Meet Gϋnther Reifer from Terra Institute! As our next contributor, we are honoured to introduce Mr. Gϋnther Reifer to the Green Deal Malta platform! In our exclusive interview with Gϋnther, he introduces ‘Terra Institute’, a strategic consulting and management training company leading the way in guiding companies towards the adoption of sustainable practices, in line with the circular economy. Gϋnther explains more about the mission of Terra Institute, as well as provides insight into some of the services which are offered through the Institute. Earlier this year, Ewropa Consultancy Services Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Terra Institute in this regard. Find out more about Terra Institute and the tools and services which are available by taking a look at our interview with Gϋnther below!
Origin, identity & network
When was Terra Institute founded and by whom? Moreover, why was the Institute set up?
Terra Institute was founded in 2010 through the shared vision of my business partner Evelyn Oberleiter and myself. Before setting up Terra Institute, we were not professionally active in the field of sustainability, but step by step, we eventually became more personally involved with it. We could not accept that the so-called ‘business-as-usual’ was the only way, and that the private sector could not contribute to ameliorate the wellbeing of our societies and the health of our planet. From these intrinsic personal reflections, we decided that we could put our passion, values, and energy at the disposal of companies willing to play a role in working for the viability of younger and future generations. This is the reason why Terra Institute was founded.
What is your mission as a company?
The sentence we like to use as our mission, is as follows:
“As part of nature, we want to generate impulses and spaces for development that favour the connection between the inner and outer dimensions and that allow us to perceive the energy of the vital.”
What are Terra Institute’s values, in three words?
Empowering Responsible Growth.
Products and sales
What kind of products, tools and services does Terra Institute offer? Could you provide us with an overview of such services?
We have two major branches in our work: accompanying companies and training consultants.
Accompanying companies is what we have been doing since the establishment of Terra Institute. The spectrum of our services is therefore very broad. We offer CO2 and climate strategies, which imply calculating the carbon footprint at company and/or product level, finding reduction measures and compensating projects; sustainability reporting according to internationally recognized methods and the defining of a materiality matrix; integrating sustainability into the company strategy; ‘Earth check’, a certification for sustainable tourism; sustainable finance services for banks and for companies such as Taxonomy alignment processes and ESG risk assessment; circular economy and “good products” paths; the defining of a company’s purpose and mission statement; executive coaching; leadership and development programs; mobility management processes; and the integration of the SDGs into businesses.
Over the last four years, we have realized that our impact as a company is only limited to the clients we could reach. Yet, we wanted it to be much broader, and as a result, we came up with the idea of training other consultants to use our tools and approaches (which are the ones that I have just listed) with their own clients. Twice a year we organize training sessions that last about 3 months, which include weekly online meetings and individual online learning materials. The training sessions are available in three languages (English, Italian and German), and are attended by consultants from Europe, Latin America, and North America. This team of like-minded consultants that have taken part in our training is referred to as the ‘Terra Consulting Community’.
What kind of feedback/responses do you receive from your customers? Are individuals generally interested in your services?
Indeed, the last EU and international commitments and regulations regarding sustainability (e.g. the Paris Agreement, the EU Green Deal, the SDGs, the EU Taxonomy, etc.) have significantly increased the overall awareness of citizens and of companies, and also the interest in our services. We have more and more companies approaching us, asking us to help them develop a sustainability process, whilst we also have many established clients that are recommending us to their clients and suppliers to develop similar projects together, and there are also some very well-established clients that have been working with us for around 7/8 years and who keep enjoying working with us on the new challenges and new regulations coming up.
Future plans & developments
In your opinion, how can we engage citizens and companies in the shift towards more sustainable practices?
In my opinion, the awareness among citizens has already increased drastically. Nowadays, more and more people pay attention to what they eat, what they buy, how they travel, and so on. In order to make this phenomenon much more effective, there is the need for more education on sustainability issues from an early age, which would extend up to tertiary education levels, and beyond. However, this should not be superficial such as “recycling is important” – recycling is important indeed, however, for citizens to make a change, they should learn and carry out much more research and education than that.
On the same line, companies should start literally rethinking, step by step, all their practices in every phase (procurement, production, sales, disposal, etc.), and accurately assess what impacts they cause on society and the environment. From here, they should then accurately rethink all these practices with the goal of minimizing their impacts whenever possible.
Do you have any concluding remarks and messages which you would like to share with the Green Deal Malta community?
We are very glad to partner up with Ewropa Consultancy and to be present on the Green Deal Malta platform with so many other good companies and people committed to hopefully leaving future generations a better world and society. Additionally, we are very much looking forward to start working in Malta!