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You may use the content offered here free of charge as part of any editorial coverage made in connection with The Natural Step Germany. Any misleading use of material is to be regarded as unlawful. Each publication of photos, infographics or logos must contain the correct reference to the source. If explicitly mentioned, the name of the photographer must be included as well. Please keep us informed about your publications in which you use our materials or refer to us. We would be grateful for a sample copy or a link so that we can include your work in our media coverage.

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Gabriele Sorg

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Tel. +49 89 212312145

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Managing Director & Advisor
Tel. +49 89 212312141

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Latest press releases

Full report on chemicals launched: UN Global Chemical Outlook II
The Natural Step International is a proud partner with UN Environment

Full report on chemicals launched: UN Global Chemical Outlook II

April 1, 2019, Montevideo, Uruguay. Today, the full Global Chemicals Outlook II (advance version) was launched during the third meeting of the Open-ended Working group of the International conference on Chemicals management (SAICM). The synthesis report was launched on March 11 2019 at the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. This landmark study highlights an alarming picture about the unintended consequences of society’s use of chemicals. The report comments that the human and environmental cost of chemical pollution continues to grow, despite many commitments and initiatives to address the problem.

Urgent action is needed to tackle chemical pollution, especially in light of the fact that the global chemical industry is set to double production by 2030. The benefits from addressing chemical pollution are estimated to yield tens of billions of dollars annually. Encouragingly, there is growing interest in developing green and sustainable chemistry innovations and signals that a new global framework for chemical management may emerge to support the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Global Chemicals Outlook II: From Legacies to Innovative Solutions – Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been prepared by UN Environment over the past three years through a process involving more than 400 scientists and experts around the world. Representatives from The Natural Step’s chemicals coalition in the German and Swedish offices have contributed to the report, lending their expertise from working with the chemical industry and downstream sectors.

The Natural Step is a partner to UN Environment (UNEP) and is providing further input on the topic of sustainable chemistry and materials management. To learn more about our involvement and views on chemicals and sustainability, or to contact our representatives, visit

Further Reading:

Without chemistry there can be no circular economy – the imperative of a new perspective
Chemicals and materials management

Without chemistry there can be no circular economy – the imperative of a new perspective

By Elze van Hamelen. The transition to a sustainable society entails tremendous challenges when it comes to chemicals and materials management. While the chemical sector has made great improvements in controlling acute dangers, materials are not adequately managed over their entire life cycles. According to the UN, over eight million tons of plastic end up in oceans each year. For many materials, we are not able to foresee the entire life cycle. The Natural Step’s approach requires to meet the Sustainability Principles in any case to achieve socio-ecological sustainability. The first three ones focus on ecological sustainability, the fourth one and its five sub-dimensions give the conditions to be met for social sustainability. How does all this impact chemicals and materials management? Elze van Hamelen, Advisor at The Natural Step Germany, most recently published a specialist article summarizing the state of the debate. Some of her key insights: There is an emphasis on managing materials in a different way. But there is far too little attention on the intrinsic properties of the materials themselves. It is implied that we need to substitute raw materials with renewable, bio-based feedstock. But it isn’t that simple. According to John Warner, co-founder of the 12 Principles for Green Chemistry, almost two thirds of all chemical products need to be replaced by a sustainable alternative. And that definitely demands a new, systems-based and transformative perspective on chemicals and materials management. To read more please have a look at the PDF. Furthermore, Elze’s article has been published in TGTHR, a renowned specialist magazine and online platform in the Netherlands (in Dutch). Photo: TGTHR.

Why the World Economic Forum 2018 is so special

The 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is about to start. 70 heads of state or government will participate. More than 2,500 leaders from business, NGOs, international organisations, civil society, academia, media and the arts from over 100 countries will travel to Davos. This year’s annual meeting theme, “Creating a shared future in a fractured world”, will make a case for renewed commitment to international collaboration as a way of solving critical global challenges. With over 400 sessions, the programme is aiming at engaging leaders in a new shared narrative to improve the state of the world and address today’s political, economic and societal challenges. The World Economic Forum recently published its 13th edition of The Global Risks Report.

