Learning the basics

On the 9th of March our team of the Sustainable Startup Program will be hosting CSR Hub NRW — a series of workshops about the basic elements of Corporate Social Responsibility at the Factory Campus in Düsseldorf.

The event is especially interesting for startup entrepreneurs (to be) from various industries and people with an interest in sustainable business. What to expect — a practical introduction to topics related to social, ecological and responsible entrepreneurship as well as innovative business models.

kerbholz_madeincologne_wearecity_koeln-17During the workshop Moritz Blees, co-founder of the successful Cologne based startup Kerbholz will share his insights into their Business & Revenue Model (they make wrist watches and sunglasses out of wood) and our team will moderate a topic about the Sustainable Business Model Canvas. We will elaborate on the canvas building blocks social costs and social benefits — an interesting theme for my next post. I’m also very excited that we managed to join forces with the CSR Hub — an initiative of the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP). In 2016 I had the opportunity to work with CSCP during the Sustainica conference.

I believe that the workshop offers a great opportunity to get familiar with the CSR-basics and is free of charge (taught in German). And our team has the opportunity to advocate sustainable business practices among startup entrepreneurs in the region. Feel free to join us on the 9th in Düsseldorf!

Sustainica 2016 in retrospect

Sustainica is a fact and we are very happy that we brought this 1st edition to ‪#Düsseldorf! Big thank you to the NRW-Forum and all people who supported us!

We’d like to share the first articles, pictures, videos etc. in a series of Blog-postings. Stay tuned for a better, more efficient and… a more sustainable ‪#‎Sustainica‬!

Planet B & Sustainica invites you

After more than a year of hard work, multitasking and networking we have come to a point  where we make our thoughts who to invite to the event. People with whom we have a special relationship with, good business contacts, suppliers and also friends and family. But of course – everyone is welcome to join the movement from 2 – 5 June.

It is also interesting how we build momentum in the last couple of weeks. Being out of the blue approached by interesting new people is a great experience and it gives myself, the team and the project as a whole the necessary confidence. So if you read this and you’re interested in Sustainica – let’s catch up soon!! : )

Food Democracy

Food Democracy: Towards Sustainable Food Features

By Dr Oliver Vodeb

It is impossible to think about sustainability without putting food at the center of our discussions. Food is our most intimate relation to nature, and while essential for our living, we have let corporations and profit interests largely determine our food culture.

In the era of privatisation of everything, basic human needs get colonised through corporate strategies. The food system- production, distribution, representation and consumption of food- becomes a machine, which excludes people from participation.
Big corporations are putting exclusive copyrights on seeds- the very source of life. Seeds as public knowledge bank were cultivated through centuries in a close relation between human and nature.

Predictions show that because of unsustainable commercial farming the amount of food produced at the end of the century will be 50% of what we produce now. Currently more than 30 % of food is thrown away right away after harvest just because it does not look in a particular way and 200 000 people could be fed for a year just with the food that is thrown away by European airlines in one year. As world population numbers are rising, food will become the biggest issue of survival and geopolitical dominance very, very soon.

The consumption is to a big degree preconditioned as well. Our desires to achieve pleasure with food are in many ways the product of the prevailing food related libidinal economy- the way society organises desire. Food is designed with great effort and so are its representations.

With the strategic use of sugar, salt and fat, food is having the chemical effect of drugs. But addictive relations to food are designed by advertising too- in many cases food advertising even promotes behavioural patterns, which resemble to illicit drug cultures and food itself is more and more being designed to be a drug-delivering device.

My research has been focusing on what can communication/design and art do in order to contribute to FOOD DEMOCRACY. In 2013 we have initiated the global Memefest, the festival of Socially responsive communication, design and art on the theme of Food Democracy. Memefest is interested in the development of public communication for social change. Results of the many responses from 25 countries can be seen here.

A series of what we call extradisciplinary workshops has been addressing the issue in local Brisbane, Australia, where we have worked with the Aboriginal activist group, the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy and have developed public interventions in support of Food Democracy: http://tinyurl.com/zj9cleg

We are currently working on a book titled FOOD DEMOCRACY, Critical Lessons in Food, Communication/Design, Art and Theoretical Practice, which will be published in 2017 by Intellect Books UK.

In our technological world and the society of the mediated spectacle, communication, design and art must play a crucial role in our food futures. In order to do so, new innovative and socially responsive approaches to public communication as well as education will be crucial.

Dr Oliver Vodeb: Research, writing / theory. PhD Sociology of (visual) communication, University of Ljubljana. Based in Melbourne, Australia.

News update from Sustainica #3

Before the long weekend starts the Sustainica team likes to update you with a collection of news & stories on the project. Besides the great collection of brands & designers participating in the fair, Sustainica is also building an impressive conference program that will run for four days – a forum for candid discussion in an effort to widen the sustainability dialogue. Have a look @ www.sustainica.org/en/conference/

Another highlights is – of course –  the art exhibition Planet B. We can’t tell you more about the concept other than referring to the information on the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf. The Forum collaborates with 17 exciting artists, in a format that alternates during the 3 month exhibition period. Have a good read and stay tuned!

Credits: Andrew Paterson ‘gourmet-geophaia’, Valentina Karga ’15 days on Mars’, Kathryn Fleming ‘Endless Form / Endless Species: Superbivore’, NRW-Forum Düsseldorf.

A collection of news & stories #2

We are getting closer and closer by the minute to the launch of the Sustainica fair. Curious? Read the newsletter @ http://eepurl.com/bQyOYn


Image © Kathryn Fleming

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