Dr. Barbara Hendricks
Federal Environment Minister
GREEN BRANDS honours companies and products which are more sustainable than others. These beacons lead the way in the direction we all ought to move: Society, economy and consumers. Worldwide.
Our consumption of energy, metals, raw materials and the production of greenhouse gasses break all boundaries of our planet. “Keep going” is not possible. Prosperity and a good life for all people are only possible
if we do not destroy our planet’s resources.
Often, employees in other parts of the world pay the price with bad working conditions and with their health for the special offers in our shops. The distressing pictures of collapsed crumbling factory ceilings in which children had sewn apparel for our market force all of us to think about what is going on.
The social dimension of sustainability was already visible 300 years ago when the Saxon chief mine administrator Hans Carl von Carlowitz first coined the term: Through overexploitation of the forests in the Ore Mountains, the region’s mining faced an energy crisis. Timber was needed for fuelling ore mines and smelting works and they were thus threatened by its closure. Carlowitz suggested cutting only as much timber as would also grow again. A very revolutionary suggestion back than – but at the same time very modern.
Also we need to turn around. And we also want to finally turn around, even worldwide. The world community resolved upon targets for a sustainable development at the UN summit on sustainable development on 25 September 2015. This “Agenda 2030” is an important step towards a fairer and more environmentally friendly global development. It is the schedule for the reconstruction of our economic activities and lifestyle. In my opinion, this resolution has historical significance. For the first time, the Agenda 2030 delivers a globally valid action plan for concrete targets for a sustainable development. The plan shall be applicable as of 2016 for all countries – this means also for us in Germany and in Europe.
The good news is: We do not at all start from scratch!
The GREEN BRANDSS initiative also makes this very clear by honouring companies and brands which stand for a new way. I appreciate in particular that this initiative pays particular attention to encouraging and supporting small and medium-sized companies. GREEN BRANDS stands in one row together with other projects and means which have one common goal.
But do we need so many eco-labels for products and services?
Admittedly, it may become a little confusing. But the eco-labels are important. However, only if consumers have the possibility to opt for an environmentally friendly alternative at the point of sale, they can also make sustainable decisions.
For sellers of greener and fairer products, it is an increasing challenge to seriously and reliably promote the advantages of own products through a system of signs and certification. The Federal Government supports them and has started the project “Siegelklarheit.de”. The target of the website – it is currently still under construction – is to make credible eco and social labels and the public procurement more visible to consumers.
With its quality seal, GREEN BRANDS makes commitment visible where corporate activities assume social responsibility in an exemplary way. Sustainability requires role models. That is also why initiatives such as GREEN BRANDS are important: They make role models visible.
Managing Director ROIDINGER MAJEWSKI GmbH
We all know these words of wisdom by PR; with regard to sustainability they are probably particularly true. However, it is good practice in this respect to only tell stories which are actually true and, in addition, easily verifiable. Since consumers have appeared as a responsible power in the discourse of sustainability and since they have also been conceived as important decision makers, transparent and strong validation procedures have become more important than ever. Responsible consumption is only possible if environmentally and socially compatible offers are actually available. Companies of the green economy deliver themselves up to this verification and it is exactly this commitment that critical consumers appreciate.
In the best case, the circle of sustainable actions and lifestyle is complete. A nice, sustainable story? Not entirely, I am afraid. It is still a long way if we want to hand over this world responsibly to the following generations. GREEN BRANDS 2014 make a valuable contribution to this. Well done!
Mag. Susanne Hasenhüttl
Scientific project manager of ÖGUT
, the Austrian Society for Environment and Technology
Expert for sustainable Investment
Unfortunately, the words “green” or “sustainable” have turned into catch words in the last years. This development makes it more and more difficult for responsible consumers to recognise real ecological products. High-quality labels and seals of approval should remedy this; however, in the meantime, there has been a flood of them. Unfortunately, many labels are nothing more than a “green cloak”. Hence, a brand such as “GREEN BRANDS” which requires a high ecological standard from the companies and their products pursuant to transparent criteria are extremely important to offer a real guidance for decision to consumers.
