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Press Release

January 15, 2020

Opening Report

Climate debate the dominant theme at Green Week 2020

Sustainability, conserving natural resources and environmentally friendly production methods are hot topics at the world's leading trade fair for agriculture, the food industry and horticulture

New records set: more than 1,800 exhibitors from 72 countries – Partner country Croatia presents ’The culture of agriculture’ – Under the heading ’Food for everyone’ GFFA debates solutions – The German government demonstrates its commitment with special shows organised by four federal ministries

As trade fairs in 2020 get under way the International Green Week Berlin (IGW) is on course to set records. From 17 to 26 January more than 1,800 exhibitors from 72 countries (2019: 1,750 exhibitors / 61 countries) will be at the event, the highest figure in its 94-year history. More than in any previous year the climate debate will dominate the Green Week with numerous displays and conferences. Sustainability, conserving natural resources and environmentally production methods are the hot topics at the 85th edition of the fair. Croatia, this year’s partner country, took over the presidency of the European Council on 1 January 2020. Taking as its slogan ‘The culture of agriculture’, the latest country to join the EU is exhibiting top products from its food and farming industries. Visitors to Hall 10.2 can look forward to the culinary offerings of Istria, Slavonia, Dalmatia and Central Croatia. For the first time exhibitors from Benin, Mali, Togo, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are represented at the world's leading trade fair for agriculture, the food industry and horticulture. Together with producers from a total of 14 African countries they are exhibiting authentic African products in Hall 1.2b. Occupying an area of 5,000 square metres Russia is staging the largest display of a foreign country. The Netherlands is the most faithful visitor to the Green Week, currently registering its sixty-eighth appearance since 1953. The Fridays for Future movement is taking part in the Green Week for the first time with an information stand in the Berlin Hall (22a).

Dr. Christian Göke, Chief Executive Officer of Messe Berlin GmbH: “Never before has the climate debate played such a big role at the Green Week. With numerous displays on this subject, it mirrors society’s demand for sustainability, conserving natural resources and environmentally friendly production methods. This year’s fair will reveal what solutions and answers the food and farming industries have in store for these challenges. Record participation figures once again underline the role of the Green Week as a marketing and discussion platform for all the products and topics of the food and farming industries. The supporting programme together with the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture make the Green Week the world's leading agricultural policymaking event. Topics such as food quality and food security and the challenges posed by climate change mean the event has gained major political significance at home too. This is also underlined by the participation of four federal ministries who are hosting their own special shows. The Green Week provides a global market overview for the retail trade. At the same time it is a trendsetter and test market that attracts hundreds of thousands of consumers. This also benefits startups in the food and farming industries. And not least it is the public for whom enjoyment and joy of life – the core values of the Green Week brand – are most important.”

Public attraction and political platform

Berlin's longest-established and best-attended trade fair provides a global market overview of the food industry and the largest display of authentic and local specialities at any exhibition. The special displays of farming and horticultural products provide a unique experience for the public. All 129,000 square metres (2019: 125,000 sqm) of the display halls at Berlin ExpoCenter City are sold out. Over the course of the fair Messe Berlin expects some 400,000 trade visitors and members of the public to attend.

The high point of more than 300 supporting events will be the 12th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA, 16 – 18 Jan.), which is organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. Its main theme is ’Food for everyone! Trade in support of safe, diverse and sustainable food supplies’. Over 70 agriculture ministers and more than 2,000 senior figures in politics, business, science and society are expected to attend the world's leading agricultural policymaking event. The German government is showing its colours at the Green Week with special shows organised by the ministries of agriculture, development, the environment and research.

The opening ceremony of the 85th Green Week will take place on 16 January at 6 p.m. at the CityCube Berlin. Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner will open the event. Croatia, the partner country, represented by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Minister of Agriculture Marija Vučković, is organising the supporting programme and the reception to follow to which some 3,600 guests of honour from 100 countries have been invited.

