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Berlin’s green consciousness

For a better city and a better world

How to respond to the environmental, social and economic challenges when you are a growing metropolis like Berlin? Each year, the city’s population increases by about 40,000 inhabitants. Which means the demands for housing, urban infrastructure, mobility, waste disposal as well as the use of resources grow continuously. To ensure a sustainable and solidarity life, the German capital offers creative solutions by responding to the diverse challenges of the future in an environmentally and citizen-friendly way, thanks to a smart collaboration between the city, businesses and the scientific community.

Smart and green mobility

A connected, automated, shared, electric, sustainable mobility. That’s what Berlin wants to achieve through its collaboration with eMO, the city’s agency for smart and electric mobility. Many projects are underway to make traffic smoother, cleaner and safer. Important technological milestones include tests on autonomous driving and on communication between vehicles and their surroundings.

Currently the BeIntelli  project is using distributed artificial intelligence to bring a fleet of different vehicles, from cars to vans, as visual models to an urban testing site at the heart of Berlin. The Shuttles & Co project is investigating,  how highly automated electric minibuses can be integrated into the scheduled operation of local public transport as a useful addition, so that the mobility system can be optimized and operated economically.

Other approaches are already set up. With fLotte Berlin for instance, the city offers the free rental of cargo bikes in some districts and even the police use them now thanks to ‘Ich entlaste Städte’, a project that provides private companies and public organizations across Germany with the opportunity to test a cargo bike for a few months at very low cost. As for the Senate Department for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection, they support cargo bikes by funding their purchase to encourage more and more Berliners to switch to this environmentally friendly, quiet and space-saving companion.

KoMoDo Lastenrad
KoMoDo Lastenrad – © Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH

The city of Berlin is not the only one to support ecological means of transport. Berlin-based businesses also contribute to sustainability. That’s the case of the multinational IAV Engineering which focuses on electric and autonomous mobility, or Brose – one of the most innovative and successful suppliers in the international automotive industry – which has produced since 2014 its e-bikes ‘Made in Germany’, in Berlin. On another and more local scale, startups such as Clever Shuttle, MOIA, TIER or Jelbi provide mobility-on-demand and ridesharing thanks to electric or hydrogen vehicles based on algorithms to ensure a more efficient but also more ecological service. Sharing is caring!

When city has a taste of countryside

With its 3,7 million inhabitants and a constant influx, the need for initiatives focusing on healthy and sustainable food is essential in Berlin. The city wants to favor the production of organic products to a hyperlocal level, while respecting the environment. That’s how Berlin created the House of Food foundation, whose aim is to significantly increase the share of organic products in day-nurseries, schools, canteens, cafeterias and catering in public institutions. Inspired by a model first created by Copenhagen, the idea is to bring together cooks, food experts, teachers and designers to offer advice and cooking courses. With the urban vegetable gardens, local citizens are also being encouraged to cultivate useful crops, using public green spaces in their neighborhoods to plant rows of vegetables or fruit trees. In one of our previous articles, we’ve presented you some of Berlin’s Green oases

Reducing the distance between the farm and the fork, that’s also what offers InFarm, an expanding startup based in Berlin that develops an ‘indoor vertical farming’ system capable of growing anything from herbs, to vegetables and fruits. Its ambition: to provide 100% fresh, local and pesticide-free produce for Berlin inhabitants, and to offer an innovative urban food system which is healthy, transparent and sustainable.

Zero-waste lifestyle

Recycling of plastic bottles is part of the everyday life in Berlin with the German bottle deposit (called ‘pfand’) system – and the waste reduction is not only a public concern. Soul Bottles suggests products that are good both for the planet and the people who live on it. Their water bottles are 100% plastic-free and one Euro of every sold bottle goes into humanitarian projects to build water facilities in countries that need it. Little extra, they commission local artists to do the design so that you can drink water in bottles that look pretty cool.

© Original Unverpackt
© Original Unverpackt

Another remarkable green project of the Berlin startup scene is Original Unverpackt, the first supermarket in the world dedicated to a zero-waste lifestyle. In their Berlin (and online) shop, only organic, natural and sustainable products, no unnecessary disposable packaging and you only buy what you really need. A clever way to reduce plastic waste and leftovers.

© Original Unverpackt
© Original Unverpackt

For a renewable future

As part of the federal Smart Energy Showcase program, WindNODE promotes the showcase for intelligent energy. The Berlin-based enterprise focuses on a future in which our electrical energy needs are almost completely covered by renewable sources. How? By identifying flexible energy users in industry and in large residential areas who can align their electricity consumption with the fluctuating supply of wind and solar power plants. Their aim is thus to integrate large quantities of renewable electricity into the energy system.

Green electricity can also be found in the replacement batteries offered by GreenPack, a young promising startup for which renewable electricity can also be mobile. Their intelligent batteries enable to store and transport green energies for various uses, whether it is for your electric car, scooter or house

© Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH
© Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH

In many ways, Berlin demonstrates the desire to offer its inhabitants and visitors a city with a sustainable future. Local citizen and business initiatives reinforce this common endeavour. The projects mentioned above are only a fraction of Berlin's entire greentech picture. The GREENTECH FESTIVAL is a pioneering extended festival concept that welcomes visitors from all over the world on-site, digitally, and online 365 days a year with acclaimed speakers, top exhibitors and a star-studded gala awards ceremony in Berlin. 


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