A global network for circular economy, climate protection and climate resilience: IFAT in Munich and its spin-offs in China, India, Africa, Brazil and Turkey are drivers of sustainable development. Three questions to Stefan Rummel, Managing Director of Messe München, on the highlights of IFAT held in May in Munich:
The European Green Deal is an ambitious climate and economic program—what role will it play at IFAT?
Stefan Rummel: “The European Green Deal is a major opportunity to reconcile climate protection with economy. An important lever here is the circular economy, that is to say that resources, be they plastics, building materials or water, are used repeatedly. At IFAT, municipalities and the industry find the technologies they need to make products sustainable over the entire life cycle. In addition, initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations or the upcoming five-year plan of the Chinese government are driving sustainable development more strongly than ever. At IFAT, we can see that the People's Republic is playing an ever-greater role, both as buyer and producer of environmental technologies. And many companies are aware of their contribution to achieving the SDGs, which for the first time will also be indicated in our list of exhibitors.”
The environmental industry is booming—IFAT too?
Stefan Rummel: “IFAT will occupy all 18 halls of Messe München and an even larger outdoor area, with the total area growing by 4 percent to 270,000 square meters. Many international joint stands contribute to this. Several European countries as well as China, Japan, Canada, South Korea and the U.S. will be represented. And this year, we are also receiving a particularly large number of inquiries from Russia, the largest country in the world—both from the business and the political world. The number of exhibitors remains at a consistently high level, with almost 50 percent coming from abroad. Every day, we receive new inquiries—but we are already completely booked up.”
Considering the shortage of skilled workers: Could the environmental industry benefit from the Fridays for Future movement?
Stefan Rummel: “Well, that would be a great effect if the Fridays for Future movement motivates young people to explore the career prospects in the environmental industry. In our case, we offer the "experience.science.future." platform—including a classic CareerDay—precisely designed for this purpose. This is where we bring companies, research institutions, start-ups and young professionals together. Also impressive are the many live demonstrations, for example the VDMA Crushing Zone showing the recycling of construction and demolition waste—a great opportunity for the raw material shift and climate protection. Thanks to so-called urban mining, many of the sought-after raw materials used in our cities could be recycled after demolition. Many forums also deal with topics such as clean drinking water, the fight against microplastics and climate-resilient urbanization.”