Exhibition of the food and farming industries

The International Green Week Berlin is organised by Messe Berlin GmbH. Its non-commercial sponsors are the German Farmers’ Union (DBV) and the Federal Association of the German Food Industry (BE). Speaking at today’s opening press conference, the non-commercial sponsors of the Green Week gave their views on the industry’s current situation and the economic role of their respective sectors:

Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers' Union (DBV): “In the farming community we are fully committed to providing food for our society. However, working the land is becoming increasingly difficult. Bans currently in the pipeline, as well as requirements and political uncertainty are holding back urgently needed investment – on the climate protection front as well. One of the major challenges in the years to come will be to resolve the conflicting demands of a society that wants greater action on environmental and animal welfare matters but is unwilling to pay more in shops.

Foodstuffs need to be appreciated more. We operate in a highly competitive international market. Securing good all-round conditions is not only important for the success of the farming industry, but also for offering a wide range of domestic products that meet high standards. Never before has agriculture been so successful in fulfilling its responsibility of ensuring that everyone in society is supplied with affordable, high-quality foodstuffs from sustainable production. That is something we are proud of and will continue to work on.”

Christoph Minhoff, Chief executive of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE):

“Food producers can be satisfied with the provisional end-of-year results. Despite strong signs of an overall downturn in 2019, initial estimates show they can expect a slight increase in turnover to EUR 183.6 billion, 2.2 per cent more than last year. Business at home (EUR 122.2 bn.) and abroad (EUR 61.4 bn.) grew by 1.8 and 3.2 per cent respectively.

However, it is not only because of its performance that the industry is in good shape. 2019 showed that the food industry is taking big steps on the necessary path towards shouldering greater responsibility for future generations. It is no surprise then that last year’s mega trend was not vegan or protein-rich foods or a new fascinating flavour, but sustainable food production. Producers displayed a wide range of solutions and products and will make every effort to continue along this path.”

Four federal ministries host their own special shows

The focus of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture is on consumers and how they can influence the entire value chain. The presentation in Hall 23a will look at a wide range of decisions that consumers can make: what to buy in the supermarket, what kind of garden to create, food consumption habits and what to put on the table. Right at the start of the ‘Science Year 2020 – Bio-Economics’, that has been initiated jointly by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research and the organisation ‘Wissenschaft im Dialog’, visitors to Hall 27 can discover what solutions bio-economics can offer for a forward-looking society and economy. Micro-organisms that destroy contaminants, building and insulation materials made of vegetable fibre, or kerosine substitutes made from algae – bio-economics encompasses a whole range of organically based innovations. The Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety is inviting visitors to an interactive presentation in 1.2b. What can we do to help, how can the farming industry of the future go hand in hand with climate protection? The focus will be on event formats devoted to climate action at home, ideas that contrast with our throwaway society, climate protection in agriculture and soil and insect protection measures.

The slogan of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Hall 1.2b is ‘Climate-aware and fair for a good life’. Topics include the importance of tropical forests for our climate and the sampling of foods from sustainable farming production. Visitors can find out first-hand how the climate is affecting people’s lives in Africa. In 2020, for the first time and in partnership with the BMZ, an Africa section is being organised in Hall 1.2b. Producers from a total of 14 African countries (Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d‘ Ivoire, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda) are presenting authentic African products. They include dried fruit, olive oil, peanut butter, chocolate and cocoa products, cola nuts, cashews and peanuts, coffee, moringa and a wide range of spices, saffron and quinoa, typical regional dishes from Rwanda, coffee limes, pepper puree and baobab fruit, enriched cereals for babies, dried hibiscus flowers and kinkeliba leaves, fresh and dehydrated tapioca, various kinds of couscous, lima beans and red zebra beans as well as baobab nuts.

Regional specialities are the main attraction

Regional specialities continue to be highly popular with consumers. For consumers it is important to know where their food comes from before purchasing it. Foods and luxury foods from all parts of the world and Germany’s regions occupy around two-thirds of the display area at the Green Week 2020.

Green Week – more international than ever

This year 1,810 exhibitors from 72 countries are taking part, of whom 1,050 are from Germany and 750 are from abroad.

