Andi Spies
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Andi Spies

Sustainability Hub at ISPO Munich: Interview with Greenroom Voice Founders

Learn from the Best: How Greenwashing Doesn't Stand a Chance

The founders of the Greenroom Voice agency appreciate the genius of nature. How Anna Rodewald and Cira Riedel want to preserve it with their work, which brands are part of the Sustainability Hub at ISPO Munich 2022, and why greenwashing often happens out of ignorance, the two tell in an interview.

Greenroom Voice is an agency specializing in communication about sustainability in outdoor sports. It was founded in 2012 by the two journalists Cira Riedel and Stéphane Robin and the chemical engineer Anna Rodewald. For many years, Greenroom Voice has organized the Sustainability Hub at ISPO Munich on behalf of the trade show. This year, the focus is on the two key areas of circular economy and measures to combat climate change. We met Cira and Anna to learn more about their work, the concept of greenroomvoice.com and the contents of the Sustainability Hub in the Future Lab of Hall B2.

ISPO.com: Before we talk about the Sustainability Hub and your work: What is your professional background?

Cira Riedel: I originally studied at the film academy, where I also graduated with a diploma. After that, I did a master's degree in interactive multimedia. Since the early 90s, however, I have been working as a boardsports journalist. While working in the editorial department of the Swiss boardsport and lifestyle magazine 7Sky, the idea for the platform greenroomvoice.com was born. At that time, our goal was to promote transparent communication on sustainable topics in the boardsports industry.

Anna Rodewald: I have a degree in chemical engineering and later did a master's in responsible management. I worked as an engineer for 20 years in various process stages of the textile industry, focusing on functional textiles for diverse applications. Since 2013 I have been working as a freelance consultant and facilitator for organizations and young people in the field of sustainable development and systemic design. Also in 2013 I met Cira and since then I am a partner at Greenroom Voice.

Anna Rodewald (left) and Cira Riedel, founders of the online platform www.greenroomvoice.com and hosts of the ISPO Sustainability Hub

What role do outdoor sports play in your life?

Cira: For me, nature means more than an opportunity for sports activities. It offers us a way of life as a family. Especially when surfing, snowboarding or trekking I appreciate the immediacy of the experience and through this I am also aware every day how much is at stake.

Anna: I love any kind of mountain sports and try to spend as much time as possible outside. For me personally, nature is both inspiration and a haven of peace, a space for movement and encounter. Outdoors I am creative and grounded, many everyday things get a bigger perspective for me here, boundaries shift.

With Cira I share a great passion for outdoor sports and we appreciate the genius of nature. It is important to preserve this and through our work we want to contribute a part to it.

Do Brands Communicate Honestly?

What is the idea of your platform www.greenroomvoice.com?

Cira: It was around 2008 when I noticed that brands in the boardsports industry were increasingly emphasizing sustainable products in their communications. So I did some research to find out what this meant in detail and researched the facts about the individual products. In the process, I realized one thing above all: It's always about the context in which a decision is made. That's how we came up with the idea for Greenroom as an online platform in the 7Sky editorial team, where this information and its contexts can be presented in a fact-based manner and read by anyone. In 2013, Anna joined us with her expertise and enabled us to add another layer of deeper technical understanding to the journalistic approach.

Anna: We take an objective and journalistic approach and aim to present complex issues in a way that is easy to understand. We do this for retailers, media, trade shows where we show showcases on specific sustainability topics, but also brands and their suppliers. Our goal, especially with the CSR profiles of our members, is to provide trustworthy and verifiable information and to communicate it clearly and understandably.

The online platform greenroomvoice.com

Your focus is no longer solely on the boardsports industry, right?

Cira: It quickly became clear that the outdoor industry has already achieved a lot in the area of sustainability; of course, there are still many construction sites. But the people working on sustainability issues at outdoor brands are mostly professionals. So it's a rich universe of good practice and proactive behavior.

Anna: Yes, across the outdoor industry, there are more and more brands that are even clearly addressing issues and trying to counter them with thoughtful concepts. We can present and communicate such positive examples very well on our online platform, but also at the Sustainability Hub booth. Restricting ourselves solely to manufacturing processes in boardsports would be far too specific.

A Sustainable View of the Entire Industry

What can visitors to ISPO Munich expect at the Sustainability Hub booth?

AnnaThe Sustainability Hub is a special area at the trade show, because it's not about selling products or marketing. It is a place where all trade show visitors, whether retailers, journalists, bloggers, student groups, product managers or designers, can get information and find their own position on these topics. It is also always nice to see how much exchange takes place in the Sustainability Hub between the visitors and the exhibiting partners. The Sustainability Hub has already produced a number of interesting projects.

CiraIn order to ensure that our visitors find answers to their questions, we structure showcases according to specific topics, similar to a museum exhibition. This allows the brands to present their approach to sustainability. For the past seven years or so, we have always given the exhibition a main theme, on which the exhibitors then present their solution and experience on a poster. This year, the approaches are more diverse, but they are interdependent, because this time ISPO Munich 2022 will focus on the two key areas of circular economy and measures to combat climate change. Presenting these transparently and traceably is the focus of this year's Sustainability Hub at ISPO Munich.

Anna: We try, if possible, to illuminate the topics from different angles. That's why, in addition to the brands in our industry, suppliers, retailers and organizations that define and control certain standards are also represented.

You offer a Transparency Tour every day at 11 a.m. at the trade show. What is that all about?

CiraOn these guided tours through our exhibition, we explain the context of the various best-practice examples. This gives visitors a detailed overview and allows them to place the content presented in the right context. During the tours, they can also ask specific questions about the exhibitors.

AnnaI can only recommend that anyone interested in this year's focus on the circular economy and measures to combat climate change should take part in one of the tours. And because communicating all aspects in the right context is so important to us, the Transparency Tour is also available in digital form in the form of blog posts with integrated video presentations from the partners who communicate their content with us, which is just under half of the exhibitors.

Cira: We also have various contacts from brands, service providers and NGOs present at our booth on all days of the fair. Visitors to the trade fair, such as retailers, journalists and bloggers, can thus talk directly to our partners and obtain first-hand information. The networking idea is a very central idea of the Sustainability Hub.

All presentations and panels that will take place at the Sustainability Hub during ISPO Munich 2022 can be found in the event program:

We are looking forward to experiencing the spirit of OutDoor by ISPO together with you again in 2023. Save the date: June 4 to 6 at the MOC - Event Center Messe München.
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Andi Spies
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Andi Spies
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