Report of the 2nd network meeting – "Bravely ahead - Sustainable & Digital"

"Bravely ahead - Sustainable & Digital"

On the afternoon of May 11, the 2nd network meeting of the Initiative "FührungsFrauen Westpfalz" took place at the LASE Institute of the RPTU. Prof. Dr. Katharina Spraul, Chair of Sustainability Management, was the guest speaker and gave an inspiring talk on the topics of sustainability and digitalization - both crucial factors for the 2030 Agenda. At the beginning of her talk, the professor first picked up on the definition of sustainability quoted by Ms. Metzler: "What exactly does sustainability mean? It means meeting our needs in a way that allows future generations to meet their needs." And, "Sustainability means change for business and society."

The topic of sustainability is not new; sustainability aspects were already addressed in the work of 1713 "Sylvicultura oeconomica". Over the centuries, more and more attention was paid to the topic until 2015, when the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) were defined by the United Nations. One thing is certain: the world has only limited resources and some facts speak a clear language here, such as the figures of the World Overshoot Day. In Germany, ecological resources were already exhausted on May 4th - A balance sheet that should inspire a rethink.

Interesting finding: In the sustainability industry, the proportion of women in management positions has increased significantly. However, it is unpleasant that the pay of female executives is still worse than the pay of male executives.
But what does it mean to work as an executive in science yourself? The professor summed it up with a quote from Greenbiz founder Joel Makower: "Professional life in sustainability means duality: ups and downs, successes and frustrations, optimism and fear - sometimes all in one day." Prof. Dr. Spraul was probably speaking from experience when she said that this is quite normal when working in the field of sustainability; after all, she deals with phenomena such as "eco-anxiety," the fear of ecological disasters such as climate change, on a daily basis. Some participants agreed with this statement.

And what will happen in the future with the 2030 Agenda? It is clear that digitization also has negative side effects, the so-called rebound effects. It is therefore difficult to reconcile digitization and sustainability. The twin transformation will be essential in the future: Which digital solutions will contribute to sustainability?

Finally, the Open Digitalization Alliance Palatinate (OD Palatinate) was briefly presented. It supports SMEs, large companies, schools, institutions, etc. in their digitization processes and their introduction or improvement. The interest of the participants in expanding their competencies in the area of digitization was clearly noticeable, as there was a lively exchange between them and the representatives of OD Pfalz. A lack of know-how in this area and a lack of capacity are often factors that make processes more difficult - and this is precisely where OD Pfalz provides support.

To sum up the event in the words of Ms. Metzler: There were many core messages during the presentation, but above all we should take away to question things and to align our further actions accordingly. The network FührungsFrauen Westpfalz was founded by Jutta Metzler, deputy chairwoman of the board of the ZukunftsRegion Westpfalz and IHK vice president, and Sabine Mesletzky, head of regional affairs and customer service at the IHK Pfalz. The brief review of the 1st network event last November, the positive response after the 2nd network meeting on May 11 and an outlook on the next two events for 2023 on the topic of "Female Finance", among others, make it clear that there is great interest in the network and that many committed women leaders will also be represented at the events in the future.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to Prof. Dr. Katharina Spraul, who made the evening interactive and interesting for all participants with her likeable, authentic manner and her heartfelt commitment to "joy at work".