ding posi­ti­on in the inter­na­tio­nal gro­wing media indus­try. Mana­ging Direc­tor Moritz Böcking remin­ded the atten­de­es that “just ten years ago, it would have been unt­hin­ka­ble to dis­cuss mat­ters of natu­re and cli­ma­te pro­tec­tion with a com­pa­ny that pro­du­ces and uses peat.” He was the­re­fo­re all the more plea­sed to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to exami­ne this essen­ti­al­ly important topic with the IAV and IHK representatives.

Mat­thi­as Hops­ter, Vice-Pre­si­dent of the regio­nal Cham­ber of Indus­try and Com­mer­ce wel­co­med the rough­ly six­ty guests, and Dr Tobi­as Rom­berg, jour­na­list and tea­cher, chai­red the event. Mem­bers of the audi­ence inclu­ded Rein­hard Win­ter, the Ems­land District’s Chief Exe­cu­ti­ve Offi­cer, Sabi­ne Stöhr, Mana­ging Direc­tor of the IAV, and Albert Ste­ge­mann, Mem­ber of the Ger­man Federal Par­lia­ment for the CDU party.

Dr Jan Köb­bing, Sus­taina­bi­li­ty Mana­ger at Klasmann-Deilmann, intro­du­ced the sub­ject and infor­med the audi­ence about the issu­es that Klasmann-Deilmann had to resol­ve in order to pro­mo­te sus­tainab­le deve­lo­p­ment at the com­pa­ny. He exp­lai­ned that the three pil­lars – eco­lo­gy, eco­no­my and cor­po­ra­te social respon­si­bi­li­ty – all had to be com­bi­ned in order to achie­ve sus­tainab­le deve­lo­p­ment. He added that it was also important to fos­ter the dia­lo­gue with poli­ti­cal and busi­ness sta­ke­hol­der groups, the company’s own staff and share­hol­ders and, in the spe­cial case of Klasmann-Deilmann, envi­ron­men­tal and cli­ma­te pro­tec­tion orga­ni­sa­ti­ons, as that was the only way that the com­pa­ny could acqui­re spe­ci­fic infor­ma­ti­on about the­se play­ers’ expec­ta­ti­ons and the only way that Klasmann-Deilmann could iden­ti­fy and address the key issu­es facing the company.

The­re­sa Eyerund from the Ger­man Eco­no­mic Insti­tu­te in Colo­gne pro­vi­ded in-depth infor­ma­ti­on about the sub­ject, inclu­si­ve of sta­tis­ti­cal fin­dings. She told the audi­ence that envi­ron­men­tal and cli­ma­te pro­tec­tion cur­r­ent­ly enjoys high prio­ri­ty becau­se of the immense popu­la­ri­ty of the “Fri­days for Future” move­ment. Green issu­es had not been play­ed such an important role sin­ce the Fuku­shi­ma dis­as­ter. Howe­ver, she also poin­ted out that eco­no­mic issu­es, for examp­le, are rated more important at times of eco­no­mic cri­sis, while ques­ti­ons of inter­nal secu­ri­ty appe­ar par­ti­cu­lar­ly urgent fol­lowing acts of ter­ro­rism. People’s per­cep­ti­on of a major cri­sis the­re­fo­re always depends on cur­rent events. Nevertheless, she said, the­se modi­fy­ing fac­tors did not mean that sus­taina­bi­li­ty should be rele­ga­ted to the cate­go­ry of a mere pas­sing issue which hap­pen­ed to be ‘fashion­ab­le’. She belie­ved that sus­taina­bi­li­ty would pro­bab­ly beco­me per­ma­nent­ly estab­lis­hed as a major issue becau­se more and more peop­le were per­ma­nent­ly taking it serious­ly and that as soon as the “cri­ti­cal mass” of serious­ly inte­res­ted peop­le had been reached, the rest of the popu­la­ti­on would sim­ply fol­low suit.

A lively deba­te then ensued on the basis of the­se remarks during the sub­se­quent panel dis­cus­sion. The par­ti­ci­pants con­si­de­red the extent to which sus­taina­bi­li­ty would remain a serious and per­ma­nent issue and who should assu­me respon­si­bi­li­ty for ensu­ring sus­tainab­le deve­lo­p­ment on as wide a basis as pos­si­ble. In that con­nec­tion, Moritz Böcking poin­ted out that it was indus­try which had put in the preli­mi­na­ry spa­de­work and pre­sen­ted nume­rous ide­as for pro­tec­ting the envi­ron­ment and the cli­ma­te. In the case of Klasmann-Deilmann, for instance, this inclu­ded an inno­va­ti­ve pro­ce­du­re for the res­to­ra­ti­on of for­mer peat extrac­tion sites. It was now up to the government to give such pro­jects a chan­ce and actively sup­port them. He belie­ved that pro­vi­ding incen­ti­ves was defi­ni­te­ly a “more posi­ti­ve rou­te” towards achie­ving natu­re and cli­ma­te pro­tec­tion than instru­ments such as a car­bon tax.

The event clo­sed with the offi­cial pre­sen­ta­ti­on of the pri­zes for a pho­to­gra­phy com­pe­ti­ti­on. Olaf Pie­pen­b­rock, Pre­si­dent of the IAV, and Mat­thi­as Hops­ter awar­ded pri­zes to several young peop­le for their out­stan­ding ent­ries. The clo­sing remarks were made by Olaf Pie­pen­b­rock, who stres­sed once again that it was indus­try that gene­ra­ted innovations …