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Many ECG companies are innovative, show that it’s possible to operate differently, transform the system every day and enrich our world with their activities.

For each of the 20 themes, that the ECG balance sheet sheds light on, motivating examples are illustrated here to inspire others. Of course the practices exemplified are representative of many other good examples, that do exist.

We are expanding our Good Practices collection, so stay tuned!

Exemplary company practices for each matrix theme.

Added value with appreciation

Annual cultivation meeting with organic farmers. © Sonnentor

Since 1988 SONNENTOR has been processing and selling organically produced herbs, which it obtains directly from farms, without intermediate trade and in respectful partnerships. Cultivation and supply contracts take local conditions into account, with guaranteed minimum prices above the market. SONNENTOR offers technical advice but also audits the production conditions. An annual cultivation meeting is held where farmers can connect and exchange. SONNENTOR also lives the principle of “direct trade” partnership with farmers in Africa and South America.

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The Round Table for Grain – cooperation, solidarity and transparency in the supply chain

Round Table for Grain, 2019. © Märkisches Landbrot

Since 1992, Märkisches Landbrot has been a Demeter certified bakery and mill, buying its grain directly from regional farmers in Brandenburg, Germany and nearby Poland. At their annual Round Table for Grain all farmers producing grain for the bakery, as well as other Demeter bakeries if they wish, come together to negotiate expected harvest results and set the years’ prices – quite independent of the world market. If promises cannot be kept due to crop failures, for example, the group is called again to re-negotiate. At the end of the round table meeting, farmers vote anonymously on whether Märkisches Landbrot may use the “fair-trading & regional” partner logo.

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The Bausinger Sustainability Index

Supply chain assessment in action. © Jürgen Laske

The Bausinger company produces yoga mats made of new wool in the 3rd generation. Bausinger also sells merchandise which they systematically check to comply with the three company values organic, fair and local. For each new article to be added to their portfolio, the so-called Bausinger Sustainability Index (BSI) is calculated in advance, i.e. the production history of an article is systematically researched and assessed using a list of a total of 38 sub-criteria and awarded points. The product is thus assigned a BSI total point value. Bausinger shares the information and assessments collected with its customers on its website and online shop.

Collaborative seed development in 1000 Gardens

The project 1000 Gardens, phase three. © Taifun-Tofu

Taifun-Tofu GmbH has been producing organic quality tofu specialties in south-west Germany for over 30 years and together with its soy producers in Europe it has long been committed to sustainable, GMO-free, regional soy cultivation. Taifun-Tofu and the State’s Seed Cultivation Institute of the University of Hohenheim, Germany have reached a landmark in seed development with an innovative method. More than 2,000 farmers and amateur gardeners across Germany participated in the cultivation of varieties of soy beans, leading to the cultivation of a few types that can be cultivated in cooler European climates – which was not possible until now. These varieties will be available without patents, a sustainable contribution to our future nutrition.

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Guests are solidary owners

The socio-cultural center Nellie Nashorn (Rhino) in southern Germany shows that even without making any profits, it is possible to successfully manage an organization oriented towards the common good. After the insolvency of the original association in 2015, the users of the cultural center themselves founded a non-profit limited liability company to ensure the center could continue. Thus, guests of the Nellie Rhino became co-owners, and through their far-reaching voluntary commitment also became co-workers and even suppliers of the socio-cultural center, thus enabling it to operate in the long term.

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Fair distribution and democratic corporate culture

When Blattwerk Gartengestaltung GmbH was founded in 1982, it was based on the idea of businesses being managed on basic democratic principles. Until the mid-1990s, employees were simultaneously shareholders. Then ownership differentiated as usual in mainstream business organizations. From the early days the practice of transparent and consensual decision making has prevailed. Notably, the company allows for internal deliberation on how profits are to be distributed between shareholders, employees and the company.

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A hairdressing industry that’s healthy for all

Willi Luger with alumni of the vocational training for “natural hairdressers”. © CulumNATURA

Out of concern for the health of hairdressers and their customers, Willi Luger, who is a hairdresser himself, has developed skin-friendly hair cosmetics made from natural products. Today his company CulumNATURA distributes the high quality products to small saloons without the usual discounts for bulk purchasing or online trade, thus protecting his clients also economically. CulumNATURA has founded an academy enabling the training of hairdressers in the use of non-harmful products and promotes the recognition of hairdressing with natural products by the industry.

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The pearl bottle – limiting growth and respecting planetary boundaries

The pearl bottle — a bottle design of fifty years. © Randegger Ottilien-Quelle

Randegger Ottilienquelle has been using the same bottle design for 50 years for its mineral water, the “pearl bottle”. In 1969, 200 bottlers of mineral water developed this design together under the umbrella of the Cooperative Deutscher Brunnen. This bottle has been proven an ecological and economic success for half a century: bottlers only need to add their own labels, and consumers recognize the mineral water quality by the bottle design while automatically participating in Europe’s largest pool reusable system.

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Lights on! – The Transparency Initiative

Ökofrost has been a specialist wholesaler for organic frozen foods since 1996. With the transparency initiative „Full Understanding“, the company invites customers to take a closer look at the manufacturing processes of the Biopolar products, an Ökofrost brand. A specialized website offers a systematic report on social and ecological aspects and animal welfare for each product. Ökofrost deliberately does not shy away from the dark sides of organic production, e.g. the disclosure of corporate structures in the organic sector or the shredding of chicks in organic laying hens. The aim of the elaborate transparency initiative is to create appreciation and awareness for the products purchased and the organic foods sector itself.

Civil courage against genetic engineering

The family business EM-Chiemgau has been developing micro-biological inputs for agriculture for 25 years. Together with 40 farmers director Christoph Fischer founded the Initiative “Zivilcourage” (Civil Courage) in 2006 to inform about the dangers of agro-genetic engineering. Thanks to large mobilization, they managed to rally a majority of farmers and other citizens in Bavaria behind them demanding a ban on the cultivation of genetically modified maize. As a direct consequence, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture finally – and reluctantly – endorsed the landmark ban in 2009, which is still valid today.

Stay tuned – more Good Practice examples follow shortly!