A philosophy of abundance
At an architecture award ceremony in Celle on the 10th of December in 2018, I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me.
The archetype of a creative scientist with glasses and tousled hair opened up a new world for me. It felt strangely familiar, but had never been so well sorted before:
Man as an integral part of nature, useful and fundamentally good, who thinks about the end right at the beginning, uses only perfectly healthy materials, simply composts some materials and uses others again and again without loss of quality.
I sat next to Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart, the German co-founder of the Cradle to Cradle design concept. This acquaintance changed the direction of my actions, but the story of my mentors began before that.
Always stay in the flow
With my grandfather, I still saw the top of a family tree of sailors who came before me. Perhaps it is this spirit that lets me go with the flow of life and only take hold of the steering wheel when necessary.
After a civil engineering diploma, I gained an instructive and formative insight into many companies through a management program at HeidelbergCement within a few years.
I observed how destructive bad decisions made out of a personal thirst for recognition can be. But I was also able to see how it can be done right: Respecting an evolved corporate culture and making humble as well as courageous decisions are the fabric of successful leadership.
Reaching the summit
The insights I gained eventually helped me rise to the top management of Rockwool. And then? Then my second son was born and the time came for a conscious step back.
Moving to be managing partner at Baukom, I gave up a straight forward career at a global market leader, but I gained all the more for it: More time for my wife and children, with the wheel in my hand instead of being a cog in the gears.
I also wanted to answer one question: Will I manage to grow a business instead of managing a fully grown company?
Learning from nature: Putting seeds in the ground
I am convinced: A circular economy is the only way to preserve the planet and make our future worth living. So what are we waiting for?
I am proud that Baukom is already perceived as a sustainable and innovative company – and yet we will only be successful if we succeed in making the change towards a better world.
The next step is to bring this philosophy to the entire construction industry.
»The construction industry consumes enormous amounts of raw materials every year and is a big factor for our planet. Buildings need to become raw material storage facilities or use renewable raw materials that are not harmful to nature. Stefan has become a friend, his enthusiasm is contagious. Rarely has anyone implemented a C2C idea as quickly as he has.«
- Prof. Michael Braungart, co-author of the Cradle to CradlePrinciple (C2C)
No path without milestones
At every station in my life, I have been able to thank my mentors whose perspectives, decision-making styles and personalities continue to shape me today.
The encounter with Michael Braungart particularly helped to align my compass needle clearly and to stand confidently for a life-affirming philosophy.
Now it is time to take the lead myself and give back what I received. Therefore, as a decision-maker in the construction industry, I want to invite you to be far-sighted and determined:
Support our Bauwende initiative, be inspired by Baukom's history of innovation, incorporate a true circular economy into your business strategy, and be a pioneer sustainably positioned for the future.