International News & Activities

Who we are

The Green Economy Network is the hub for Green Tech made in NRW. The Network serves as a central point of contact for companies, associations, universities, and economic development agencies in NRW. The aim is to strengthen the Green Economy of NRW through the identification and promotion of national and international market opportunities. Since 2020, the network has been operated by VDI Technologiezentrum GmbH, Prognos AG, and the Institute for the Future of Industrial Society (INZIN).

The network will demonstrate strengths and potentials of the Green Economy. As an exchange platform it will improve collaboration at all levels. The market development of NRW's Green Economy will be supported by providing know-how and improving exchange between core actors - both, nationally and internationally. The network aims to evolve into a self-sustaining organisation that represents and drives the interests of NRW's Green Economy and supports those companies that focus on climate and environmental protection.

Your contact persons are:

The Green Economy in NRW

Greentech made in Germany
Greentech made in Germany

"Green products and services are drivers and enablers for the ecological transition, and at the same time are embedded in the system and influenced by societal trends. A green economy is also the overall goal of the transition towards a sustainable society and depicts an economy that is in line with our planetary boundaries. North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) is home to a particularly high number of companies that provide sustainable products and services. From large industrial sectors to businesses in farming and forestry, environmentally friendly and resourcesaving products and services are being developed in all key sectors of the green economy, accounting for 7% of the overall economy (compared to the gross value added)." Read more in "Greentech made in Germany"

What we do

We strive to bring together and promote the Green Economy in North Rhine-Westphalia and beyond. Through our networking events, we provide a platform to discuss the most pressing issues in sub-markets, such as green mobility, sustainable materials and water management. These events foster partnerships across sectors and borders. Ourannual SUMMIT in Düsseldorf is a central meeting point for all players in the Green Economy, connecting business, science and politics. We regularly screen and publish more good practices and the latest Green Economy innovationswith commercial potential in our innovation radars. We also offer a platform for innovative businesses to present themselves at trade fairs such as HANNOVER MESSE and IFAT, the World's Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management in Munich.

Our tailored international match-making programs in the Green Economy enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to tap into international markets and harness synergies across borders. Additionally, promoting NRW as a leading Green Economy location is one of our core tasks. We introduce foreign businesses to NRW’s Green Economy ecosystem, providing them with the contacts, information about requirements and opportunities. To continuously expand our knowledge about sustainable solutions and our network of valuable international partners, we participate in delegation trips and contribute to pertinent international events like the Circular Economy Hubs.

The Green Economy Network NRW is the central nexus for all questions and projects relating to the Green Economy in NRW. We are your partner in promoting your sustainable solutions in North-Rhine Westphalia.

Innovations of Tomorrow

Innovations from the green economy are the drivers of an urgently needed transformation towards a sustainable and future-proof economy at large. With top international research, innovative start-ups and transformative companies, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) demonstrates a unique range of solutions for the urgent questions of a fundamental change in resource, climate, and spatial behaviour. Using a multi-level research methodology, a large number of interviews and various science dialogues, the Green Economy Network regularly publishes the results of an innovation screening on the three main fields of the sustainability transition and thus provides an insight into the innovation scene of the state.

The published reports are not a rigid framework and are regularly updated. Is your company located in NRW, your innovation in the area of resources is missing or are you a knowledge carrier of solutions for the climate or spatial sustainability transition? Then get in touch with us and together we will explore the possibilities of participating in the next or further editions.

To the Innovations of Tomorrow

KNUW at Trade Fairs

The Green Economy Network presents solutions from North-Rhine Westphalia at leading trade fairs, the two most important of which are the Hannover Messe and IFAT Munich. Shared exhibition booths provide easy access for innovative start-ups and early-moversas well as a platform to extend their reach. Leveraging our close ties to policy makers, we facilitate direct contact with key decision makers for businesses from NRW. Additionally, we promote the region’s strength and its green solutions in panel discussions and on various side events.

