9 May 2017
Marco Voigt is co-creator of one of the biggest environmental awards in Europe – the GreenTec Awards. With the new Green Window online shop he is now seeking to inspire even more people to adopt a green lifestyle. And Marco Voigt and his team are getting support not just from TÜV NORD but also from stars like Nena and Rea Garvey - together they want to „finally bring about a breakthrough in sustainable consumption“.
The motto is “Think Big”: On a large stage in the Berlin Malzfabrik, Marco Voigt, co-founder of the GreenTec Awards, is presenting his latest coup – the Green Window web platform. His plan is for the shop to become the world’s biggest online market place for green lifestyle products. Also on board are Hubertus Hoffmann and Michael Börnicke, two of the big hitters in the start-up and media sector. Up on stage with Marco Voigt are singers Nena and Rea Garvey. The musicians are involved in Green Window and are helping to draw media attention to the Berlin-based start-up.
This was back in September 2016. The Green Window online shop is now a few months old. As far as Marco Voigt is concerned, Nena and Rea Garvey, far from just being business associates, are indispensable partners. „They’re both actively involved and regularly send us mails with new ideas and inspirations,“ he says, before adding that „this is because we have one thing in common: We want to bring about change – and if at some point I threw in a terse remark to the effect that we want to be the green version of Amazon, it’s because I meant it – and still do.“
„We want to be the green version of Amazon.“
And yet, on the way to the top the Green Window team is having to rise to a number of challenges. After all, even though over 3,000 products are already available in categories ranging from fashion, beauty, lifestyle and leisure to food, from the consumer’s point of view the range on offer is still too limited. Marco Voigt offers an „If I'm looking for new trainers, I’ll only find a handful of models on Green Window because there are only a few brands offering green trainers.“ This applies not just to shoes but to nearly all areas. Although there are already a lot of green cosmetics products, and the range of products is growing in the fashion sector and even in the mobility segment, overall there is still way too little choice.
Criteria for sustainable products
But when is a trainer or a hand cream so sustainable that it satisfies the requirements of Green Window? “We’ve sought out a workable way to check products and brands so that the consumer really believes in what we’re trying to sell them,” Marco Voigt answers. The effort and costs involved are too great to test every single individual product. “It’s for this reason that we got together with the experts from TÜV NORD to define a list of criteria for each category that the manufacturers have to satisfy before we include their products in our range,” Voigt explains.
„I’m not your classic exemplar of ecological living, what I am is pretty much in line with a broad cross-section of society.“
Marco Voigt’s master plan for the future is for the team to take things into their own hands. “Social pressure is growing. Ever greater numbers of brands want and are being forced to get active in the sustainability field. But a lot of them have the problem of not being taken seriously - the term for this is greenwashing,” he explains. It was a chance event that led Marco Voigt and his team to help tights manufacturer KUNERT launch fair tights - produced from old fishing nets to reduce levels of plastic waste in the world’s oceans. “Actually hardly a day goes by when we don’t get an enquiry from a company asking what they can do and how they can reframe their story,” Marco Voigt explains. Within just a few months, the new online shop has also become a consulting agency with e-commerce. “We’re simply turning the tables and helping brands become better. It’s not as if the whole brand needs to change overnight, but why can’t there at least be a few products that are ecologically correct, sustainable and hip enough for the lifestyle niche? And we’re just doing our bit to help out,” says Marco Voigt, calling in the process on the knowledge and reputation that he and his team have garnered over the years with the GreenTec Awards.
And when it comes to the question of how Marco Voigt himself is managing to live a sustainable life, the answer is this: “I’m getting there.” What is left for him to do? “Oh, a lot, to be honest. I’m not your classic exemplar of ecological living, what I am is pretty much in line with a broad cross-section of society.” He loves healthy food and fast cars - and would like them to be carbon-neutral and resource-friendly. “That never used to matter much to me. But the more I address the issue, the more closely I look at and question my consumption habits.” His new car has an electric drive.
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What are the GreenTec Awards?
© GreenTec AwardsThe “Award ball” of the GreenTec Awards for Thomas D.
Marco Voigt and Sven Krüger launched the international environmental award in 2008 with the aim of “enhancing public awareness of innovative projects for environmental protection and the conservation of resources”. In more than ten categories ranging from “Building & Home”, “Energy”, “Lifestyle” and “Mobility” to “Textiles & Fashion”, initiatives, start-ups, private individuals and businesses can nominate themselves for the GreenTec Award. Of the submissions, three are nominated per category for the coveted award: Two of the projects are selected by an independent jury, and the third is chosen in a public online vote. The prizes will be awarded on 12 May at a large-scale gala in Berlin. You can learn more about the GreenTec award at http://www.greentec-awards.com