German mineral water bottlers and their partners act responsibly and make a valuable contribution to a sustainable economy at national and European level. During the digital debate "The European Green Deal: How does the German mineral water sector contribute?", with which the Verband Deutscher Mineralbrunnen (VDM, the Association of German Mineral Water bottlers) and the Genossenschaft Deutscher Brunnen (GDB) presented themselves for the first time at the European level on June 1, the industry discussed the commitment and contribution of the German mineral water sector to the goals of the European Green Deal with representatives of EU institutions and stakeholders. Sustainable food production, the preservation of biodiversity, climate and environmental protection were the focus of the exchange, in which the participants from Brussels and a number of other countries, were also able to participate with questions.
"Sustainability is not just a buzzword for the German mineral water industry, but is associated with ambitious targets and measures. Natural mineral water already has a small carbon footprint already today - through the commitment of German mineral springs, this is being continuously reduced," emphasized Dr. Karl Tack, Chairman of the VDM, in his keynote speech at the opening of the event. More and more mineral springs in Germany are operating in an exemplary climate-neutral manner. With the Climate Neutrality 2030 initiative, VDM and GDB are accompanying German mineral water companies on their way to climate neutrality by 2030 at the latest. "Our aim is for not just individual companies, but the entire mineral water industry to follow the path to climate neutrality along an ambitious path by 2030. The VDM board also welcomes the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement and recommends that the association's member companies and their suppliers consistently align their reduction targets with it," says Tack, explaining the VDM's current board resolution, which aims to ensure that Germany's mineral springs take a suitably ambitious and effective approach to their path to climate neutrality. By 2030, the entire process and supply chain of the bottled natural product mineral water aims to be climate-neutral - with effective avoidance and reduction of CO2 emissions taking priority.
"The greatest challenge is to save our planet from an irreversible climate catastrophe. We want to make an active contribution to making Europe the first climate-neutral continent. The mineral water industry is clearly committed to the goal of being climate neutral by 2030," Markus Wolff, Chairman of the Board of GDB, clarified the industry's commitment in his introductory speech. "In this context, in the age of sustainability, the cooperative idea is more modern than ever. This is visible in the reusable and closed-loop systems with which German mineral springs have been making an active contribution to environmental protection for decades." The deposit-based systems of the mineral springs in Germany achieve a return rate of almost 100 percent for both glass and PET. The high collection rate shows that the systems are being used responsibly by consumers. Packaging systems from German mineral springs thus do not contribute to littering the oceans or the environment.
On the digital panel, Udo Kremer, Managing Director of VDM, and Tobias Bielenstein, Head of Public Affairs, Sustainability & Communications at GDB, discussed with MEP Jutta Paulus (The Greens/EFA), Stefan Sipka, Policy Analyst at the European Policy Center, and Clarissa Morawski, Managing Director of the international NGO Reloop. The discussants emphasized that the focus of the European Green Deal is not exclusively on achieving climate neutrality. In addition to this admittedly essential element, the issue of biodiversity in particular and, with regard to food packaging, recycling and waste management play an equally important role. "The German mineral springs understand sustainability holistically and, with their various initiatives, pursue ambitious goals for sustainable food production, the preservation of biodiversity, and climate and environmental protection. When it comes to protecting our water resources, however, we also need government measures," said Kremer, clarifying the commitment as well as demands of the German mineral springs. The reusable and closed-loop system of the German mineral springs is a role model for Europe, Bielenstein emphasized. "We also see the Green Deal as an impetus for innovation. The aim is to make the packaging systems of German mineral springs even more sustainable and thus expand the effective contribution to the Green Deal."