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Nothing is ever really enough

Venue for the B.A.U.M. annual conference and award ceremony: the historical rooms of the Patriotic Society of 1765 in Hamburg. Photo: Frank Erpinar

“We humans have the potential to shape the business world in such a way that we can meet our needs sufficiently without harming the environment or other people.” The rapt attention in the hall is such that you could hear a pin drop. Almost 200 pairs of eyes are glued to a screen showing a film portrait in which Dr. Philip Lettmann, member of the WALA Management Board, is reporting on his company’s extensive efforts to protect the environment. The scene for this was the annual conference of B.A.U.M., a German working group that promotes environmentally conscious management, which was held in Hamburg in September 2019. Philip Lettmann accepted the Environmental and Sustainability Award in the “SME” category for outstanding commitment to the environment and sustainable development.

After the film was shown, Philip Lettmann took to the stage to applause from the audience and was interviewed by Hans-Ulrich Schatz, managing director of organic food producer Lebensbaum. Philip Lettmann: “Respect for nature must be central to all business activity. This is something in which the founders of WALA already passionately believed over 80 years ago. Since then, we have been consistently gearing the entire life cycle of our products towards sustainability criteria. And even after eight decades of sustainability, we are still finding new ways forward.” Philip Lettmann admitted that this has not always been easy. Sometimes you have the feeling that you have done so much already. But, as Lettmann affirmed: “Nothing is ever really enough”.

The agriculture of the future is biodynamic

As a producer of anthroposophic medicines and cosmetics products from natural raw materials, WALA not only actively promotes fair trade worldwide but notably also biodynamic agriculture. As Philip Lettmann stressed: “This method of farming is more widely recognised today than it was 15 or 20 years ago. Since then, it has proved its worth in many areas and people are realising just how effective it is.” However, what is a principled producer to do if the materials it needs are simply not available in the required quality on the international market? Philip Lettmann: “In our case, we then take things into our own hands and set up biodynamic farming projects around the globe.” Among other things, this calls for lots of time and patience, mutual trust and reliability.

The theme for the B.A.U.M. annual conference in 2019 was “New Work 4.0 – making it sustainable together”. Photo: Frank Erpinar

Philip Lettmann accepted the B.A.U.M. Environmental and Sustainability Award for outstanding commitment to the environment and sustainable development on behalf of WALA Heilmittel GmbH (from left): Eva Danneberg (Werkhaus), Dieter Brübach (B.A.U.M.), Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter (BMU), Dr Philip Lettmann (WALA), Professor Maximilian Gege (B.A.U.M.) and Martin Oldeland (B.A.U.M.). Photo: Simon Veith

The participants sharing knowledge, experience and inspirational ideas in the foyer. Photo: Simon Veith

Former Federal President Horst Köhler arriving at the B.A.U.M. award ceremony. He was presented with the international B.A.U.M. Special Award in recognition of his decade-long work towards sustainable globalisation. Photo: Simon Veith

Philip Lettmann accepted the B.A.U.M. Environmental and Sustainability Award for outstanding commitment to the environment and sustainable development on behalf of WALA Heilmittel GmbH (from left): Eva Danneberg (Werkhaus), Dieter Brübach (B.A.U.M.), Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter (BMU), Dr Philip Lettmann (WALA), Professor Maximilian Gege (B.A.U.M.) and Martin Oldeland (B.A.U.M.). Photo: Simon Veith

B.A.U.M.: Europe’s largest sustainability network

WALA is an active networker in the field of environmental protection. After all, a company that wants to evolve continually must acquire new skills and knowledge on a regular basis. Interacting with like-minded companies and organisations allows it to widen its own expertise and to benefit from shared experience. WALA has been a member of B.A.U.M since as far back as 2011. The working group brings together economic, ecological and social issues – in other words the principles of sustainability. With over 500 members, it is Europe’s largest company network for sustainable business practices. B.A.U.M. aims to raise awareness among companies, municipalities and organisations about the importance of protecting the environment and working towards more sustainable business practices. However, the network extends well beyond mere theory, providing practical assistance to its members in achieving their objectives by ecologically effective, economically sound and socially equitable means.