Mittelstand-Digital, an initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, heads 25 different Competence Centres on different digitalisation topics throughout Germany. When they all came together in November, Thomas Wagner of the CSCP and Stefan Liebenberg from BMWi presented the potentials of digitalisation for sustainable business practices and urged Competence Centres to think sustainability and digitalisation together in their projects.

The CSCP is part of the Competence Centre eStandards, where we conduct digitalisation projects with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a strong focus on enabling sustainable business practices, such as circular economy approaches or digital sustainable supply chains. This adds another area of expertise to the Competence Centre eStandards, an area from which not only those practice projects with a strong focus on sustainability profit. The presentation at the semi-annual meeting of the Competence Centres served to enhance the impact of sustainable practices, and ensure that sustainability and digitalisation are thought together in the work of all Competence Centres.

Digitalisation strategies are often complex and it is difficult to say what their effects in terms of sustainability, especially on an environmental and social level are. However, as Thomas Wagner detailed in the presentation: “Digitalisation means that we can create much more transparency. At any point of production, along the entire value chain, but also when it comes to consumption or consumer behaviour, digitalisation gives us much more transparency, information and data. This is very important, because one of the major challenges to sustainable development is that we have a lack of data which hinders us to set the right framework conditions and policies in many areas.” With transparency as a starting point, thinking digitalisation and sustainability together can enable resource efficiency, safer work places or closely monitored working conditions along the supply chain. In his presentation, Thomas Wagner also addressed the sustainability challenges related to digitalisation and highlighted possible solutions to handle them.

These are important steps towards adjusting business models to the expectations of consumers, peers and politicians alike. The Sustainable Development Goals have set the stage for sustainability worldwide. On a national level, the German Sustainability Strategy in its 2018 version details that “The overarching goal and yardstick of all action is to secure the earth’s natural basis for life in the long term and to enable all people to live in dignity now and in the future”. For businesses, this means that there will be an increased pressure from consumers, customers, the public and the government to make their business models sustainable. Digitalisation and ICT solutions can be the tool to achieve that, if digitalisation and sustainability are thought together.

Combined, the Competence Centres reach a significant number of SMEs to implement this thinking and use digitalisation to achieve more sustainable business practices.

For further information, please contact Thomas Wagner.

What do lighthouses and digitalisation have in common? Not much at first glance. But like lighthouses, the lighthouse projects already implemented by small and medium-sized companies with the help of the Competence Centre eStandards offer orientation and have a signal effect on further digitalisation projects.

To bring these projects together and inspire other Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), Competence Centre eStandards organised a free “eStandards in Practice” theme day in November in Cologne. Titled “Lighthouse projects: Sustainable and economical digitalisation – strategies and solutions from the user’s point of view”, SMEs reported on their own digitalisation projects. The participants experienced first-hand which learnings, recipes and standards can be used to implement digital solutions.

The workshop on sustainability, lead by Patrik Eisenhauer (CSCP), was well-received during the theme day. First-hand experiences on the topic were provided by FOND OF, a backpack company from Cologne who developed a sustainable return and recycling scheme and looked into circular economy solutions with the help of Competence Centre experts. “SMEs have the opportunity to receive very practical input on how to make their business models more resilient and to prepare their value chains for the future by thinking digitalisation and sustainability together. We see the positive effects of this type of thinking in many lighthouse projects, not just those that were specifically focused on sustainability”, comments Patrik Eisenhauer.

In addition to practical reports and workshops, the theme day offered hands-on eStandards experiences. During guided tours through the Cologne Open Workshop and the Mobile Open Workshop, visitors experienced how artificial intelligence is changing shopping in the future (“Shopper’s Experience”). The “Technologies Experience” demonstrated the advantages of using standards in a vivid and playful way with everyday examples. In the Mobile Workshop, visitors were able to experience first-hand applications of additive manufacturing with 3D scanning and printing, virtual reality and smart building installations.

Mittelstand 4.0 Kompetenzzentrum eStandards

The Mittelstand 4.0 Kompetenzzentrum eStandards is an initiative of Mittelstand-Digital. Mittelstand-Digital informs small and medium-sized enterprises about the opportunities and challenges of digitalisation. Regional Kompetenzzentren help local small retailers as well as larger production companies with expert knowledge, demonstration centres, and networks to facilitate the exchange of experiences and practical examples. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy enables the free use of all Mittelstand-Digital offerings. Further information can be found at

For further information, please contact Patrik Eisenhauer.


