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  • Dear Readers!

    There is good cause for celebration! 30 years of a unified Germany. Or perhaps we should say: ‘30 years of working on a unified Germany’? Seen from a historical perspective, it is certainly true to say that the reunification process has not yet been completed. In fact, looking at Germany’s history, you might well be excused for thinking that this process will never be completed. Each individual region has its own cultural peculiarities, its own dialect, its own sensibilities, its own breed of people. And, of course, their traditional dishes are worlds apart from each other. But that’s the way it should be as it is the differences that create a strong dynamic for change and enrich our culture and economy. Having said all that, we are still quite a young nation. Germany really hasn’t been around that long. Our country – as a federation of states – did not come into being until almost 100 years after the United States of America was founded. And we are all well aware that they are still working hard on unifying their nation.

    We are very grateful that our family-run business has been able to play a constructive role in shaping the reunification process from the start. While criticism continues to be directed towards the Treuhand (the agency responsible for privatising the former East German enterprises) for the way it acted – its focus was often on processing rather than developing – our aim has always been on finding robust, future-oriented solutions by working closely on the ground with the different city and regional authorities. The results speak for themselves – whether it be in the Lausitz region where our public private joint venture WAL Betrieb provides water management services and has kept fees and charges stable and jobs secure for decades now despite the region’s declining population; or in Schwerin, where the public private partnership between the city and REMONDIS has been hugely successful at delivering key services cost effectively. And these are just two examples of many. It was – and continues to be – the amazing personal dedication of the company’s employees in the regions that made it possible for REMONDIS to become a local east German family-run business in these new areas after the wall fell. What’s more, some of the family moved from the Westphalian town of Selm to make their home in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – but this just as a side note. Unity requires active commitment, as does sustainable development. REMONDIS is dedicated to both, always working with the future in mind.

    One thing is certain: there are a lot of things still – or once again – to be done. The recession brought on by Covid-19 is having a dramatic impact on the finances of local authorities. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the cities and districts faced a shortfall of 9.7 billion euros in the first six months of this year. As a comparison: the deficit amounted to just 0.3 billion euros a year ago. The reason for this negative trend was the drastic fall in revenue received by local governments in the second quarter of 2020. The German economy nosedived by 9.7% between April and June – the first time it has ever had to face such a huge drop. Yet another reason then for thinking about how the pressure can be taken off local governments in the future. They don’t have to do everything by themselves – the private sector is happy to help. Public private partnerships are a robust solution for delivering cost-intensive essential services, such as waste management and water management tasks. I and Professor Michael Schäfer, retired professor of public sector economics at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, illustrate this very clearly with the help of many examples in one of the books we co-authored – and we don’t forget to mention the negative examples either. As everyone knows, people learn from their mistakes so they can do a better job in the future. And this is precisely what we are doing together with our friends and partners in the not so new states in the east of Germany, in Europe and across the world.

    We hope you enjoy reading this latest issue. Stay safe!

    Yours

    Ludger Rethmann

Working together for a good cause

  • REMONDIS’ North Region company recently joined forces with THW Kiel, the current German handball champions, to help tackle child poverty. Together, they donated 6,500 euros to ‘inka’ – an association based in Kiel set up to support children affected by poverty. It offers, for example, weekly music, sport and dancing lessons for children from poverty stricken families in Kiel. With THW Kiel having introduced reusable cups and a deposit return scheme into its club, fans now pay a deposit each time they buy a drink during a match. THW fans were asked recently to donate their cups rather than claim back their deposit – resulting in 3,000 euros being raised for the ‘inka’ project over the last five matches. REMONDIS and THW Kiel added a further 3,500 euros to the sum.

Help is needed from the public

  • Mayor Dr Ulf Kämpfer, patron of the “inka” association, praised THW Kiel and REMONDIS’ commitment to this cause: “Unfortunately, child poverty in Kiel affects more than just a few children. Every one in three children in Kiel is poor. Besides all the activities that the council are undertaking to tackle child poverty, we also need help from our local citizens – whether it be donations or voluntary work. The support that the handball fans, THW Kiel and REMONDIS have shown with their inka campaign is an excellent example of such local commitment.”

    • Mayor Dr Ulf Kämpfer and Ralph Müller-Beck, Head of Municipal Sales REMONDIS North, have joined forces with THW Kiel to help children

“Children’s well-being is something that lies very close to our heart. What’s more we have very close ties to the City of Kiel having provided services to the council for so many years.”

Ralph Müller-Beck, Head of Municipal Sales at REMONDIS North

REMONDIS wishes to raise more money

Ralph Müller-Beck, head of municipal sales at REMONDIS North, explained the company’s motives behind the campaign: “Children’s well-being is something that lies very close to our heart. What’s more we have very close ties to the City of Kiel having provided services to the council for so many years. We are, therefore, not only helping to keep the environment clean but also to reduce child poverty in Kiel. It has been a pleasure supporting this fundraising campaign. We have also advertised it on the side of one of our vehicles to encourage other people in Kiel to join in and donate as well.”

Donation much appreciated

    • “Children from poverty-stricken households need all the help they can get – especially during this coronavirus year,” stressed Jürgen Fenske, chairman of inka. “We’re really pleased as well that this fundraising campaign has helped to make more people aware of inka and its goals – every handball match was sold out.”

    Music, sport, theatre and dance are all really important for a child’s personal development. Unfortunately, not all families in Kiel can afford these out-of-school activities. 9,000 children in Kiel live in poverty. inka wishes to give these children access to such opportunities as well. THW Kiel and REMONDIS intend to continue their cup donation campaign as soon as the next handball season starts.

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