Sustainable Travel Guide: Berlin

Where do I even start? On every street corner of Berlin there seems to be a vegan, up-cycled, sustainable, organic and socially responsible shop of some description. I was in heaven!!! Spending just over a week walking through the streets of Berlin and meeting locals, I got a good sense of the sustainability scene. However, I realise I have only scratched the surface and am keen to hear any recommendations in the comments below!

Sustainable Food

I usually look for vegan or vegetarian food, but that is everywhere here. I ate a lot of haloumi and falafel plates at the many and varied middle eastern restaurants in the city. My favourite one was called Kiez Falafel.

Kiez Falafel! Yummmm

The real food revelation I had in Berlin was not just the vegetarian food, but the way many of the restaurants are being run. I came across a lot of restaurants who employed people with difficulties getting into the workforce as well as those who focused on sourcing local and ethical ingredients.

Be’kech

This was such a gem! A little out of the city centre, there is an anti-cafe called Be’Kech! I spoke with one of the employees and she said that they wanted to create a place for social entrepreneurs and freelance workers to have a safe space where they can be creative and not feel like they need to leave after one coffee. You pay by the minute (with a 15 euro maximum per day) and it gives you access to the space, a buffet (with salad, soup, falafel, cereal, toast and fruit as well as other daily specials) and all the tea/coffee and water you can drink. Downstairs they have meeting rooms and small focus rooms. I spent the day there and found it a really productive and inclusive space! I wish there were more anti-cafes around…!

View this post on Instagram

Who has heard of an anti-cafe before?! I spent a day at @bekech.berlin in Berlin checking out their digs and sussing our what the heck an anti-cafe is. Basically its a place where you are charged by the minute with a maximum daily rate (15 euros here) and you can stay as long as you want, drink as many coffees as you can and eat from the buffet. Well that just blew my mind!!! It is a great creative hub for social entrepreneurs and freelancers who want to be around others and not live in fear that the waiter will come over and tell you to keep moving just as you’re in the middle of your creative moment! Absolutely loved smashing out some work, eating falafels and drinking my fair share of coffee!!! ☕️ 🤓 Does anyone know where there are other anti-cafes around the world? Double tap if you’re into it! #berlin #berlincafe #socialchange #socialimpact #bekech #buffet #freelancewriter #freelance #foodstagram #productivity #productivitytips #communityspace #foodblogger #coworkingspace #coworking #socialentrepreneurship #socialentrepreneurs #bethechange #planetbinsights

A post shared by Laura Baker @ Planet B (@planetb_insights) on

Sustainable Fashion

Berlin is often known as the sustainable fashion hub of Europe. It is a great place for local designers to get their brand known and has a strong community of like-minded people. I attended the Fashion Revolution march to raise awareness for workers rights in the fashion industry. It is from the team who created the ‘who made my clothes’ campaign. About 100 people turned up to show their support and we marched from the Neptune fountain to Brandenburg gate. It was great to walk alongside fashion students, designers, business owners and passionate consumers who want to change the way we produce fast fashion.

Ecoalf

One of my favourite brands was Ecoalf, who use plastic bottles salvaged from the oceans to make beautiful and stylish pieces. I had a chat with the shop assistants and they spoke passionately about the work they do. Check out the Instagram post for more!

View this post on Instagram

I dropped into the team behind the ‘No Planet B’ T Shirts, @ecoalf in Berlin and was blown away by their amazing products. Their shop assistant explained to me that they literally get plastic waste from the ocean and make incredible garments from them!!! He shared how their products want to minimise the impact they have the environment, because there is no Planet B! Couldn’t agree more. They also have a community space at the back of the shop for talks and screenings of documentaries. I love labels that are more than just the clothing. @ecoalf is definitely starting a movement for people to have a voice and buy products that are good for them and the planet! Like if you like products that have a positive message and impact #fashionrevolutionweek #socialactivism #fashiontrends #sustainablefashion #sustainability #sustainableliving #fashionblogger #fashionblog #plastic #plasticwaste #savetheocean #noplanetb #planetbinsights #worldchangers #planetb #bethechange #buybetter #inspiration #inspirational

A post shared by Laura Baker @ Planet B (@planetb_insights) on

Corvera Vargas

I met this awesome brand, Corvera Vargas through one of Fashion Revolution’s events, located at their shop. I chatted with one of their designers (who is also an Aussie!!) and she spoke with great passion about how sustainable fashion is the future of how we consume. Their focus is on reducing waste from the fashion industry and they create 95% of their designs with materials that would otherwise be discarded as waste from fashion manufacturers. Cool stuff!