The following 36 countries are officially represented with combined national displays: Austria (4.2), Azerbaijan (Hall 6.2a), Bulgaria (11.2), Cote d’Ivoire (1.2b), Croatia (10.2), Czech Republic (11.2), Denmark (Hall 8.2), DR Congo (1.2b), Estonia (8.2), Finland (8.2), France (4.2), Georgia (7.2c), Hungary (11.2), Italy (4.2), Kosovo (18), Latvia (8.2), Liechtenstein (4.2), Lithuania (8.2), Mongolia (4.2), Morocco (18), Mozambique (1.2b), Netherlands (18), North Macedonia (4.2), Norway (8.2), Poland (11.2), Portugal (7.2c), Qatar (6.2a), Romania (18), Russian Federation (2.2), Sweden (8.2), Slovakia (6.2a), Slovenia (18), Sri Lanka (6.2a), Switzerland (4.2), Thailand (6.2a) and Uzbekistan (2.2).

In addition, importers and/or exporters are representing the following 35 countries: Afghanistan (Hall 6.2a), Algeria (1.2b), Armenia (7.2c), Belarus (6.2b), Belgium (6.2b), Benin (1.2b), Brazil (6.2a), Burkina Faso (1.2b), Canada (7.2c), Colombia (7.2b), Ethiopia (1.2b), Ghana (7.2c), India (6.2b), Iran (7.2b), Ireland (7.2c), Japan (6.2a), Kenya (6.2b), Luxembourg (7.2a), Madagascar (1.2b), Mali (1.2b), Mexico (6.2b), Nepal (7.2c), Peru (6.2b), Rwanda (1.2b), Senegal (1.2b), South Africa (6.2a), South Korea (8.1), Togo (1.2b), Tunisia (1.2b), Turkey (6.2b), Uganda (1.2b), Ukraine (7.2a), UK (7.2b), USA (7.2c), Vietnam (6.2a).

They have names such as ‘dicke dörthe’, ‘stöffche’, Göttingen stracke and ‘klitscher’ from Saxony: thirteen of Germany’s federal states are exhibiting their regional foods and specialities in eight halls. The International Green Week Berlin is serving the widest range ever of regional delicacies from all over Germany. Some 500 exhibitors, from the coast to the Alps, are presenting their own regional delicacies, with plenty of local colour too. In settings reflecting their own particular landscapes, local specialities with a typical regional flavour are being exhibited by Baden-Württemberg (Hall 5.2b), Bavaria (22b), Berlin (22a), Brandenburg (21a), Hesse (22a), Mecklenburg-West Pomerania (5.2b), Lower Saxony (20), North Rhine-Westphalia (5.2a), Rhineland-Palatinate (22a), Saxony (21b), Saxony-Anhalt (23b), Schleswig-Holstein (5.2a) and Thuringia (20.

Food industry: climate protection on the plate

Intelligent packaging, new products from food residues and alternative sources of protein – the German food industry is presenting various solutions for food production that help to conserve resources. To prove the point, the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE) and the German Food Association are making their presentations under the heading ‘What will the future taste like?’ in a new location in Hall 3.2. The most prominent trend in 2020 is the sustainable development of foodstuffs. Reductions in packaging waste and food wastage, the stronger position of regional suppliers of raw materials due to shorter transport routes, the use of plant-based protein and the reduction in the amounts of sugar, fats and salt are just some examples illustrating the many efforts being made by the food industry to adapt, in order to meet its obligations to human beings, animals and the environment.

The driving forces in the industry, commerce, catering chains and the food startup scene are presenting their products and ideas. They include the world’s first drinks system to use pleasant odours to flavour water. It uses a biological trick to do this, known as retronasal smelling through the mouth; micro-algae, a plant-based source of protein, can also be used as colouring or thickeners; a breakfast cereal of which 40 per cent is made up of what would otherwise be wasted bananas; small wafer balls made of wheat and hemp flour, filled with a salsa and cheese sauce, as an alternative snack for cinemagoers; Europe’s first protein powder made from insects; a zero-waste beer made from discarded bread to help combat food wastage; a high-quality, non-alcoholic wine; the first alcoholic beverage to be made without sugar; a beverage made from citrus peel. It uses organic peel from the juice extractors that can be found increasingly in supermarkets and bars.

