Winning the Planet Hero Award for the first time in 2021 has connected us to an intensive and constructive collaboration with Zurich Group Germany within various projects and helped us moved towards achieving our set of sustainability goals.
In this, we share the opinion of Boris Herrmann, circumnavigator, climate ambassador and jury member for the award.
For us it is the steps that count more
We never tire of emphasizing that without trusting partnerships, it is not possible to act for and achieve water without microplastics and micropollutants, and to have the future in mind. With the Planet Hero Award and the prize money associated with it, we were able to work independently. We were allowed to responsibly invest the money in our own research and education projects in accordance with our statutes. This was a real stroke of luck for the development of Wasser 3.0 gGmbH and its sustainable hybrid business model and non-profit corporate structure.
What makes the Zurich Group Germany different?
The Zurich Group Germany is part of the globally active Zurich Insurance Group - combined, it is one of the leading insurers in the general and life insurance business in Germany.
In line with its goal of "shaping a better future together", Zurich, with its CEO Dr. Carsten Schildknecht and co-chief executive officer Björn Bohnhoff, who is also our project sponsor, has become one of the most responsible and effective companies.
The Group has identified three strategic pillars of sustainability for itself worldwide:
Zurich has further defined four key roles in its sustainability strategy. Dr. Carsten Schildknecht, CEO of the insurance company in Germany, explains the perspective on this: "In our role as an insurer and company, we bear responsibility for our customers, employees, partners and the planet: That's why we support climate research and reward outstanding initiatives to protect the environment."
Planet Hero Award - status quo and outlook
Through the annual Planet Hero Award, the Zurich Group Germany, together with an independent jury, honors outstanding, innovative initiatives that contribute to the sustainability goals. The aim is clear: More impact. More action. More future.
Monika Schulze, Head of Customer & Innovation Management, provides further insights on this: "We accompany our winning projects over several years and are very proud that we were able to select the Wasser 3.0 project as the winner in 2021."
Björn Bohnhoff, Member of the Zurich Group's Board of Management Life: "Since then, we have enjoyed a trusting partnership with Katrin and the team. Microplastics are a well-known topic, but still largely neglected in terms of formation, avoidance and scope. We continue to be impressed by the work of this Greentech company, which has convinced us with its consistent strategy and outstanding commitment. Katrin and the Wasser 3.0 team are doing groundwork and have efficient innovations for the detection as well as the removal of microplastics from water up to the recycling of the bound material.
The progress made in recent years, which was also made possible by winning the Planet Hero Award - for example, the preparation of the topic as teaching material - makes us proud. We have been able to support the team in their work to research and raise awareness of the microplastic issue. We are particularly enthusiastic about the great commitment of Katrin Schuhen, who has already been able to achieve so much with her team thanks to her knowledge, know-how and all her energy and dedication."
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the entire team of the Zurich Group Germany for their support and look forward to further joint initiatives.