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The PathoCERT Project Launches Communities of Practice in Europe and South Korea

22. Juli 2021 - 12:15

Outbreaks of waterborne diseases often occur after severe events, such as massive rain- or snowfalls. They can affect communities within a short time-span but may leave behind long-lasting harmful effects. Therefore, a central question is: how can we enhance the responsive capacities of first responders and strengthen the resilience of local communities during waterborne pathogen contamination events? Our project PathoCERT finds out that multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration are among the key instruments.

Connecting local and national actors to identify challenges and opportunities and to explore pathways, including technical and social innovative solutions, are prerequisites  for improving our preparedness in the occurrence of emergency situations.

To enable such collaboratives processes and exchanges, the PathoCERT (Pathogen Contamination Emergency Response Technologies) project has successfully launched its six Communities of Practice (CoPs). Five European cities: Limassol (Cyprus), Granada (Spain), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Thessaloniki (Greece), Sofia (Bulgaria), plus Seoul (South Korea) have recently concluded the first series of their CoPs meetings.

These events have seen the participation of a variety of actors. Around 80 stakeholders representing local civil defence departments, civil protection agencies, police and fire services, public health services, local and municipal authorities, water utilities, and red cross, have been engaged during this first round of the CoP meetings.

Central to all Community of Practices is to identify existing challenges faced by first responders as well as opportunities with respect to the regulations and operating procedures for a better management of water contamination events. Moreover, tailor-made technologies in connection to the emergency scenarios that each pilot city is usually confronted with will also be co-developed within the CoP. These initial outcomes will pave the way for the upcoming CoPs meetings, including hands-on pilot testing of PathoCERT novel technologies, guidelines, platforms and processes.

The European funded (H2020) PathoCERT project aims to increase the ability of first responders to rapidly detect waterborne pathogens and ensure collaboration and coordination between the different actors during emergency events. To achieve this, PathoCERT brings together a consortium of 23 partners including universities, research organisations, NGOs, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), large enterprises, first responders, and water utility operators from Europe (Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden) and South Korea. Together they will research, develop and evaluate specialised technologies, tools, and procedures, to handle emergencies and investigate events that involve waterborne pathogens contamination situations.

For further information, please contact Francesca Grossi.

Photo by Jonathan Ford on Unsplash

 

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Kategorien: english, Ticker

How Behavioural Insights Can Support the Shift Toward More Sustainable and Healthier Food Consumption Patterns

21. Juli 2021 - 11:00

What ends up on our dining table has a direct impact on the environment. Growing concerns related to the consumption of high-footprint food urge for more action in promoting healthier and more sustainable consumption patterns. A better understanding of consumer behaviours and choices is pivotal for the success and effectiveness of policies, business innovations, and other interventions in food systems. The VALUMICS report ‘Putting solutions on the table’ provides insights on behaviourally-informed interventions that can have a positive impact.

Traditionally, efforts to shift food purchasing and consumption toward more sustainability have been based on classical persuasion and information-based interventions and strategies. Such efforts have positively contributed to increasing consumers’ awareness. However, beyond that, they have not managed to support a real shift from the Europeans’ carbon-intensive eating patterns.

Challenging longstanding premises of humans as solely rational decision makers, behavioural insights suggest that instead of optimising the information available, consumers often opt for mental shortcuts when making decisions, including food purchasing choices. Having to choose between price, nutritional value, taste, origin or sustainability performance, consumers often simply opt for the easiest choice and base their decision on a few criteria. For example either price, taste or even appearance, and/or are guided by other factors such as habits, social norms or product availability and arrangement. Accordingly, for more effective outcomes, strategies that promote the uptake of sustainable food consumption should be based on and consider the actual behavioural patterns of consumers.

Building on such findings, the VALUMICS report ‘Putting solutions on the table’ provides insights on behaviourally-informed interventions that aim to support the food industry actors, policymakers and governments as well as civil society organisations (CSOs) to promote sustainable food consumption. The report describes how behavioural insights are helpful in driving consumers into sustainable food consumption and highlights practical behavioural interventions that have supported such shifts. These interventions are clustered according to the behavioural approaches they are based on, namely, simplifying the information regarding sustainable food items, improving framing information to enhance the acceptance and implementation of a suggested behaviour, enhancing the physical environment of sustainable food items, changing the default option, making sustainable food consumption the norm, and priming.

For example, a pizza restaurant in Italy managed to reduce food waste at the point of purchase by making takeaway bags of unfinished food the default option, leading to an increased customer demand for the service by 44% two weeks into the experiment. The report highlights this and numerous such interventions based on behaviour insights that have shown positive impact and have the potential to be taken up and upscaled.

The report ‘Putting solutions on the table’ is the second in a series of VALUMICS publications focusing on food consumption analysis. The first report brings together information on the determinants that influence and drive European food consumption patterns. The upcoming reports look at multi-stakeholder recommendations toward more sustainable food consumption, and food retailer interventions to support this shift.

To read more about behavioural insights and interventions that could guide consumers towards more sustainable food purchases, please read the full report here.

For further questions, please contact Cristina Fedato.

Der Beitrag How Behavioural Insights Can Support the Shift Toward More Sustainable and Healthier Food Consumption Patterns erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

How to Move from Thinking to Acting for More Sustainability? Join Our weiter_wirken Final Event on 1 September 2021!

15. Juli 2021 - 9:45

How to close the intention-action gap, or in other words, move from thinking to acting for more sustainability? This was the leading question behind the work of the project “weiter_wirken”, a training and networking programme that the CSCP carried out in collaboration with the Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung Nordrhein-Westfalen and ecosign / Akademie für Gestaltung during 2020 and 2021.

The programme built on our successful experience with the  Academy of Change (AoC) and brought it into the context of North Rhine-Westphalia to not only challenge conventional belief systems and practices, but also generate creative ways to introduce and promote more sustainable ones. Throughout numerous workshops, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that work toward more social and environmental sustainability were trained to design and communicate their projects more effectively and thus increase their positive impact.

The participants did not only learn insights from behavioural science, e.g., why it is important to know your target group and where to get that information, they also had the chance to apply this knowledge within their projects and to exchange in smaller groups between the programme’s workshops. For many participants, this virtual exchange was particularly important, as it offered them the chance to make new professional contacts despite the lockdown. At the end of the training, the participants had a 10-step plan with helpful tasks and tools to make their projects more effective. After the programme’s end, they will have the opportunity to stay in touch through a community of practice.

To conclude this successful collaboration, on 1 September 2021, weiter_wirken holds its final event at the Natur- und Umweltschutzakademie (NUA) in Recklinghausen, focusing on the following topics:

– How can findings from behavioural research contribute to the promotion of sustainable behaviour?
– How can we better understand the concerns of respective target groups and take them into account in the design and implementation of sustainability projects?
– Which models and tools are suitable to support more sustainable behaviours and how can they be implemented in practice in projects?

These questions will be explored with the programme participants, field experts, and the project team during in-depth workshops as part of the final event. Do you work on sustainability-related topics and are interested to learn how behaviour change know-how can support you to achieve more impact? Then, join the weiter_wirken final event and take part in our workshops!

