Yesterday saw FIEGE once again invite clients, partners, and friends of the company to join it for its FAST & FORWARD event in Berlin. This year’s networking get-together was dedicated to sustainability.
Finally, a FAST & FORWARD in-present event again! The relief amongst all invitees that had gathered at Von Greifswald was clearly apparent. After a Covid-19-induced hiatus, FIEGE’s networking meeting resumed yesterday. “It feels great to be back again”, is how Jens Fiege, CEO of FIEGE, welcomed visitors on behalf of the entire Executive Board and the Fiege family. “We look forward to good talks, an intensive exchange, and fresh ideas.”
The familiar venue turned out to be a great choice. Converted to an event location, the former railroad depot is only a stone’s throw away from Berlin-based Maschinenraum, Germany’s start-up mecca. “We aim to bring together corporates and young businesses to jointly find and discuss solutions for tomorrow’s logistical challenges”, Jens Fiege said. Moreover, Germany’s International Supply Chain Conference is held not far away. His cousin Felix Fiege, with whom Jens manages the company, held one of the keynotes there the day before.
All participants an the FAST & FORWARD agreed: “We need to act now!” (Photo: FIEGE)
Poetry slam, keynote lectures, and discussions
The programme started off with poetry slam performer Svea Gross and word poetry that she had written specifically for the FAST & FORWARD event on the subject of sustainability. We are at the eleventh hour, the author told the audience: “So let’s start looking for ways and ideas to ensure that time never passes beyond that hour.”
The remainder of the morning was packed with four captivating keynote speeches. Philippe Singer, co-founder and Managing Director at Leaders for Climate Action, explained: “Most business leaders want to do something – but only a few have a specific plan.” It is therefore the goal of the entrepreneurial community to provide support to its currently 1,500 members in transforming their businesses sustainably and becoming active influencers in the fight against climate change. The motto here is: “Actions speak louder than words!”
Immediately after, Clara Péron, founder and Managing Director of Value for Good GmbH, came onto the stage and inspired the plenum to a metaphorical sustainability dance. “For many, to think of sustainability as three-dimensional, i.e., ecologically, economically, and socially, is like changing bed linen. If you pull the sheets too much on one side, it comes loose at another”, is the metaphor the native Canadian used to outline the situation. To solve this problem, a clear direction is needed in the shape of goals, KPIs, and the right speed, i.e., an actual-target analysis paired with good monitoring. Those who have that in place can implement new measures like a dance, measure success and, where necessary, readjust.
Moderator and journalist Boussa Thiam guided the audience through the programme. (Photo: FIEGE)
After a brief panel discussion in which some interesting questions were also raised by plenum members, Marco Voigt, founder and Managing Partner of Greentech Festival, came on stage. Together with his team around the former Formula 1 world champion, Nico Rossberg, he called the platform to life three years ago. The aim was to offer information about the possibilities of green technology and interconnect expertise from a range of different industries. “We want to be the showcase for the world”, said Voigt, who will soon be hosting the festival in London for the first time.
The final speaker addressing the audience was Joelle Ferran. As the Finance & Administration Director at Pernod Ricard, her presentation held in English showed how the French spirits producer was able to set up various initiatives. Essential in this regard were “clear priorities and top management support, cascaded throughout the organisation”. Both Joelle and Marco answered questions in the following debate.
Start-up couch talks in the afternoon
Following a lunch break, two sofas took centre stage: Boussa Thiam, who had guided the audience through the morning programme, invited the audience to join her for start-up couch talks. Helen Tacke, founder and Managing Director of the carbon action platform cozero, pleaded for sustainability as a business case for which clear targets, budgets, time schedules, action, and KPIs must be established. To her, a Return on Climate Invest (ROCI) should play the decisive role.
Start-up Couch Talk with Helen Tacke, Founder and Managing Director of cozero. (Photo: FIEGE)
Dr. Nina Gillmann introduced her start-up TWISE, which focuses on a tandem-style job sharing model. In essence, it is especially about women who remain underrepresented in leadership positions as they often fail in their attempt to balance work with family life. Since a collaboration by two persons that each contribute 60 per cent makes up over 100 per cent, the solution for this issue is almost so obvious that it hurts.
The third person to take a seat on the couch was Dominique Ertl. She is the Category & Webshop Manager DE at Motatos. The original Swedish start-up has been fighting food waste here in Germany since 2020 by offering food whose best before date is about to expire at cheaper prices online. To make this Zero Waste business model even more effective, the logistics industry and the packaging industry are both called on.
Hands-on in the afternoon
Following a short coffee break, the plenum split to attend the four hands-on sessions on such subjects as climate neutrality, ecologistics, diversity, and sustainable behaviour. Using a provocative line of questions, the small groups maintained lively discussions on a range of possible solutions which were presented on-stage afterwards.
Disruption urgently needed
Felix Fiege drew the final conclusion: “To ready logistics for future challenges, sustainable ideas are needed – both in terms of technical innovation as well as regarding the search for creative business models.” With his cousin Jens, he wants to hand the family business to the next generation as a climate neutral enterprise. “And today offered many crucial impulses and good ideas to take home with us, which we will examine in the weeks to come.”
Felix Fiege, CEO of the FIEGE Group, drew the final conclusion on stage. (Photo: FIEGE)
FIEGE & FRIENDS in the evening
After a short break where the location switched from a motivational think tank atmosphere to an inviting candle-lit ambiance, the invitees came together for dinner and brought the day to a close.