The Council has been established in 2001 and is an advisory body to the German Government. Its 15 members are nominated by the Chancellor for a (renewable) term of three years. The current members have been nominated in November 2016. The Council has the opportunity to co-opt personalities with specialized expertise for the duration of a project in order to develop innovative solutions for specific sustainability topics. The German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) was first called into being in April 2001 by the German government of that time under Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.