Lord Mayor and EU Commission welcome
After a welcome by the Lord Mayor of Mannheim, Dr. Peter Kurz, Anna Athanasopoulou from the EU Commission (Head of Unit "Proximity, social economy and creative industries" in DG GROW) began the event with a keynote address on the challenges facing EU policy, for example with regard to the poor energy efficiency of many residential buildings. In large parts of the EU, the lack of investment in affordable housing and the social economy is a problem that is being addressed by the European Green Deal, for example, as well as other initiatives and support programmes, including the so-called "Renovation Wave".
Regional fair finance approaches
In the following three presentations by Alexis Versele (architect for socio-ecological building at the Technology Campus Ghent), Christian Loy (Cambium - Living in Community) and Knut Höller (board member of "LiM Living in Metropolises SCE mbH" and managing board member of the "Initiative Wohnungswirtschaft Osteuropa (IWO) e. V."), three regional Fair Finance approaches in Europe were presented and further discussed with interested parties in the subsequent project marketplace. The presentation by Alexis Versele highlighted the ICCARUS project in Ghent, which provides for the renovation of 100 houses of low-income residents, financed by public money as an ongoing fund. Christian Loy presented the Cambium project in Austria, an approach to communal living in an ecovillage, where financing through the "asset pool model" by residents, friends and a network is an important component. In the third presentation by Knut Höller, the approach of the EU cooperative "Living in Metropolises SEC" was presented, which represents a possible answer to the political demand for affordable housing in cities. Specifically, three building projects of the cooperative in Finland, Germany and Latvia were mentioned.
Fair Finance in Germany
As a transition from European projects to regional Fair Finance approaches in Germany, Sven Giegold, spokesperson for the German Greens in the European Parliament and representative of the Green Group in the Committee on Economic and Financial Policy, gave an introductory statement. He emphasised, among other things, that the approach of "bringing sustainable finance to the regions" is very important, and at the same time to educate about the dangers of green-washing.
He was followed by two project presentations. In the first, Nils Bormann from the German Energy Agency (dena) explained the concept of serial renovation according to the Energiesprong principle, while Peter Mellwig from ifeu - Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg presented the idea of the "one-third model" in rented flats: How can owners, tenants and the shareholders share the (energy-related) refurbishment costs more fairly than before? Also after these presentations, another project marketplace was opened with opportunities for exchange with the speakers.
Finally, a panel discussion entitled "Lessons Learned and New Shores with Social Economy" took place with Helmut Augustin (Deputy Chairman of the Board of Sparkasse Rhein Neckar Nord), Christiane Ram (Head of the Department of Economic and Structural Development of the City of Mannheim) and Gesa Vögele (Member of the Management Board of Corporate Responsibility Interface Center e. V.). The possibilities and opportunities already pointed out were highlighted from the different perspectives of the discussants, and further approaches of the representing institutions were presented and compared.
Throughout the event, new ideas for networking and exchange kept coming up, which could be deepened as much as possible in the digital format.
As organisers of the event, the Fair Finance Institute and Starkmacher would like to thank all supporters (first and foremost the Sparkasse Rhein Neckar Nord, the LBBW as well as the Economic Development Agency of the City of Mannheim and the S-Hub), the speakers, the participants and many other helping hands, and look forward to seeing you again in 2022, hopefully as a face-to-face event!