For further information and to register, please go to the weiter_wirken website.

The event is scheduled to take place in person, but this might be subject to change as the weiter_wirken project team is diligently monitoring Corona-related developments. In order to comply with existing hygiene measures, registrations will have to be considered in incoming order.

‚weiter_wirken‘ is a non-profit initiative of the CSCP and its cooperating partners Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung Nordrhein-Westfalen and ecosign/ Akademie für Gestaltung. The project is funded by the Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung Nordrhein-Westfalen.

For further questions, please contact Christian Malarciuc.

Der Beitrag How to Move from Thinking to Acting for More Sustainability? Join Our weiter_wirken Final Event on 1 September 2021! erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Creating Synergies Toward Fair, Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems

14. Juli 2021 - 10:00

As a central part of the EU Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy aims at making food systems fair, healthy, and environmentally-friendly. However, this goal can only be achieved if all actors between the farm and the fork come together and work in aligned ways. The new Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices sets out common aspirations and indicative actions for actors to voluntarily align, commit, and contribute to accelerating the transition toward sustainable food systems. At the CSCP, we look forward to collaborating with all our current and future partners in turning this code into an opportunity for making sustainable and resilient food systems the norm.

The Code of Conduct aims to improve sustainability on three levels: in relation to food consumption patterns for healthy and sustainable diets; with internal processes, operations and organisation at the level of actors in the middle part of the food chain; and throughout the supply chain, in liaison with primary producers and other actors. For each level, common aspirations (expressed in objectives and targets) and indicative actions have been set.

A cross-cutting aspirational objective is the prevention and reduction of food waste. The aspirational target is a 50 % reduction of per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030 and reduced food loss along the food production and supply chains in the EU. As moderators of the Dialogue Forum for the Reduction of Food Waste in Wholesale and Retail, we have joined hands with key relevant actors to come up with data, measures, and action that lead to a systematic reduction of food waste in these sectors. We congratulate our Dialogue Forum members REWE Group and Metro for already signing the code of conduct. Through the Dialogue Forum and our other projects, we look forward to closely working with them and all upcoming signatories in turning this code of conduct into an opportunity for wholesalers and retailers to become frontrunners in the transition to sustainable food systems.

In view of changing consumption patterns, key objectives of the new code are reducing the environmental impact of food consumption by 2030 and reversing malnutrition and diet-related noncommunicable diseases in the EU. In order to achieve the consumption patterns prescribed in the code, mapping key food consumption behaviours, recognising patterns, and pointing out drivers are all vital prerequisites. In projects like VALUMICS we focus on doing just that as well as identifying, supporting, and engaging relevant stakeholders to drive positive change. The recent VALUMICS publication Food Consumption Behaviours in Europe provides evidence-based insights on consumption behaviours throughout different countries and identifies pathways toward making European food systems more sustainable and resilient.

The Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices represents a unique opportunity to create synergies, enhance existing collaborations and start new ones toward mainstreaming sustainable food systems. We look forward to using this momentum in supporting companies to generate climate-neutral growth and pioneer the way to resilient food systems.

For further questions, please contact Nora Brüggemann.

Image by Elaine Casap on Unsplash.

Der Beitrag Creating Synergies Toward Fair, Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

How Green Public Procurement Could Boost Sustainable Horticulture in Kenya

12. Juli 2021 - 11:27

With the rapid growth of the horticulture industry around the Lake Naivasha Basin, Kenya, the basin has become increasingly important as an economic hub for the country. Using the recommendations of this GOALAN project policy brief, public authorities and institutions have the opportunity to engage in green public procurement by procuring fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly from smallholder farmers. In turn, this would foster local sustainable development and promote the adoption of sustainable consumption and production practices.

Kenya is one of the main exporters of horticultural products among developing countries, with horticulture accounting for two-thirds of Kenyan’s growth in agricultural exports. Horticultural micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) have significantly increased the country’s fresh fruit and vegetable supply. However, access to organised markets is a major challenge for most MSMEs, both internationally due to high quality standards and price volatility, and locally due to the limited availability of markets for sustainable and fresh products.

Public authorities and governments are huge spenders and buyers. In Kenya, the government generally makes large food purchases for public institutions and authorities. The Kenyan government can use this advantage to support horizontal policies in support of food security, health and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and the further development of SMEs through the implementation of Green Public Procurement (GPP).

This GOALAN policy brief suggests that the three county governments in the Lake Naivasha basin should consider purchasing food for public institutions such as hospitals or schools from the MSMEs. Green Public Procurement for school meals, for example, can help expand marketing opportunities for horticultural MSMEs and in turn foster rural economies and communities by promoting growth and job creation. Such a public procurement programme would not only help create a stable demand, but also encourage the small producers to adopt and maintain sustainable farming practices. In addition, it may help reduce post-harvest loss due to failure in finding buyers in time for the perishable fresh fruit and vegetables, especially if farmers do not have cool rooms to store the harvest.

However, the policy brief notes that compliance with the legal and environmental requirements in public procurement represents a challenge to most MSMEs, which can hinder their participation in GPP processes. Moreover, the lack of capacity on the part of the MSMEs also affects their competitiveness. For local authorities, however, the unavailability of green products hampers the implementation of GPP programmes. To address this challenge, the policy brief recommends creating awareness and conducting trainings and capacity building for local procurement authorities.

For the complete recommendations and further details, please check out the policy brief.

The GOALAN project (Green Horticulture at Lake Naivasha Project) funded by the EU SWITCH Africa Green Programme and implemented by the CSCP and WWF-Kenya (World Wide Fund for Nature) promotes the adoption of more sustainable production and consumption (SCP) practices along the Kenyan horticultural sector.

For further questions, please contact Kartika Anggraeni.

 

Der Beitrag How Green Public Procurement Could Boost Sustainable Horticulture in Kenya erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Food Consumption Behaviours in Europe – Drivers and Trends

30. Juni 2021 - 9:13

Why do European consumers buy food the way they do? Which key factors drive Europeans’ food consumption patterns and how could they be used to create pathways toward sustainability? The VALUMICS project’s evidence-based report provides insights to what influences consumers the most in their food choices.

The report ‘Food consumption behaviours in Europe’ brings together data across various countries, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy. Through in-depth literature research, focus groups and expert consultations, the report provides a better understanding of the status quo, trends, motivations as well as barriers and opportunities towards more sustainable food consumption behaviours in general. The focus is on five product categories: Beef, dairy, salmon, tomatoes and bread.

Findings indicate that food consumption behaviours can be largely attributed to price considerations, family eating habits, health concerns or social contexts of consumers. The report highlights that environmental awareness and values play little to no role in the consumption patterns.

“Certain changes can only be made by politics, or the EU in this case, which should impose high sustainability limits and standards: for example, banning disposable plastics is a good start. Until certain management practices are allowed, it is difficult to behave more sustainably because everyone else can be more economically competitive” noted one of the experts interviewed for the report.

Other actions suggested in the report include fostering stronger communication channels between producers and consumers, with the potential for increasing the resilience of food value chains as well as using behavioural insights to inform strategies and action plans for more sustainable food consumption.

