Vienna Pioneer for Circular Economy: Climate Lab as a Spark for Climate Transformation

More+Events ♦ Published: November 5, 2023; 21:17 ♦ (Vindobona)

In the heart of Vienna, more precisely at the Climate Lab in Vienna Spittelau, an innovative movement has emerged that has the potential to fundamentally change the way Austria's economy deals with its resources. Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler and the top representatives of Austria's largest companies came together to drive forward a sustainable transformation of Austria as a business location, with the Climate Lab playing a key role.

Austrian Federal Minister for Climate Leonore Gewessler with Climate Lab Partner CEOs. / Picture: © Markus Sepperer

The "Circularity in the Climate Lab" project, launched in February 2023, stems from a key demand of the Citizens' Climate Council - the creation of a center for the circular economy. "Intensive work is now underway here to ignite another turbo in the climate transition," announced Gewessler. The initiative has already made significant progress in a very short space of time, particularly with the pilot project on recyclable mattresses, which is nearing completion. The aim is to make the life cycle of one million mattresses, which are currently still being incinerated, sustainable.

Gebhard Ottacher, Managing Director of the Climate Lab, emphasizes the importance of cooperation between a wide range of stakeholders: "This is what the Climate Lab's multi-partner programs achieve." Cooperation is also very important in the textile sector. On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, the Climate Lab is leading the Textile Dialogue, an initiative to network the textile industry with authorities and experts to work together on a textile cycle.

The construction industry is also facing major changes, driven by the EU Taxonomy Regulation. The importance of educational and discussion events organized by the Climate Lab prepares companies to be at the forefront of this transformation. One identified obstacle is the shortage of skilled workers, which is to be addressed by integrating more circularity into training programs.

The meeting at the Climate Lab underlines the importance that Austria attaches to the circular economy. Companies such as Wien Energie, Wiener Linien, Vienna Business Agency, Siemens Energy, Holcim, Evidenz and, most recently, IKEA and Billa AG are demonstrating their willingness to play an active role in this transition through their partnership.

Minister Gewessler summarizes: "The energy transition always also means a raw materials transition! We must finally move away from the throwaway society! In the future, no industry and no economic sector will be able to avoid the circular economy." The Climate Lab thus catalyzes an economy that is not only climate-friendly, but also environmentally friendly and resource-conserving - a decisive step towards a more sustainable future for Austria.

Climate Lab