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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

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) oblige all countries to adopt new ways of thinking and acting. They are the yardstick for the limitations and opportunities of globalization.

Achim Steiner, Member of the Council

Achim Steiner

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


Wortmarke: 17. Jahreskonferenz des Rates für Nachhaltige Entwicklung


knowing. choosing. wishing.
17th Annual Conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE)

29 May 2017, Berlin Congress Center (bcc), Alexanderstraße 11, 10178 Berlin,
9:15 am – 6 pm, followed by a reception

Around the globe, countries are focusing their attention on the 2030 Agenda. Setting their differences aside, actors are reaching out to each other to pursue joint concerns in the field of sustainable development. Germany is currently at the centre of the world’s 20 most important economies: with its policies, values and desire to make sustainability the basis of decisions – across the board.

But there’s another defining feature about our present day and age: we are not doing enough to translate our knowledge into action. We don’t question enough what it (really) means to advocate sustainability. We are not harnessing our desire for a better future to a sufficient extent to bridge the gap between our conflicts here and now.

How are we driving sustainable development forward? What is important, what can I and what must I, my organisation, ‘politics’ or ‘someone’ change? What needs to be done and what can be done faster? What is realistic and what isn’t in Germany, the ‘land of sustainability’?

These are the topics we want to discuss with you in forums and networks and through direct exchanges of opinion and presentations at the Annual Conference plenary session.

We invite all interested stakeholders to take part in the 17th Annual Conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development. We look forward to seeing you there.

Marlehn Thieme
Chairwoman of the German Council for Sustainable Development


from 8 am Registration
9:15 am                   Welcome address
Marlehn Thieme, Chairwoman of the German Council for Sustainable Development


knowing. choosing. wishing. I

9:30 am Magazine: Concepts and suggestions
  Short presentations moderated by Günther Bachmann, Secretary-General of the German Council for Sustainable Development
  • Marlene Haas and Eva Bergauer, Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK), ‘Sustainability as a joint way forward – the journey of a chamber of commerce and industry’
  • Robert Haßler, oekom research AG, ‘What can sustainability ratings achieve?’
  • Dr Ina Henkel, University of Potsdam, ‘Be brave: the early bird catches the worm – alternative sources of protein’
  • Charlotte Hopf, Flussbad (River Swimming Baths) Berlin, ‘Flussbad Berlin – the Baltic Sea ahead, Friedrichstraße behind’
  • Arianna Nicoletti, Green Fashion Tours, ‘How we are strengthening Berlin’s sustainable fashion scene through tourism’
  • Dr Thomas H. Osburg, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, ‘Digitalisation – a curse or blessing for sustainability?’


knowing. choosing. wishing. II

  Moderator: Anke Plättner, Phoenix
10:30 am Environmental strategies and sustainability
  Federal Minister Barbara Hendricks
German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Statement and discussion with Anke Plättner
11:00 am Sustainable agricultural products for everyone
  Dr. Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, agricultural scientist and organic farmer
Alexander Müller, Member of the German Council for Sustainable Development
Bernd Naaf, CropScience, Bayer AG
discuss sustainable agriculture, organic farming and global responsibility
moderated by Anke Plättner
11:30 am Sustainability 30 years on from the Brundtland definition
  Günther Bachmann talks to Dr. Volker Hauff, German Member of the Brundtland Commission
11:45 am Lunch break
1:00 – 2:30 pm Parallel forums
2:30 pm Coffee break
3:00 pm Plenary session: Award for transformation projects #tatenfuermorgen
3:15 pm Marlehn Thieme welcomes the German Federal Chancellor

Speech by the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel


knowing. choosing. wishing. III

4:15 pm Film
4:25 pm The future of development cooperation, Africa and the G20

Federal Minister Gerd Müller,
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Statement and discussion with Anke Plättner
4:55 pm What is culture?

