Environmental Economic Summit seeks sustainable exit from crisis

Economic stimulus packages should focus on climate protection and sustainability – UmweltPartnerschaft arranges networking
06 November 2020
Aerial view of Outer Lake Alster

Around 200 stakeholders in business, politics and administration attended the online Environmental Business Summit in early November held by Hamburg's Chamber of Commerce. Challenges posed by the corona crisis topped the agenda as well as the presentation of the "Plastics Free City" initiative. Around 1,300 companies are involved in the UmweltPartnerschaft network for corporate environmental and climate protection and are striving to achieve ambitious goals such as transitioning the heat and energy transition, achieving a climate-neutral port by 2040, a mobility transition and  increasing recycling rates, among other objectives. 

Partnership links up ecology and commerce

"Only a green deal will get us out of the crisis and we can tackle climate change before it becomes a far bigger crisis. For more than 17 years now, the Environmental Partnership Hamburg has successfully demonstrated how commerce and ecology can form a fruitful alliance. Even now, it has shown companies in Hamburg what measures to take to remain competitive and to think about tomorrow at the same time," said Jens Kerstan, Senator for the Environment. The air quality partnership will be integrated into the environmental partnership from 2021 to create even more synergies, especially in transport.

Two start-ups and environmental partners presented their business ideas at the networking event: "Print your own floor", focusing on exhibition floors made of recycled material, and Bio-Lutions International AG, which produces organic packaging material.

Economic stimulus packages - climate protection

Prof. Dr. Johannes Merck, Umwelstiftung Michael Otto, Prof. Norbert Aust, President of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, Hjalmar Stemmann, President of the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts, Matthias Boxberger, Chairman of the Board of the Hamburg Industrial Association and Gunther Bonz, President of the Port of Hamburg Business Association and  Kerstan discussed possible ways out of the crisis as outlined in a "green deal".

Aust stressed: "The investment and economic stimulus programmes must be forward-looking and combine economic recovery with active climate protection. We must move away from reactive measures and towards offensive-innovative solutions because innovations promote environmental and climate protection. The Hamburg 2040 location strategy is boosting the city's urgently needed innovative strength." 

Living in Hamburg in future

The Chamber of Commerce approved the "Hamburg 2040: How do we want to live in Hamburg in future - and on what?" in early September. In a guest article for the daily Hamburger Abendblatt, Aust stressed the reliance on the know-how and creativity of its 170,000 member companies and on stakeholders in commerce, politics, science, culture and society to achieve this goal.

Reducing consumption of disposable plastic

The "Plastics Free City" initiative aims to cut the consumption of disposable plastics in companies after  a self-analysis. The list of disposable plastic products to be avoided goes far beyond the bans applicable from 2021. Workshops for interested companies are to be held from December 2020.