Country Profiles

German Council for Sustainable Development

Rat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung (RNE)


Name: Dr. Günther Bachmann

Position: Secretary General

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Phone: +49 (30) 408190-122

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Rat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung (RNE)

Geschäftsstelle c/o GTZ

Potsdamer Platz 10

D-10785 Berlin



Mission Statement

The RNE has been requested to contribute to the process of elaborating and updating strategy and to come up with political recommendations to implement sustainable development. It further pinpoints specific areas of action and projects and strengthens communication about sustainable development.

The remit of the RNE is:

  • To shape the emergence and continuing development of Germany's sustainability strategy in critical dialogue with the Federal Government and leading social players;
  • To pinpoint specific areas of action and projects; and
  • To communicate the aspects of sustainability to the public and promote societal dialogue around SD. 'This dialogue should build a consensus between the different interests and stakeholders. By pointing out the consequences of social behaviour and action and by presenting concrete possibilities of solutions, the recognition of the existence of urgent probls shall be strenghtened.'

Composition and Membership 

The German Council for Sustainable Development was established by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in 2001, and given a new mandate in June 2013 by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Chair: Marlehn Thieme, Member of the Council of Lutheran Churches in Germany (EKD), Director of the Deutsche Bank AG.

Deputy Chair: Olaf Tschimpke, President of “NABU” (nature and biodiversity conservation)

The Council consists of 15 people in public life.

Role and Functions

  • advising on government policy or making policy recommendations, including NSDS; and
  • stakeholder engagement.

The Council stands for societal dialogue, it is not a purely scientific advisory body.


Case Study: The German Sustainable Code (GSC)

As part of its mandate to devise and test policy options to further sustainable development at the national level, in 2011 the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) recommended that the Federal Government implement a mechanism known as the German Sustainability Code (GSC). After a period of extensive consultations - without involvement of the state - and a successful trail, the GSC was fully implemented in October 2011.

Download the case study here.

Recent Activities

The Council decides on its own work programme. Recommendations on thematic issues are developed either by working groups or appointed rapporteurs. The Council meets approximately every two months. Current priorities:

    • Eco Farming;
    • Raw materials and circular economy;
    • Vision 2050. Future Dialogue;
    • Green Economy, Consumption and Lifestyles;
    • Sustainability City Dialogue;
    • Federal Sustainability Strategy;
    • Sustainablefiscal strategies;
    • Sustainable Land use; and
    • Annual Conferences and further communication.


Using and reusing resources efficiently: A proposal from Germany for a UN Sustainable Development Goal on resource efficient production and consumption

For a New Start in Sustainability Policy - Opinion concerning the Report of the Peer Review 2013, 'Sustainability - Made in Germany' (Nov. 2013)

Sustainability - Made in Germany. The Second Review (Sept. 2013)

Press Release: New Council for Sustainable Development Faces New Tasks (26 June 2013)

Innovative Choices in the German Energiewende (15 Oct. 2012)

A Sustainable Resource Strategy (Oct. 2012)