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Ideas for a sustainable world

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus will speak at the Global Social Business Summit in Wolfsburg

The Global Social Business Summit (GSBS), initiated in 2009 by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Creative Lab, goes back to Wolfsburg, where it began nine years ago: From 6th until 9th of November 2018, the Autostadt is receiving more than 800 leading players of Social Business from all over the world. On the 6th and 7th of November, the Young Challenger’s & Pioneers Meeting and the Social Business Acadmia Conference will make a start, followed by the general meeting on thursday and friday, where prominent speakers such as Muhammad Yunus, Nasa astronaut Ron Garan, aviation pioneer Bertrand Piccard and numerous representatives of the Volkswagen Group are expected.

„It is time that we use our creativity, wealth and resources and put the needs of all people at the centre of our personal and also economic thinking and acting. The concept of Social Business is a new business model to bring sustainability and sanity into the existing economic theory”, Muhammad Yunus says. Since the introduction of microcredits in Bangladesh in the 1980’s, he is considered a thought leader of Social Business around the world. The GSBS fosters discussion and cooperation between participants from the private and public sector, civil society, NGO’s, students and Social Business entrepreneurs. Aiming towards building a value-based civilization by maintaining social business practices, the theme of this year’s summit is “New Civilization”.

Supporting the Global Social Business Summit underlines once again the Group’s extensive commitment to a social environment stimulating innovation, tolerance and coexistence. “I am sure that the Global Social Business Summit will not only inspire the Volkswagen Group in an important phase of its transformation, but also signal far beyond Wolfsburg for a global shift in thinking towards socially and ethically responsible business models", says Gunnar Kilian, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG with functional responsibility for Human Resources and Organization. Alongside Kilian, Volkswagen AG board member of the integrity and legal affairs division Dr. Hiltrud Werner, MOIA CEO Ole Harms as well as Nonkqubela Maliza, Director Corporate & Government Affairs of Volkswagen South Africa, will contribute speeches. A team of socially engaged Group employees will also be getting involved in the conference.

Ideas for a sustainable world

Below you can find three Social Business initiatives from the Volkswagen Group, focusing on sustainable mobility offers and social innovations.

The Cityskater

Milestone of micromobilty – the cityskater

The Cityskater is a three-wheeled foldable electric scooter. It drives up to 20 km/h and was designed  for „the last mile“,  covering for example the last bit from the parking area or the bus station up to the final destination.

Another peculiarity is the manufacturing process of the e-scooter: From spring 2019, it will be creating job opportunities for around 20 employees with disabilities. Up to 140 samples per day will then be built at the production site St. Egidien in Germany. The 2.700 square metre hall will have decoupled workstations, no assembly flow and the transportation from station to station will be ensured using mounting trolleys.

xStarters: Digital social ideas from young people

Enhancing digital competences – xStarters visiting a school in Wolfsburg

With the pilot project xStarters, Volkswagen contributes to the promotion of digital literacy and social awareness of young people. Until the 30th of November, the contest calls teenagers to develop digital ideas that will improve the life of fellow citizens. Another objective is  giving them a better understanding of Social Business ideas, business models and visionaries, and to enhance digital competences for the working world of tomorrow.

The program is received with enthusiasm: After only a few days, more than 400 applications were filed. Using a specifically developed application and supported by mentors, the students have to fulfill three tasks – the 15 best teams will get the opportunity to present their results to a panel of experts in Wolfsburg.

MAN Impact Accelerator

A powerful team: Founders and mentors of the current accelerator cohort

The access to transportation and logistics solutions is considered as the greatest challenge in fighting poverty. Therefore the MAN Impact Accelerator is aimed at Social Businesses, that are combating the major social challenges of our time by creating innovative business models in the field of mobility, transport, and logistics. Alongside with Yunus Social Business (YSB), MAN Truck&Bus supports founders from Europe, India or South Africa during the development of their solutions. During the six-month program, the start-ups are guided through different stations around the world, closely supported by more than 100 mentors. The goal: building scalable business models and generate long-term social impact.

The program is bearing fruit: The startups that participated in the first round managed to more than double their turnover and increase employment rates on average by 57%. Aftercompleting the program, two of the participating startups raised 2,2 million Euros in financing rounds. The GSBS kick off will mark the start of the second round of this pioneering project.

Communication platform Autostadt is the ideal location for the Global Social Business Summit

For the third time, the Autostadt is hosting the Global Social Business Summit, once again making an active contribution to combine economic action with social responsibility. The GSBS 2018 focuses on many subjects that have been on the agenda of the Autostadt for years.

Since 2002, a „Staged Education“ team trains educators, organizes workshops and implements programs on topics like mobility, sustainability, culture and food. In 2017, more than 500.000 people followed the extracurricular courses that are officially recognized by the Ministry of Education of Lower Saxony. The educational offers of the Autostadt have been awarded repeatedly by the German Ministry of Education and the German Commission for UNESCO.

In 2009, the Autostadt devoted an exhibition to the subject of sustainability: Level Green covers an area of 1.500 square metres. Divided into five subject areas with 28 displayed exhibits, visitors are invited to engage with topics like the growing consumption of natural resources, sustainability at Volkswagen, mobility and living space, or the impacts of climate change. The contents are updated on a yearly basis to expand into new areas, such as autonomous driving and sustainabilty.

As a host of two million annual visitors, the subject of nutrition is of enormous importance to the Autostadt: All the restaurants are organically certified, using seasonal foods. For this purpose, they work closely with producers and suppliers from the immediate area, strengthening the local economy.