Speakers 2022

Dr. Peter Bertels

is Open Innovation Coordinator at City of Ghent, Belgium. He is fascinated by innovation and intrapreneurship. Peter helps companies and not-for-profit organisations to boost their innovation process with design thinking, business modelling and customer development. City of Ghent asked Peter in 2021 to join the innovation team to launch new ecosystem initiatives, leading to the brand new “Stadslab”.
Peter Bertels combines a PhD in Computer Science Engineering from Ghent University and postgraduate degrees in management, innovation, and design thinking from KU Leuven, Vlerick Business School, and MIT Sloan School of Management.

Markus Duscha

looks back on 30 years of political-strategic consulting and research for sustainable development. From 1991 to 2015 he worked at ifeu – Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg gGmbH, including most recently five and a half years as Managing Director and previously thirteen years as Head of Department for energy issues. Since 2014 he has focused on restructuring the financial system and founded the Fair Finance Institute in Heidelberg in 2016. Here, he draws on his experience from supporting the energy transition to contribute to a socio-ecological restructuring of the financial system. Since June 2022 he is member of the Sustainable Finance Advisory Committee of the German Federal Government in the 20th legislative term.

Peter Fabjan

is head of Croatian NGO “Association for economy of communion”, which is part of the international movement of EoC. After 20 years of entrepreneurship in wholesale and catering sectors, now he brings together active citizens who want to transform the existing economic, environmental and social systems by exploring and practicing new economic models more socially equitable and more ecologically fair. From 2015. the association builds awareness on interdependence between economic circumstances and the struggles of the agricultural sector and through an interdisciplinary approach offers to society information on sustainable lifestyle as well as ecological and social entrepreneurship.

Christian Frey

since November 1, 2018, he has been city treasurer of Munich, the largest municipality in Germany. Together with almost 700 employees of the city treasury, he is responsible for a total budget of 8.2 billion euros (2022). Christoph Frey was born on October 29 1976 in Weiden (Oberpfalz). He studied political and educational sciences in Regensburg. Before being elected as city treasurer, he was the managing director of Arbeiterwohlfahrt München-Stadt (AWO) since 2012, one of the central organizations of independent welfare in Munich. Before that, he worked as Executive Chairman of the German Trade Union Confederation in Munich. Christoph Frey is a member of the SPD.

Melanie Magin

has been a loyal employee of Sparkasse Rhein Neckar Nord for 32 years. Currently, she works as head of her company’s Corporate Social Responsibility department. In 2017, she supervised the introduction of non-financial reporting according to the standards of the German Sustainability Code (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitskodex) at Sparkasse. Since then, she has fostered the initiation of new products, processes and values that are in line with the social, economic and ecological transformation of our economy and society.

Dr. Marie-Luise Meinhold

is honorary director of the association Geld mit Sinn e.V., an educational initiative for sustainable investments. As a full-time entrepreneur, her expertise is as international as it is interdisciplinary: Marie-Luise Meinhold has held managerial and expert positions in various industries. Marie-Luise Meinhold received her doctorate in economics from the Private University of Witten/Herdecke prior to comprehensive management-training within a global insurance group. She studied sustainable development cooperation at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern and natural sciences at the Universities of Marburg and Strasbourg. She did her Abitur both in France and Germany.

Niklas Mischkowski

works as Officer for Governance and Social Innovation at the European city network “ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability”. He is involved in ICLEI’s work on Local Green Deals, building the movement together with Pilot Cities and Social Economy actors. He is involved in the European Commission’s Intelligent Cities Challenge as well as specific projects to implement Local Green Deals as well as Social Innovation in the energy sector. Further, he is involved in developing integrated sustainability management approaches in Germany with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Leipzig Charta’s focus on Governance for the Common Good. He holds a Master in Environmental Governance and has working experience in research as well as non-profit management with international and local sustainability initiatives.

Mario Rajn

is the mayor of Križevci, a medieval city of 19,000 people northeast of Croatia’s capital. Mario Rajn has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, with pedagogical and psychological competencies acquired at the Faculty of Education. As a scholarship holder of the VERN Polytechnic, he specialized in IT management. He also completed the annual program of the Academy for Political Development of the Council of Europe. He is on the Board of Directors of the European Association of Energy Cities and he strongly supports the energy transition so that Križevci becomes an energy-independent city by 2030.

Christiane Ram

is head of the Department of Economic and Structural Promotion of the City of Mannheim. She is a co-initiator of the Social Economy Roadmap Mannheim and played a key role in bringing the European Social Economy Summit 2021 to Mannheim. Since the beginning of September this year, a field of competence in social economy was established in her department. Together with Mannheim’s up-and-coming social economy scene, the newly founded team will form and support the Cluster for Social Economy.

Christian Röser

is a graduate engineer (FH) and acquired systemic thinking through his studies in ecological agricultural sciences. In 2006 he founded the NGO Starkmacher e.V. and since then has created a worldwide network for social and ecological impact. Addressing challenges systemically and using a collective impact approach is the direct transfer of this approach from ecological agriculture to educational and project development activities.
He is also a trainer in the Heidelberg Competence Training, a method for acquiring mental strength. In this role, he is, among other things, an advisor and co-founder of 2 start-ups in the engineering and coffee sectors.

Anne Snick

is a member of the Club of Rome and Fellow of the World Academy of Art & Science. She holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education, and has specialised in systems thinking, focusing on underlying drivers of the exploitation of humans and nature. Since money is one of the most powerful – yet mostly overlooked – drivers of the Western socio-economic system, her focus has been on sustainable finance for many years, resulting in several international publications. Throughout her career, she combined academic research with transdisciplinary field work involving marginalised groups as co-experts. Today she is part-time researcher for KU Leuven (Belgium) on sustainable finance in urban development and renovation, combining this with freelance research and hosting of cocreative processes.

Christian Specht

has been mayor since 2005 and first mayor of the city of Mannheim since 2007, responsible for finance, equity investments, security and order, and IT. He is inter alia Member of the supervisory board of MVV Energie AG and the University Hospital Mannheim GmbH, chairman of the supervisory board of Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH, as well as chairman of the Rhein-Neckar transport association and the planning committee of the Rhein-Neckar region association.
The qualified lawyer is also chairman of the finance committee of the Baden-Württemberg Association of Cities and deputy chairman of the finance committee of the German Association of Cities. He is also involved in the European city network EUROCITIES. With its climate protection ambitions, the city of Mannheim has successfully applied for the EU program Net Zero Cities, which envisages extensive climate neutrality by 2030.

Martin Špolc

is the Head of the Sustainable Finance in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Financial Services. Prior to his current role, he was the Head of the Capital Markets Union unit, the Economic analysis unit, Deputy Head of the Banking unit and Assistant to the Director General, directly involved in developing key projects in the area of financial services since the banking crisis. Before joining the Commission, he had worked at risk management consultancy and the banking sector. He is the holder of the CFA and FRM designations and member of the CFA Institute and Global Association of Risk Professionals.

Dr. Esther Wandel

is managing the Sustainable Finance Team at the Ministry of Finance. There she is in charge of coordinating activities of the government in relation to sustainable finance. This includes negotiations on the sustainable finance files initiated by the European Commission.

Esther has an international background having worked many years for the European Commission  and the United Kingdom. She was also leading the financial services team at the German Permanent Representation in Brussels. She is a lawyer by training and holds a doctorate in environmental law.