Photo © Mittelstand 4.0-Kompetenzzentrum eStandards

In the EU over 100 million tonnes of bio waste are thrown away each year – around 200 kg per person.* The majority of this waste goes to landfills, causing major environmental problems. This practice wastes valuable nutrients, energy and resources. The SCALIBUR project promotes a circular economy approach to curb urban bio waste.

The H2020 project is a joint effort of leading waste management companies, technology developers and research organisations, as well as four European cities – Madrid (Spain), Albano Laziale (Italy), Kozani (Greece), and Lund (Sweden) as a mentor and example of a city with less than 1% of biowaste being landfilled. Together, we will demonstrate innovative solutions to transform urban bio waste into high value-added products and help cities increase their recycling rate, creating new circular economy business opportunities.

The CSCP will engage stakeholders along the entire bio waste value chain. A first step in these stakeholder dialogues will be the involvement of households to raise citizens’ awareness for the importance of waste separation and to raise the acceptance of products made from bio waste.

To implement better waste separation schemes, the Spanish company FCC will advise cities on the infrastructure required for collection, transport, sorting and pre-treatment of bio waste, while the City of Lund will mentor the municipalities on technical and social aspects.

Thus far, bio waste is commonly used for energy or composting, but SCALIBUR will demonstrate a range of innovative technologies to produce high value-added products, such as bioplastics and biopesticides. Three demonstration lines are planned:

The sustainability of the developed products and processes will be evaluated by CENER, ITENE and Exergy.

SCALIBUR plans a Europe-wide expansion by inspiring a revolution in urban biowaste recycling in Europe. Greenovate! Europe will lead activities to facilitate the expanded adoption of the project’s solutions, including an e-learning training programme for municipalities and entrepreneurs. Municipalities looking to improve bio waste recycling in their city are invited to join an Early Adopter Club, which will organise activities to share best practices from the SCALIBUR pilots. Recycling of bio waste into bio-based products creates many new business opportunities. 10 entrepreneurs and businesses will be mentored to enter this market. All information will be available via an online Stakeholder Platform, developed by IRIS.

The project will run for four years and is funded by the European Union. There are 21 project partners who held a kick off meeting for the project in Valencia, Spain, on 14 – 15 November.

For further questions, please contact Carina Diedrich.


Photo by Fahmi Ariza on Unsplash

How can we support Kenyan farmers to adopt and successfully implement sustainable horticulture practices that preserve local ecosystems and promote socio-economic development? In January 2019, the CSCP will deliver the first training of series for farmers and entrepreneurs around Lake Naivasha, Kenya. With partner WWF-Kenya, the CSCP will provide tailored knowledge about sustainable consumption and production methods for the local horticulture sector.

Kenya is known for its rich wildlife and its popular national parks. However, from an economic and development perspective, Kenya also strongly relies on agriculture. In particular, horticulture is key to Kenya’s economy. In 2016, it contributed USD 1.03 billion to the country’s GDP. Nevertheless, if not properly managed, the agricultural sector can cause serious environmental and health-related impacts, such as unsustainable water consumption, pollution and unhealthy food products due to the overuse of fertilisers and pesticides. The GOALAN project (Green hOrticulture At LAke Naivash) aims to tackle these challenges through knowledge and awareness raising activities targeting smallholder farmers as well as micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). GOALAN aims at strengthening both institutional and entrepreneurial knowledge and skills to mainstream sustainable horticulture practices in the country, in line with the Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan (GESIP).

The CSCP will deliver the first training in the second half of January 2019. The objective of this initial training is two-fold: to provide farmers and entrepreneurs with general knowledge about sustainable consumption and production; and to enhance their technical skills to foster the practical adoption of sustainable farming practices.  .

This first training kicks off a series of training modules to gather feedback, track and revise the training activities to best address local knowledge needs and expectations of farmers and entrepreneurs, enabling the long-term adoption of sustainable horticulture practices beyond the project timeline.

For further questions, please contact Kartika Anggraeni.

Photo © WWF Kenya



At its stakeholder workshop in November in Berlin, the ABNB was happy to welcome the Colombian ambassador and an important Columbian producer association to start a dialogue on sustainable banana production with German retailers. In an open dialogue, important stakeholders from the whole banana value chain and civil society discussed standards, living wages and various price issues.

