1 day

20+ speakers

100+ attendees

Towards ecological transition

Social Economy in time of environmental and climate change challenges



The ‘Digital Road to Mannheim’ consists of 8 fully digitized online events. Each roadmap event focusses on a specific topic and aims to connect different Social Economy actors in Europe in a highly interactive format, present best practices and use cases as well as provide first-hand insights in interactive sessions from changemakers all around Europe. The ‘Digital Road to Mannheim’ strengthen the social economy in Europe and harness its contribution to economic development, social inclusion as well as green and digital transitions. 


Climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to Europe and the world. To overcome these challenges, Europe needs the strength, creativity, hearts and minds of the Social Economy to transform the Union into a modern and resource-efficient economy. President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We are acting today to make the EU the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050.”
With our #RoadtoMannheim event on “Social Economy in time of environmental and climate change challenges” we turn climate and environmental challenges into opportunities and help to make the ecological transition just and inclusive for all. 



10.15 am

Welcome – Live from Mannheim
Manuel Kreitmeir, Host and Chairman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute
Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit – DG GROW, European Commission

10.30 am

Jeanne BarseghianMayor of Strasbourg

10.45 am

Parallel Sessions & Insights (60 minutes)

Valeria Duflot, Co-Founder – Overtourism Solution
Sue Riddlestone, CEO & Co-Founder – Bioregional
David Parejo, Co-Founder & Director – ICI Network Ltd
Sarah Price Robin, Ministère de la Transition écologique – Government of France

Catalyst 2030 is a global collaborative multi-stakeholder movement initiated by leading social entrepreneurs from Ashoka, Echoing Green, Schwab Foundation, Skoll Foundation and others from some of the most prestigious global networks of social entrepreneurs. We are NGOs, social enterprises, intermediaries, funders and other social change innovators, collaborating in this urgent moment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by scaling the many known solutions. During the session we will present what Catalyst 2030 is about, and the regional chapter Catalyst 2030 Europe. We will be also explaining how social entrepreneurs have innovative solutions for the environmental and climate change challenges. Some of our Catalyst 2030 members will be presenting their initiatives in this field. And we will be also discussing our latest report on how can governments better work with SEs to achieve the SDGs.

Fanélie Carrey-Conte, General Secretary – ENERCOOP
Federico Camporesi, General manager – ARFIE Network
Alexandra Debaisieux, Deputy General Manager – RailCoop
Damien Thiery, General Manager – Ateliere Fara Frontiere

The social economy (SE) based on cooperation, solidarity, territorial anchorage but also collective interest shows us that it is quite possible to reconcile the environment, social utility and economic activity. Indeed, the structures of the SE have undeniable assets to work towards a more environmentally friendly world. They are developing innovative services that meet local needs and social and environmental challenges, while reexamining governance and economic models. SE has long been involved in the field of ecological transition. SE structures have developed activities that are essential to local ecological approaches, whether in the areas of reuse and recycling, food, energy, mobility or housing, often in close partnership with local authorities. This workshop proposes to (re)discover the social economy as a natural vector of ecological transition and sustainable development, in various fields of economy and society through the prism of expert actors in the field.

Eller Everett, Cofounder – BothOfUs
Kay Nag, Cofounder – BothOfUs

We will focus on a few key projects to demonstrate the range of technology initiatives that have been developed to contribute to sustainable development. We have developed a smart machine learning algorithm map to calculate air pollution on a micro level which uses real-time data. Innovative technologies like CO2CO2 Puff can aid in city planning endeavours and business environments to consider air quality and push for real action in reducing pollution. We will also discuss how technological initiatives can encourage a change in consumer behaviour from reducing single use plastic whilst supporting small local businesses to cutting down on food waste and transport emissions through collaboration. We will discuss how technology plays a significant role in empowering social entrepreneurs to scale their impact and enabling us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

11.45 am

Main Panel: Presenting results from the sessions

12.00 pm

Lunch break & Parallel Programme

12.00 pm

Alice Ruhweza, Africa Region Director – WWF International

Alice Ruhwezas role is to develop and lead WWF in Africa so that it is highly influential and able to shape the sustainability agenda of Africa domestically and globally. In this leadership position, she is helping to achieve impact on the ground in alignment with WWFs global conservation priorities. In this session she will give an inside on her work and the role that Europe can play in the sustainable development of Africa and vice versa.

