Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the International Development Journal, an online journal offering a platform to engage in debate and discussions on global policies and current affairs.
Formed in 2014, “GreenBuzz Berlin envisions a sustainable world where everybody thrives and contributes to a continuous and sustainable improvement of the status quo.” In line with the globally agreed upon United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2015, GreenBuzz further believes that “humans need to secure a planet that is worth living on – for all future generations to come.”
Ulrike Hinz, one of GreenBuzz Berlin’s Founders, believes this is especially important “there are many inequalities between societies often based on the resources given and exploited in a country. Many times, these are unjust. We need to distribute wealth as well as secure and good living conditions for all people on earth because we are all the same.” Measures on how best to achieve a fair allocation of resources were recently discussed by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Deutsche Bundestag and ShareTheMeal on 8 March 2017 as part of GreenBuzz’s 24th Sustainability Drinks event organised under the theme ’Transforming our World?! The Sustainable Development Goals.’
Since its establishment, GreenBuzz Berlin and its members, have identified ten core areas of focus related to sustainability. These range from circular economy and corporate social responsibility to energy management, travel and tourism to waste management. On the inter-connected nature of the sustainability field Hinz argues that “Sustainability is a concept which should prevail in all areas of our modern lives. Nevertheless, it cannot work in isolation and must be coordinated between all relevant fields which impact one another.”
In striving to promote increased sustainability, not only in Berlin where the association is based but around Europe and the world, GreenBuzz organises and conducts a wide range of activities. “The objective of these different activities is to ultimately create a sustainable world where everybody thrives and contributes to a continuous and sustainable improvement of the status quo” says Hinz. The different activities include conducting research on the ten core sustainability focus areas, promoting education by connecting different actors and stakeholders together to facilitate synergies and enabling networking by hosting regular Sustainability Drinks and Sustainability Panels events which are mostly free to attend.
As part of their intention to impact people and societies beyond just Berlin itself the association has entered into a partnership with GreenBuzz Global. GreenBuzz Berlin’s partnership with GreenBuzz Global is considered very significant to Hinz because “Cooperation is very important, especially outside of one’s own borders. We hope to share learnings and best practices across our European and international chapters to increase everyone´s impact on sustainability.” The importance of creating and enabling strong partnerships is also illustrated by the existence of SDG 17 which is entitled ‘Partnerships for the Goals.’ Other European GreenBuzz chapters can be found in Amsterdam, Bern, Zurich in Europe and Manila in Asia.
Besides its partnership with the global GreenBuzz network, GreenBuzz Berlin has also entered into partnership agreements with various other initiatives and organisations. Commenting on the high number and diversity of its partners, Hinz acknowledges that “It is great to see how interested stakeholders are regarding sustainability. Working informally with our partners ranging from Betahaus, to ImpactHub, Climate-KIC, Ecosia and sharecy, we have had very nice experiences with every single one of them driving sustainability in Berlin.” She adds that these partnerships will only help strengthen GreenBuzz Berlin’s ability to influence positive change and the adoption of sustainable practices. Doing so will also “Help to connect the different actors to coordinate sustainability initiatives more efficiently and adopt best practices towards a long-term secured and healthy world.”
Since its establishment GreenBuzz Berlin has successfully brought together over 2,500 people through its work and hosting of events. While satisfied with its early beginnings, it is not content with resting on its laurels, and wants to continue growing. Hinz believes this is an entirely realistic objective, and as increased numbers of people both in Berlin, across the rest of Germany and globally, become more aware of important sustainability issues they “Can meet and discuss how organisations such as GreenBuzz work towards obtaining mutually beneficial goals on better living conditions for everyone in the future”.