Dr Werner Schnappauf

Lawyer and consultant; Former Minister of State


Born in 1953 in Steinbach am Wald, Bavaria, Germany, Dr Werner Schnappauf is a practising lawyer at GvW Graf von Westphalen and Senior Advisor to the Bank of America. Prior to this, the doctor of law was Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of German Industries (BDI).

Schnappauf has many years of experience in politics as chief administrative officer of the district of Kronach, as a minister in the Bavarian state parliament, Environment Minister of the Free State of Bavaria, Chair of the German Conference of Environment Ministers, as well as a member of the German Bundesrat and of Federal Assemblies. He was a member of the supervisory board of Allianz Germany and still belongs to the board of trustees of the Allianz Environmental Foundation and the Ifo Institute at the University of Munich. At Bucerius Law School in Hamburg he is Chairman of the Circle on Energy Law and Policy.

Having joined the German Council for Sustainable Development in November 2016, Werner Schnappauf was Chair of the Council from 2020 to 2023. In January 2023 he was reappointed as a member for a further term.

Three questions for Dr Werner Schnappauf

Let’s get to it: What does sustainability mean to you? What do you associate with the term?

Dr Werner Schnappauf: Sustainability is all about making provisions for a good future, about replacing our throw-away mindset with long-term thinking, about resilience and harnessing the power of innovation. Against the backdrop of Russia’s war on Ukraine, now more than ever we have to prove that liberal, democratic societies are capable of pulling off the transition to a sustainable economy and way of life and can do so better and faster than authoritarian systems.

What is your personal priority in your work as part of the Council for Sustainable Development?

I am particularly passionate about the Joint Action for Sustainable Development. Not only is the transformation a mammoth task, it’s one we need to accomplish in record time, something we can only achieve with new partnerships between society, business and politics. Time to get to work together!

In the context of sustainability, what do you believe will pose the greatest challenge in the coming years?

The cornerstone for achieving climate neutrality will be successfully restructuring our energy system. Solar power, wind energy and hydrogen all open the door for new partnerships with our neighbours – especially in Africa.

Curriculum vitae

Dr Werner Schnappauf detailed CV available to download (PDF, 75 KB)


“Sustainable development requires greatest possible recognition of commonalities as well as acceptance of differences.”

Press photo

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Dr. Werner Schnappauf, Photo: Viviane Wild © RNE

Dr. Werner Schnappauf, Photo: Viviane Wild © RNE

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