Sustainability at re:publica

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Nachhaltigkeit

re:publica has always been a place for engagement and responsibility, for emancipation and empathy in our (digital) society. As a well-established major event, we have a special responsibility and aim to contribute to the sustainable development of society—in both our programme and our production. Within the scope of our event concept, we look at the question of how best to take social and planetary boundaries to heart and act within them. We highlight courses of action to live more sustainably, how to shape digitalisation socially and ecologically, and how technology can be used to advance sustainable goals. We showcase projects that enable a more inclusive society and tackle exclusion. For many years, re:publica has been on the path to more sustainability in event production as well. This includes testing recycling and upcycling concepts, working on accessibility, as well as strategies for more energy efficiency and reducing waste. From short distances and reusable stand construction and equipment to vegan and vegetarian catering and rental furniture—in many ways we feel we are already on the right track. But there is still a lot to do. Time to get to work!

For us, sustainability is a holistic concept that determines our actions and thinking in order to help shape the socio-ecological transformation. This is not always easy, because we fail often enough, because we still have a lot to learn ourselves, but above all because we want to be transparent, we will document our sustainable efforts on this page and on our social media channels and share our thoughts, ideas and insights with you.

We look forward to an open exchange with you to improve and develop a festival that reflects sustainability in all its dimensions.

You have questions, ideas and suggestions? Contact us at nachhaltigkeit (at) re-publica.com

re:publica is an event originating from Berlin, which this year will take place in and on the grounds of Arena Berlin and Festsaal Kreuzberg, and thus in the heart of the city.

  • With our event we want to contribute to the revitalisation of the area surrounding our venues Arena Berlin and Festsaal Kreuzberg. For this we cooperate with neighbouring clubs and local initiatives such as Flutgraben e.V..
  • Together with the venues, we are developing ways to produce our events in the most environmentally and socially friendly way possible. We work together with local service providers and privately owned companies to realise our events. Most of them have been with us for many years, some of them since the first event.
  • Berlin actors and institutions play an integral part in the programme, as do Berlin city topics.

re:publica is all about encounters—the planned ones as well as the random ones: At our last analogue edition in 2019, we had 950 international speakers from over 70 countries and counted a total of 25,000 visits during the three days of the conference. While we love these numbers, we seriously have to cut our greenhouse gas emissions in the area of mobility. Major factors in this are transport for production and travel of participants and speakers.

  • The venues of re:publica are easily accessible by public transport. 
  • We recommend that our participants travel by public transport.
  • We will not create any new or additional parking spaces.
  • Speakers within Germany and ideally also within Europe will travel by train. 
  • We intentionally work with service providers from Berlin and the surrounding area in order to keep transport distances as short as possible.
  • Most of the speakers and artists come from Berlin or the surrounding area. 
  • Car and bike sharing stations are located near the festival site.
  • Charging stations for electric cars are available near the venue.
  • Our warehouse is located near the festival site. Access is therefore short here as well.
  • Hotels for crew and speakers are well connected with public transport to the festival, some even within walking distance.
  • Most of the team members travel to the re:publica site by bike or public transport.

Events consume a lot of energy. That is why a central goal of our sustainability efforts for #rp22 is to reduce energy consumption and to avoid usage where possible.

  •  Arena Berlin uses renewable energy.
  • Our server at re:publica is powered by renewable energy. 
  • Lighting is a major factor in energy consumption at an event. That's why we are further expanding the use of LED technology. This is very expensive and can only be done gradually. 
  • Whenever possible, we work with daylight. For June, we hope for long hours of sunshine and look forward to summer evenings outdoors. 
  • We are currently looking for ways to generate energy from alternative sources on the days of the event - for example, through solar and wind power units that are mobile.

As of 2022, the catering at re:publica will be completely meat-free - both for participants and for the crew. Our goal is to switch to a completely vegan offer in the long term and to further reduce waste.

  •  Ingredients: Our service providers primarily use fresh, seasonal products of regional origin and, wherever possible, organic quality. Coffee and tea are fair trade and organic. 
  • Waste prevention: Participants can bring their own water bottles and a multi-use cup for the catering service. Additionally, compostable disposable cups, disposable tableware and cutlery made from palm leaves or wood will be used by the catering service. We will explore alternatives for #rp22.
  • Avoiding food waste: The calculation of our caterers is based on the fact that offered items could run out and thus be sold out.
  • Challenge: We would like to donate food. However, due to the current hygiene guidelines, this simply isn't possible.

re:publica embraces openness, diversity and free access to knowledge for all. That's why we are constantly working on making re:publica as an event as well as an organisation more barrier-free and inclusive. All participants should be able to feel comfortable and welcome here.

