Earth Day: Innovation, Sustainability, and Appreciating Nature

April 21, 2021

This Earth Day, Engel & Völkers is focusing on the importance of sustainable practices and celebrating Earth’s inherent beauty. Over the course of the last decade, sustainability has become an increasingly pressing issue. Today, 62% of executives see sustainability as necessary and 22% of executives see sustainability as their future. Business executives across the world are committed to a conscious and sustainable relationship with their ecological, social, and economic environments and have invested heavily in groundbreaking sustainable technologies, revamped eco-friendly manufacturing processes, waste reduction, and sustainable materials. 

Engel & Völkers is excited to feature the stories of amazing environmental advocates from our own network of advisors and from GG Magazine. These incredible people have dedicated themselves to sustainable practices and celebrating the beauty of the natural world.

Kim Mulligan

Kim Mulligan of Engel & Völkers Seattle Eastside has extensive training in green homes and holds several residential green building certifications. She accepted the National Association of Realtors Evergreen Award for utilizing her GREEN certification while promoting the further expansion of sustainable homes in the Puget Sound region. Kim cares deeply about the environment and recognizes that changes across all industries, including real estate, are needed to get us out of our climate crisis.

“I believe the future of green buildings will be different than most people think. As a baby boomer in a sense, we are starting the next building wave. We are retiring and thinking about not only our health but the quality of our lives while making an impact for a better future.”

Kim Mulligan

Kim advocates for homeowners to incorporate green building concepts into their new builds and remodeled homes. She recommends clients avoid wall-to-wall carpet as it is hard to clean and collect dust and pollutants. Hard surfaces with throw rugs are a healthier option, especially for those with asthma and allergies. She also promotes the use of balanced HVAC systems, which remove the moist stale air and have a healthy air exchange ratio. 

Kim continues to pave the way for green real estate as she educates her clients on what a green home features and ways you can add green building concepts into your own home.

Veronica Chou

Featured on the cover of the latest issue of GG Magazine, Veronica Chou grew up in the mass-market fashion industry, with her family having had an immense impact on the Chinese and global textile industries. In her youth, Chou frequently visited her family’s knitwear and denim factories. Even then, she recognized mass-market fashion factory practices that were not sustainable and questioned the impact of organizational and manufacturing processes on the natural environment. 

After a life-changing trip to Nepal in 2015, Veronica Chou decided it was time for a change and reset her career with a focus on sustainability. Throughout the trip, she saw the palpable impacts of the fashion industry on the natural world:

“I could see the particles in the air, and when I came home at night, my face and hands were black.”

Veronica Chou

Chou started by selling her company Iconix China Ltd and researching alternative textile technologies that were more environmentally friendly. Next, she started her own clothing company, Everybody & Everyone, which is both entirely sustainable and size-inclusive. Through her brand Chou has been able to promote a variety of sustainable fashion practices such as renting party dresses that will only be worn once, purchasing versatile and long-lasting clothing pieces, using recycled materials, and investing in new sustainable technologies.

Jochen Zeitz

Highlighted in the last GG, Jochen Zeitz, CEO of Puma in 2010, conducted an environmental report for the brand. This report was the first of its kind to be published by any major company and provided sobering results: Puma had a global environmental impact of 145 million euros. After these findings, Zeitz immediately pledged himself to more sustainable practices with a focus on manufacturing. This commitment to sustainability stuck with Zeitz, and he soon left his position with Puma to focus on saving the planet and turning his visions into realities

Zeitz now has his own conservation foundation that is dedicated to protecting the global biosphere. He feels a particular attachment to Africa and  promoting sustainable tourism throughout the country. Zeitz recognized, however, that true sustainability cannot be achieved if companies do not also change their practices. In response to this, he founded the nonprofit B-Team with Richard Branson with the goal of helping executives shift their goals from short-term profit to human-wellbeing and the well-being of the planet. 

Now, as CEO and President of Harley-Davidson, Zeitz has been able to bring sustainable practices to yet another company. He established the Brand and Sustainability Committee and helped develop the brand’s first electric bike which he believes is the future of Harley-Davidson.

Christoph Ingenhoven

Focusing on sustainability in all areas of life, the last issue of GG magazine highlighted and spoke with Christoph Ingenhoven, architect of the Lanserhof health resorts, who has been designing sustainable buildings for thirty years. The world-renowned medical resorts he has constructed provide soul-soothing aesthetics while maintaining the highest environmental standards. During projects, Ingenhoven uses healthy materials that don’t give out toxins and ensures materials are inspected by building biologists who are experts in spotting environmental hazards.

“We’ve been building sustainably for 30 years, but the pandemic has boosted public awareness.”

Christoph Ingenhoven

As Ingenhoven designs sustainable health resorts, he takes a holistic approach in his designs, focusing on both individual biological health and ecological safety. While certain materials like polystyrene are safe for use in a medical resort, their manufacturing process is not sustainable and in Ingenhoven’s own words “horrendous”. In order to follow his practice of sustainable construction, which is what his trademark supergreenⒸ represents, Ingenhoven must be selective in his materials and focus on moderation. His expertise in sustainable construction has been proven both by the Lanserhof health resorts and his most recent project: Kö-Bogen II, an office and retail complex with 30,000 hedge plants that doubles as Europe’s largest green facade. 

Michael Poliza

Michael Polizo is an expert at appreciating the natural world. The Hamburg-based nature and wildlife photographer has worked all around the world and organized luxury tours to remote locations. Travel was his way of life. When the coronavirus caused extensive restrictions on travel, Polizo could no longer go abroad and visit stunning locations across continents. Yet, his passion for nature and its beauty never subsided. Instead, Polizo began biking around his home country of Germany, discovering beautiful routes which highlighted Germany’s natural landscapes alongside windmills and old bridges. 

This year, Polizo made the shift from luxury tours in remote locations to luxury e-bike tours in Hamburg. He noted that while 80% of customers come from Hamburg, most have never seen the city from the vantage points he had discovered. Polizo has always allowed his customers to appreciate the natural beauty of the world; now they can do it in their own backyard.

For all these articles and more, click here. Enjoy your read.

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