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300 guests from the worlds of politics, science and business travelled to the CongressCentrum in Oberhausen to attend the 2018 REMONDIS Forum which had been given the motto: “Resource conservation – responsibility as an economic opportunity”. This year’s event focused on the challenges associated with the recycling of resources. How can we protect our climate? Where are we going to get affordable raw materials from in the future? Will these be enough to cover the needs of 10 billion people? It will not just be our planet that will have to tackle these challenges but each and every local authority, no matter how small their town or district may be. This will involve a delicate balancing act – ensuring they have climate-friendly structures in place while still managing their council operations cost effectively.
This was the 13th time that the REMONDIS Forum has been held and the second time in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most heavily populated state in Germany. Other venues over the years have included Berlin, Schwerin, Hagen and Cottbus. Oberhausen is the town where Wirtschaftsbetriebe Oberhausen GmbH & Co. KG (WBO) is based – a company which has been running a public private partnership with REMONDIS since 1995. This very successful collaboration offers a number of core services including waste management, street building and cleaning work as well as wastewater, drainage and flood protection services. This city was, therefore, the backdrop for this year’s forum which brought together people with a political, business or scientific background to take a closer look at some of these future issues.
Among the guests: Michael Sachs, Managing Director of Spezial- und Bergbau-Servicegesellschaft Lauchhammer, Susan Bandorski, Authorised Signatory of WAL Betrieb, and Bert von Garrel, Managing Director of EnergieSystemeNord (from left to right)
A number of speeches had been organised which covered both specialist subjects and the current challenges facing our society. The speakers included the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, Oliver Wittke, who talked about the question: “Is it possible to work cost effectively and conserve resources at the same time?”. In his speech “City 4.0: PPPs as a motor for creating climate-friendly cities”, Burkhard Ulrich Drescher, former mayor of Oberhausen and managing director of Innovation City GmbH, stressed the importance of having strong collaborations between the public and private sectors to ensure that operations were transparent and that all the services needed could be delivered.
Thomas Bergner, a Department Head at the City of Cottbus, Andreas Bankamp, Managing Director of REMONDIS Aqua, and Jörg Lange, a member of the Lausitzer Wasser Supervisory Board, enjoyed their time at the 13th REMONDIS Forum (from left to right)
Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, spoke about the challenges of the current climate policies. Prof. Christian Berg, a sustainability expert and member of the steering committee of The Club of Rome, took a look at the relationship between sustainability and innovation in his talk entitled “Sustainability – an opportunity for innovation and optimisation”.
The final speech, held by 20-year-old Felix Flinkbeiner, was one that was both inspiring and motivating. He had been awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz [The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany] by the Federal President Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier earlier this year for his work as the founder of the youth initiative, Plant for the Planet. The goal of this initiative is to make people – in particular children and young adults – more aware of global justice and climate change. In his speech “Why we need a trillion trees”, Felix Flinkbeiner underlined his message to society, explaining why people must play an active role in trying to stop climate change.
The guests were fascinated by Felix Flinkbeiner’s passionate speech