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Meet the Meroes: Felix Köhnlein

Felix is the Group Sustainability Manager at Mer, responsible for aligning the company to become fully sustainable. A major aspect of his role is to ensure that sustainable development and practices are integrated through Mer’s entire value chain and that the company takes on a leading position in sustainable practices. Sustainability is also a big part of his personal life, and he always encourages those around him to make the most sustainable choices they can.

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Felix is a 29-year-old man who currently lives in Munich with his girlfriend. He grew up in the countryside, around 40 kilometers to the north of Munich. Felix completed his master’s degree in business management and entrepreneurship, with a specialization in Renewable Energy, from the Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences in 2020. He is a strong advocate for sustainable practices and is deeply committed to promoting environmental conservation.

“I worked as an apprentice industrial clerk for two years after high school. Throughout this time, I had a constant desire to contribute to making the world a better place. It was this drive that inspired me to pursue higher education. My interest in business and management aligned perfectly with my passion for renewable energy, and I was fortunate enough to find a degree that combined the two,” says Felix.

A mission to make the EV charging industry more sustainable

Despite being determined to build a career in the renewable energy sector, Felix felt conflicted as he sought a role that went beyond conventional solar and wind projects. As he neared the completion of his degree, he pursued an internship at Solid GmbH, a small firm that supplies chargers designed for use in remote, rural areas to small-scale energy providers. It was during his stint at Solid that Felix discovered his passing for the charging industry.

During his studies, he kept in touch with his childhood friend who was employed at a firm called eeMobility. With his friend’s assistance, Felix was introduced to the founders of the company, and he secured a working student position there in 2017. Upon graduating in 2020, he was offered a full-time role as a sales and marketing operational analyst. The following year, eeMobility was acquired by Statkraft and became a part of Mer.

“In September 2022, I became the Group Sustainability Manager at Mer. I’m responsible for aligning the company to be even more sustainable and want to lead the entire EV charging industry towards the same path. I strive to make Mer become the front-runner within sustainability,” he tells.

Felix explains that Mer works closely together with its suppliers to be able to work towards having a fully sustainable supply chain.

“During the fall of last year, we released our first sustainability report, and I strongly believe that effective communication is vital. As a responsible company, it is essential that we communicate how we work toward sustainability, and that every claim we make is backed up by factual evidence. It is important to consider how we impact the environment, and how the environment affects us. While we are working towards reducing our environmental impact, we recognize that there is more work to be done to ensure that our efforts are sustainable in the long term. That is why I’m incredibly passionate about my role at Mer and driving positive change,” he says.

Making sustainable choices at work and on the road

According to Felix, the life of a sustainability manager is full of variety. His schedule is typically packed with meetings, as sustainability is a cross-functional responsibility at Mer. However, Felix prioritizes starting his days on a positive note by riding his bike to the office.

“Despite a busy schedule, I always make time to cycle to work, which allows me to clear my head and plan for the day ahead. It is important to me to ensure that Mer continues to implement innovative, sustainable strategies that push the industry forward,” he tells.

Felix notes that his colleagues at Mer are highly motivated to pursue sustainability and work together to achieve their shared goals.

“Empowering all employees to view sustainability as an integral part of their daily work is essential. Sustainable thinking should be woven into everything we do. That is the end goal, and we must bring everyone on board,” Felix explains.

He emphasizes that merely joining the renewable industry or driving an electric car does not automatically make someone sustainable. Instead, he encourages others to consider sustainable options in every decision they make.

“I always encourage those around me to rethink their choices and make the most sustainable decisions they can. For instance, I convinced my line manager to purchase an electric bike instead of another electric car. Biking is not only sustainable for the planet, but it is also beneficial for the individual as it provides fresh air and exercise, which is essential for the body and mental health” he tells.

By considering the sustainability implications of every choice, Felix believes that we can all make a positive impact on the environment and our well-being.

A love for the outdoors and sustainable living

Felix is not just prioritizing sustainability while at work, but it is also a big part of his personal life. He loves spending time outdoors, especially hiking in the Alps. In the last year, gardening has also become a new hobby of his.

“Last year, my girlfriend and I moved into a new apartment with a small garden. I spend countless hours trying and erroring at growing my own fruits and vegetables. It is kind of meditative for me, and I really enjoy it,” he shares.

Felix is also committed to sustainable transportation and has never owned a car. He believes that personal cars and individual transportation are not the way to go if we want to change the world. Instead, he opts for train tickets and is getting more creative in planning his summer vacation this year.

“This summer, I’m planning to go on a bike trip from Munich to Spiekeroog, a German island in the North Sea. I will be biking across Germany from the south to the north, and then exploring an almost car-free island. I am really excited about it!” he concludes with a smile.

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