Besides seven retailers and importers for bananas, two standard organisations and four civil society organisations spoke with one of the most important producer countries for bananas in Germany, represented by a Columbian producer association and the Colombian ambassador. Among others, approaches for the implementation of a living wage for banana producers and plantation workers were explored. Furthermore, there were discussions and group work around the topic on standards, how standards can help improve conditions along the banana value chain and what the issues are that go beyond certification.

The aim of the ABNB is to tackle systemic challenges in broad alliances and to stimulate changes in the whole sector, in order to improve the social, ecological and economic conditions in the banana value chain. This collaboration between non-governmental organisations and the private sector is supported by the Federal Government. One of the aims of the ABNB is to improve the living and working conditions and wages in the production countries in vertical cooperation with the partners in the value chain.

The ABNB approaches its goals through

The CSCP runs the secretariat of ABNB.

Contact Jana Brauer for further information.

Photo by Andrey Câmara on Unsplash


Fresh food products demand a high tech solution to protect and deliver the best quality to the customer, but which packaging solution is the most sustainable? Are biodegradeable plastics, for example, the solution for today’s plastic problems? The fact that they are not the answer and why that is the case was one of the findings of the CSCP’s project with the Deutsche Milchkontor (DMK).

We can hardly imagine a life without packaging. Especially in food products, the packaging plays an important role in protecting the product and keeping it fresh for as long as possible.

However, consumers are increasingly aware of and concerned with the negative environmental effects of packaging and expect companies to take responsibility and apply sustainable and consumer-friendly solutions. But which packaging is the most sustainable? What environmental impacts do materials have along their supply chain and at their end-of-life?

Together with The Deutsche Milchkontor (DMK), the CSCP has been looking to answer these questions by analysing the market and different packaging concepts for dairy products. Next to market and regulatory trends, the analysis has been focused on understanding the different perspectives of relevant stakeholder groups such as consumers and the recycling industry. Based on the findings, the CSCP delivered a user-friendly evaluation tool on the sustainabilty impact of dairy packaging concepts.

The tool lets the user access and compare the relevant sustainability dimensions for different packaging conceptes, including environmental impact, recyclability and circular economy aspects, renewable materials and food waste related factors. While also taking the transportation impacts into account, multi-way packaging concepts can be compared with one-way solutions. Today’s standard for sorting and recycling practices along with supply chain analyses and information from life-cycle-analysis-databases deliver reliable and important up-to-date results.

The tool highlights the different perspectives of stakeholders on sustainability dimensions, for example the consumer perspective on the use of renewable materials, and thus gives valuable information for decision makers, customers and retailers on packaging concepts.

DMK is now able to evaluate under which conditions a multi-way milk bottle is more sustainable than a one-way bevarage carton. Throug the tool, DMK’s packaging designers and decision makers have a solid basis for taking the environmental impacts and stakeholder perspectives into account during their decision making processes on packaging solutions. With the knowledge on how biodegradeble plastics disturb established recycling activities, for example, the company now has reliable guidelines for actively tackling our world’s waste and plastic issues – switching to biodegradable plastic is not one of them.

For further questions, please contact Marius Mertens.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Sharing is often promoted as a solution to sustainability challenges, but the practical details are not clear. What are the benefits for a city, the needs of the citizens and how could existing structures be improved to enable more sharing? Using a design thinking approach, experts from practice and science explored the potentials of sharing in Wuppertal during the transdisciplinary Autumn Academy.

From 01 to 05 October 2018, the 8th Autumn Academy of the Association for Ecological Economy Research (VÖW) took place in Wuppertal in cooperation with UrbanUP, a joint research group of the CSCP, Wuppertal Institute and Transzent. Themed “Sharing and the City”, the event showed the potential of sharing in the city as a more sustainable form of economic activity.

At the core of the diverse programme participants developed ideas for the sustainable use of Sparkasse buildings as public spaces and communication solutions for food sharing activities at Arrenberg via a design thinking approach. As partners of UrbanUP, Sparkasse Wuppertal and Aufbruch am Arrenberg e.V. welcomed the participants and presented their current challenges: the Sparkasse is looking to open its locations for multi-use purposes, to invite citizens and become a more public space. Aufbruch am Arrenberg e.V. wants to reach more people with their foodshring initiative. They reported their difficulties with people reacting very differently to the concept of foodsharing and not being very receptive to the idea.