The report ’Food consumption behaviours in Europe’ is the first in a series of VALUMICS publications focusing on analysing food consumption. The upcoming reports look into successful interventions for sustainable food behaviour, multi-stakeholder recommendations toward more sustainable food consumption, and food retailer interventions to support this shift.

To find out more and explore further European citizens’ mindsets and food consumption patterns read the full report here.

For further questions, please contact Cristina Fedato.

Der Beitrag Food Consumption Behaviours in Europe – Drivers and Trends erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Behaviour Change in the Digital Age

29. Juni 2021 - 9:40

As part of our 15th year, we are deep diving into four key topics, including digitalisation, to explore how we can enable positive impact right now towards more sustainability and a good life for all. We were curious how our sustainable lifestyle (SL) team works on digitalisation at the intersection of behaviour change towards more sustainability. To find out, we interviewed Rosa Strube, Head of SL Team to discuss its potential.

Digitalisation and living a good life within the boundaries of our planet – how do these two topics connect?

Digitalisation is an enabler for a number of different processes, therefore, the interrelations between new technology and digital processes on the one hand and lifestyles and behaviours on the other are manifold. If we take a look at the areas of our lifestyles that have the highest environmental impact – housing, mobility and consumption – digital innovations offer solutions that save resources. From smart home appliances to connected mobility services, digitalisation can make our daily choices easier or assist us in decision making, for example, by using default settings that enable more sustainable outcomes. In this context, mechanisms such as digital product passports are increasingly being introduced to transparently communicate the properties of products.  By increasing transparency and offering the chance to compare products, digitalisation can support consumers to choose the more sustainable options. Smartphone APPs and watches can also encourage more sustainable behaviours, especially toward active mobility or food waste reduction, for example by using gamification elements. Quite important is the role of digitalisation in enabling collaborative consumption activities by reducing transaction costs or increasing the availability and visibility of sharing economy examples. We are working with businesses as well as consumers to facilitate exchange in favour of comprehensive and inclusive solutions. Through the European Circular Economy Platform (ECESP) leadership group Retailers, Consumers and Skills, we are exploring the potential of digital technologies to make products more circular, but also to encourage circular behaviour at the same time. We pay particular attention to the issue of skills, as we are aware that there is not only a financial gap in terms of technology ownership, but also a gap in digital literacy. There are considerable discrepancies when it comes to skills needed for using digital tools, especially considering that many are not designed with accessibility in mind. Recent research also indicates that there is a ‘data gap’ with certain societal groups not being able to access digital tools or services due to lack of wireless connection. Only by putting extra emphasis on overcoming these existing inequalities, we can ensure that digitalisation leads to a good life for all.

In addition to inclusiveness, data security and the digitalisation footprint pose concerns as well…

Yes, that’s correct. In the digital world, trust is the currency that really counts. Many citizens have a sense of mistrust toward large companies or governing bodies that have access to their data. With its General Data Protection Regulation or the European strategy for data, the European Commission has established ambitious and binding rules on the use of personal data, yet, many open questions remain. As long as the analysis of personal data is often a central part of business models in the field of digital services, it remains to be seen how this challenge can be overcome. Many aspects need to be taken into consideration: the way data is collected, how it’s stored (including environmental impacts), how it’s governed (emerging ideas like data trusts or commons as alternatives) and how it’s used (e.g., for private or public benefit).

From a behaviour change perspective, how willing and under which conditions are people ready to take up the ever-growing digital tools and possibilities?

First of all, we need to acknowledge that people’s lifestyles vary considerably. Lifestyle choices are driven by different preferences and aspirations and this diversity is something that we have to be considerate of at all times. When it comes to integrating digital tools into our daily lives, we see notable differences between the digital natives and the older generation, but also between early adopters of all ages and groups who are either less keen on, or lack access to, digital devices. We have engaged with citizens from different socio-economic backgrounds in five European countries as part of our INHERIT project and discussed with them future scenarios of how digitalisation could enable a more sustainable life. The analysis showed that citizens were mostly willing to use digital tools in support of sustainable living when such tools added more convenience to their lives. Other personal benefits such as cost reduction were also driving factors. Data privacy concerns and insecurities as of how personal data would be handled were a major concern among all groups. What we can draw from this experience is that for a digital tool to lead to more sustainable lifestyles – be it on a personal or organisation level – a detailed analysis must precede its design. Which behaviours do we want to change with the new tool? What is the most efficient way for that to happen considering the target group specifics? How to best address data security concerns? All these questions should be thought through carefully. A case in point is our collaboration with Vodafone as part of their employee engagement programme, Mission Green. As a scientific and implementation partner, the CSCP supported the programme with its expertise on sustainable behaviours and by providing guidance in behaviour change. This know-how was directly fed into an app that was created to support employees to make more sustainable choices.

Can you name three aspects in the intersection between digitalisation and behaviour change that deserve special attention in the future?

First, digitalisation can be an enabler to close the gap between intention and action for a more sustainable lifestyle. Digital tools, such as apps or virtual networks, if used well, can have great potential to get people to start a new behaviour and get them to maintain it over time. They can build engagement using social norms, take advantage of gamification approaches and prompts to support behaviour change.  Examples such as Vodafone’s Mission Green or our collaboration with MyFoodWays exemplify this idea.

A second aspect is ensuring not only equity in terms of access to digital tools but also increasing digital literacy across all groups in society. The European Commission has recently announced the European Skills Agenda setting ambitious objectives for upskilling and reskilling in order to meet the demands of the green and digital transition in jobs and beyond. Building upon the success of our capacity building programme the Academy of Change (AoC), we are looking to create a similar format to support Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in assessing their needs and shaping their goals with digital lenses on. Using an understanding of digitalisation as an aspiration as well as a tool, we are keen on accompanying CSOs as they advance their digital maturity. I believe that CSOs that tap into the potential of digitalisation not only become more resilient but are in a better position to be a stepping stone towards the fairer and sustainable future that we strive for.

Finally, matters such as trust and data privacy concerns require continuous dialogue among all actors in society. Digitalisation can be a force for good in changing behaviours toward more sustainability, but only if its benefits as well as shortcomings are discussed in transparent and constructive ways. With a strength in multi-stakeholder engagements, we support the establishment of sector-based platforms where digital tools are developed, tested and communicated with one goal in mind: more sustainability.

For further question, reach out directly to Rosa Strube.

 

Der Beitrag Behaviour Change in the Digital Age erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Small Nudges for Large Sustainability Impacts

23. Juni 2021 - 14:23

The mission is clear: nudging for more sustainable lifestyles! In a recent collaboration, the CSCP has supported the Intercultural Business Psychology course at Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences to develop nudges that lead to more sustainability. The results will be presented during the virtual Nudge Night 2021 on 1 July 2021 – join us!

Visual feedback during your grocery shopping to indicate the more sustainable packaging, small reminders on your radiator to set the best room temperature or gentle reminders about food forgotten in the fridge. These are only some of the nudges that students from the University of Applied Sciences Hamm-Lippstadt are developing as part of a unique course on Applied Behavioural Economics/Nudging, this year’s focus being on sustainability.