The food industry is also showing examples of sustainable food production: DANONE is explaining how it reduces food waste in its value-added chain, and the sort of sustainable packaging on which it is working. Gütegemeinschaft Wertstoffkette PET-Getränkeverpackungen e.V. is demonstrating how recycling PET plastics can benefit the climate and the environment. McDonald’s Germany is explaining environmentally friendly concepts for packaging and sustainable agriculture. Nestlé Deutschland has chosen sustainable nutrition in the age of climate change as its topic. REWE is highlighting its partnership with local suppliers and producers who sell their products directly to its local stores.

Street food, fair trade, organic and vegan products

The Market Hall (1.2) is inviting guests to sample street food from all over the world. Foodies and gourmets can look forward to a rich selection of trendy dishes, beverages and special delights – from hot dog wraps from the USA, cheesecake schnapps, to food trends such as super barley grass and protein-rich insect snacks. At the Green Week 2020 over 300 exhibitors from every segment of the food market are presenting organic products and more than 150 vegan foodstuffs. The focus of the Federal Ministry for Economic Development is on fair trade products produced under fair conditions. At the WEINWERK in Hall 22a wine producers from every German growing region are presenting their artisanally produced wines and sparkling wines to dealers and the public. The Hamburg-based Fish Information Centre has information about the rich diversity of species in oceans, rivers and lakes at its new location in Hall 5.2a. This is where visitors can find out what fish, crustaceans and molluscs normally look like in real life and how to recognise whether they are from a sustainable source or from aquaculture.

Farming in a real-life and virtual environment

Visitors to the Green Week Farm Experience in Hall 3.2 can discover how agriculture is accepting responsibility in this area and the approaches it is taking to create solutions. Together with around 50 partners, the Modern Agriculture Forum has information on what the modern farming industry is doing to ensure eco-friendly production of foodstuffs. Around 100 ’Farming Scouts’ – farmers prepared to engage in a dialogue with consumers – are on hand to answer questions from visitors, on subjects such as electrically powered field robots, tractors that use climate-friendly fuels, and locally produced animal feed. For visitors who would like to climb on a tractor, find out what the inside of a pigsty is like, or watch calves being fed, the Farm Experience in Hall 3.2 at the Green Week has been a major attraction for the public for many years. In addition to the various stops where one can watch farming practices close up and find out about topics such as animal welfare, environmental protection and sustainability, there are discussions, live demonstrations and on-stage cooking shows rounding off the farming experience in Hall 3.2. One of this year’s highlights is once again a virtual visit to the farmyard, where by means of AR and VR and its ability to expand one’s sensory perception a farming operation comes to life in front of viewers’ eyes.

One hectare of ‘Keen on the country’

Hall 27, the new multi-purpose hall, is being used for the first time by the Green Week 2020 for an entire hectare of ‘Keen on the Country’. The approximately 10,000 square-metre, pillar-free display area provides a concentrated display of the countryside, encompassing six sections: Rural Development – exhibitors explain what constitutes a good life in the country and what contributions are made to this by the active commitment and involvement of the general public, the scope for sustainable life plans, and digitalisation. In the Multitalented Wood section the German forestry industry is showing examples of sustainable woodland and forestry management, in particular copious examples of the serious stresses to which trees are exposed as a result of climate change. The Renewable Raw Materials section is showing modern ways of living that make careful use of nature and its resources. In a bio-economy, oil and its derivatives are replaced by raw materials grown in the soil or in woodlands, thereby making a substantial contribution to climate protection and the safeguarding of supplies. On the stand of Woodlands, Wildlife, Hunting and Nature in Hall 27 the National Hunters’ Organisation is providing details about open country as a wildlife habitat. Visitors of all ages can explore a realistic biotope, encounter birds of prey and hunting dogs, and sample game snacks too. Visitors to the Bio-economy exhibition can discover what solutions bio-economics are able to offer for a forward-looking society and economy. How can we live in a more sustainable way, conserve resources and simultaneously safeguard our high standard of living? Taking as their slogan ‘Organic – innovative, creative, sustainable!’, organic cultivation associations as well as the National Programme for Ecological Cultivation and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture (BÖLN) are represented in the Ecological Cultivation section.

hub27, now the largest hall on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds, is being marketed worldwide as a venue for trade fairs, exhibitions, events and congresses, and with its covered passageways to Halls 1 and 25 completes the circuit of halls on the exhibition grounds. It provides temporary space following closures of the circuit due to refurbishment work this year.

