Since I have visited this picturesque little Alpine village every single summer for a decade now - except last year - I was happy to be back in Alpbach for the Economic Symposium at the European Forum Alpbach last week - even though the village welcomed us rather frosty with three days of solid rain.
Moderating a session by Mondi Group on sustainability in the packaging industry, it was clear we couldn’t step into the trap of simply black and white opinions. So, just like the weather, our discussion was filled with plenty of shades of grey that invite us to take different perspectives into consideration. Packaging is a reality in our everyday life that needs to become more sustainable and circular - this, we all agreed on. Beyond fancy stages though, it will be the speakers' and each one of our own daily steps that will prove if we manage to walk in the right direction.
Alpbach did its own little magic, as the evening before the panel, we walked up the mountain together, sat in one of its cozy restaurants, shared „Kässpätzle“ and got to know each other on a more human level. It is only then that you learn to understand the real motivations and visions each of the speakers aspires to in the roles they take on in their business lives. So I say thanks not only for what has been said on stage but even more so for the sharings on both business and personal topics and the many things I could learn from you, Peter Orisich, Marco Ten Bruggencate, Michaela Reisenbichler as well as minister Margarete Schramboeck.
In the end, with topics like sustainability, it is for all of us to talk more. But even more so - as Mairead McGuinness, EU-commissioner as well as truly inspiring and warm-hearted woman and leader pointed out more than once in Alpbach - we need to listen more. We need to go beyond our own ideas of good and bad and black and white and look at the myriads of grey. As it is only then that we will see behind the doomy clouds, where the path to follow might already shine through bright and clear.
Pictures by my all-time favourite EFA-photographer Luiza Puiu.