  • Accessibility on the premises: This year, we are pleased to be able to host the Arena Berlin and the Festsaal Kreuzberg, two venues that are full of potential experiences. Some of the architecture of the venues dates back to the 1920s. The Arena, for example, was built as a depot for the Allgemeine Berliner Omnibus AG. At that time, barrier-free access was not sufficiently considered during construction. Together with the owners, we want to develop the place further and are planning measures to make the Arena fit for the future. Some of these will be implemented for rp22, others are on our list for the coming season.
  • Guide dogs for the blind may be admitted.
  • We provide hearing facilities.
  • The accompaniment of a person with a severely disabled ID with the mark B has free entry at re:publica.
  • A team of sign language interpreters will be on duty during all days of the event. They can be requested at the Infopoint.
  • Wheelchair-accessible toilets are marked on the event map.
  • Changing tables are available in all barrier-free toilets.
  •  Parking spaces for people with disabilities are available on the re:publica grounds. Additional parking spaces are available a short distance away.
  • The entrance fee for the re:publica should not be a barrier for interested people with few financial means. We have scaled ticket prices. As a volunteer, it is also possible to help out on one day during the conference. In return, volunteers will receive meals on the day of assignment and free admission for the remaining days. You can find more information here.

We want to avoid buying new materials and producing seasonal items. If this is not possible, we take into account sustainable standards, i.e. environmental and social compatibility, in new purchases and production. In particular, we rely on recycled materials.

  •  Merchandise items are produced on demand in the "re:publica Sweat Shop". Shirts and bags can be printed and recycled on site.
  • Since 2018, we have been producing lanyards from recycled plastic. For #rp22 we have decided not to produce new lanyards, but ask participants to bring old ones and reuse them.
  • For #rp22, we are doing without a printed programme flyer. Instead, there is now a re:publica app.
  • The primary goal in purchasing is reusability.
  • Recycled paper will be used for printed materials and printed on both sides.
  • Give-aways are only accepted in exceptional cases and only if they have an explicit added value for the participants and were not produced solely for the event.
  • After each event, we critically evaluate which seasonal and temporary acquisitions we actually still need and/or have produced.

The re:publica reinvents itself every year. Re-thought – but not re-made. By renting, reusing and upcycling, we are able to avoid new fabrications for one-off uses. Recyclable parts are stored and leftover materials are reused in an upcycling process.

  •  Hire: For re:publica 2022, we will rent furniture, plants, planting beds, decorative objects and technical equipment, among other things. For all rental objects, we emphasise fibre-based materials and try to avoid plastic.
  • Reuse: On the event space, we use rental furniture and reusable, simple booth architecture made of FSC-certified wood. These wooden modules will be used for the sixth time at #rp22. Every year, baker's crates and colourful Monobloc chairs are used as basic elements of our look and feel. They have been a style-defining element of re:publica since 2012 and are cleaned and stored after each event.
  • Upcycling: For the past seven years, we have been passing on to friendly festivals and initiatives materials and furniture that we cannot reuse or store after a re:publica in order to use them for their event - e.g. off-cuts, used Molton, screws or Forrex panels. Examples: The "Immergut Festival" built a bar out of wood and silk screen panels from the re:publica. The "Hedonists" have adopted molton and cardboard. Mirrors that were used at #rpTEN were reused at "Fusion", the "MELT Festival" and the "Tech Open Air". We also receive material from other actors and events: For #rp19, adidas gave us green carpets for our meadow landscape in the so-called "Community Garden", among other things.

Our goal is to avoid or recycle waste. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of waste at re:publica. Our long-term goal is to develop a waste concept with waste management experts and perhaps implement it at re:publica 2023, so that all the recyclable materials still lying dormant in the waste can be recovered and reused. And who knows, maybe one day we'll even manage a zero-waste festival.

  • re:publica ensures separate waste collection and disposal.
  • All service providers and partners are encouraged to recycle or avoid their packaging.
  • We use 80% regenerated film for packaging material for rental objects and re:publica's own pallet goods.
  • Challenge: Commercial waste is incinerated in Berlin. This is where we want to start in the future with the new waste concept and discover and develop new solutions.
  • In the programme of re:publica, we want to offer space to all those perspectives that value and consciously promote human diversity as a social potential.
  • Diversity and gender balance are fundamental for an inclusive community – they represent our attitude as organisers. We explicitly include people who do not feel they belong to the binary gender paradigm.
  • We are looking forward to diverse topics, attitudes and opinions from the entire (democratic!) spectrum. Anyone can submit idea(s) to the Call for Participation. Two thirds of the programme will be curated from these submissions.
  • The Hands On and Off Stage programme addresses sustainable development issues, raises awareness of climate change challenges and informs about possible solutions.
  • We are very pleased that the conference for digital youth culture TINCON will again take place within the framework of re:publica and that we will once again be able to offer an extensive programme for young people from 13 to 25 years of age, which is accessible to the young participants free of charge.

Together with the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (German Federal Foundation for the Environment), re:publica is organising programme items that address sustainable transformation and highlight the urgency of acting in line with the 2030 Agenda in all sectors.

From 2022, we will create a Co2 balance of the re:publica. We are currently looking into how we can offset our emissions.