The course asks students to apply explanatory approaches to decision-making and behavioural tendencies of (economic) actors by means of interventions, otherwise referred to as sustainability nudges. Drawing on our core expertise in sustainable lifestyles, this year, the CSCP is partnering with the university as an external advisor. Rosa Strube, Head of the Sustainable Lifestyles (SL) at the CSCP supports students to address issues with human behaviour and sustainability in mind.

“It’s been both a very interesting and, at the same time, inspiring experience to work with the students. I have been impressed by the analytical precision which they used to demonstrate the need for certain behaviours to change and by the creativity which they applied to come up with innovative nudges. While the dialogues with the external advisors certainly helped to perform a reality check, I am convinced that the concepts are so well-developed for the Nudge Night that they are attractive for actual users.”, comments Rosa Strube.

The results of the students’ projects will be presented during the Nudge Night taking place online on 1 July 2021.  After three earlier successful editions of this event, this year’s Nudge Night will present nudges that encourage more sustainable production, consumption, investment, compliance and lifestyle decisions by individuals and organisations. The keynote speaker in this year’s Nudge Night will be world-renowned scholar on nudges, Prof. Cass Sunstein from the Harvard Law School.

Participation is open to the public and free of charge. You can find further information here.

If you are keen on exploring, designing and applying nudges to change behaviours for more sustainability, please get in contact with Rosa Strube!

Screenshot from nudgenight.com

Der Beitrag Small Nudges for Large Sustainability Impacts erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Join the Federal Action Week “Germany Saves Food” on 29 September – 6 October 2021!

23. Juni 2021 - 11:45

The food supply chain is flawed. Around 11 million tonnes of yearly food waste in Germany indicate that from production to consumption, changes must happen in order to alter this trend. The action week Germany Saves Food, 29 September – 6 October 2021, calls on all relevant actors to contribute to reducing food waste.

Based on the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the ministries of the federal states, stakeholders are invited to jointly draw attention to the issue of food waste with actions throughout the country and to initiate a movement for more food appreciation.

This year’s focus lies on fruit and vegetables as they particularly end up in the waste bin far too often. Committed individuals, companies as well as initiatives and associations from all over Germany can participate with their own campaigns. Be creative yourself or join an existing campaign. Every idea that contributes to reducing food waste counts. Here are some suggestions on how you can get involved:

  • Get inspired! Suggestions for actions in agriculture, production or processing, for trade, out-of-home catering or at home can be found in this guideline.
  • Share your idea to save food. Have your activity published on the platform Zu gut für die Tonne!
  • Promote food saving! Communication material such as, posters, menu inserts, postcards can be ordered or downloaded

The nationwide action week “Germany saves Food!” (Deutschland rettet Lebensmittel!) will take place for the second time, following a successful debut in 2020. Further materials and information can be found here.

The Dialogue Forum of Wholesale and Retail on Reducing Food Waste, carried out by the CSCP in collaboration with the Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, is a partner of the action week.

For further information please contact Nora Brüggemann.

Der Beitrag Join the Federal Action Week “Germany Saves Food” on 29 September – 6 October 2021! erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Celebrating the Good Life: Turning Challenges Into Opportunities

23. Juni 2021 - 11:35

It is in times like these that the longing for the good life becomes more prominent than ever and the need to shape a sustainable and inclusive future ever-more pressing. Our project Day of the Good Life exemplifies how engaged communities defy all odds, even the hurdles of a pandemic.

The month-long work of the project was celebrated with the final event on 20 June 2021 in Wuppertal. The event offered a platform for people and initiatives to voice views, share wishes and lay out visions for the sustainable future. Since its launch in 2020, the Day of the Good Life’s focus was to empower and enable citizens to take an active role in designing public space that reflects their needs and is sustainable and inclusive. The project also offered a platform for actors from civil society, businesses, culture, city administrations to join hands for a socially, economically and environmentally-sustainable city.

The mini-festival Place of the Good Life, held in August 2020 at the Platz der Republik in Wuppertal, attracted three hundred participants who participated in one of the thirty available activities, such as creating visioning walls together, discussions sustainable mobility, or outdoor yoga classes.

Following up on the Place of the Good Life event, neighbourhood meetings involved citizens in the Ostersbaum area of Wuppertal in preparing activities for the Day of the Good Life main event. To accompany citizens in the creative process of further developing their own visions for a good life in Wuppertal, online visioning walkshops were held. The goal was not only to support citizens in developing creative ideas to redesign their neighbourhoods, but also to enable them to bring those ideas to life by forming local groups. The walkshops were inspired by the methods of urban design thinking and strollology, the science and art of taking a walk.

To support the newly-formed groups, neighbourhood meetings were held each week to further develop ideas not only in view of the Day of the Good Life event, but for a long-term engagement. The implementation of the emerging ideas, such as murals, a public bookshelf, a mobility station (including a bicycle garage), and community cooking events were accompanied by local artists and craftspeople.

The Day of the Good life as the culminating event was held in a hybrid format, combining over 70 in-person and online activities. The rich programme included discussions on sustainability topics, art installations, music activities as well as vegan cooking shows. Workshops on native insects, waste collection campaigns, an anti-racism poetry slam, a personal bicycle route consultation, and concerts by local artists were just a few of the activities held under the Day of the Good life umbrella.

Beyond the Day of the Good Life, the products that were co-developed during the project’s course are there to stay and to be developed further. However, the project’s best legacy is a community empowered not only to overcome crises, but also of emerging from them stronger and more resilient than before.

The aim of the Day of the Good Life is to not only celebrate local solutions for a good life but to also strengthen citizens and civil society to initiate new movements and to turn this event into a continuous festival for all people in the city. If you want to get involved in activities toward the good life in Wuppertal, let us know. If this inspires you to replicate the success of the Day of Good Life in your city, let’s join hands now!

For more information contact Alexandra Kessler. 

Photo © TdgL Wuppertal 2021 / Alexandra Rosenbohm

Der Beitrag Celebrating the Good Life: Turning Challenges Into Opportunities erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Listen to our Academy of Change (AoC) Podcast: Leadership as a Catalyst for Change

23. Juni 2021 - 9:56

Good leadership can catalyse behaviour change and maximise impacts. But if you are a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working in the field of sustainability, where do you start and what can you do to develop your own leadership skills? In this Catalyst podcast, six NGO leaders from around the world sit together for an honest discussion on intricacies of good leadership.

From creating sustainable urban housing to supporting individuals and organisations to do their best as they tackle sustainability challenges, the NGO leaders featured in this podcast have vast experience across different sectors and continents. In common, they are all working to support behaviours across organisations that enable sustainable development solutions.

Exploring their personal leadership journeys, the speakers share some of the game-changing moments or people that shaped their development as a leader. From the value of authenticity and the power of a vision, to that one conversation that could change the course of your life.

On the topic of leadership qualities, the group ponders the difference between effective leadership and good leadership. Authenticity, but not at the expense of skills, and how to balance the ability to make key decisions with assembling a really good team and creating an enabling space for them to thrive are some of the ideas debated. As guest speaker Wolfgang Jamann puts it, “Leadership is an attitude, it’s a way of working, it’s not a position”.

