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Luisa Mentz: "Our goal is to help companies achieve sustainability certification"

Luisa Mentz: "Our goal is to help companies achieve sustainability certification"
Photo: © Fotoagentur Wolf freiheitswerke

What sustainability consultancies are there in Berlin? In Part 7 of our series "Sustainability Consultancies in Berlin", we talk to Luisa Mentz from visitBerlin, who advises and supports Berlin-based companies from the tourism and events industry in matters of sustainability with the Sustainable Partner Program.

 

INTERVIEW  Boris Messing    

 

CCB Magazine: How long has your consulting service been available and who is it aimed at?  

Luisa Mentz: We have two types of consulting services for different target groups: In 2019, we have already created a platform with which we support international event organizers who are planning an event in Berlin in matters of sustainability. Of course, Berlin-based event organizers can also take advantage of this consulting service. Since 2020, there has also been a Sustainable Partner Program specifically for Berlin-based companies from the tourism and events industry.

CCB Magazine:Ok, let's get to the Sustainable Partner Program first: Who exactly is the consulting service aimed at? Who is the target group? 

Luisa Mentz:Our consulting services are aimed on the one hand at Berlin-based service providers in the tourism industry, and on the other hand at service providers in the event industry who are interested in sustainability management in their companies. We have separate consulting teams for each of the two groups. The tourism sector includes, for example, museums, stages, hotels and tour operators. In the event industry, there are also various sectors, from the most diverse cultural venues to personnel service providers, catering companies, event locations and technical service providers. The aim in both areas is to provide advice and support on the subject of sustainability. Everything is free of charge.

Our consulting services are aimed on the one hand at Berlin-based service providers in the tourism industry, and on the other hand at service providers in the event industry who are interested in sustainability management in their companies

CCB Magazine:What are your thematic focal points? 

Luisa Mentz:visitBerlin organizes a wide variety of formats: Workshops, live seminars, online learning sessions, meet-ups or consulting days, digital, personal, in group or network form. With the help of these formats, participants can orient themselves and identify thematic focal points for their companies. The concrete content-related consultations are then carried out by external agencies that have experts in the relevant subject areas. In the course of the individual consulting days, the participants can specify the topic as they wish; examples include environmental management, greenhouse gas balancing or the development of a sustainability strategy. Another important function of the Sustainable Partner Program is to connect Berlin-based stakeholders. In their process of becoming more sustainable, they can learn from each other and work together. Our long-term goal is always for the companies to receive sustainability certification according to the internationally recognized criteria standards of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.  

CCB Magazine:What are the benefits of such certification in the tourism or event sector?

Luisa Mentz:It is clear to guests, customers and partner companies that the certified company is seriously concerned with sustainable management, and this is becoming increasingly important. Sustainability encompasses the ecological, economic and social dimensions as well as corporate management. During the certification process, Berlin's stakeholders are given a detailed look at their status quo. In this way, they recognize the points in which things are already going well. At the same time, they uncover potential for improvement.

CCB Magazine:How does the process of certification work?

Luisa Mentz:There are the Sustainable Tourism Berlin and Sustainable Meetings Berlin programs. Depending on whether companies belong to the tourism or event industry, they enter the appropriate program. Dual certifications are also possible. In our consulting sessions, we encourage companies to take the step toward certification. We accompany the process with information. The final step is an audit, a systematic review of the companies. This is carried out by an external agency on our behalf. The costs can be borne by us thanks to a grant from the State of Berlin and the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Business. Sometimes we talk to small companies or solo self-employed people who are not yet able to implement certification. There are also companies that are at the beginning of their journey towards sustainability. In these cases, we advise participation in the Sustainable Berlin Commitment. The Commitment is a voluntary commitment to greater sustainability and an introduction to sustainability management. Here, too, we provide advice and support.

CCB Magazine:Can you describe a classic case? I am person XY or company XY and want to get advice from you: What service do I get?

Luisa Mentz:Let's take a Berlin event location as an example. First of all, they take part in an online information event from us. Here they learn more about the certification process and can view the detailed criteria catalog. We then recommend that they arrange an individual roadmap workshop. In this workshop, the status quo is assessed together with an external agency. This results in starting points for improvements. The workshop provides them with a catalog of measures that they can then work through. Many other modules of the Sustainable Partner program, such as online learning, workshops and additional consulting days, also provide support free of charge. Once the event location has worked through the criteria, the audit can be carried out at their premises. After a successful audit, they receive the corresponding certificate as a Sustainable Partner.

Our long-term goal is always for the companies to receive sustainability certification according to the internationally recognized criteria standards of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council

CCB Magazine:How do you fund yourselves and how long is your project funded?

Luisa Mentz:The funding of the support program is secured until December 31, 2023 through funds from the New Start Program Tourism of the State of Berlin and through funding from the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Business. This enables us to offer our services free of charge to Berlin partners. We are currently trying to continue the project under the same conditions.

CCB Magazine:How are you staffed? What are the professional backgrounds of your consultants?

Luisa Mentz:At visitBerlin, the organizational team that oversees the Sustainable Partner Program is made up of various departments. All of them bring many years of experience, both in the individual industries and in the field of sustainability. The external experts are part of various specialized agencies from the sustainability sector with individual, professional backgrounds.

CCB Magazine:How many consultations have you already done? 

Luisa Mentz:Since our launch at the end of 2020, around 100 individual roadmap workshops have been held in companies and around 250 people have taken part in online information events.

CCB Magazine:Do you have any other services or offerings for cultural professionals and/or creative businesses besides your consulting services?

Luisa Mentz:Cultural professionals and creative businesses can take advantage of free continuing education opportunities on the topic of sustainability on our e-learning platform TourismusHub. In addition to video material, regular workshops and lectures are also available here. visitBerlin also offers to present events free of charge in its calendar of events. An overview of all offers for cultural partners can be found at https://about.visitberlin.de/partner-der-kulturszene.

CCB Magazine:A concluding sentence, please: For us, sustainability means...

Luisa Mentz:...to set out on the road to becoming holistically sustainable. Together we want to make Berlin one of the most sustainable destinations!

Interested in more? Then read part 6 of the series Sustainability Consultations in Berlin about sustainability among music creators

Category: Specials

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