1 day

35+ speakers

600+ attendees

Sustainable consumption & circular economy



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. 


There is only one planet Earth, yet by 2050, the world will be consuming as if there were three. Global consumption of materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, metals and minerals is expected to double in the next forty years.

As half of the total greenhouse gas emissions and more than 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress come from resource extraction and processing, the European Green Deal launched a concerted strategy for a climate-neutral, resource-efficient and competitive economy. 

Scaling up the Circular Economy from front-runners to the mainstream economic players will make a decisive contribution to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and decoupling economic growth from resource use, while ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the EU and leaving no one behind. For business, working together on creating the framework for sustainable products will provide new opportunities in the EU and beyond. 

With our #RoadtoMannheim event on “Sustainable consumption & circular economy”, together with the Chair of Sustainable Business at the University of Mannheim, we will host stakeholder sessions with the European Commission, Businesses, Civil Society and Sustainable Enterprises to discuss and show models how sustainable consumption and production can maximise businesses potential to transform environmental challenges into economic opportunities and improve the well-being of people by making Europe climate-neutral and protecting our natural habitat.



10.15 am

Welcome – Live from Mannheim
Manuel Kreitmeir, Host and Chairman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute
Anna Athanasopoulou – Head of Unit DG GROW G2 – Proximity, Social Economy, Creative Industries, European Commission

10.30 am

Arthur ten Wolde, Executive Director  – Ecopreneur.eu

10.45 am

Parallel Sessions & Insights (60 minutes)

Gorka Mediavilla – Coordinator, Traperos de Emaús Navarra

This interactive workshop presents a unique opportunity to get first-hand insights into a concrete example of how social enterprises active in the circular economy operate on the ground. Gorka Mediavilla – coordinator of Traperos de Emaús Navarra – will present a range of activities that his innovative organisation undertakes in the circular economy and its positive impact on social and environmental goals. We will explore the success factors and barriers that enable or hinder the development of social enterprises’ potential through discussion with the audience. We hope that this concrete case study can illustrate and inspire stakeholders, policymakers and members of the social economy community on how to encourage closer partnerships and better policies to move such models forward.

Veerle Klijn, Programme Manager – Euclid Network
Primoz Sporar, CEO – Skup
Sue Riddlestone OBE, CEO & Co-Founder, Bioregional
Bostjan Horjak, CEO – Liberty Adriatic

This workshop will highlight the need of all industries to refocus from minimising negative impact to maximising positive impact on people and the planet. It will dive into the concept of “Impactisation”, an innovative methodological production method where milestones are created for new impact within policies, measures, products, modification of existing ones or changed business models. Concrete examples are presented from companies in different industries which have flourished because of the “impactisation” of their business model.

Alyssa Jade McDonald-Bärtl, Board Member – Unternehmensgrün
Marco Philippi, Senior Director Strategy, Procurement – AUDI AG
Darren West, Business Development Director – Circular Economy – SAP
Alexander Britz, Head of Digital Business Transformation & Artificial Intelligence – Microsoft
Laura Marie Edinger Schons, Chair of Sustainable Business – University of Mannheim

The session will focus on the topic of circular economy and smart circular systems for resource conservation (raw materials, water, etc.). In the panel discussion we will explore the sustainability strategies of SAP, Audi, Microsoft and the scientific perspective on how they can contribute to the European Green Deal, with the aim to transition to a clean, circular economy and combating environmental pollution. An emphasize will be on the sustainable activities in the supply chain and the potential use of digitalization/new technologies for greater sustainability.

11.45 am

Main Panel: Presenting results from the sessions

12.00 pm

Lunch break & Parallel Programme

12.00 pm

Dominik Campanella, CEO – Concular
Celina Schall, Communication – Concular

60% of global waste, 40% of resources, and 23% of GHG emissions are linked to the construction sector. The main reason is the “make – use – waste” model of construction materials. The EU published this year the New Circular Economy Action Plan and announced the transition to the circular economy as one of the highest priorities for the next 30 years. In this session, we will give an overview of the status of circular economy in the construction sector in the EU, the challenges which lay ahead and discuss the importance of the social economy to reach the goal of circular construction. For this, we look at different projects which were already successfully implemented and what the “best practices” are from it. One best practice to highlight is the digitalization of the deconstruction process and the reuse of it as well as innovation in new circular construction materials.