Discussing leadership changes over the time, the speakers reflect on emerging trends towards more transparency and participation. That is, a leadership style with fewer myths of ‘superpower’ leaders working long hours as well as more women in leading positions. The panel also reinforces the need to look at things from a holistic perspective or in Sue Riddlestone’s words, “It’s not just about your organisation, it’s about system change, and we’ve got to pull together now and show leadership for changing systems”.

Are you looking for some inspiration for your own leadership journey? Listen to our podcast for suggestions on how to motivate people to move forward with their passions, but also find the courage to drive change. “If it excites you and it scares you, you should probably do it!“, says Jenn Weidman.

Download our Evaluation podcast now!

Do you have any thoughts, reflections or ideas on leadership that you would like to share with us? Connect with us on LinkedIn or

The NGO leaders featured in this podcast are: Sue Riddlestone (CEO, Bioregional), Helen Clarkson (CEO, The Climate Group), Wolfgang Jamann (Executive Director, International Civil Society Centre), Jenn Weidman (Founder and CEO, Space Bangkok), Rainer Brockhaus (CEO, The Christian Blind Mission in Germany) and Wilhelm Kinn (Managing Director, Govinda).

All of them were participants in the first round of the Academy of Change (AoC) Catalyst programme. The Catalyst brings together selected NGOs to build upon their experience as participants in the Academy of Change. As part of the Catalyst they integrate the knowledge gained in AoC into their organisations, supported with a bespoke programme of discussions, workshops and resources.

To listen to previous episodes of the Academy of Change podcasts – please go to our library!

The Academy of Change (AoC) is a non-profit initiative of the CSCP, Behaviour Change (BC) and the International Civil Society Centre (ICSC). The AoC is funded by the KR Foundation.

For further questions, please contact Rosa Strube.

 

Der Beitrag Listen to our Academy of Change (AoC) Podcast: Leadership as a Catalyst for Change erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

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We Congratulate the Wuppertal Institute to 30 Years of Supporting the Transformation Toward a Resilient and Inclusive Future

22. Juni 2021 - 14:15

The world is changing at a fast pace. Reactive or gradual approaches might not suffice to address challenges such as the climate change or growing inequities. Rather, we need transformative approaches in order to shape a resilient and inclusive future.

The Wuppertal Institute has co-founded the CSCP 15 years ago #15CSCP and now we congratulate the Wuppertal Institute on their 30th  #30JahreWI  anniversary! We are proud to look back at 15 years of collaborative work and are more committed than ever to jointly accelerate impactful transformations.

In these key areas of our times: climate, environment and energy, the Wuppertal Institute has been generating world-class research and more for 30 years.

We are grateful to have a strong partnership with the Wuppertal Institute to jointly accelerate the transformation to a resilient and inclusive future in the region as well as around the world.

Our collaborations over the years have been many, to highlight a few:

We developed in The Low Carbon Future Cities Project an integrated low carbon, adaptation, and circular economy strategy for a city government in Wuxi, China and Düsseldorf, Germany;

We joined hands to create a travelling exhibition on the future of work to inform citizens on how digitalisation can be used to support us to have fulfilling and sustainable jobs. In an ongoing partnership we are exploring in a living lab how to upscale urban sharing strategies.

The Wuppertal Institute provided their expertise in calculating the footprint of sustainable lifestyle activities we developed for an APP for Vodafone Germany Employees.

Only recently did we publish a discussion paper on “Sustainable Supply Chains: Global Cooperative Regional Economies for Prosperity and Resilience” outlining a future scenario of globally cooperative and cycle-oriented regional economies that fundamentally reduce global inequalities in opportunities and the quality of life, while at the same time protecting and preserving the environment.

We are looking forward to continuing our excellent cooperation with the Wuppertal Institute and many joint projects to come. Celebrate 30 years of Wuppertal Institute with us by joining their conference “Innovativ, transformativ und krisensicher die Zukunft gestalten“, on 23 June 2021. The programme and the registration form are available here in German.

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Increasing Value for the Mauritian Handicraft and Design Sector Through Sustainability

22. Juni 2021 - 10:45

How might we design and produce crafts in Mauritius that are sustainable, authentic and successful while also being integrated into the entire tourism value chain? We explored this question with 15 local Mauritian Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) that produce handmade and designed objects for tourists and local consumers. The SMEs were a diverse group of producers ranging from fashion, accessories, food and beverages, care products, books, and 3D printed coral reefs.

Handicraft objects, accessories or packaged food items are popular souvenirs to take home from the places we visit. In many places in the world traditional crafts are now being imported from far away to provide a cheap bulk of souvenirs that are neither rooted to the place nor done with the care that comes from local entrepreneurs and artisans. The result for the tourist is that the items start to all look the same and don’t carry the intrinsic value of handmade objects. For the local economy it means a great loss, too: communities don’t have viable businesses and there is a long-term loss of skills.

To counter this trend, the Sustainable Island Mauritius project wants to support local artisans and designers (SMEs) by increasing the value and success of their products through increasing their sustainability, storytelling and collaboration.

To have the best possible impact we teamed up with Made in Moris, the Mauritian label for high quality local products. Made in Moris has years of experience working with over 350 local brands in the field of handicrafts and other products, know the local challenges of small and medium-sized producers as well as the challenges of a small island state where local resources are scarce and moving to a circular economy is essential.

In a five-session workshop held online over five weeks in May and June 2021, we dived deep into the topics of values and positive impacts the brands want to have on the island, circular design principles, international trends as well as international and local best practices, customer journeys and storytelling. The brands were engaged from day one through interactive session, exercises and weekly assignments encouraging the prototyping of their new insights and ideas.

The workshop series fostered new innovative product ideas by pairing up the brands to ideate on new ideas of joint creations with sustainability goals in mind: how might we create awareness on the unique Mauritian ecosystem? How might we foster a habit of reading in children? How might we create new products from (each-other’s) waste?

Tackling not only their own business sustainability and value proposition but also focussing on the overarching goal of creating a more sustainable island, the brands now have the opportunity to collaborate with local hotels and tour operators on achieving this aim in creative ways.

Imagine local fashion designers would create rooms and spaces in the hotels that are entirely upcycled from the hotels material’s that would have otherwise gone to landfills (sheets, towels, uniforms, etc) and sharing that story with the customers.

Imagine the hotels’ broken glass bottles could be recycled by a glass studio into beautiful glass pearls to offer jewellery-making workshops for the visitors to enjoy a creative experience while taking full advantage of the resources available.

Imagine the local tour operator taking visitors to a Mauritian tea farm where they pick their own mix of herb tea, enjoy an herb-induced lunch onsite and take home a sustainable package of the local organic tea.

Imagine the vulnerable coral reefs can be seen, touched and explained by using 3D replica reefs in hotels or onsite to locals as well as tourists to create awareness and foster behaviours to protect the actual reefs.

After concluding our workshop series, the Sustainable Island Mauritius project team had the opportunity to pitch ideas and offer a facilitated pilot co-creation product development process to the 50 hotels and tour operators that are part of a webinar series for their sector, also conducted by the project.