Why the new C-suite has to go social
Image talking about the new c-suite

Why the new C-suite has to go social

2018 is a challenging year for leadership development. Industries are disrupted, markets are shifting and changing. So are the C-suites and leadership teams. What we see happening is that forward-thinking CEOs apply the systems view. They embrace purpose to achieve positive value creation in a broader context, connecting their organisations with society and the environment. In the new C-suites, dynamics are shifting to a more integrative leadership model based on systems thinking and effective partnerships. At The Natural Step Germany, we share the thoughts of Russell Reynolds published on trends in the C-suite. There is a definite shift towards flatter hierarchies and a more egalitarian work environment. New leadership styles will adopt a more group-minded approach without compromising on effectiveness and performance. At The Natural Step Germany, we are passionate about helping executives to find the right balance in order to create a culture that is open, collaborative and diverse.

New initiative “Future-Fit Organisations” will start with pilot training end of January
Foto: Shutterstock

New initiative “Future-Fit Organisations” will start with pilot training end of January

Together with Sustainable Growth Associates GmbH (SGA) and taskforce The Natural Step Germany just startet its new initiative “Future-Fit Organisations”. The pilot training addresses decision makers, leaders, consultants, project and interim managers. Date and place: January 26 and 27, 2018, IHK Akademie Westerham, D-83620 Feldkirchen-Westerham (near Munich). Special offer: 900,00 € plus VAT (overnight stay not included), registration here or on Xing Events.

Contact for organisational questions: Viktoria von Waldenfels, +49 89 212312151, To learn more please download the PDF (in German).

The Natural Step Germany on Donald Trump’s decision

Donald Trump has confirmed that he will withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement. This represents a clear NO to the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Germany, France and Italy already issued a joined statement that they won’t join him in this effort.

Dirk Uhlemann from The Natural Step Germany said: “Donald Trump is putting his country on the wrong side of history”. He added: “Angela Merkel should follow the advice of experts such as Marlehn Thieme and Prof Dr Günther Bachmann from the German Council for Sustainable Development (Rat fuer Nachhaltige Entwicklung).” Scientists, industry experts and politicians around the globe are convinced that the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs are the global framework for the 21st century. To create a better future on Earth we have to respect this framework and the sustainability principles defining the basic conditions for a sustainable society.

VinylPlus Sustainability Forum 2017 in Berlin

The fifth edition of the VinylPlus Sustainability Forum will take place on the 10th and 11th May 2017 in Berlin. VinylPlus, a customer and partner of The Natural Step since many years, is the voluntary sustainable development programme of the European PVC industry. It aims at creating a long-term sustainability framework for the entire PVC value chain. This year’s forum will revolve around “Towards Circular Economy”. It will look at the key sustainability challenges for PVC and the growing opportunities to contribute to enhanced resource efficiency. The Natural Step will participate at the event with an info-stand in the exhibition area. Dirk Uhlemann, Managing Director & Advisor at The Natural Step Germany, and Richard Blume from Det Naturliga Steget, The Natural Step’s Swedish organisation, are looking forward to an inspiring exchange of ideas with the PVC industry experts. More information about VinylPlus can be found here.

Save the date

Upcoming events

Below you’ll find selected events either organised by The Natural Step Germany or in which we are actively participating – great opportunities where we can meet:

World Circular Economy Forum 2019
Key Visual: World Circular Economy Forum 2019

World Circular Economy Forum 2019

June 3 – 5, 2019

Place: Helsinki, Finlandia Hall

Organiser: The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra together with Climate-KIC, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the European Commission, the European Environment Agency, the European Investment Bank, Helsinki Metropolitan Smart & Clean Foundation, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, Ministry of the Environment of Finland, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Nordic Innovation, UN Environment and the World Bank.

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