Greentech Festival goes Los Angeles – Interview with founding father Marco Voigt

Marco Voigt about his vision for the future of Europe's largest sustainability festival

Interview with Marco Voigt, founder of the Greentech Festival

Green Tech Festival
Source & Copyright Greentech Festival

Source and Copyright by CarbonTag

Author: House of Eden

In October 2018, the Greentech Festival (GFT) was just an idea. Today it is the largest sustainability festival in Europe. An event where green technologies are presented, discussed and awarded will be created as a venue for innovations, inspiration and ideas. Engineers and entrepreneur Marco Voigt worked together with former Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg and Sven Krüger. In 2020, Deutsche Bahn joined as an additional shareholder. In September the event even goes across the Atlantic to Los Angeles. We talk to the founding father Marco Voigt about his vision for the future of the festival.

Marco Voigt, source & copyright Greentech Festival

The GFT has become an integral part of the sustainability scene. In your opinion, how has the festival changed since it was founded?

A lot has changed. After a great start in 2019, we had two challenging years under Corona conditions. Like many organizers, we chose the hybrid route and still made our first international stop in London in 2021. In 2022, we were able to expand the internationalization of the GTF and, in addition to our festival in Berlin, also held an event in New York, London and Singapore. Green Awards were also presented there in different categories.

This year, in addition to Singapore, we are heading to Los Angeles for the first time. Our goal is to provide companies with the best possible support on their “Mission to Net Zero” and to do this we rely on our strengths when it comes to networking. The fact that the GFT can now take place worldwide fills me with pride. Public perception in particular has also increased significantly.

How did the original idea for the Green Awards come about and what did you want to change back then?

We already presented today's Green Awards in 2008 under the title “Clean Tech Media Awards”. From 2013 they were called the “GreenTec Awards” and with the founding of the GFT in 2019 they are the Green Awards. From the very beginning, our goal was to honor the outstanding environmental commitment of companies and personalities and to inspire people from all over the world about the green technologies of the future and a sustainable lifestyle.

The GTF is a complete success – so did you achieve your goal at the time?

I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved so far. At the GTF 2023 in Berlin, we brought together sustainable start-ups, industrial companies as well as politicians and research institutions for a common cause for the fifth time and welcomed 5 visitors to the site of the former TXL airport. Our goal remains to bring amazing stories about transforming green businesses using pioneering technologies to a global audience. That's why we address international destinations with a diverse program and high-ranking speakers. It's great to see how many corporate collaborations are created at the GTF.

Source & Copyright Greentech Festival

You are a sustainability entrepreneur yourself. In your opinion, is innovation the most important driver for sustainable change?

Marco: Innovation is definitely an important factor. But in the end, innovations alone are not enough to achieve our goals on the “Mission to Net Zero”. It has to go beyond just coming up with ideas, because innovations often do not make the journey from a brilliant idea to a business model, to a prototype and finally to an integrated technology. What we need is a comprehensive ecosystem of change. This requires the participation of researchers and teachers.

We need to teach young, smart and inventive people how to become entrepreneurs and start companies. We need incubators and startup hubs to support these ideas. We need companies to partner with these innovative companies for their good ideas. We need politicians who create the framework conditions and acceptance in society. And we need places where people can connect all of this. And that's why we launched this format, because we are convinced that building this ecosystem will actually bring about the fastest sustainable change.

Trends such as air taxis and autonomous driving will still have an impact far into the future. In your opinion, to what extent have green technologies already become established in industry and society and what is missing for them to be suitable for the masses?

Many political and economic actors are increasingly focusing on trends in the area of ​​electromobility and the framework conditions are being aligned accordingly. In this respect, I assume that it will develop into the central drive and thus become suitable for the masses. Of course, other technologies will also develop in parallel, which is why we as GTF will continue to not focus on individual technologies. In the end, climate protection and efficiency are the priority. The flying taxi start-up Electron was an exhibitor at this year's GTF. It has announced its first eTaxi with a load capacity of 2026 kg for 500 and plans to launch a prototype in 2024.

Source & Copyright Greentech Festival

With the motto “Together we change” the GTF stands for active exchange in the areas of technology and innovation as well as sustainable lifestyle. Why is it important to include all players?

When we founded the GFT, we set ourselves the goal of offering companies of all sizes, innovators and politically active interest groups a neutral but global platform to present new technologies, bold approaches and green solutions for sustainable change expand network. We believe that everyone should be committed to Mission Net Zero. We need all players to create big changes. Also the large industrial companies. We believe in technical progress, in new green technologies and innovation, which pave the way for a future worth living, especially for these large companies. We can only achieve change if we bring everyone to the table. We need exchange if we want to develop.

What are you particularly looking forward to at GTF LA in September and what highlight should visitors not miss?

We are very pleased that we are continuing with our “GTF CONNECT” format after this year’s GFT in Berlin and are thus taking the concept into the world. This year's stops include Los Angeles (September 27-28) and Singapore (November 24). This is the first time that we are hosting an event in Los Angeles, after we held a very successful event in the middle of New York City last year. I'm particularly looking forward to the conference in LA, which promises great speakers - including Boaz Paldi, the CCO of the UNDP, and Jessica Hyman, Head of Sustainability at Atlassian. Of course, I'm also really looking forward to our Green Awards special prize winner and adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson, who is known, among other things, as an ambassador for Re:wild and for his numerous expeditions. It is a great honor that I can present him with the award.

Thank you for the interview Marco.

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