Panel discussion. Copyright by alfred arzt.

Panel discussion on the "construction rescue" lane

Panel discussion on 11 November at 4.30 pm on the stage of the BAUEN & WOHNEN Vienna trade fair. Six representatives from politics, business, science and society discussed the possibilities for consumers to recognise greenwashing in the building sector:

Present at the panel discussion were: Barbara Schmon, Ministerialrätin BM für Klimaschutz (Federal Ministry for Climate Protection), consultant for integrated product policy and sustainable consumption, focus on durable products, knowledge management, green claims (green environmental claims, labelling & communication) and green washing ("greenwashing").

Dr. Stefan Gara, NEOS Member of the Vienna Parliament and Vienna City Council, Spokesperson for Health, Energy and Climate Policy, Science, Digitalisation & Innovation, Physicist, Environmental Expert.

Christian Koller, sales manager and technical advisor of ISOCELL GmbH, eco-label licensee for thermal insulation materials made of renewable raw materials

Raphaela Hellmayr, Spokesperson Regional Group Vienna Cradle to Cradle NGO Honorary Office

Christoph Wolfram Martin, SV for coating technology and colour chemistry, SEFRA Farben- und Tapetenvertrieb GmbH, responsible for building and monument protection as well as architectural consulting, teaches at the University of Linz, Ecolabel licensee for wall paints

DIin Inge Schrattenecker, spatial planner, heads the klimaaktiv Bauen und Sanieren programme, since 2018 deputy managing director of ÖGUT GmbH.

Moderation: Ernst Leitner, G&L

Barbara Schmon began by explaining the strategies against greenwashing at both European and national level. The aim is on the one hand to provide companies with guidelines and instruments for operational environmental protection, and on the other hand to offer consumers reliable information to recognise greenwashing.
In the discussion, the participants agreed that only environmental certificates based on independent verification should be used.
Stefan Gara sees an important role here for the assessors, who guarantee a proper examination of the criteria with their technical expertise. Companies that have obtained the Austrian Ecolabel for their products see themselves as "industry pioneers" and do valuable educational work.
They use the certificate properly in product communication, confirms Christian Koller of ISOCELL GmbH.
Raphaela Hellmayr sees the strength of a label above all in the consideration of a consistent circular economy. A closed cycle reduces resources and avoids waste.
Christoph Wolfram Martin sees a need for action in vocational training, in addition to advising architects and builders. This should help to reduce knowledge deficits in the area of sustainability among future employees.
Regarding the demand for ecological products in the building sector, Inge Schrattenecker confirms that reliable product databases such as Baubook, which list ecological products, are an important decision-making aid for architects and builders. She also emphasises that in ecological construction, the Austrian Ecolabel and the klimaaktiv building standard have long been excellent instruments to prevent greenwashing.

Trade fair Baurettungsgasse