Participants developed a communication strategy to normalise foodsharing and establish it in Aufbruch am Arrenberg’s target group. Suggestions for Sparkasse Wuppertal ranged from urban gardening in Sparkasse branches and a stage for featuring local bands, to a concept for displaying the important work of Wuppertal volunteer groups and giving them a forum to promote their work – also after normal opening hours. The results of the group-work was well received by both partners. Sparkasse Wuppertal is considering the suggestions to make their existing as well as new premises more accessible and inclusive to the public.

The results were also at the centre of the “Sharing Night”, which took place at the Wuppertal City Library. All ideas were very well received by the participants and visitors, which included initiatives such as clothes swapping, car sharing, community supported agriculture, food sharing, urban gardening, repair cafés, who also presented their activities to the audience in a market setting.

Contact Alexandra Kessler for further information.

Today, good sustainability performance is commonly associated with having a small footprint. This means a reduction of negative sustainability impacts, such as CO2 emissions, waste of natural resources, poor working conditions, etc. We say: Assessing our footprint is key but there is more to explore!

What about the positive impacts we are having on people and the planet? Positive impacts – or in other words handprint – can be generated throughout your whole company. How you can use the handprint analysis will be the central question in this workshop. A brief introduction to the handprint can be found here.

To give you some examples:

We will work out with you:

Join us!

Date and time: 07 December, 10:00am – 4pm

Location: Collaborating Centre of Sustainable Consumption and Production, Hagenauer Straße 30, 42107 Wuppertal

The interactive and collaborative workshop is limited to 20 participants. Please register by 21 November latest by sending an email to An agenda will be provided on our website soon. Workshop language will be English.

An organisational fee of 29 Euros will be charged subsequent to the workshop. Lunch is included.

For further information please contact Janpeter Beckmann.

The Popup Dialogue-Centre “Durchblick” opens its doors for citizens in Hamburg. It is dedicated to the questions and answers on the digitalisation of work. Which technologies will be pioneering in the future and which social and ecological aspects will play a role? What hopes and fears do we associate with digitalisation?

In the travelling exhibition, which tours six German cities from October 2018 onward, we present current developments and trends in the world of work and invite you to join us: by participating, asking questions, expressing opinions and criticising – we want to hear your vision for the work of the future!

For ten days, starting on 28 November 2018, the exhibition will be located at Stockmeyerstr. 41, Halle 4b, 20457 Hamburg, Germany. We look forward to your visit on business days between 12 – 7pm.

On 4 December, we invite you to a round table discussion on the topic “Digitalisation for people: How can we utilise digitalisation for society and individuals?” For more information, please visit our website: and follow us on Twitter @durchblickpopup. Joining us will be Henning Schramm, Tollense GbR, representatives from the Diakonie Altholstein, who are setting new standards in elderly care with the Kieler Demenz-WG, Carl-Ernst Müller from, as well as Johanna Schultz of Johanna Schultz Wohnen (invited) and Thomas Sampl of Hobenköök (invited).

The project is a contribution to the Science Year 2018 – “Working Life of the Future” and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Date and time:

4 December | 18:30 Round Table Discussion on “Digitalisation for people: How can we utilise digitalisation for society and individuals?”

28 November – 7 Decembe | 12 – 7pm Popup Dialogue-Centre

Location: Stockmeyerstr. 41, Halle 4b, 20457 Hamburg

To visit the exhibition, no prior registration is required. If you would like to join the round table event, please register here. Both are free and in German.

For further information please contact Imke Schmidt

Digitalisation is one of the megatrends of our time, and the first order of business is making organisations ready for a future shaped by it. In this interactive workshop, we will discuss the pressing issues that arise due to digitalisation and find solutions that fit your company.

With the megatrend, completely new opportunities and challenges arise. For example, it will be easier to produce more efficiently, to market products more effectively and to ensure transparency and sustainability along the entire value chain. At the same time, there are challenges from new (disruptive) competition, matters of data security, work structuring and attracting employees.

It is thus very important for future-oriented organisations to know how to position themselves, keeping relevant stakeholders in mind, and how to design future-proof business models using the right instruments.

To that end, the workshop will deal with the following questions:

We are looking forward to fruitful exchanges and hands-on strategy development.


The workshop is part of the Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Centre eStandards and will be held by experts from its co-working space Wuppertal, which is hosted at the CSCP.

Date and time: 20 November, 4:00pm – 6pm

Location: Popup-Campus, Alleestr. 49, 42853 Remscheid

The event is free of charge and will be held in German. To participate, registration is required here.


For further information please contact Patrik Eisenhauer.