Markus Hartinger und Markus Mitterer vor dem jambit Büro

How does environmental commitment work for companies?

This year, we are celebrating 20 years of jambit – also meaning 20 years of enthusiasm for our customer projects. We experience enthusiasm not only in software development, but also in other areas. But what is real enthusiasm? What drives people, what inspires them at work, in sports, or in social topics? We talked to Markus Mitterer from the Munich-based organization rehab republic. They are considering topics like how to reduce our ecological footprint. In the interview, we learn more about what rehab republic does and how jambit also tries to turn its own ideas into action.

Passing empty corridors and the typical green photo wallpaper of our jambit coffee plantation, we meet Markus Mitterer and jambit co-founder Markus Hartinger in front of the jambit rooftop terrace. However, the two of them are not looking at the alpine panorama, but at garbage cans. Graphic symbols for paper, plastic, and residual waste animate jambitees to separate garbage. "Have we passed the environmental test?", "Not quite, but waste separation is a good start," smiles Markus Mitterer.

Markus Mitterer und Markus Hartinger im Gespräch über Umweltengagement

Markus Mitterer is from Munich. After graduating from high school, he studied biology with a focus on ecology. After trips to the rainforest, it was clear that instead of a career in business and research, he would go into environmental education. For a few years now, he has been working as a climate protection manager for the city of Munich. In addition, he is involved in rehab republic.

Markus Mitterer, what are you doing at rehab republic?

rehab republic would like to get young people in particular more enthusiastic about sustainability and at the same time bringing them together. With our various focus areas, we also want to show how diverse commitment to sustainability can be. Our projects deal with recycling processes, food waste, and civic engagement. We want to change behavior in a playful way, but also raise awareness that change begins with the individual.

Markus Mitterer, what can companies themselves do to establish an environment-friendly attitude within the company?

To establish an attitude, rigid rules are the wrong way. People should have the opportunity to approach sustainable activities with fun and together, and to initiate projects themselves. At rehab republic, for example, we offer waste collection activities such as plogging. This comes from Sweden and is a mixture of plocka (Swedish for picking things up) and jogging. For more comfortable engagements, there is also the Cleanup or "Ramadama", as we say in Bavaria, which means "We are cleaning up". In our workshops, employees should have fun doing something good and at the same time develop a feeling for environmental issues. In plastic-free workshops, we show what alternatives there are to the consumption of plastic and, for example, produce cleansers ourselves. We also answer many questions and dispel myths about waste separation. During the workshops, people often come up with ideas about what can be optimized in the company.

  • We draw our enthusiasm primarily from discovering potential for change every day and contributing to a society in which future generations can still live well.

    Markus Mitterer, manager & founder of rehab republic
  • We draw our enthusiasm primarily from discovering potential for change every day and contributing to a society in which future generations can still live well.

    Markus Mitterer, manager & founder of rehab republic

What are concrete actions for more environmental commitment?

Purchasing and procurement is a major lever for action. Do I buy recycled paper or fresh fiber paper? Do I offer a water dispenser and reusable bottles? Reusable lunch boxes in the company kitchen for employees ensure that less waste is generated when they buy their lunch snack. These are issues that any company can implement immediately. In the long term, however, you should also consider infrastructure issues such as the choice of location for an office or the choice of your electricity provider.

Markus Hartinger, how do you know rehab republic?

Markus Mitterer and I have known each other for 20 years. We met at TSV Milbertshofen, where we both play tennis. In many conversations after the matches, I learned more about rehab republic. Ever since then, I am enthusiastic about the project and I try to support the team in Munich from time to time.

Markus Hartinger, what is jambit currently doing to become more sustainable?

Actually, it is a mixture of many influences. On the one hand, there are impulses that we as founders, Peter Fellinger and I, can set ourselves, on the other hand, our employees bring in their own ideas. When choosing the location of new jambit offices, we deliberately rely on public transport access, which is also supported by our job ticket. Each of our jambit locations in Munich, Stuttgart, Leipzig, and Frankfurt can be easily and quickly reached by public transport. Recently, our jambitees have also been able to relieve the local traffic and lease company bicycles from jambit at low cost.

But responsibility is only taken on when you give your employees space for ideas and action. The annual Christmas donation campaign, for example, is selected by our team, our jambitees, in co-determination. Waste separation at jambit and its organization was, for example, a project that emerged from a joint employee workshop. In our intranet, jambitees can borrow items in a self-organized way, from drills to climbing equipment.

Markus Hartinger und Markus Mitterer vor dem jambit Büro

Markus Mitterer, is enthusiasm an important driver of working for an NGO or why being involved?

I think that we draw our enthusiasm primarily from discovering potential for change every day and contributing to a society in which future generations can still live well. Being part of this makes us happy. In addition, there are many wonderful encounters during our commitment. Whether it is the initiative Radler umarmen (hugging cyclists) in Ludwigsstraße or with our label Einmal ohne, bitte (buying food without packaging) at the butcher around the corner. We try to go out and involve people in our environment – with simple and concrete actions. Our motto is "YEAH instead of BUHH!" Complaining is of little use when there is no solution proposal behind it.

As a team at rehab republic, we see our commitment working when we experience effects. With the label "Einmal ohne, bitte", we have set ourselves the goal of avoiding packaging waste during purchasing and take-away. It shows stores and restaurants where customers can buy baked goods, cheese, sausage, and other foods without their own packaging. Many retailers are participating and offer their customers the opportunity to pick up their products in their own re-usable multi-purpose boxes. Such campaigns give courage and above all perseverance for our long-term goal of getting Munich residents interested in environmental issues.

Markus Hartinger, what can companies learn from organizations like rehab republic?

Involvement in a social association and everyday professional life are not completely the same, but I do see parallels. The importance of a good team working together on a common cause. Going through the world with open eyes and starting to make changes yourself. At jambit, we try to promote self-responsibility and enthusiasm for our own issues with our many offers of self-organization and development. Because only when I as an employee endorse a topic or project, I can convey 100% enthusiasm, which we promise our customers.

Markus Mitterer, where would you like to go with rehab republic?

We would like to bring other stakeholders besides civil society on board and further expand our business cooperation and cooperation with the city. Munich wants to become Zero Waste City. We want to contribute to this by motivating Munich's citizens to participate, but also by supporting and advising politicians, administration, and companies.

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