The Livestock Halls (25 and 26) are the venue for displays of farm animals and pets with their breeders. They include various breeds of sheep and goats as well as all kinds of horses, from small mini-Shetland ponies to large Percheron heavy horses and the Vladimir heavy draft horse, originally bred in Russia and now a breed under threat of extinction. Highly qualified specialists are available to explain many details about the appropriate type of care and husbandry. From 17 to 19 January the 4th National Show ‘black – red – gold – robust’ is taking place in the Livestock Hall (25) featuring over 200 beef cattle. With the cattle dog known as the Westerwälder Kuhhund, and Pustertaler cattle, the Society for the Preservation of Old and Endangered Domestic Breeds (GEH) is presenting the breeds that have been selected as the Endangered Breeds of 2020. From 24 to 26 January at HIPPOLOGICA the focus is on equestrian sports. The Green Week’s equestrian event is a fascinating occasion for horse enthusiasts with its large show ring and a stadium atmosphere, offering everything from a vaulting competition to an exciting course for two-horse carriages and a show jumping event. The World of Pets is in Hall 26c, featuring bipeds, quadrupeds and every kind of furry, scaly and feathered pet.

Floral Hall (Hall 9): ’Nature in all its diversity’

With its display entitled ’Flowers – 1,000 good reasons’ in the Floral Hall (Hall 9), Landgard is showing a whole new world of blossoming, creative, useful and beautiful flowers and plants. Taking as its slogan ‘Nature in all its diversity’, the Floral Hall is following a new design trend that stays true to nature in everything we do. A many-faceted spring landscape featuring thousands of early flowering plants, flowers, grass and shrubs will make up the central design element of the hall. Paths crossing this colourfully arranged area lure visitors away from the bustle of the fair and let them enjoy floral beauty first-hand. Visitors can participate in numerous activities where they can try out their creative skills and make beautiful pieces of work to take home.

In Hall 9 the Berlin Regional Gardening Association is highlighting how important allotments are for a city that is worth living in, and the demands that Berliners are making to ensure future urban development adopts an integrational approach. Allotment holders in Berlin see themselves as voluntary producers of fresh air and climate oases, experts on and custodians of biodiversity, creators of spaces for “green learning” and organisers of places where one can meet. Taking as its slogan ’Climate2go’, the National Horticultural Association (ZVG) has information on the important issues facing horticulture in the future. The range of topics includes the use of peat, plant health and greenery in cities. Horticulture is being affected by climate change in many areas. However, its products can help to reduce the former’s impact, by absorbing CO2, improving microclimate environments and not least by promoting biodiversity with a wealth of flowers and plants.

Next door to the Floral Hall (Hall 9) the horticultural section at the Green Week in Halls 8.1, 10.1, 11.1 and 12 has shopping opportunities for visitors. The huge selection there includes seeds, tubers, flower bulbs, accessories for balconies, patios and gardens, as well as greenhouses, conservatories and entire summer houses. Lots of products for homes and households are also on display. In Hall 12, under the brand heading ’LebensArt’, an exhibition features seasonal products from the world of plants and gardens.

Professional Center: an exclusive service for retailers

From 20 to 24 January at the Professional Center at the Marshall Haus is the place to head for exhibitors at the Green Week, trade visitors from the food sector and representatives of the media. That is where, away from the bustle of the fair, trade visitors can sample a concentrated selection of specialities from exhibitors at the Green Week and meet food industry startups. With the Professional Center the Green Week is providing a platform for buyers, retailers, caterers and F&B managers who are looking for new products, want to find out about regional and international specialities and explore a wide range of business contacts. The IFS Focus Day on 20 January is one of the highlights for trade visitors. Certification by the IFS (International Featured Standards) is becoming increasingly important for food producers, and experts are on hand to answer questions on the certification procedure and provide help.