The next step is to empower local SME’s not only on the topics covered by the workshop series but to support the co-creation of new sustainable products within the larger tourism ecosystem. This creates a blue print for collaboration and innovation processes to be scaled-up in the future.

“It’s been very inspiring and eye-opening to work with Nikola Berger and her team at Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP). The fact that we were involved in designing the workshop led to a tailor-made approach and resulted in more impactful sessions for our members. The CSCP’s team took the time to benchmark local Mauritian brands which made it relevant and relatable for our participants. We appreciated the hands-on approach and the interactive sessions which contributed to the success of the workshop.” – Shirin Gunny, Managing Director of Made in Moris.

To learn more about the project, visit the Sustainable Island Mauritius website or download the brochure.

If you are interested in our work with the handicraft sector, please contact Nikola Berger, Head of Creative & Communication.

Der Beitrag Increasing Value for the Mauritian Handicraft and Design Sector Through Sustainability erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

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Supporting Organisations to Accelerate the Positive Impact of Digital Technologies

22. Juni 2021 - 10:20

Arne von Hofe joined our Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE) team as project coordinator with a focus on the Charter for Sustainable Digitalisation project. His main goal is to support companies in developing business cases for sustainability that take advantage of the enabling power of digital technologies.

What do you feel most passionate about in your work?
I am deeply convinced that a paradigm shift is taking place right now. One where businesses cannot remain competitive and successful without societal and environmental purpose and corresponding positive, measurable impact. Drivers of change like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement or the EU Green Deal, just to name a few, strengthen the financial value drivers for businesses to act more sustainably, while digital technologies offer paramount enabling potential for this purpose. My passion is to contribute to this important transition and work with businesses and their stakeholders to create economic value by delivering on ecologic and social objectives.

How did your journey come to intersect with the CSCP?
My professional career has been guided by my quest to work in an environment that synthesises what I am good at, what I am passionate about and where I can contribute to what is really needed in our world. I have worked for a digital start-up, one of the leading IT companies worldwide, one of Europe’s largest retail companies as well as for one the most influential global development organisations. The projects and associated tasks in my new position at the CSCP are like a ‘best-of’ of what I love doing and what I have experience in: intertwining digitalisation and sustainability in a business context, and collaborating with stakeholders and systems thinking in an international environment. I feel inspired by CSCP’s track record of impactful work and its culture, best known for ‘walking the talk’. Last but not least, I regard the CSCP as especially well positioned to support the current European Green Deal transformative agenda, which builds on digital technologies to reform today’s production and consumption patterns toward an economic model that contributes to society and the health of the planet.

Now that you’ve joined the CSCP, what are you looking forward to the most?
We are currently giving birth to the Charter Sustainable Digitalisation, which is, among other things, about cutting through complexity at the interface of digitalisation und sustainability, providing orientation for interested organisations and complementing it with hands-on practical advice. Our mission is to drive economically sound and bold commitments and subsequent actions of companies that boost their sustainability performance with digital means. I am very much looking forward to generate impact with this tool and put it into practice with pioneering companies.

For further question, contact Arne von Hofe directly.

Der Beitrag Supporting Organisations to Accelerate the Positive Impact of Digital Technologies erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

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Are You Working on a Project to #MoveTheDate of the German and Earth Overshoot Day? Let us know!

22. Juni 2021 - 9:51

May 5, 2021 marked the German Overshoot Day. This means that between 1 January and 5 May, German residents have used as much ecological resources and services as the planet is able to renew per person in the entire year. The Earth Overshoot Day for 2021 falls on 29 July, which is almost as early as it was on 2019, after being momentarily pushed back in 2020 as an effect of the pandemic lockdowns. Many civil society projects are showcasing what we all can do to #MoveTheDate. Show the world how you’re moving the date by sharing your solutions with us!

Our We #MoveTheDate project aims at moving the date of the German and Earth Overshoot Day by building on synergies at two levels: expanding participation and positioning citizens at the heart of climate engagement. A social media campaign in close collaboration with the project’s pilot cities of Aachen and Wuppertal highlighted both the relevance of the date as well as promising local solutions that are already being implemented to move the date.

“With almost half a year remaining, we will already have used up our quota of the Earth’s biological resources for 2021 by 29 July. If we need reminding that we’re in the grip of a climate and ecological emergency, Earth Overshoot Day is it,” says Councillor Susan Aitken, the Leader of Glasgow City Council. Glasgow will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2021.

With the bounce back of the Earth Overshoot Day date, the urgency of action is underlined once more. Many solutions are already being implemented on the local level. To amplify these projects and initiatives, as well as the extensive engagement and invested energy of civil society within cities, the We #MoveTheDate project is running a solutions competition. From saving food, to repair cafes, one-person initiatives or neighbourhood associations, We #MoveTheDate invites everyone to showcase what is being done or can be done in Germany to move the date.

Local projects can be submitted online onto the #MoveTheDate solution map during July and August 2021. Submissions will be evaluated by a panel including a representative of the city administration from Aachen and Wuppertal, the local community, the Mercator Foundation and the CSCP.

Submit your own or favourite project that moves the date to the #MoveTheDate solution map!

The project is collaborating closely with the city administrations in Wuppertal and Aachen. Zooming in on one topic per city, We #MoveTheDate will shed light on the potential towards a sustainable change in the specific area. This will be carried out through collaborative workshops with the citizens. Drawing on behavioural insights and research, the civil society will be invited to jointly identify and discuss barriers and opportunities for local change on the topic of mobility in Aachen and sustainable food consumption in Wuppertal.

The project We #MoveTheDate: Local Responses for a Good Life is carried out in partnership with the Global Footprint Network and funded by the Stiftung Mercator.

For further questions, please contact Alexandra Kessler.

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How a Voluntary Code of Practice is Putting Mongolia on a Fast Track to Sustainable Cashmere

22. Juni 2021 - 9:37

Most of Mongolian cashmere, world-renowned for its superb quality, is the result of Nomadic herding. Yet, there is no organic certification for the nomadic production of cashmere. However, the challenge of trying to bridge European certification standards with this traditional way of cashmere production did not shy Mongolian wool and cashmere producers away. As part of our project STeP EcoLab, 18 of them agreed to a voluntary code of practice to make cashmere production more socially and environmentally sustainable. Now the code of practice is becoming national law.

The developing of the voluntary code of practice (VCP) for sustainable cashmere production required new ways of thinking in many ways, both at the industry as well as the state level.
The aim of this VCP was ambitious: the project team did not only want the Mongolian cashmere production to become more sustainable than it already is. This means for example, regular health and safety trainings to workers, minimising the use of plastic packaging, dispensing with certain chemicals in the production process or avoiding the transfer of solid and liquid waste into water, to name only a few.

On top of that, the Mongolian cashmere producers were asked to adjust their production to the strict criteria required by well-known European sustainability standards (e.g., GOTS), in order to facilitate the application for certification with leading internationally-recognised sustainability standards. Not all criteria are achievable by the Mongolian wool and cashmere industry immediately. For example, the infrastructure required for current organic standards is not applicable to the traditional Mongolian cashmere production. However, all relevant sustainability standards require sourcing of organic certified raw material to obtain a certification for cashmere products.