01.00 pm

Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute

01.15 pm

Paolo Di Lecce, CEO – Reverberi Enetec

01.30 pm

Parallel Interactive Workshops (90 minutes)

Janneke Wagner, Founding Team + Community Experience – B Lab Germany
Rob Gierke, B Leader + Consultant – Purenessity
Christian Kroll, Founder + CEO – Ecosia
Anna-Catherine Senge, Head of CEO – Allos
Marcel Pietsch-Khalili, CEO – PNZ
Katja Bartholmess, Executive Director – B Lab Germany

The Responsibility — and Opportunity — of Business The session starts out by pinpointing the responsibilities of conventional business practices in contributing to the environmental challenges and the social divide we are grappling with. It highlights the potential for changing the way we do business and transition the economy as a whole. Introducing the Tools + Instruments of the B Economy This segment showcases the tools and instruments the B Corp Movement offers to allow businesses to make a significant contribution to this transition: Using a tool to measure their impact or a platform (co-created with the UN Global Compact) to map contributions to the SDGs to certifying as a B Corporation to join the global B Corp Community. The B Economy In Action Finally, a panel of B Corporations shares how a wide range of businesses can be part of the social and impact economy: Ecosia — Christian Kroll Allos — Anna-Catherine Senge PNZ — Marcel Pietsch

Sorcha Edwards, Secretary-General – Housing Europe
Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit Advanced Technologies, Clusters and Social Economy, DG GROW
Carine Puyol, USH (L’Union Social pour l’Habitat)
Frank Lee, Head of Division – Financial Instruments Advisory, European Investment Bank
Adrien Hiel, EU Policy & Communications – Energy Cities
Bjorn Mallants, Director – VVH (Association of Flemish Social Housing Companies)
Alessandro Rancati, Policy Officer New European Bauhaus – Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Diana Yordanova, Communications Director – Housing Europe
Natalia Rogaczewska, Director of Public Affairs – B.L (The Danish Federation of Housing Associations)
Dirk Lönnecker, Representative from Berlin Building and Housing Cooperative from 1892
Michaela Kauer, Head of Brussels Office – City of Vienna


Public, cooperative and social housing providers are at the crossroads of the social, climate and construction goals set to advance in the green transition towards 2050. In this session we will bring to the forefront the social criteria to be considered in the projects supported under the Affordable Housing Initiative and the New European Bauhaus schemes included in the Renovation Wave.

The Affordable Housing Initiative and the New European Bauhaus can become the vehicle to help reconcile liveability, housing affordability and decarbonisation of the built environment – vital if the Renovation Wave is to succeed. They can serve to build upon & harness the potential of public, cooperative and social housing provider to reconcile climate emergency with social mission through their ability to orchestrate amongst the public, social economy and construction sector.

This event is organised in cooperation with the EU Industry Days and is a recognised EU Industry Days Local Event https://www.euindustrydays.eu/

Discussion items

This session will help define the optimal features, governance & financing for the lighthouse districts supported by these initiatives through a social lens:

  • • What features should the supported projects have?
  • • What should be the funding streams?
  • • How should the initiatives be governed?

A live scriber will capture the main messages from the session and will translate them into an illustration of a joint vision of the future lighthouse districts.


13:30 – 13:40

Welcome – ice breaker

13:40 – 13:50

Opening – Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit Advanced Technologies, Clusters and Social Economy, DG GROW – European Commission.

13:50 – 14:15

Local experience: what features should the support projects have?

  • (7 min) Natalia Rogaczewska, Director of Public Affairs at B.L (The Danish Federation of Housing Associations), Denmark.
  • (7 min) Carine Puyol, USH (L’Union Social pour l’Habitat), France.
  • (7 min) Dirk Lönnecker, representative from Berlin Building and Housing Cooperative from 1892. Berlin, Germany.

14:15 – 14:30

How should the initiatives be funded?

  • (10 min) Frank Lee, Head of Division – Financial Instruments Advisory, European Investment Bank (EIB). Luxembourg.
  • (5 min) Bjorn Mallants, Director of VVH (Association of Flemish Social Housing Companies). Flanders, Belgium.

14:30 – 14:45

How should the Affordable Housing Initiative be governed?

  • (10 min) Adrien Hiel, EU Policy & Communications – Energy Cities.
  • (5 min) Michaela Kauer, Head of Brussels Office of City of Vienna.

14:45 – 14:55

What to expect from the New European Bauhaus? Alessandro Rancati – Policy Officer of New European Bauhaus, Joint Research Centre (JRC).

14:55 – 15:00

Closing – Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General at Housing Europe

03.00 pm

Panel: Workshop Hosts presenting results / Discussion with EU officials
Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit – DG GROW, European Commission
William Neale, Adviser on Circular Economy and Green Growth – DG ENV – European Commission

03.30 pm

Conclusion & The End