Marco Voigt is co-founder of PIN AG and one of the initiators of the GreenTec Awards, the best-known environmental award in Germany. For many years he worked as a consultant for the EU in the Ministries of Economics, of Environment, and of Science, and coordinated several support programs in the field of environmental technologies and electromobility. At the moment, though, he is focused on anchoring clean technologies in German industries. Additionally, he is managing partner at VKP Consulting and partner of Deutsche Messe AG for Business Development, responsible for the international trade fair IndustrialGreenTec.
Janina Benz: Could you tell us about the GreenTec Awards (formerly Clean Tech Awards)?
Marco Voigts: The GreenTec Awards is an annual event presenting the newest advances in green technologies. Green technologies need strong ambassadors! The GreenTec Awards bridges the gap between entrepreneurs, scientists, politicians, artists, media representatives, and consumers, thus raising awareness and boosting the popularity of the sustainable (r)evolution. Projects range from car-sharing concepts to recycled construction materials—any innovative project can be part of the competition. But the GreenTec Awards is much more than just that: we host a session for the jury, encourage people to vote for their favorite projects online, and carry out many other activities to raise awareness for a more sustainable life. One of the event’s highlights is an interactive exhibition that invites guests to experience environmental technologies firsthand.
JB: This is the sixth annual GreenTec Awards. How has the event changed over the past few years?
MV: The event has changed a lot—it grew in every imaginable direction, quantitatively and qualitatively. We started in a small hall for 200 guests with three award categories. Last year we celebrated with 1,000 guests; the Green Carpet has never been that busy! I suppose we just caught the spirit of the age. This year, the Awards will be given away in several categories: Production, Energy, Mobility, Aviation, Recycling, Communication, Building & Living, and a special category in cooperation with ProSieben—one of Germany’s biggest TV stations—called ProSieben Galileo Wissenspreis.
JB: In which cleantech field do you expect the most revolutionary developments in the near future?
MV: In my opinion, you can’t limit it to one sector. For instance, the Green Production topic, as well as Urban Mining, is right at its beginning. Concerning aviation matters, we have already recorded amazing progress. That’s why we started to present an award for innovative projects in the aviation sector in 2011. I’m also convinced that electric mobility is now really on track.
JB: The event usually attracts not just cleantech innovators, but also celebrities. Do you think it’s rather uncommon to combine Cleantech and glamor?
MV: Yes, it might be uncommon, but I think this is exactly what makes the GreenTec Awards so unique. I have been to so many events presenting environmental technologies. Without a doubt, the ideas are outstanding, but innovation and creativity shouldn’t take place in splendid isolation; it needs an big audience. We thought outside the box and created an extraordinary event. Experts and celebrities meet at the GreenTec Awards, bringing together expertise and publicity. The public is interested in celebrities; why not try to draw that attention to something really innovative and important? GreenTec Awards media coverage ranges from specialized media and newspapers to the yellow press—that’s unique in the whole EU!
JB: Similar to last year, one applicant will be awarded the so-called “Green Music Award.” What do music and cleantech have in common? What does it take as a musician to receive that prize?
MV: The Green Music Award is a special prize for performers whose environmental dedication stands out in every way possible. Music touches and unites people from all over the world. When musicians like Morten Harket (former singer of a-ha), Bob Geldof, Paul McCartney, or bands like Coldplay campaign for environmental protection, they really can make a difference, and we want to reward this kind of commitment as well. Our cooperation with the biggest major label, Universal Music, helps a lot.