From green to gray to green

Corporate culture | Thomas Kufen, the Mayor of Essen, believes the city’s path to becoming “European Green Capital” is closely linked with the history of thyssenkrupp. What he particularly likes about the “Green Axis” project is that the company is also inviting neighbors, schools and sports clubs to get involved.

thyssenkrupp is currently transforming its water axis into a garden for everyone. Do you think the “Green Axis” project reflects the spirit of the “Green Capital”?

“Green Axis” is a great project, because for me it’s what the “European Green Capital – Essen 2017” is all about: getting the people involved. For thyssenkrupp to invite the citizens of Essen to its campus to make our city a bit greener and more sustainable is a good idea. We want living and livable neighborhoods. For this we also need to face the challenges of climate change and meet changing demands. thyssenkrupp is a reliable partner to the city of Essen in this respect.

Oberbürgermeister Thomas Kufen. Foto: Peter Prengel, 02. 11. 2015

Thomas Kufen

Why is it important that thyssenkrupp is involved in the “Green Capital”?

The history of the city is closely linked with the history of thyssenkrupp. The transformation “from green to gray to green”, from a city that was once shaped by abbey gardens and great parks to a city of coal and steel, is Krupp’s legacy. The land on which the company now has its headquarters used to be the site of Krupp’s steel factories, an area that was closed off and only accessible to employees. Today as a result of urban development projects it is not only open to the public, it is also green and offers a park and cycle paths. The project “ESSEN 51.” will shortly be started there, creating a quarter that will combine work with excellent living conditions. So the story of “green to gray to green” will be continued. The fact that thyssenkrupp is involved in this demonstrates the company’s ties to our city.

What do you particularly like about the “Green Axis” project?

I particularly like the fact that lots of different people have been invited to join in, from employees to neighbors to schools to sports clubs.

How can school kids and other children benefit from a project like this?

Getting actively involved and taking responsibility for your own surroundings are important elements of our urban community. The “Green Axis” project is a simple way of showing what that means. The plants and herbs planted by school kids will later be used to make their neighborhood or even their schoolyard greener – so in that respect the “Green Axis” will also be sustainable.

 Will you be doing some digging yourself?

Of course, I’ll be putting my green fingers to good use and look forward to getting involved in the planting along with everybody else.