On 9 December, the Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Christian Hirte, presented the award for the 2019 nation-wide student competition YES! to the winning team from Weinheim, which was mentored by ZEW Mannheim. With their project “Greenpay – A private incentive system for a sustainable future”, the high school students of the Werner-Heisenberg-Gymnasium won first place in the competition organised by the Joachim Herz Stiftung and the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. They were mentored by Carina Fugger, a researcher in ZEW’s “Environmental and Resource Economics, Environmental Management” Department.

Winning team from Weinheim at the YES! award ceremony with ZEW President Achim Wambach
The winning team from Weinheim with ZEW President Achim Wambach.

The award ceremony took place in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, under whose patronage YES! has been operating since 2015. Parliamentary State Secretary Christian Hirte said: “I am pleased to see how committed our students are. By participating in the YES! competition, they also demonstrate their interest in finding constructive solutions for business and society. The YES! award aims to motivate students to continue working on their ideas and to show them that we are also interested in their solutions at the political level.”

Promoting environmental protection in everyday life

Presentation of the student project "Greenpay" of the Gymnasium Weinheim, mentored by ZEW
Timo Sattler from Heisenberg-Gymnasium Weinheim presenting the project “GreenPay”, which won first place.

With their GreenPay system, the nine high school students of the winning team from Weinheim want to make a valuable contribution to help protect the climate. The project aims to make it easier for everyone to make their everyday lives more environmentally friendly. To this end, the students developed a system to evaluate individual products and services. With a special card, consumers are able to gain points when, for example, they buy regional products, avoid packaging waste, use public transport or recycle used goods. They can then redeem these points in participating stores for environmentally friendly rewards.

ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach accepted the YES! Competition Cup for ZEW at the award ceremony in Berlin, and was impressed by the ingenuity of the students: “With their project, the high school team has proved that the young generation is able to come up with creative answers to current problems. The YES! competition is an excellent opportunity for science and politics to exchange ideas with students. In this way, all participants benefit by learning something new.”

ZEW Wins First Place for Third Time in a Row

ZEW President Achim Wambach at the award ceremony of the YES! Competition 2019
ZEW President Achim Wambach accepts the YES! Competition Cup from YES! project manager Willi Scholz (right) and the chairman of the executive board of the Joachim Herz Stiftung, Henneke Lütgerath.

Dr. Henneke Lütgerath, chairman of the executive board of the Joachim Herz Stiftung, praised the YES! award winners for their entrepreneurial and scientific spirit. Second and third place went to the Gymnasium Köln Pesch for the idea “Shared Remote Offices – Enable Well-Paid Jobs in Rural Areas” and to the Gymnasium St. Michael from Schwäbisch Hall for their project “P-Box – For Green Delivery”. The RBZ Wirtschaft Kiel received the Jury Award for Best Scientific Analysis with their idea “Upgreening”.

For the third time in a row, the YES! award went to a team of students mentored by ZEW. Next year, ZEW will once again be competing at YES! with seven topics. On 1 July 2020, ZEW will host the south-west regional final, where it will be decided which two teams from the region will run in the national final in Hamburg.

About YES!

The YES! – Young Economic Summit falls under the patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The YES! programme, a joint project by the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and the Joachim Herz Stiftung, is one of the biggest German school competitions aimed at getting young people to engage with global economic and social issues. Over the course of a six-month mentoring programme, student teams tackle pressing issues facing future generations. Researchers from various Leibniz institutions in Germany support the students by providing scientific expertise. By 2020, a total of 15 partner institutes will be participating. ZEW forms part of the South West region, in which the LOEWE Centre SAFE (“Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe”) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO are participating for the first time. By participating in YES!, students explore immediate political, social, economic and environmental challenges, giving them the opportunity to contribute their voices to current economic policy discourse.




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