It’s official! The city of Duisburg, together with Haniel, greenzero.me and us, is launching the initiative “UrbanZero – Ruhrort becomes eco-friendly”. Its goal is to make the port district of Duisburg- Ruhrort to become the world’s first environmentally neutral neighborhood by the end of 2029, thus creating a blueprint for sustainability. thus creating a blueprint for eco-friendliness in urban areas.
As is well known, environmental neutrality goes far beyond climate neutrality and includes, in addition to climate protection, above all the issue of biodiversity. The UrbanZero initiative aims to address all of these factors in the Ruhrort district of Duisburg. The goal is that human activity in Ruhrort will no longer have a negative impact on the environment from 2029 onwards, thus bringing above all the Ruhrort residents themselves a better quality of life and an improvement in their economic and social situation.
“Economic success and sustainability are not contradictory. At Haniel, we want to be successful by building sustainable businesses that secure a future worth living. To achieve this we must also think about the social and societal dimension. For us, grandfatherliness is therefore us a synonym for entrepreneurship in the 21st century. In the redevelopment of Ruhrort, it will come come to life,” says Thomas Schmidt, CEO of Haniel.
“Haniel is deeply rooted in Duisburg with its Ruhrort Quarter. The initiative for this ambitious generational project is therefore a prime example of how companies take responsibility in their direct take responsibility in their immediate environment. I will therefore propose to the Council that the city participate in this project. Only by working together will we succeed in making our city of Duisburg fit for the future, particularly in view of climate change,” adds Sören Link, Mayor of the City of Duisburg.
Dr. Dirk Gratzel, founder and CEO of HeimatERBE and, together with scientists from the TU Berlin, also founder of greenzero.me, says: “Five years ago, with scientific support, I set out to bring my life into complete ecological balance. bring. That is a long way. With the experience of these years I may therefore say: We will not achieve the goals of UrbanZero Ruhrort if we take small steps and plant a few trees at the end. planting a few trees. It takes courage and the will to fundamentally change urban life. I already experience this unconditional will to succeed on a daily basis at Haniel, the City of Duisburg and the project partners, who are taking a very bold step forward for all of us.”
First projects start on the Haniel Campus
By 2023, the annual environmental costs for Ruhrort are to be determined on the basis of scientific methods for life cycle assessment. environmental costs for Ruhrort will be determined. This will include all services provided in the district, all products used or manufactured in the district and thus all human impacts on the environment. will be included. From 2023, the environmental effects will be reduced by concrete measures or the non-reducible reducible impacts, for example, through the ecological treatment of brownfield sites or building renovations and planting. Compensation options are discussed with with the owners of the land or buildings, and the first projects will be launched on the Haniel Campus. on the Haniel Campus.
Ruhrort residents to be involved, Impact Factory to provide support
Another key element will be to involve the residents of the district in the initiative. involved in the initiative. Information events, a district office, and physical and digital information platforms are being planned. and digital information platforms are being planned. The hub for all participants will be the Haniel Campus. campus. This is also the home of the Impact Factory, which is a leader in Germany in the development of sustainable start-ups. With its support, UrbanZero is intended to help attract companies with sustainable business models of Duisburg and Ruhrort and to support the companies based here in their and support the companies based here in their transformation to greater sustainability. In this way local economy to benefit from the project.
Further partners sought
Together with the city of Duisburg and companies in the city, a project structure has already been has already been developed. Those responsible will soon be approaching individual groups in the neighborhood and the citizens. Due to the nature of Corona, this can currently only take place digitally; meetings are also planned for later in the year. As Thomas Schmidt explains: “UrbanZero can be proof of the successful interaction of ecology, social responsibility and economic development, and thus proof of the success of an enkelfähig transformation. We can’t do it alone. But if together we succeed in this transformation in an existing neighborhood like Ruhrort, it will have a lighthouse character and can also make urban areas in other cities and countries enkelfähig – and thus worth living in.”
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