For a VCP as close as possible to an eco-textile standard, the CSCP and the Mongolian experts developed criteria classified according to their urgency and feasibility. Signatories commit to comply with its minimum requirements (level A) within one year and with more advanced ones (level B) within two years. They also commit to keep proper records to demonstrate their compliance. Very advanced criteria (level C) do not need to be met immediately, but signatories are required to develop improvement plans and demonstrate the progress in development towards sustainable production.

The VCP is the first step of the Mongolian wool and cashmere industry toward the achievement of an internationally-acknowledged sustainability standard allowing credible communication of their sustainability performance. Prior to obtaining international certification, the wool and cashmere producers can operate under the VCP and communicate their ambitious roadmap to customers in Europe and the United States.

Outside Mongolia, the VCP acts as a signalling instrument toward customers and target markets until complete sustainability certification can be achieved. By uniting, the VCP members reduce the environmental and social impact of wool and cashmere production and increase the competitiveness of their sector in comparison to non-sustainably produced wool and cashmere products.

18 companies, among them the leading Mongolian companies for wool and cashmere production, have signed the VCP. The Mongolian government has endorsed the VCP as an important milestone for the development of the Mongolian wool and cashmere industry decided to adopt it to a national standard. Currently being incorporated into national law, the VCP will soon be the guiding document for Mongolian sustainable cashmere production.

The STeP EcoLab is a four-year project funded by the European Union under the SWITCH Asia II Programme. The project is implemented by the Mongolian branch of ‘Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (AVSF Mongolia)’ in partnership with the CSCP, the Mongolian Wool and Cashmere Association (MWCA), the Environment and Security Center of Mongolia (ESCM), the National Federation of Pasture Users Group (NFPUG) and the Mongolian Bankers’ Association (MBA). The project lasts four years and is funded by the European Union under the SWITCH Asia II Programme.

For further information, please contact Pawel Zylka.

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Guiding Questions for Implementing Artificial Intelligence as an Enabler for Sustainability

21. Juni 2021 - 12:47

The potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an enabler for sustainability is increasingly evident, but so are worries pertaining to data biases, data privacy, the environmental footprint and rebound effects. So, how to bridge the gaps between economic feasibility, ethical considerations, and environmental standards? And how can small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make the most of it?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is not only one of the key technologies for the digitalisation transformation, but also a lever in the transition toward more sustainability. In the AI breakfast series organised by the Competence Centre eStandards, key application areas such as clean energy, circular economy or sustainable production were discussed from the perspective of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Due to regulatory guidelines, funding programs and competitive pressure, AI applications have reached a level of importance that can be hardly ignored by SMEs. But unlike large enterprises, these companies have generally less resources to integrate AI applications into their business, especially considering their high level of sophistication and complexity. The existing lack of generally-accepted frameworks and poor communication of practical examples only aggravates the situation.

How profit and a positive socio-environmental effect can go hand in hand

Despite the challenges, pioneers are successfully applying AI not only to generate profit and boost growth, but also in favour of the environment. The AI-powered software Presize.ai reduces the number of returns from online apparel sales by measuring the size of customers using their own smartphones. Smarter Sorting’s AI-based platform provides a sustainable solution to deal with unsellable or returned products by recommending sustainable and cost-effective solutions for disposal. Targeting farmers, Peat’s Plantix app provides smartphone-based AI advice on plant disease and the proper treatment. This results in reduced and optimized use of pesticides as well as the improvement of food security.

Why ethical considerations matter

Despite its benefits, AI can also induce several risks, especially when it comes to sustainability and ethical considerations. The possibility of carrying or replicating discriminatory practices, triggering overconsumption or promoting unsustainable production and consumption patterns, are a few of such risks. A recently published study found that 65% of 100 top firms from very different sectors were not aware how decisions or predictions based on AI are made exactly. This shows that even though businesses are well informed about the potential that this technology provides, there is still a lack of a structured and comprehensive way to deal with the inherent responsibilities that the application of AI demands. That is why a positive social and environmental effect of AI applications should not only be desired, but also considered upfront. For this purpose, the European Commission has introduced a set of rules and actions aiming to strengthen the trust in AI technologies. Instead of merely reacting to regulatory demands, there is much room for companies to proactively shape their application of AI technologies. Well-thought and coordinated plans ensure that the implementation of AI solutions is embedded in a proper framework to maximise its benefit for society and the environment.

If you are an SME who is exploring the idea of implementing AI solutions into your business, check out our list of guiding questions. This short questionnaire is designed to support you in uniting economic gains with positive socio-environmental results.

Key questions: Environmental sustainability

Cost-benefit considerations:
Is a computationally-intensive AI solution necessary for a given case or is a “classic” digital solution a better choice? Does the ecological benefit outweigh the negative impact caused by the energy-intensive training of the AI?

Choice of service provider:
Which hardware, data centres, and cloud or AI providers use green energy and are committed to sustainability? 

Pre-selection of datasets:
How to reduce the complexity of essential datasets for training the AI through pre-sorting in order to ensure less computational power, thus less energy consumption?

Key questions: Ethical considerations

Autonomy & control:
Is self-determined, effective use of AI feasible?

Fairness:
Does the AI solution treat all affected parties fairly?

Transparency:
Are the functioning and decisions of the AI application easily and clearly comprehensible?

Reliability:
Is the AI application reliable and robust?

Security:
Is the AI solution sufficiently protected against attacks, accidents, and errors?

Data protection:
Does the AI application protect privacy and other sensitive information?

We are keen to collaborate with you in finding solutions that align economic feasibility, ethical considerations and environmental impact in the implementation of all AI solutions. Do you share the same vision? Then, reach out to us!

For further questions, please reach out to Arne von Hofe.

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash

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Did You Miss our EU Circular Talk “The Circular Electronics Initiative: Insights on Skills”? Watch the recording now!

21. Juni 2021 - 11:16

Did You Miss our EU Circular Talk “The Circular Electronics Initiative: Insights on Skills”? Watch the recording now!

How can consumers lead the effort to keep electronics in the loop and not lose valuable resources? Who can support them and how? Who needs which skills for this? Our EU Circular Talk “The Circular Electronics Initiative: Insights on Skills” took a close look at these questions together with experts, retailers, city representatives, and policymakers.

When it comes to keeping products in the loop, the stakes are high. “Not only a one-year lifetime extension of smartphones would save 2.1 million tons of carbon per year by 2030, but also the job creation potential of the reuse and refurbishment sector is huge”, noted Daniel Montalvo from the European Environment Agency (EEA) and Michal Len from RReuse.

That’s why with the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, the European Commission is determined to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. If consumers return, reuse or dispose used products properly, they can make an invaluable contribution to this goal. However, that’s far from a straight forward process. In order to exercise their ‘right to repair’ and make the most of ‘take-back schemes’, consumers need support in changing behaviours, acquiring new skills or improving existing ones. On the other hand, other stakeholder also need certain skill sets in order to support and empower consumers with regard to repairing or taking back electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, or phones.

