Good ideas at Zero Waste Design-Thinking in Business

Last Monday, May 14, we were happy to welcome some 40 guests at our discussion and networking event "Zero Waste design-thinking in business". It was the highlight and finale of ZeroWasteFest!, which we organized together with ap_moDE.SIGN and Mangolds Restaurant & Café in Graz. Download the detailed discussion documentation in German here. (PDF, 156 KB)

Among our guests from corporate, political, science, and civil sectors were also representatives of our partners; Michael Überbacher and Yvonne Gaber from our main partner Saubermacher AG; Lisa Rücker, Vicemayor of the City of Graz and Andrea Pavlovec-Meixner, Councilwoman of the City of Graz, both from Die Grünen (Green Party), our second partner.

Zerooooooooo Waste - OK! :) Left to right: Michael Bauber-Leeb, Evelina Lundqvist and  Alexandra Poetz of The Good Tribe, Lisa Rücker of Die Grünen Graz, Julia Pengg of Mangolds and Michael Überbacher of Saubermacher.

Zero Waste design-thinking in business was the first time we did an event in Austria using the term Zero Waste. We started into the evening with a short introduction from Evelina and Michael addressing the following questions: What is Zero Waste?, How can Zero Waste be beneficial and profitable for businesses?, and How can we shift from a linear waste producing economy to a closed loop in a Zero Waste society?

After a quick round of Sparks (what else?! :)) to warm up the participants for the upcoming discussion they split into five groups discussing particular questions around the topic of Zero Waste, especially the challenges they face personally and in business, what they need to overcome those challenges and what support they could offer others.

From left to right: Thomas Weber, Natalie Pötscher, Elisa Rosegger-Purkrabek, and Sarah Reindl. 

Though each of the discussions developed a personal touch, there were some main points emerging: Many of the participants expressed that we need a common vision of a better future. Some of the participants felt it's the responsibility of politics to draw this vision, others said that all kinds of groups in society should engage in developing such vision and take responsibility in their specific areas. One suggestion was that the corporate sector could start pragmatically by checking whether their products and services really are Zero Waste. Another suggestion was that citizens could start by rethinking their consumer choices and putting pressure on manufacturers demanding them to go Zero Waste.

From left to right: Peter Geyer, Lisa Rücker and Michael Überbacher.

Another issue highlighted by some participants was availability and easy access to Zero Waste information and knowledge. They suggested to introduce a public hotline giving advice to both citizens and businesses. Waste affects us all, said many of the participants, hence we all need to take responsibility.

We believe that all these views and ideas are valuable for pushing a Zero Waste agenda. We believe that we need to work together across classical boundaries - corporate, civil, political, scientific. We also believe that we need to use a lot of creativity to overcome barriers and symptom fighting, both in our mindset and in real life actions. We need massive out of the box thinking and social and technological innovation. That's a big exercise, granted, and we are convinced that it can be done - and that the Good Tribe has an important role to play to facilitate this process.

From left to right: Michael Bauer-Leeb, Günter Getzinger and Alexandra Poetz. 

We feel very grateful and happy that so many interested (and interesting!) people responded to our invitations and came to share their expertise, insights, and experience! THANK YOU so much for participating!

We would also want to thank our partners again: Saubermacher, Die Grünen, and Grüne Akademie - you made the event possible! And Mangolds of course! We heart you!

From left to right: Michael Bauer-Leeb, Evelina Lundqvist and Alexandra Poetz.

The Good Tribe is bubbling with Zero Waste! Stay tuned :)

Photos: Elena Zepharovich and Alexander Hotter. Edit: The Good Tribe