Annual Sustainability Network Meeting 2022
The MPG Sustainability Network thrives on the exchange of ideas among its members, and so our annual network meeting took place again this year on 19 and 20 May under the motto 'Circular Science - Procurement & Disposal'. After two years of pandemic, we dared to invite to a hybrid meeting and about 70 participants on site at the MPI for Biophysics in Frankfurt/Main and several dozen online participants accepted our invitation (thank you all for your participation and commitment!).
Besides many great conversations, getting to know each other and delicious vegetarian/vegan meals (many thanks to Christoph Kolbe and the General Administration for their generous support!), we also made progress in terms of content and discussed the next steps to realise a sustainable everyday life at the institutes. In the next few weeks you will receive a questionnaire from us on the status of selected sustainability measures at your institutes. We will of course publish the results and hopefully trigger a fruitful competition - because what one institute can implement, another can certainly do as well!
However, it is not always easy to quantify progress in implementing sustainability measures. Fortunately, there are initiatives like LEAF for sustainable labs that provide the right framework and toolbox for this - feel free to check out Martin Farley's presentation again. LEAF is already being used on a trial basis at a few institutes (see below for contact persons), but we are of course already working to ensure that as many as possible can join in.
Another major topic of discussion was sustainable procurement, transfer and disposal of equipment and materials that we need for our work. Even though we unfortunately had to learn that we are not (yet!) allowed to apply global or economic criteria in procurement, product-related sustainability criteria can definitely be included in the evaluation of suppliers, so it does not always have to be the cheapest offer (e.g. environmental criteria such as the ‘Blauer Engel’ label for recycled paper can be demanded. Here is the presentation by Rainer Bastian, Head of the Purchasing and Insurance Department). We should talk to our purchasing departments so that we can use the possibilities that already exist today.
In order to simplify the transfer of equipment (which would otherwise just rot in storage or be thrown away), we are currently working with the general administration on a MAX-based exchange platform. A first prototype should already be ready in July (big thanks here to the GV, Julia Enzberger and Christian Hildebrandt). We need your help with the introduction planned for the end of the year, because the platform can only work if the institutes also put their old equipment on it. Jörg Fischer from EquipSent told us how we can give equipment a life after its use in the MPG and promote educational justice (watch the presentation). Stay tuned!