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Future peace and prosperity will no longer be within our reach, if we in Germany do not commit more resolutely to greater sustainability and channel all our energy into making it happen – be it in politics, business, science or civil society.

Marlehn Thieme, Chairwoman of the Council

Marlehn Thieme

The principle of sustainability is the only option for responsible global action; it protects our eco-systems and thus ensures the survival of generations to come.

Olaf Tschimpke, Deputy Chairman of the Council

Olaf Tschimpke

Measuring sustainability and identifying interrelationships are major success factors for anchoring this topic in companies and on capital markets.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Bassen, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Alexander Bassen

Avoiding past mistakes means pointing progress in the right direction: the principle of sustainable development is a good compass for technical and social innovations at local, national and global level.

Ulla Burchardt, Member of the Council

Ulla Burchardt

The global sustainability and climate protection goals are the long-term milestones. Now we have to engage in an honest discussion about what the state, private sector and citizens can and must do to achieve them.

Kathrin Menges, Member of the Council

Kathrin Menges

The energy revolution has greatly reduced the costs of green electricity, so it is competitive at international level and helps to achieve the global sustainability goals without additional CO2 emissions.

Alexander Müller, Member of the Council

Alexander Müller

The idea of sustainability is at the core of a viable, innovative economy and is vital for a society that aims to safeguard quality of life in the long term. That is why the three pillars of sustainability – economic, environmental and social – must be considered together.

Katherina Reiche, Member of the Council

Katherina Reiche

Make the sustainable choice the easy choice.

Prof. Dr. Lucia A. Reisch, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Lucia A. Reisch

Sustainable development requires to find as much common ground as possible but also to accept differences.

Dr. Werner Schnappauf, Member of the Council

Dr. Werner Schnappauf

Today, sustainable development requires an agenda which explicitly links global and national goals and policies and thus gives global cooperation a strong push forward.

Dr. Imme Scholz, Member of the Council

Dr. Imme Scholz

In forest science, we learned how important the sustainable management of natural resources is centuries ago. Empirical knowledge, openness to new things and humility in the face of nature can help other sectors, too.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schraml, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schraml

Cities, even more so than today, will become hubs of technological and social development in the future. All the more important are efforts to encourage the sustainable development of our cities.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuster

We need to make bold political decisions that reward growth less and sustainability more and that encourage the common good instead of profit-seeking.

Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger

The UN Sustainable Development Goals present the vision of a fundamental socio-ecological transformation. They are not a specialist task for development or environmental policy, but are binding for all cabinet members.

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Member of the Council

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul


Peer review: International experts recommend enhanced German sustainability policies. Report delivered

Gutachten über die deutsche Nachhaltigkeitspolitik vorgestellt

Berlin, 05.11.2013 - Das internationale Gutachten zur deutschen Nachhaltigkeitspolitik ist am 4. November in Berlin öffentlich vorgestellt und diskutiert worden. Björn Stigson, Vorsitzender der vom Bundeskanzleramt beauftragten internationalen Expertengruppe, erläuterte deren kritischen Bericht zur deutschen Nachhaltigkeitspolitik und die Schlussfolgerungen aus der fast einjährigen intensiven Befassung zur deutschen Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie und -politik. In ihrem Bericht nehmen die Experten eine Bestandsaufnahme erzielter Fortschritte in der Nachhaltigkeitspolitik seit dem ersten Peer Review 2009 vor und leiten daraus und unter Bezugnahme auf neue Herausforderungen zentrale Empfehlungen ab.
Der Rat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung beschloss ebenfalls am 4. November in seiner 64. Sitzung eine Stellungnahme zum internationalen Gutachten.

Statement by the Council (PDF, 65 KB)
Interview with Björn Stigson (in German)
Press statement by Björn Stigson (PDF, 49 KB)
Peer Review Report (PDF, 2693 KB)
Photos of the presentation on 4 November 2013

International experts recommend enhanced German sustainability policies. Report delivered

Berlin, 25 September 2013. Timely placed into the after-election discussions international experts recommend strengthening the implementation of sustainability policies. Mandated by the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel the peer group now delivers their report “Sustainability-Made in Germany. The Second Review”.

Following the 2012 progress report on the National Sustainable Development Strategy, the Federal Chancellery invited a group of internationally recognized experts from Sweden, Finland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, USA, South Africa and Korea to undertake a second peer review on Germany’s sustainable development policies.

“In delivering the report right at the outset of the new legislative period we recommend for the German government to recommit itself to the overarching goals of sustainable development and climate protection”, said Björn Stigson, chair of the peer review group. Cautioning German policy makers and entrepreneurs against complacency, he adds, “Germany has much to be proud of in what it has achieved so far in its transition towards a more sustainable world. But the journey is by no means over yet and much remains to be done”.

