SEA Banner

Sandra Thier, AT

TV host & UNICEF godmother

What does sustainable entrepreneurship mean for you personally?

For me it means a change as a result of entrepreneurial activity that alters society sustainably, in the long term and positively. Specifically: a good idea that appears within a company, continues to grow and does something good for lots of people. It can be in the area of education, protecting the environment, job creation for people with disabilities, combatting poverty or human rights.

Every year SEA awards prizes for exceptional projects that put sustainable entrepreneurship into practice. What persuaded you to support this idea?

Well, the award is not the destination but a stop along the road. I like the idea behind it, that ambassadors and companies are making an effort all year round to develop the idea further and implement it. We can all contribute to doing something for our environment. The award is an incentive and a motivation. I have got to know some exceptional people and ideas, which have left a lasting impression on me. And I am happy to support it.

How deeply rooted do you think this way of thinking already is in society, especially in the minds of entrepreneurs?

Thanks to the SEA platform and the team around Ms Weidinger, this way of thinking is growing constantly. I think there are more companies and people all the time that are giving the subject serious thought. But there is still room for improvement.

Which sectors do you think are way out in front when it comes to embodying sustainable entrepreneurship, and which ones still have some catching up to do?

Large companies usually have their own foundations or their own charity projects, where this is usually regulated very precisely. But small and medium-sized enterprises are also making an effort to do something with the resources they have. I think this is particularly laudable.

You are a journalist, TV presenter, events presenter and UNICEF ambassador. What role do the media play in promoting sustainable entrepreneurship?

Well, the media are there to highlight topics, report about them or to play an active part in things too. My editorial department, for example, have tried out the paperless office. It went well, although it was not always entirely paper-free.

In what way can each and every one of us contribute to increasing the importance and perceived value of sustainable entrepreneurship?

By everyone initiating the subject. Amongst friends, in their family, in the office with their colleagues and the boss. By talking seriously at workshops about ideas and how to implement them.  

How important is it to you to set an example by thinking sustainably, and to what extent do you do this?

Even I don’t always manage it. But of course I make an effort in everyday life. I use paper on both sides, try to shop cleverly and borrow clothes. I try to have a lasting positive effect on my environment and enjoy the time I spend with people and colleagues I am fond of.

How would you assess the role and position of Austria in the further development of sustainable entrepreneurship?

I find that difficult to judge. Here too there are lots of people and companies that are tackling the subject very seriously. And of course politics can create incentives here too.

And the last question: what is the most impressive example of sustainable entrepreneurship that has especially stuck in your mind?

Without a doubt - TABLE FOR TWO International, an SEA winner in 2013, to whom I was able to award the prize in the category “Lifestyle & Culture”. The New York initiative TABLE FOR TWO supports gastronomy providers who focus on healthy and low-calorie meals. For each calorie-reduced dish they buy, consumers automatically donate 25 US cents (EUR 0.19) towards financing school meals in Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya. A great idea!