01.00 pm

Lorina Brugger, Project Manager – Center for Open Social Innovation & Health Enthusiast

01.15 pm

Keynote: “Liferepolyuse from the laboratory to a commercial product as part of the circular economy: the entrepreneurial approach”

Ignacio MUÑIZ, Co-Owner and CMO – Bjaland Technologies
Sara Gutiérrez González, Scientific Project Manager of the LIFE REPOLYUSE Project -Universidad de Burgos

01.30 pm

Parallel Interactive Workshops (90 minutes)

Nina Elomaa, Senior Vice President for Sustainability – S Group
Mike Pickering, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager – Midcounties Co-operative
Charlotta Szczepanowski, Head of Sustainability & Quality – Coop
Carmen Redondo Borge, Director of Institutional Relations – HISPACOOP
Todor Ivanov, Secretary-General – Euro Coop

The session’s remit will include: tackling food waste/loss, optimising packaging, product labelling, sustainable resource management, empowering consumers through awareness and education about sustainable consumption and healthy lifestyles, and the post-consumption efforts to see “waste” as energy use. Consumer co-ops are drivers of circular economy. They are member-owned retailers, who base their economic efforts on maximising benefits, not profit, by satisfying the interests and needs of their individual members and the local communities they live in. Empowering consumers is pursued through radical transparency of all aspects of the business – the operations, the origin of the goods and their environmental footprint, quality, even consumption/storage advise. That is underpinned by campaigns engaging consumers on all aspects of food and sustainability. The Co-op own brand operationalises the co-op principles and values to offer healthy, safe, quality products at affordable prices.

Elie Assémat, Co-Founder – Commown
Robin Angelé, Project Manager – Commown

This talk will first briefly remind why the current industry of electronics is neither fair nor sustainable. Then, we will observe how the negative externalities stem from the business model that prevails today : producing devices to sell as much as possible. For a significant change, there are two directions : one is working on national and international regulations, the other one is to develop another business model, that leads to more sustainable and lasting electronics. This business model already exists, it is the core of the cooperative Commown, that considers devices as a new kind of commons. The last part of the talk will focus on the Commown example, showing why it works and how.

Alain Coheur, President of the Section for Single Market, Production and Consumption, Member – European Economic and Social Committee
Ferre Wyckmans, Member – European Economic and Social Committee
Mira-Maria Kontkanen, Member – European Economic and Social Committee
Jana Žůrková, Network Development and Innovation Manager at RREUSE
Suzanne Wisse-Huiskes, CEO – Euclid Network

This panel discussion will bring a civil society perspective to the debate on the contribution of the Social Economy Enterprises (SEE) to the transition towards circular economy in Europe. It will address three main questions: 1) how do SEEs contribute to the circular economy in terms of innovation and values? 2) how can we improve cooperation between SEEs and industry in a circular economy model? 3) what could the most relevant public policies be at EU, national and local levels to reinforce the role of SEEs in the circular economy? The panelists will outline the important contribution of SEEs to the circular economy and the shared objectives of social and environmental impact. They will also put forward a number of ideas for discussion/ignite the debate on how to better include SEEs in the EU’s circular economy strategy.

Anna Frankenberg, Corporate Social Responsibility – PreZero
Talke Schaffrannek, Director Circular Economy – BASF
Christoph Teusch, Corporate Responsibility -AfB Group
Alexander Kraemer, Head of Corporate Citizenship – Haus des Stiftens
Laura Marie Schons, Chair of Sustainable Business – University of Mannheim

This interactive workshop session will focus on the challenges that organizations face when moving towards circular business models and the peer learning and partnership strategies they can use to overcome them. We will hear about the experiences of Talke Schaffrannek, Director Circular Economy at BASF, Anna Frankenberg, Corporate Social Responsibility at PreZero and Christoph Teusch, Corporate Responsibility at AfB Social and Green IT. The workshop will be hosted by Alexander Krämer and Laura Marie Edinger-Schons from the Peer School for Sustainable Development. Besides an intro to the academic perspective as well as the insights into the practitioner cases, the workshop will contain engaging elements like quizzes and group discussions. The goal of the session is to illustrate the crucial role of collective action in Europe to realize the transition to a more circular economy along with the European Green Deal and the EU climate strategy.

03.00 pm

Panel: Workshop Hosts presenting results / Discussion with EU officials
Anna Athanasopoulou – Head of Unit DG GROW G2 – European Commission
Federico Porra, Policy Officer Circular Economy – DG ENV – European Commission

03.30 pm

Conclusion & The End