The environmental award and the business award of the city of Waren (Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district) are to be combined into a single award. The Urban Development Committee recommended this by a thin majority at the last meeting. Four members voted in favor of the administration’s proposal, three against. On Monday evening, the environmental committee, which traditionally selects the winner of the environmental award, unanimously approved the administration’s proposal. Now the only thing missing is the city council vote for a new super prize. The merger idea is part of a reform package designed primarily to raise the business price after the recent weakening in participation. Instead of awarding two prizes each year, only one winner is to be awarded every two years.
Can the economy still work without the environment? This was controversial in the urban development committee. Entrepreneurs who do not care about the environment also do not deserve the award, says master carpenter Martin Brümmer, who works in the committee as a citizen expert from the SPD parliamentary group. In fact, there have always been companies in the past that have been awarded an environmental award for their commitment and have also participated in the business award.
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Why do both areas overlap
The most recent example of a content overlap between the two awards is the current environmental award winner, the Waren Sonnenblume green store. “Where other companies have withdrawn, he has managed to revitalize Friedenstrasse and thus the connection to the Waren Nord. We not only support a successful business model, but also a sales channel for many regional producers, ”said Christine Werner, Chairwoman of the Environmental Protection Committee. A year earlier, the Smurfit Kappa corrugated cardboard factory was recognized for the Experience Center. The company was honored with an environmental award in 2000.
Climate and environmental issues are a cross-sectional category between the two awards, said Diana Lucas-Drogan, head of town planning, economic development and building law. The head of the construction office, Ingo Dann, referred to the New Leipzig Charter, in which sustainable activities must combine ecological, social and economic aspects.
The connection was criticized by both committees from the AfD parliamentary group, which feared that the field of potential candidates would be restricted too much. The administration’s proposal could help define changing categories such as sustainable development / environment / climate protection, start-up, healthcare, mobility, digitization / innovation, regional involvement, business succession or social entrepreneurship. That would at least have parameters to discuss, Raoul Bajorat (AfD) said. He would like aspects such as company development or training to be taken into account.
The reform package also includes the possibility of linking the award to a specific task, such as developing a new product using local brine. This would have an added benefit. Here, too, there was criticism from Raoul Bajorat. “This is a deliberate act of motivation. That’s not how business works. The economy works in the long run. It can’t be controlled by competition, ”said the engineer who voted against the merger. Christian Holz (CDU) also expressed concerns about whether the economy and the environment should be brought together. He welcomed the idea that the winner was no longer voted for by specialist committees and city representatives, but by a jury with a points system. However, this effort only makes sense if there are far more applicants than before for the award.
The administration is now working on new regulations
Members of the Environment Committee expressed the wish that the possibility of categorization should not exclude individuals or initiatives. “There are active small initiatives such as a wild plant garden or a meadow orchard that should not be overlooked,” said Hannes Thies (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen).
Following a positive vote by both committees, the administration now wants to draft new procurement rules and then put them to the city council vote in September. The first winner will therefore not be available until 2023. Before that, the winners of 2021 have to be honored. They have been fixed for a long time. Due to the unusual annual party, Thomas Pilgram (Environmental Award) and Anja Schmidt (Richard Wossidlo Cultural Award) have not yet received an award. According to city spokeswoman Stefanie Schabbel, this should take place as part of the ceremony in St. Marien Kirch on June 25 at