What sustainable UK businesses can learn from the German craftsmanship sector


A few weeks ago, Cambridge Cleantech Associate Founder member Europartnerships along with the Federal Government of Germany’s BMWi (Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy), hosted a Showcase event of Germany’s Skilled Craftsmanship Sector in London. The aim of the event was to show the unique education system and working philosophy of German Craftsmanship, what UK companies can learn from that and vice versa.

Representatives of UK and German government bodies, as well as experts from the trade and craftsmanship sector attended. 10 German companies presented their businesses during the second half of the event, which was followed by networking and 1:1 meetings of interested attendees with the German companies.

The event gave interesting insights on differences between Germany and the UK, in the wake of current challenges like Climate Change – one representative, Marco Abdallah from  Drees & Sommer, presented how buildings in Germany use and profit from the Circular Economy and a “Cradle to Cradle” business model. This means to reduce the carbon that is used in construction, renewal and renovation of buildings, or implementing plant elements in large buildings to improve air quality.

Concerning architecture especially, it soon became clear that the way things are done in Germany tends to be very structured whereas in the UK freedom of thinking is more encouraged – not that one is necessarily better than the other. It is important for there to be an exchange between the two to make the most out international cooperation, while also keeping in mind the vision of a more sustainable future. That means both across cultures and across businesses there needs to be a healthy flow of communication between for example constructors, contractors and designers. We can learn a lot from each other’s philosophies and ways of working.

As a result of a matchmaking process between Cambridge Cleantech members and the participating German craftsmanship experts, our member Capelo Design, an interior design consultancy met with two of the German joinery companies, Spor and Wiese, to talk potential future collaboration. They had a very productive and positive meeting, and greatly appreciated each other’s portfolio, Capelo complimenting Spor and Wiese on their German precision, know-how and product quality.


We hope that 2020 will bring numerous opportunities for them and other cleantech companies in Germany and the UK to work together.