Hi Wibke, you were at the Enkelfähig Summit at the beginning of September. Can you briefly explain what “enkelfähig” means?
The term “enkelfähig” can be attributed to Christiane Underberg, who first used this expression during the inaugural session of the German Council for Sustainable Development on June 12, 2007, in the German Federal Chancellery. (Source: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-662-61957-5_12)
However, “enkelfähig” is not just another term for “sustainability”; it goes well beyond that. Enkelfähig takes into consideration future generations as a whole and describes humane capitalism within planetary boundaries. It’s all about growth and profitability in harmony with, and not at the expense of, the ecosystem.
Arineo is a founding member. How did the decision to co-found the initiative come about?
Thomas Schmidt, then CEO of Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH, approached our managing director, Marko Weinrich, as he believed that our values and attitude would be a great fit for the founding group. We didn’t think about it for long – it was immediately clear to us that we wanted to get involved in this movement.
Arineo is very well positioned for the future with its cooperative organization model and employee-owned company (EOC). The EOC is designed for long-term sustainability and stability. This is an essential aspect of enkelfähig: we treat the resources available to us with great respect. The issue of balance plays a major role in our interactions with our colleagues, partners, the networks in which we operate, and our ecosystem. We also assume regional responsibility. In this way, we are setting ourselves up in a stable position to be crisis-proof in future years as well. Arineo should also still be available as an employer for future generations.
Can anyone take part in the initiative?
The initiative is open to all companies that want to get involved and contribute to the enkelfähig movement. The important thing is that they themselves are capable of long-term sustainability or have taken definitive steps toward it. We are still in the early phases of the movement. We’re still working out the details of what membership or participation might look like. Interested parties are cordially invited to come forward and get involved. We coordinate closely with each other and are happy to receive requests.
Now for the Summit. What was the mood like there?
The atmosphere was great. The Anthropia Festival took place at the same time as the Enkelfähig Summit. There were inspiring keynote speakers, including Eckhard von Hirschhausen and Martin Ritter.
The Haniel Campus was a great location and an ideal setting for getting to know each other. The atmosphere can be glimpsed in the event video. Take a look.
Is there an experience from the summit that particularly moved/impressed you?
I was particularly moved by Marc Stickler’s presentation. He is a photographer, biologist, and UN Changemaker. In his photos, he captures his love for nature. In this way, he illustrates for me what we need to protect in order to maintain a world worth living in.
Do you have any more ideas or tips on how companies can make themselves sustainable?
Long-term sustainability has many aspects. Each company must define for itself, and with its business model, the path it wants to take. Long-term sustainability is not a seal that you can buy, or obtain by simply working through a checklist quickly. The key point is the attitude of the people in the company. Above all, the stakeholders and the management must be genuinely committed and willing to take this path. Anders Indset has written a philosophy that perfectly describes what the movement is all about. Again, I can only repeat the invitation to interested companies to contact us.
Thank you for the interesting insights into the long-term sustainability movement.