Impressions from Environmental Community Conference

I’ve let the impressions from the KarmaKonsum Conference in Frankfurt settle
since attending a couple of weeks ago, and have been watching myself avoid
giving feedback on my impressions. The reason it has taken longer for me to
integrate, I think, is in the dissonance I’m experiencing between my insight
into the need for change in our unsustainable approach to business, and my
perception of the inability to make changes I found in the presentations at
the conference. Along with the good insights and passion for sustainability the conference
radiated, it also communicated to me on a more subtle level a deep
skepticism towards business. This was a conference for green insiders,
part of a shift from an older generation of ideological greens to a more
pragmatic generation of people open to the world of economics and human
motivation. If what the conference demonstrated is any indication, the
shift has yet to be made.

Sustainability is the biggest business opportunity of the coming generation.
But business answers on how the “new spirit” can be empowered were entirely
lacking. Interesting would have been to hear some of the really powerful
business interests present on projects they are implementing. Initiatives
like Desertec come to mind, or industry specialists in solar thermal, wind,
intelligent power grids, or electromobility.

Amory Lovins, for example, embodies the business spirit when he describes
how to use business mechanisms to make a profit by being sustainable:

As long as the KarmaKonsum platform thinks green and not business, the
effect it can generate will be limited.

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