Mag.(FH) Stephan Blahut
General SecretaryÖsterreichischer Gewerbeverein
NSustainability, secure resources, medium- and long-term targets are in the blood of every entrepreneur. In this respect, GREEN BRANDS offer orientation and support. Very important for stakeholders: Clear and measurable criteria are the foundation of Green Brands. Those who have already received the award are much talked about and credible witnesses of a serious and honest examination. To have gone through this examination successfully is an important milestone for the Green Brands products and companies.
Publisher of BIORAMA
. The magazine for a sustainable lifestyle and founder of Mountain Mill
. Advertising for the good ones
GREEN BRANDS has convinced me – after an initial scepticism – especially because its criteria are not negotiable and particularly because it offers orientation to consumers also in sectors of the industry in which no other established seal exists. The fact that awarded GREEN BRANDS are evaluated and examined again and again ensures credibility just like the fact that the companies are thus also encouraged to improve their own “being good”. There is always room for more. However, consumers also need to honour this. And that is exactly the point where GREEN BRANDS comes into play acting as a link.
Constantin Wollenhaupt, M.A.
Publisher & Chief editor nachhaltigkeit extra
and marketing consultant focussed on sustainability
Before sustainability is really lived and breathed everywhere, there seem to be already first tendencies towards aversion. Many often use CSR and sustainability as catch words so that there is not effect anymore – at least from the point of view of Public Relations. It has been a long time since journalists and consumers fell for every green-washing story. What remains are the real advantages of sustainability for companies: A lower rate of staff turnover, fewer claims because of environmental pollution or market manipulations, etc. In the end, CSR is a tough economic risk management. Those who pass the GREEN BRANDS selection process show that they have done their homework.
Bernhard Holzbauer, MSc
Company consultant and in the sustainability team of
Klimabündnis Österreich GmbH
We from the climate alliance appreciate GREEN BRANDS as a partner for a sustainable world. With the award of the GREEN BRANDS seal, it becomes clear who also commits himself to this matter. It shows that it is possible to integrate the aspects of sustainability – ecological and social responsibility – in entrepreneurial thinking AND actions. Those who have been awarded the GREEN BRANDS seal are excellent examples in our society.
Dr. STEFAN HERMANN SIEMER
Brand, Communication, and Sustainability Strategist; Blogger for Ambulanz für neue Kommunikation; Author and Publicist
“Ecological, ‘green’ commitment is an ideal way to promote one’s own brand and to position it attractively on the market. On the one hand, GREEN BRANDS is a charming proof of ecological performance. On the other hand, it is motivation to become even better. With regard to sustainability mainstreaming of our economy, we definitely need such positive and voluntary signs – just like an acceptable regulatory framework.”
Editor-in-Chief of forum Nachhaltig Wirtschaften and ECO-World
“GREEN BRANDS can help the consumer to deliberately make ‘green’ buying decisions. If more and more consumers make ‘green’ decisions’, the economy will ‘automatically’ turn into a ‘Green Economy’. This is why I support the GREEN BRANDS initiative as it can contribute to developing a future-oriented lifestyle and economic style.”
Founder and Operator of the sustainability platform LOHAS.de (Lifestyles based On Health And Sustainability).
“New values, new consciousness – the people’s needs are oriented inwards, a change of lifestyle towards self-awareness, no stress and deceleration, health, sustainability and stability. This all leads to a demand of ecologically healthwise and ecologically reasonable products and services. In this respect, GREEN BRANDS provides valuable support for transparency and orientation on the market. Credibility and trust play an important role in addition to all of the parameters of the evaluation procedure in order to improve the future viability of our lifestyle and to support companies in fulfilling their responsibility vis-à-vis the environment and the people.
GREEN BRANDS acts as the necessary link between the economical requirements of the companies on the one hand and the change in values on the other. Social and ecological factors are just as decisive as the climate crisis or resource problems.”