During the Circular Talk, which took place online in May 2021, Bettina Lorz from the Directorate General (DG) Environment and Daniel Montalvo from the European Environment Agency (EEA) underlined the urgent need to boost circular solutions in the electronics sector and behavioural challenges from the consumer perspective. While the life spans of electronics are far too short, it is even more of a problem that the products that have been replaced by newer ones do not go back into the resource cycle. Both Lorz and Montalvo underlined the fact that most of the unused devices still are stored at consumers’ homes.

In view of this challenge, the panelists laid out ideas related to the skills that various stakeholders need in order to empower and support consumers to behave in more circular ways. The list ranged from technical and digital skills to marketing, business models, collaboration, and enhanced communication on the side of policy makers, retailers, city representatives and social entrepreneurs.

In order to lead successful and inclusive reskilling and upskilling processes, the experts deemed the creation of competence centres for circular skills at national and regional level as paramount. Existing examples, such as the House of Skills in Amsterdam are already showing very promising results. Moreover, it was suggested that the educational systems in Europe should pay extra attention in integrating the skills needed for the sustainable transformation from early on.

CE Talk Video

Speakers and Panellists:

  • Michael Kuhndt, Executive Director, CSCP
  • Tatjana Babrauskienè, Head of International Relations, Lithuanian Education and Science Trade Union, Workers’ Group, EESC
  • Bettina Lorz, Senior Expert, DG ENV, EC
  • Daniel Montalvo, Head of Group Sustainable Resource Use and Industry, EEA
  • Michal Len, Director, RReuse
  • Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director, Global Director Sustainable Procurement, ICLEI
  • Isabelle Maurizi, Head of Sustainability and Environment, Eurocommerce
  • Tim Schreiber, Team Leader for Apprenticeships, Future-proof skills and International Cooperation, DG EMPL, EC (tbc)

Are you as keen as we are on empowering consumers to become leaders for circularity in the electronics sector and beyond? Engage with us on LinkedIn and let’s collaborate for the circular economy!

This EU Circular Talk was organised on behalf of the Leadership Group on Retailers, Consumers and Skills, which is part of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP). The Platform is a joint initiative by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee to implement the circular economy and brings together stakeholders active in the broad field of the circular economy in Europe. The EU Circular Talks is a new outreach and interactive dialogue concept that gives stakeholders the opportunity to initiate online conversation on a specific circular topic.

For further questions, please contact Imke Schmidt.

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Supporting SMEs to Become Leaders in Sustainable Digitalisation

18. Juni 2021 - 10:35

It is clear: digitalisation is in full swing and governments need to take bold action to shape this transformation to the benefit not only of the economy but also the environment and society as a whole. With its Digital Strategy, the German federal government has put together measures to ensure that digitalisation and innovation work as enablers for the kind of economic growth that is attentive to these needs and expectations.

As the backbone of the German economy and with strong ties to local communities, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), constitute a key stakeholder in the digital transformation. To support them, the German Ministry of Economics has initiated a large programme called the Mittelstand Digital, with 26 Competence Centres for Digitalisation spread all over Germany. The centres support SMEs with hands-on knowledge and expertise in transforming their business models, digitalising their value chains, and integrating new technologies into their operations. The initiative has been a success and has reached over 200.000 SME representatives of through projects, trainings, and conferences since 2015.

Since 2017, the CSCP co-leads the Competence Centre eStandards, operating Germany-wide as the first and only of the 26 centres with a strong focus on sustainable digitalisation. In line with major European frameworks such as the EU Green Deal, the Ministry of Economy has recognised the opportunity and the necessity to integrate sustainability into the entire initiative and strengthen its positioning among the 25 other competence centres.

Enhancing the digital transformation of the German economy without fully considering adverse ecological and social effects or without harvesting the potential that new technologies can have to create a sustainable economy would have been a missed chance. The Ministry of Economy has taken action by initiating a horizontal working group within the Mittelstand Digital initiative, whose work will be to ensure that sustainability becomes an integral part of all competence centres. Most importantly, the CSCP-led working group will support the competence centres to make sustainable digitalisation a priority for the SMEs they work with.

As a first step, the CSCP will give train-the-trainer workshops on sustainable digitalisation to support the competence centres build the necessary capacities. Throughout 2021 and 2022, the CSCP will focus on passing on its knowledge and methodologies on topics such as building circular economy business models with the use of innovative technologies, using artificial intelligence to ensure sustainable values chains or shaping a sustainable digitalised work environment.

“Different competence centres have a focus on different technologies, such as augmented reality, industry 4.0, artificial intelligence or blockchain technology. Bringing together these different partners with their unique and highly specialised expertise allows us to understand how we can use digitalisation to create more sustainable business models and value chains. It’s a strong message from the Ministry of Economics to integrate sustainability into the federal digitalisation strategy and will take us a step closer to achieving the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and the EU Green Deal” says Thomas Wagner, Project Manager for the Competence Centre and coordinator of the working group.

Are you an SME who is looking to tap into digitalisation as a means toward becoming more resilient? There are many ways the Competence Centre eStandards can support you in building the right skills for that. Detailed information is made available in numerous guides, brochures and checklists. You can also experience the concrete benefits of eStandards for your digitalisation project using our demonstrators on site or virtually in our experience and training centres. Through telephone consultations, focus groups and practical forums, we inform and inspire you to lead successful digitalisation processes. As part of our capacity building, the centre offers online seminars, workshops and training courses, where you can clarify your individual questions in an exchange with the speakers.

For the whole offering, check out the Competence Centre eStandards website and get in touch with Thomas Wagner!

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How the Circular Cities Declaration is Empowering Cities to Become Circularity Leaders

17. Juni 2021 - 14:20

Strategic aligning and waste management are two of the cornerstones for cities in their transition toward more circularity. During the second European Circular Cities Declaration webinar, signing cities and circularity experts exchanged knowledge and ideas on circularity at the city level.

In their path toward more circularity, cities and regions face various challenges, from engaging the right stakeholders to coming up with the best implementation plans. Through an exclusive webinar series for its over 50 signatories, the Circular Cities Declaration (CCD), is offering cities a platform to exchange and engage with one-another as well as with experts on pressing circularity topics.

During the second webinar, held in April 2021, the CSCP facilitated a discussion about the operationalisation of local circular economy strategies. During the discussion, some of the more advanced cities engaged in knowledge-sharing of key learnings, challenges, and success stories with their peers. Among others, representatives from Circular Flanders, Belgium and Maribor, Slovenia, elaborated their own journeys of developing and implementing circular economy strategies.

As part of the webinar, the CSCP also shared key learnings on the topic of biowaste management by drawing on experiences from the SCALIBUR and HOOP projects. Key steps along the biowaste value chains – from the collection to the valorisations – were discussed and new viewpoints introduced.

The ongoing webinar series is part of the European Circular Cities Declaration’s work on raising the cities’ capacities to accelerate the transition to the circular economy.

Cities and regions can join the initiative and become part of a visionary group that is taking action now for the sustainable future.

If you are interested in joining or finding out more about the CSCP efforts towards circularity in cities, reach out Cristina Fedato.

 

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