The peer report provides a firm foundation to consolidate what has been achieved so far and to integrate sustainability more securely throughout all parts of German government, business and society. Central recommendations include:

  • restructuring administrative capacities in the Federal Government, and providing a reliable framework for sustainable development
  • shaping the Green Economy and introducing more coherent cooperation between the public and private sector
  • a clear coordination and better planning for the Energiewende transition
  • the need to address the social dimension of sustainable development including quality of life and the demographic challenges
  • building sustainability more systematically into all levels of education
  • strengthening research for sustainable development.

“We have found a desire in many parts of the world for Germany to come forward more strongly as an international champion and exemplar of sustainability in action“, Bjorn Stigson said. “Our review has identified a number of opportunities for Germany to play this role over the next few years, both in Europe and in the wider world, and we have recommended they be pursued vigorously. We believe that a stronger international stance on sustainability would not only enhance Germany's international image and help the global cause of spreading sustainability in Europe and the wider world, but would also benefit Germany's economy through the expansion of global markets for green products and services in which Germany can excel.”

The peers took up work in 2012. A full week of consultations in Berlin in February 2013 was followed by internal meetings and discussions, and public debate. The conclusions will be publicly presented on November, 4th. The Council for Sustainable Development provided organizational support, think pieces and stock-taking reports.

The e-book can be downloaded here. The printed version is available soon. Recommendations will be presented and discussed in public on November, 4th. For more information on the National Sustainable Development Strategy, please visit and

Members of the peer review group:

  • Björn Stigson, Prof  Dr (Chair of the Peer Group), former President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, WBCSD, Visiting Professor Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law
  • Suresh P. Babu, Dr Manager in the Global and Regional Solutions Directorate at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, former CEO and director of technology development for TERI Technologies, Ltd., Delhi, India
  • Jeroen Bordewijk, Co-founder and first President of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) and former Senior Vice President of Unilever
  • Pekka Haavisto, Member of the Finnish Parliament for the Green Party, former Finnish Minister of the Environment and Development Co-operation, former EU Special Representative for Sudan and Darfur, former leader of UNEP post-conflict environmental assessments and projects
  • Valli Moosa, Chair of WWF South Africa, Chairman of Anglo American Platinum and former Minister for Constitutional Development, South Africa
  • Jennifer Morgan, Director of the Climate and Energy Program of the World Resources Institute, former leader of the Global Climate Change Program of Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and since end of June 2013 member of the German Council for Sustainable Development
  • Derek Osborn, CB, President of Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, formerly Director General of the UK Department of the Environment, Chair of the European Environment Agency and Chair of the European Economic and Social Committee’s Sustainable Development Observatory
  • Sun-Jin Yun, Prof Dr, Professor of Environmental and Energy Policy, Graduate School of Environmental Studies of Seoul National University and former president of a grassroots environmental organization for energy transition, called the Center for Energy Alternatives, South Korea

Photos of the public presentation and discussion of the Peer Review recommendations on 4 November 2013 in Berlin

Please click on the preview pictures to zoom and download the photos in high resolution.

Photos: Andr© Wagenzik, © The German Council for Sustainable Development

Peer review 2009: Germany’s national sustainability strategy and policies will come under scrutiny

Report on the Peer Review: if you make your choice, you can make Germany sustainable Experts handed their report over to the Chancellor

In their report, an international group of experts, chaired by Björn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, came up with praise and acknowledgement as well as criticism and practical recommendations on sustainability policies in Germany. Their review was mandated by the Federal Government. The report on the Peer Review (PDF, 4093 KB) has been handed over to the Chancellor Angela Merkel and presented to the public in the course of the annual conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development on Nov 23rd. In 2009 eminent members of the Peer Review group from Sweden, Finland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, India, Canada and the USA brought their experiences to bear on the opportunities and challenges for Germany’s sustainable development policies in an international context and in the context of innovations towards a low carbon economy. The report acknowledges Germany a potential key position to spearhead the transition to a more sustainable development if Germany overcomes domestic weaknesses and makes a move to substantial institutional reforms, and sets out to empower society’s vision towards what the Peers call the “Grand Design 2050”.

The Peer Review comes up with a set of clear recommendations addressing politics, the Parliament, the business community and civil society.  The German Council for Sustainable Development facilitated the reviewing process.

This report can also be obtained free of charge as a brochure by using our online form.

This report can also be obtained free of charge as a brochure by using our online form.

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