Founder and Chairman of Deutsches Forum Nachhaltiger Mittelstand in the German Association for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (BVMW), Bonn
“The GREEN BRANDS seal is a wake-up call for rethinking in the direction of a green-market rationality of the ‘smart grids’ in order to stand up to challenges of the geological era of Anthropocene, which has just started: extreme endangering of survival caused by the human species. Through wearing out the natural resources with ‘business as usual’, time has been lost in the palaver of political elites – instead of making decisions bhy those on the ground and with an affinity for nature. With the same emphasis as the Deutsche Forum Nachhaltiger Mittelstand of the BVMW, GREEN BRANDS is currently seeking to implement effective sustainability management as a natural corporate culture – ‘ECOmade’ in Germany – especially with regard to medium-sized companies.”
Prof. Dr. CARSTEN BAUMGARTH
Professor for Marketing, in particular branding at the Berlin School of Economics and Law
“At the end of the day, the consumers’ buying behaviour will decide whether our economy and society will actually become more sustainable. Currently, we are still waiting for the mega-brand of sustainability, which will, similar to a computer company from Cupertino in the sector of design, change the preference structures of the customers and will thus revolutionise entire markets. The GREEN BRANDS seal can make an important contribution to this change. Honored companies will be putting themselves in the limelight and thus their sustainability activities will be critically followed and commented on by stakeholders every day. Through GREEN BRANDS, the consumer will also be sensitized even more to sustainability and will have further information supporting him in his own buying decisions.”
Prof. Dr. CLAUDIA KEMFERT
Head of Department: Energy, Transportation, Environment at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and Professor for Energy Economics and Sustainability at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin
“Sustainable economic management is becoming more and more important in the course of climate change and increasing shortage of resources. That is why it is even more important to have a close look at how sustainable economic management of individual companies can be implemented successfully. GREEN BRANDS honors innovative and economically friendly companies/brands. This information increases transparency and, at the same time, motivates companies to get better involved in sustainability.”
Prof. Dr. STEFAN SCHALTEGGER
Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM) Leuphana University Lüneburg
“In these times of information overload, brands are gaining importance for their simplified decision-making. GREEN BRANDS can provide orientation when appraising brands to determine if a specific sustainability threshold has indeed been met.”
Dipl.-Ing. MARKUS BLASCHYK
Managing Director at the Institut für Wirtschaft und Umwelt IWU Magdeburg – environmentally-oriented seminars
“The responsible dealing with our nature and the limited resources available to us as well as the protection of the climate and the biological variety are becoming more and more important in our globalised world. The required shift in awareness has already started and needs to be further discussed and promoted. The award by GREEN BRANDS helps the consumer to obtain information on the guidelines of production and supports them in their environmentally compatible consumption. Additionally, the GREEN BRANDS seal helps genuinely green brands to strengthen the consumer’s trust and to protect themselves from any possible accusations of
‘green-washing’. Sustainability is a shared factor of success for the consumers as well as for the firms for which constant awareness needs to be raised and which requires further professional support.”
Dr. Dennis Lotter
Managing Partner of BENEFITIDENTITY – Agentur für Markenintegrität
“Nowadays, people prefer companies and brands which exude credibility through their economical, ecological, and social actions and which create trust. GREEN BRANDS stands for business ethics oriented towards sustainability and for a sustainable entrepreneurship. Our evaluation procedure based on central questions offers companies not only the opportunity to reflect upon their actions, it also enables us to identify outstanding brands which have distinguished themselves for our GREEN BRANDS COMMUNITY by their ecological responsibility.”
Dr. IRIS PUFÉ
Dr. Iris Pufé, MBA, is an expert in the field of sustainability with focus on sustainability management, environmental protection and Corporate Social Responsibility; she teaches i. a. at the chair of Sustainability Management at the Hochschule München.
“In order to buy ‘reasonably’, consumers depend on information. By evaluating products and companies, GREEN BRANDS tries to provide orientation. The number of those who buy a pig in a poke is decreasing. At least, that is what I hear from my students and that is also the feedback given by the customers of my business partners – commercial companies and non-profit organisations alike.”
