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Exclusive Interview: Jochen Zeitz – Visionary, Businessman, Philanthropist

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How to introduce Jochen Zeitz? The youngest CEO to head a public company in Germany, a member of the Board of Directors of Harley-Davidson and chair of their sustainability committee, creator of the not-for-profit Zeitz Foundation of Intercultural Ecosphere Safety and The Long Run and co-founder, with Sir Richard Branson, of the B Team. In a word, cool. Having a rare quiet moment he answered a few of our questions.

Where did your enormous commitment to sustainability originally come from?

My interest in sustainability must have originated from my early travels in Africa and throughout the world, appreciating how amazing the natural world is and in contrast, witnessing the negative impacts of business.

Later while working with PUMA, I started realising that despite achieving significant growth and financial profit, we needed to start looking deeper into our supply chain – to better understand and determine our impact on nature and society and how sustainable we were throughout the supply chain, including all aspects such as raw materials, means of transport and essentially how much impact the company was having on people and planet. To better visualize our impacts I created the new concept of an Environmental Profit & Loss (putting a monetary value on environmental impacts) which helped us start translating sustainability into the day-to-day operations of the business.

My commitment to sustainability has expanded ever since, now Chairing the Sustainability Committees for Kering, Harley-Davidson and Wilderness. Also through Segera in Kenya, and other sustainable nature-based tourism enterprises globally (as seen through The Long Run), where our unique principle of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – are being managed holistically to ensure that long-term sustainability is in focus for all key areas.

You were the youngest CEO to head a public company in Germany, what was your proudest outcome of PUMAVision?

The creation of PUMAVision was to make a better world, a world that was more peaceful, safe and more creative. This lead us to define our responsibility and opportunity to contribute to a better world and future generations based on a moral compass that we created – of being Fair, Honest, Positive and Creative in our actions.

The Environmental Profit & Loss, which became part of PUMAVision, was one of the major initiatives that was then taken up by Kering and its luxury sports and lifestyle brands (such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Gucci and Stella McCartnery), which this year published their results and also came up with a 5 year strategy plan on sustainability for the group. Through one initiative leading to another, this has now integrated into a bigger vision for Kering and the group.

You’re now on the Board of Directors of Harley-Davidson and chair Harley-Davidson’s sustainability committee. Do fast bikes and sustainability mix?

In the long run, they can and should, and in Harley-Davidson’s case, they do. Sustainability is now a core pillar in Harley-Davidson’s strategy and in July 2014 they launched LiveWire – their new electric bike which combines Harley-Davidson’s notorious horsepower, style and speed with an electric engine.

You were the founder and co-chair with Sir Richard Branson of ‘The B Team’. What has been the greatest achievement of that big idea so far?

The B Team has brought together an incredible collection of global leaders, that have all done great things for people and planet, in an attempt to combine and define an agenda to make businesses more sustainable. This leader base is growing and so is its agenda, with clear goals and an ability to make a greater impact when it comes to essential issues such as climate change and sustainable development goals.

You’ve also created The Long Run around sustainable tourism and ecosphere retreats. What are ecosphere retreats and why have you made them your flagship initiative?

The Long Run is a growing community of nature-based organisations committed to Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce (the 4Cs) as a sustainable solution for human wellbeing and a healthy planet. Members of The Long Run either own or manage extensive conservation areas which demonstrate sustainable business practice, innovation and commercially-viable operations offering fair wages. The Long Run provides a platform to connect and support existing and new members aspiring to follow our philosophy of the 4Cs, embodied in a Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER) standard that fuels a drive for continued excellence.

You’re now only 52, What is the next big hairy audacious goal for Jochen Zeitz?

I’m kept busy by the various different companies and not-for-profit organisations I’m involved in, but at the moment the 2017 launch of Zeitz MOCAA (Major Museum Of Contemporary Art) in Cape Town is driving a lot of excitement both for me personally and for culture and the talented contemporary art scene in Africa.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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