In the Green Pearls® newsletters we write about hotels and destinations and their green initiatives. We dedicate our new series to the hoteliers, who are committed to more sustainability in tourism in their day to day lives and who continue to inspire us with their ideas.

Leaving behind grandchildren and a future

 

The Rehlegglehen Estate was first documented in 1640 and has been owned by the Lichtmannegger family since 1917. At that time Sebastian Lichtmannegger, the grandfather of Franz and Johannes, acquired it and created a home for his family.

 

Since 2000, Johannes and his cousin Franz have been running the Berghotel Rehlegg in Ramsau together. Which they have continued to develop sustainably over the past seven years.

Appreciation of food, something we must re-learn

 

When you talk to Hannes Lichtmannegger, his enthusiasm, his visions, and his ideas are practically tangible. What drives him are topics such as appreciation of food and respect for animal life. He knows all the farmers and farms personally from where he buys sheep, calves, and pigs.

 

Whether at the Ministry of Agriculture or at schools and universities, Hannes Lichtmannegger wants to enlighten and inspire. For him, the price must not be the decisive criterion. But if consumers do not know the context because they are not well informed, that is exactly what happens: the price drives the decision. Hannes Lichtmannegger can get into a rage when he thinks about it: „Milk calves scream so much because they are hungry and actually need ‚solid food’, i.e. roughage in the form of grass or hay, from the second week of life at the latest. But they are denied it until they die so that the meat remains white for consumers. And death is then a release from their short, five-month life”. The hotelier shows in his own business that it can be done differently. The veal purchased from agricultural partner farms is not completely white, but pink and tastes even better. It comes from species-appropriate husbandry and the calves live with their mother and reach an age of about seven to nine months.

Animal welfare and indigenous breeds

 

Hannes gave the initial push for the reintroduction of breeding indigenous species and breeds, such as the black Alpine pig and the Augsburg chicken. These animals can be saved from extinction while focusing on sustainability and species-appropriate husbandry. „A broiler chicken has a life expectancy of 30 days, an organic chicken of 80 days, but our Augsburg chickens live for a whole 11 months.”

 

Hannes’ personal credo is „Leaving a future behind”. This embodies his conviction that only a sustainable combination of agriculture, processing, trade, gastronomy, and consumers can be a good basis for the future. It’s all about creating a „grandchildren’s economy” and how we will pass the world on to the next generation. The fourth generation, namely his daughters Stephanie and Katharina, are already working in the business.

More ecological and organic

 

Four years ago, Hannes and Franz asked themselves whether they wanted to push further with their consistent restructuring towards more environmentally friendly and organic products. „In the initial period, we invested a six-figure sum per year in this process. At the same time, we saved a lot from the improved energy balance through our solar thermal energy, photovoltaic systems, and the combined heat and power plants, so that we could afford (and, indeed, wanted!) to do so.”

 

In 2017, the hotel was the first climate-friendly hotel in Upper Bavaria to receive this award. It captures more CO2 than it emits.

Climate-positive through humus regeneration – founding member of „positerra”

 

CO2 is another major issue that concerns Johannes Lichtmannegger. The visionary firmly believes that humus formation and regeneration can help save the world. With this, he is referring to Professor Dr. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner, who was awarded the German Environmental Prize in 2019. She describes healthy soils with sustainable humus formation as a milestone for a better climate. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner, is a Professor of Soil Science at the Technical University of Munich and conducts basic research for improving climate and environmental protection. „The enormous importance of our soils can be seen simply from the fact that there are more organisms living in a handful of soil than there are people on this earth,” she says.

 

Johannes Lichtmannegger drew his conclusions from this and then founded the company positerra together with seven other „positively crazy” people.