DI ALEXANDRA AMERSTORFER
Managing Director of Kommunalkredit Public Consulting GmbH
“To live up to ecological and social responsibility clearly belongs to the requirements imposed upon modern and innovative companies. Many Austrian firms are among the international forerunners in this field. Green Brands honors ecologically sustainable products, services, and companies. The Green Brands seal has a double effect – on the one hand, it offers an important orientation guide to consumers and, on the other hand, it motivates companies to actively fulfil their ecological responsibility.”
Dr. FRITZ HINTERBERGER
President Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI)
“As long as the state or the EU do not manage to effectively ‘impose’ comprehensive and practical sustainability certifications, private initiatives like GREEN BRANDS need to step into the breach. The GREEN BRANDS seal is awarded to companies and products that do not only carry out single environmental projects but that generally have an environmental focus. It is important to me to honor companies and products which are not yet in the still-too-small premier league of Zotter, Gugler, and Waldviertler and which thus contribute to raising attention for the issue of ‘ecological sustainability’ on a broader scale.”
Dr. FRED LUKS
Head of the Competence Centre for Sustainability of the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien
“Sustainability will not advance without convincing communication of future-oriented alternatives. Especially with regard to consumption, the following applies: Environmental compatibility needs to become visible. ‘GREEN BRANDS’ is a contribution to this. The approach to link clear criteria with clear communication is reasonable. Information alone does not suffice if sustainable consumption is to be promoted.”
Managing Director of LEBENSART Verlags GmbH
“Resource shortages, the climate, and economic crisis are omnipresent and show that we need to be more careful with the world we live in. The green economy is an important response to these new challenges. Companies that position themselves sustainably and use this as a strategic advantage will achieve economic success. By acting responsibly, they contribute to a caring society and a livable environment. More and more people realise and appreciate this.”
DI ROMAN H. MESICEK
CSR expert and manager of the course Environment and Sustainability Management – Fachhochschule Krems
“Environmental and sustainability management is becoming more and more important for companies. What is most important is not only the recording of all relevant data but in particular a process of constant improvement. The questionnaire and the indicator system by GREEN BRANDS enables them to conduct an independent evaluation of companies in various environmental fields and helps to identify potential improvements within these companies.”
Executive Editor at oekonews.at
“GREEN BRANDS does not only stand for sustainable brands but, at the same time, for assuming ecological responsibility; efficient use of resources; lower water consumption; social standards; and more. The three-step awarding and evaluation procedure verifies transparently – on various levels – whether required criteria are met.”
Dr. CHRISTIAN PLAS
Managing Partner of denkstatt GmbH
“Consumers are looking for orientation when making purchasing decisions. With regard to ecological issues, it is particularly difficult to form one’s own opinion without comprehensive research. GREEN BRANDS attempts to meet this ever-growing need for ‘responsible consumption’. With a system that is as transparent as possible, the brands that integrate environmentally relevant issues into their corporate concepts will be put in the public forum. The selection process consists of a thorough evaluation and discussion by independent jury.”
“In my function as director of marketing, I come across many offers to distinguish oneself on the market through new ‘green’ labels. As I am also the environmental management officer of our EMAS-certified company, I verify these offers not only with regard to their external effect but especially with regard to their consistency of content. The GREEN BRANDS questionnaire has convinced me with its depth of content and also with regard to the spectrum of covered areas. This is no green-washing label but a certification based on science. This impression has been confirmed by the excellent evaluation documentation: The strengths and weaknesses of one’s own company become very transparent in the individual areas through percentages and graphical analysis. For me, it’s a good tool to work specifically on weak points. In the next GREEN BRANDS certification, it is going to be to interesting to see our development in the various categories. I’m sure we will participate again.”
“The re-validation procedure was very exciting for us. It creates a new awareness for projects which we have planned but not put into action. You get an external impulse for internal processes and you are happy about the confirmation you get regarding the path you have been taking. Especially, if we you are able to improve significantly like we did this time. It shows mercilessly: There’s always work to do and you cannot stand still.”
“… additionally, we have obtained many useful suggestions from the validation questionnaire and are now beginning to integrate them into our ongoing development. Solely for that, a big compliment and thank you.”