Sustainability Forum with Sustainability Experts
"Live well. Conduct business responsibly. Think about tomorrow today!" These words from the CDU fell on sympathetic ears and opened doors at Werner & Mertz. In an informal atmosphere, Julia Klöckner presented the results from the federal commission "Live sustainably – preserve quality of life". CDU Deputy Chief Klöckner, who led the commission by order of Chancellor Angela Merkel, explained the work in detail during the Sustainability Forum. Approximately 150 guests representing all political parties had accepted the invitation to a wide-ranging discussion on sustainability with Development Minister Dr. Gerd Müller, Klaus Müller, chairman of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, the "FoodFighter" Michael Schieferstein and the Chairman of the Association of Towns and Cities and Lord Mayor of Pirmasens Dr. Bernhard Matheis and Werner & Mertz owner and forum host Reinhard Schneider. The discussion was led by the TV journalist Susanne Conrad.
Forum participants concerned themselves with the topics of retirement planning, generational change, data protection, developmental aid, education, and waste management legislation. When the current refugee movement was brought into the sustainability discussion, it became clear that "sustainability" is a complex term, which, Ms. Klöckner said in opening remarks, "cannot be replaced by a synonym." The CDU Deputy Chief added, "But there are good examples that show how it's done. The Frosch is a successful forerunner for sustainability in our country." She expressed her thanks for the hospitality shown at Werner & Mertz, to which Schneider responded, "I am delighted that the subject of sustainability has become mainstream. He suggested that the overall contribution to sustainability can be maximized only when sustainability is made real to the public and pointed to the Frosch Recyclate Initiative as an example. "Resource efficiency does not necessarily mean more effort or expense for a business," he said. "Our medium-sized company – with the right cooperation partners and a certain degree of persistence – has initiated something that has a sustainable effect." Schneider said he was pleased by the success of rPET recycling of packaging materials from the Yellow Bag. "When word gets around, that's a sign of hope for SMEs."
Dr. Gerd Müller said that good communication is essential to a general understanding of sustainability efforts and development. "Simple language and transparency" are needed along with an appreciation of foodstuffs, bolstered by education and fairness. It should be neither too expensive nor too cheap. Certification of the supply chain is also in the interest of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. "Twenty percent of the world's people use eighty percent of all resources," said Müller. "The riches of industrialized nations are built on the exploitation of developing countries." Many problems could be resolved with just one euro more at the beginning of the value chain. "You have set up a bold program," said Müller as he praised the work of the sustainability commission. "My compliments on your extraordinary concept for the future."
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