With the IGW Startup Days on 22 and 23 January the Green Week is placing a spotlight on the food startup scene for the third time. Following a preliminary selection process the 20 most innovative entries have been chosen for the final round in Berlin. They include umami sauce obtained from lupins, non-alcoholic alternatives to alcoholic beverages, powdered drinks based on medicinal mushrooms, edible cutlery, organic vitamin B12, an online marketplace for raw materials, Asian food boxes, chips made from plantains and manioc, a platform for boosting the efficiency of agricultural enterprises, transporting goods by sailing boat, and a bowl-sharing concept. At the Green Week these newly formed companies can network with established food trade stakeholders and opinion-formers. With the Startup Days Messe Berlin is highlighting the latest food topics and shifts in consumer behaviour. Although it is big players that mainly shape the market, food retailers are focusing increasingly on new brands. Microbrands are able to meet the growing demand by consumers for different flavours, product origin, production or compatibility with eating habits, whether they are motivated by health, philosophical or religious reasons.

In 2020, for the fifth time, the trade magazine Praxis and the Green Week are presenting the Regional Star industry award which honours the best regional concepts in the retail trade, industry and agriculture. The award is presented in the categories Cooperation, Innovation, Presentation and Organisation. The awards ceremony will take place on 21 January at the Palais am Funkturm.

Around 20,000 pupils from Berlin, Brandenburg and the neighbouring federal states are expected to take part in the ’young generation’ schools’ programme of Messe Berlin. Exhibitors are holding more than 700 free workshops offering practical lessons on the subjects of health and food consumption, agriculture and nature, as well as vocational training and choosing a career. Climate protection is a key topic. Thus, pupils can find out from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture how their own food consumption impacts on the climate. The Federal Ministry for the Environment welcomes school classes to ‘Escape Climate Change’, where together they can unlock the ultimate secret code. At the Farm Experience in Hall 3.2 Farming Scouts are showing school classes how a modern farming industry can contribute to protecting the climate, and the German Beekeepers’ Association is explaining how protecting the climate works for bees and vice-versa.

Important information for visitors

The fair is open to trade visitors and the general public from 17 to 26 January, daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on ‘Long Friday’ (24 Jan.).

Full details of how to order tickets online can be found at

How to get there by public transport: S-Bahn (light rail) lines S3, S9 to Messe Süd; S-Bahn lines S3, S5, S7, S9 to Westkreuz; S-Bahn lines S41, S42, S46 to Messe Nord; U-Bahn (underground) U2 to Kaiserdamm or Theodor-Heuss-Platz; bus routes 104, 139, 349, M49 to Messedamm/ZOB (main bus station), and bus routes X34, X49 to Theodor-Heuss-Platz or Messe Nord / ICC.

How to get there by car: From the A10 (Berliner Ring) take the A100, A111 or A115 to Funkturm interchange (Autobahndreieck Funkturm). Look for the exit sign ‘Messedamm’. Parking is available at the Olympic Stadium (Olympiastadion), where a free shuttle service will take you directly to the north and south entrances of the exhibition grounds. Parking for the disabled can be found in the parking areas in front of the north entrance (P1, P2) and in front of the CityCube Berlin (P14). The exhibition grounds and the ICC are located outside the city’s low-emissions zone (Umweltzone). Car drivers arriving on the motorway (autobahn) and heading directly to the exhibition grounds from the ‘Messegelände’ / ‘Messedamm’ exits need not obtain the windscreen sticker required for the low-emissions zone.

You can find general information about exhibitors and products at the Green Week on the website of the Virtual Market Place.

About the International Green Week Berlin

The International Green Week is Berlin’s longest-established and best-attended trade fair and one of Germany’s best-known events. It can look back on a history spanning 94 years and in 2020 will open for the eighty-fifth time. No other international exhibition attracting hundreds of thousands of consumers every year has taken place as many times as the Green Week. Originally just a local product mart, it has grown into the world’s largest consumer show for agriculture, food and horticulture. Since 1926 more than 90,000 exhibitors from 130 countries have presented their wide-ranging products from all over the world to 33.7 million trade visitors and the general public.

You can find general information about exhibitors and products at the Green Week on the website of the Virtual Market Place.

Additional information on the Green Week:

Twitter: @gruenewoche