View this post on Instagram

Absolutely loved meeting the passionate and inspiring team from @corveravargas as part of #fashionrevolution week in Berlin. One of their designers told me all about how they use off cuts or materials that would go to waste and then they turn them into these gems. She loved how every piece is different and each design is an exciting challenge because there is a finite amount of fabric to creating styles that fit multiple sizes. Hearing her tell stories of how they are empowering people in Bolivia through their supply chain showed me the importance of asking the question #whomademyclothes. There are so many things happening in Berlin with @fash_rev and am excited to learn more about important topics like the circular economy. Follow us today to see the other awesome companies and events happening in Berlin this fashion revolution week. #fashion #ecofashion #sustainability #sustainablefashion #circulareconomy #beautiful #planetbinsights #ecolifestyle #futurefocus #fashionblogger_de #fashionrevolutionweek2019 #fashionrevolutionweek #eco #bloggerstyle #imadeyourclothes

A post shared by Laura Baker @ Planet B (@planetb_insights) on

Green Fashion Tours

If you’re really into the sustainable fashion scene, there is an awesome tour you can go on called Green Fashion Tours. They take you to local designers and give you the opportunity to hear the stories from the industry. I couldn’t align my schedule to go on one, but I hear they are awesome. They also have a map that you can check out as well as a great website.

Sustainable Living

Original Unverpakt is a zero waste supermarket with stores in Kreuzberg and others locations across Berlin. The founders had the dream in 2012 and since then they have grown from strength the strength. They have built a community of people passionate about zero waste living. The team are often running training sessions and creating thought leadership about the topic to empower people to make better choices.

LPG BioMarkt

LPG BioMarkt is a hub of organic supermarket. They favour products within a 200km radius of Berlin and try to understand the supply chains of who they source from. Definitely a good alternative to some of the massive supermarket chains!

Sustainable Business

The concept of businesses that are profitable but also solve a social/environmental issues is quite common in Berlin. Sometimes it takes some inquisitive questions to learn more about the business but it seems that the business DNA of Berlin and Germany is to use their expertise to create profit and social change. I remember my Dad saying that many of the German companies are family owned, which means they are not accountable to shareholders. This means they are able to make decisions that are not only focused on profit. This wouldn’t the only reason, however I got the sense that there was a cultural element of their approach to business.

Changemaker Tour

The Changemaker tour was a real highlight of my time in Berlin. An Aussie woman, Natalie has started an ecotourism business where she takes tourists through the streets of Kreuzberg. She shows local businesses driving social change, tells the hidden stories of social activism and maps the businesses to the Sustainable Development Goals. It went for about 2.5 hours and we had a coffee stop along the way. Would highly recommend if you want to meet some like-minded people and hear about the hidden gems of Berlin.

Ecosia

A great business I heard about is Ecosia. They are effectively an online search engine that plants trees with every search. They use their profits to plant trees and planted over 57 million trees to date (with the number going up daily!) They are also carbon neutral which is a big feat because all the big tech companies spend so much energy on servers. Another great benefit is that they are completely transparent. They do not hold your data or sell it onto third parties!
Change your browser to Ecosia today. You can download a Google chrome plugin so it is super easy to get started!

Solimate

Solimate is a social enterprise and social activism platform. They wanted to spread the word about social issues. So, instead of buying billboards or ad space, they decided to create a brand of drink where they could use the label to spread the word. It is a super popular brand and has maximum impact, from their supply chain to using profits for social projects to even using the label to spread social change!

Overall

I could have spent some much more time (and money!!) in Berlin exploring the streets and meeting with locals. If you want to get inspired for a social impact venture, I would recommend spending a week or two there. It inspired me and gave me a fresh perspective on the opportunities to be profitable and have a social and environmental impact through core business activities.

One comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: