Africa GreenTec is a social business that is not only committed to education, but also to providing an affordable, renewable sustainable electricity. This is why they design, build, deliver, maintain and operate mobile solar systems in Africa that are equipped with a battery storage system and allow the supply of electricity around the clock. I’ve sat down with the founder Torsten Schreiber to learn more about its intentions.
Daniel Anthes: Please create a tweet (160 characters) about what sustainability means to you.
Torsten Schreiber: For me, sustainability means taking care of social aspects and functional resource cycles. I can only use resources in an amount of which the natural cycles are capable to handle. My actions and consume shall not harm people, climate and natural systems.
Anthes: Ok, not really 160 characters, but nevermind. How does your organization contribute to sustainability worldwide?
Schreiber: We are consequently using 100 % renewable energies and Cradle to Cradle-processes within our company. We empower people who had no access to electricity before to improve their life circumstances out of using our solar energy in an eco-efficient way for food cooling, small handicraft, lightening for education, and leisure activities like watching TV.
Anthes: What is the main driver of your company’s sustainability activities nowdays, and how is that going to look like in the future?
Schreiber: We are social entrepreneurs and want to create awareness for global interrelations between poverty, hunger and climate change through our strong public relation, especially via social media. We solve social and ecological problems without subsidies through social business activities and predominantly focus on fighting against migration causes. Giving an understanding for people in industrialized countries on how climate change affects Africa through specific examples and individual fates is one of our most important task here in Germany.
Anthes: If you had all the power & money in the world, what would you do to change the world for the better?
Schreiber: We would transform the energy and economic system to 100 % renewable energy as well as to the Cradle to Cradle principle. Equal access to education and the internet are fundamental rights that have to be offered and secured worldwide irrespectively of one’s income. Fossil driven mobility would be substituted by electric mobility in connection with sustainable and free-public-transport mobility concepts, which would not only improve urban life by reducing noise and air pollution. We would also foster a share- and repair-economy through lower taxation.
Anthes: What do you think is going to be the next big thing in sustainability?
Schreiber: I am convinced that we reached the so called “impact age”, a new era where consumption and growth are no longer key aspects of economies and societies but impacts of goods and companies on societal fairness and environmental capability.
I am expecting a comprehensive transformation of the energy sector. Companies will be no longer measured by their growth, but by their contributions to society. Well educated people will be more focused on the sustainability strategies of their employers.
Anthes: Everybody has to pull together – that’s right. But who really needs to change his doing in order for our world to change for the better?
Schreiber: The consumer has to change his demand and actions. Eco-effectiveness must become a central decision when buying (for e.g. fair trade) and also consumption patterns needs to adjust, returning to a life in accordance with the natural environment.
Anthes: How will the world look like in 2050?
Schreiber: My personal view is very pessimistic: Climate change and its impacts will intensify until 2050 and become the biggest challenge worldwide. Some regions will loose their ability for agriculture and become uninhabitable. Extreme weather events will cause up to one billion internally displaced persons. Wealthy countries will seal themselves off against climate change and refugees from more affected regions.
In addition, employment will be radically reduced by up to 50 % due to automatizations of production processes. Employment no longer won’t be a central aspect of live for many people, with many beginning to search for new ideas as a consequence thereof. Global companies will hold international control on nutrition, water, energy and communication and – by this – become more influential as politics.
Anthes: Do you know how big or small your personal carbon footprint is? Please give us a figure.
Schreiber: My calculated personal carbon footprint is around 8 tons per year, mostly arising from my passion to drive electric cars. What I can offset are my initiated projects and those where I participate, saving several thousand tons of CO2 every year.
Anthes: In your personal life, what do you do to live more sustainably?
Schreiber: I dedicated my everyday live to inspiring other people to become entrepreneurial and join me on this mission and the global climate movement. Everybody can change something, everybody can do more.