“More than ever in times of multiple crises, we have to ground sustainability as a driving principle in public discourse”, said Reiner Hoffmann, who also emphasised the importance of social justice. “For me, sustainability rests on three pillars: the environment, the economy and social issues. But social sustainability reaches far beyond and demands far more than social policy alone. This is about implementation, and it’s up to us to show that to politicians and the public alike”, added Hoffmann.
The same meeting saw Gunda Röstel Managing Director Stadtentwässerung Dresden GmbH and Company Secretary GELSENWASSER AG, elected as Deputy Chair. “It’s easy to feel powerless these days. But the good news is that the Council for Sustainable Development can encourage politicians, make recommendations and translate these into real-world action”, said Röstel. At the same time, she set a clear-cut and very personal deadline: “We must have resolved the climate crisis to positive effect by the time my two grandchildren have grown up.”
On the occasion of the inaugural meeting of the RNE, Minister of State Ryglewski underscored that she was looking forward to working together with the Council in future as an independent, knowledgeable and critical advisory body to the German government and source of much inspiration. “Over the next few years, we need to drastically reduce global greenhouse emissions and transition our energy production to renewables. But we must also focus on social cohesion, distributing social gain in a way that ensures everyone is able to benefit, not least the generations to come. The transformation will only succeed if we live by the principle of ‘Leave no one behind’ across the board, a core demand of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, said the Minister of State.
In the run-up to the meeting, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met the Council members for a joint press photo, having appointed the 15 members to the RNE for a period of three years in mid-January, nine of them for the first time. The Council will convene again in late March at a closed meeting to thrash out its work programme for the period 2023–2026.