REPORT KongressBW Stuttgart 2023
The annual Congress for Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy (Kongress BW), organized by various ministries in the state of Baden-Württemberg, took place in Stuttgart from November 15th to 17th.
The event brought together experts from business, politics and science not only from Baden-Württemberg but also from surrounding countries to discuss the current challenges and opportunities in the area of sustainable resource use.
The congress consisted of lectures, workshops and panel discussions; outside the lecture halls there were several information stands from various associations, companies and recruiting companies.
Around 1,000 participants discussed the current developments and challenges of the circular economy.
The participants also had the opportunity to take part in workshops in which concrete approaches to implementing circular economy concepts in various industries were developed. The diversity of the ideas and innovations presented demonstrated the participants’ commitment to a more sustainable future.
The main theme of the congress was promoting resource efficiency and the transition to a circular economy to address the increasing demand for natural resources while minimizing environmental impacts.
Experts presented innovative solutions and best practices to support the transition to a more sustainable economy. The state government of Baden-Württemberg has therefore set itself the goal of increasing the proportion of recycling in the state to 70 percent by 2030.
The focus of the congress was more on technical and technological developments in the circular economy. There was more discussion about the role of digitalization in the circular economy. There was a clear trend towards greater networking between actors in the circular economy.
The participants at the congress agreed that the circular economy is an important building block for achieving climate goals and securing the supply of raw materials and that increased cooperation between governments, companies and society is crucial to the transition towards a sustainable and resource-efficient economy to accelerate. However, it also became clear that there are still some challenges to be overcome in order to further advance the circular economy.
Regarding my experience, the Kongress BW took place over two days in Liederhalle, a concert and event hall in Stuttgart. I had the opportunity to conduct interviews with a total of 34 individuals, only one in English, all others preferred to talk in German.
It was not only a place for lectures and workshops. It was also an opportunity for attendees to network and exchange ideas.
All interviewees - except one person - were familiar with the concept of circular economy and described it in their own words. The only challenge was the significant noise level in the hall at the breaks. It took quite some effort to find a relatively quieter spot, but peace and quiet were scarce nonetheless. In the time of lectures I tried to catch some persons to get them outside of lecture but not everyone wanted to leave the lectures.
Unfortunately, the german railway workers’ union’s two-day nationwide strike began suddenly on the first evening, so many participants didn’t know whether or how they would get home the next day. That’s why many participants were no longer there on the second day because they had to take care of the return journey. For example, there are usually around 15 connections in my direction from Stuttgart every day. On the day of the strike there were only two, with the first one being completely full at 2 p.m. and luckily I was able to use later the second one at the last second.