  • Hannover Messe holds a preeminent position as the leading trade fair on future proof industry, i.e., the transformation of manufacturing and related industries both in terms of digitalization and ecological sustainability. As such it is a key platform for cutting edge developments in the green economy and the central nexus for exchange between leading actors shaping the future pathways of manufacturing.
  • IFAT Munich is the world's foremost meeting place for actors involved in the sustainable treatment of water and waste and the promotion of circularity.  A specialized eco-system of players has evolved around these topics, gathering at IFAT Munich to present new solutions, exchange expertise and cooperate in furthering the circular economy.

The virtual Circular Economy Tour

The EU Action Plan for a Circular Economy  has set ambitious targets. Most sectors will have to shift to completely different, circular business models in the coming years. While this will be a challenge for some, there are companies across the continent that are ahead of the game. These pioneers have already converted their business models to circular or have set out with a circular approach. In 2021 and 2022, a network of European partners toured virtually across Europe to discover, explore, and promote best practices of SMEs with circular business models. The common goal was to pave the way for a more circular economy and inspire others around Europe to get started. We organised 9 tour stops in different locations and sectors, giving space for companies to showcase their work and for the audience to question their own business practices, learn from each other and connect through our large networking platform .

Furthermore, we produced a video for each sector-focused webinar in which the companies introduce themselves and we learn more about circular business models from our partners all over Europe. You want to know more? Please find all the videos here

In 2023, the virtual journey will continue. Planned activities include a workshop with the  ScenCi game in The Hague on 9 February, a thematic webinar focusing on the transition of companies from linear to circular business models, a partner meeting and workshop at the Circular Economy Hotspot in Dublin, Ireland in June, and a second thematic webinar and networking event focusing on product-based material loops.

If you are interested in joining the trip, please use this link  and register via the B2M platform.

The activities of the virtual Circular Economy Tour in 2021 and 2022 are presented in an international brochure. The document introduces each company and illustrates their activities within the circular value chain.

Download the document here

The ScenCi Game - A playful exploration of circular business models


The ScenCi game was developed as part of a virtual Circular Economy Tour across Europe. The tour is showcasing good practices by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from all sectors covered by the European Circular Economy Action Plan for a transition towards a circular economy. It is organised by the Green Economy Network North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) and started with the Circular Economy Hotspot in Barcelona (Spain) in 2021. Since then, the tour has stopped in different countries and presented nine circular economy sectors. At each virtual tour stop, up to five SMEs were invited to present their circular business models. An industry film was created, which can be watched on YouTube, and the homepage provides the opportunity to join the network

The Game

The ScenCi game is based on the good practice examples visited during the tour. It is a multi-player scenario game and allows players to:

  • learn about existing circular business models,
  • explore how different circular companies interact with their value chains,
  • simulate how these value chains perform under different scenarios.

The game is designed for workshops with circular economy professionals, business developers or students who want to learn about business- or sustainability-related topics (bachelor or master level).

To play the ScenCi game you need one moderator who is familiar with the context of circular economy as well as the rules of this game and 4 - 45 players, depending on the number of sectors that you want to work with. The estimated playing time is 2,5 hours.

The ScenCi game material pack (description, scenario cards and circular value chain posters) provides the necessary thematic set-up for the game and can be downloaded here. The game can be used freely by interested parties under the copy right of the Green Economy Network.

Download the ScenCi Game Material Pack

Please contact Greta Dekker, if you have questions or suggestions related to the game.

Impressions of the ScenCi Game at the Circular Economy Hotspot Bottrop in 2022

Actors of the Green Economy in NRW

The Green Economy Database provides an insight into the diverse business landscape of the cross-sectoral green industry in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The companies listed are partners of the Green Economy Network who have already participated and contributed to network activities several times.

Take a look around and be inspired by what NRW has to offer. Please contact us by mail if your company is located in NRW and you need an English registration form to become part of the Green Economy database.

Take a look inside

Do you have any questions or suggestions regarding the international activities of the Green Economy Network NRW? Please contact our responsible colleagues Hanne Hagedorn or Greta Dekker.

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