Who are you?
Christine Braun was a student working in the agriculture sector of the German Development Bank when she joined the Pioneers into Practice programme. She grew up on an organic farm and is strongly committed to organic agriculture and sustainability. She joined Pioneers into Practice as she felt she could gain a new experience from the programme whilst also utilising and contributing her own knowledge..
What did you do?
Christine had two placements as part of the programme, one in Germany and the other in Finland. The first was an architecture start-up that created a new centre for sustainable buildings in Frankfurt. The host was planning an opening festival to launch the centre which needed to be sustainable and interactive. Designing the festival was also Christine’s group project and the group created visionary ideas during the Pioneers workshops culminating in a successful and sustainable festival.
Following the festival, three group members decided to create a start-up that specialised in sustainable event management. The group realised that many festivals were environmentally damaging with excess waste generated. They knew that there were more sustainable approaches that could be taken and events, such as the festival, were a good platform for promoting sustainable solutions for everyone’s daily lives.
Christine’s second placement took place in Helsinki at RePack – a returnable and reusable packaging service that reduces waste in e-commerce. She researched market conditions to see if RePack’s product could be launched into Germany, UK and France. Christine has continued to work for RePack developing the service in Germany. She has created key partnerships with logistics services and e-commerce stakeholders.
My host´s openness and confidence resulted in a co-operation full of learnings and fun for both sides. Getting to know the Helsinki start-up scene and being part of it was the best part of the programme for me.
What did you learn?
Christine gained a better knowledge of working in the low carbon economy from her placements by working at two organisations looking to build larger markets in the sustainability sector. She developed a large network from her placements, meeting new people who she continued to work with after the placements had ended.
During the Pioneer workshops she developed an understanding of using the systems innovation tools and has since used these tools in her work.
What happens next?
Christine completed her Pioneers experience by working at two emerging sustainability start-ups. To help Christine understand the skills needed to incubate and grow a new start-up, she started work at the Social Impact Lab in Frankfurt which is a community of entrepreneurs. She is now concentrating her career on being a freelance worker in the sustainability sector.