Discussion with
Volker Eisenach, freelance choreographer, Faster-Than-Light-Dance-Company
Dieter Kosslick, Berlin International Film Festival
Stefan Schmidt, pianist, ‘Der Straßenchor’ (Street Choir)
Jörg Thadeusz, author, radio and television presenter

Moderator: Günther Bachmann
5:25 pm The Straßenchor directed by Stefan Schmidt & the
Faster-Than-Light-Dance-Company directed by Volker Eisenach

* tbc
Please note that this event is in German.
Last updated: 24 March 2017

Parallel forums from 1:00 to 2:30 pm

Forum 1: Workshop – Thinking of a (more) digital Germany?

The digital transformation is changing the way we live, work and communicate. Digital technologies are evolving rapidly. And they are opening up unprecedented potential and opportunities for development: between societies and the state, and in industry, the workplace and science and research. At the same time, digitalisation brings with it new risks with regard to freedom of opinion and data privacy and in terms of the digital divide between countries and within societies. How will societies change as a result? How can we turn these new digitalised technologies into effective tools for sustainable development and where do we need to apply leverage to unlock economies of scale in sustainability?

RNE host: Katherina Reiche
Moderator: Albert Eckert, denkmodell

Henning Banthien, ifok GmbH
Markus Kreßler, Kiron Open Higher Education
Dr. Tino Langer, Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology
Philippe Lorenz, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (New responsibility foundation)
Dr. Max Neufeind, German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
Dr. Meike Niedbal, Deutsche Bahn AG (German National Railways)
Prof. Dr. Thomas H. Osburg, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences
Timo Poppe*, swb AG

Forum 2: Green Finance Lounge – Council members in discussion

Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls for a lot of money, political courage and new ways of thinking. It is estimated that three trillion US dollars of private sector money will be needed to achieve the global SDGs by 2030. Investing in highly corrupt and also fossil fuel-based industries is no longer a viable option. Furthermore, Germany’s trade surplus is increasingly under pressure.

Members of the German Council for Sustainable Development talk to guests about what needs to be done around the world – and in Germany especially – and about the way sustainable financing should be structured.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Bassen and Achim Steiner
talk to:

Johannes Behrens-Türk, DekaBank
Martin Koch, EU Commission, DG FISMA
Oliver Oehri, Center for Social and Sustainable Products AG, Liechtenstein
Dr. Annabel Oelmann, Consumer Advice Centre, Bremen
Dr. Andreas M. Rickert, PHINEO gAG
Matthias Stapelfeldt, Union Investment
Jakob Thomä, 2° Investing Initiative
N.N. Youth Delegate, United Nations

and others

Forum 3: Panel discussion – Cities – so are they all smart now?

Cities magnify and intensify major processes of transformation. They should and indeed want to be socially responsible, innovative, green, sustainable and smart. But is that feasible? And all at the same time? For many cities, the data revolution poses a major challenge – after all, urban living is not just about having Wi-Fi in the park. But how exactly do we go about creating these cities of the future? What needs to be done to make sure no one gets left behind? How can good decisions, valuable data and meaningful participation be linked up? And what happens where things aren’t so ‘smart’?

RNE hosts: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schraml
Moderator: Anke Plättner

Andreas Feicht*, Wuppertaler Stadtwerke Energie und Wasser AG
Oliver Haubner, Bertelsmann Foundation
Thomas Kufen, Mayor of the City of Essen
Prof. Dr. Lamia Messari-Becker, Sachverständigenrat der Bundesregierung für Umweltfragen
Dr. Georg Schütte, State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Forum 4: Panel discussion – Sustainable business management in troubled times

General policy and economic conditions are changing globally and geopolitically. What are the consequences for sustainable business management if key trade partners increasingly seal themselves off? How will digitalisation and the transformation of work impact resource-friendly and environmentally aware business practices? And what precautions do companies with sustainable business models need to take to hold their own on national and international markets?

RNE hosts: Prof. Dr. Lucia A. Reisch, Dr. Werner Schnappauf
Moderator: Sabine Braun, akzente

Theo Besgen, BeoPlast GmbH
Cornelia Heydenreich, Germanwatch e.V.
Dr. Axel Seidel, Prognos AG
Dr. Kora Kristof, German Federal Environment Agency (UBA)
Holger Lösch, Federation of German Industries (BDI)

Forum 5: Wishing – let’s create the world we w a n t – an exchange

In this forum we are seeking inspiration from people who have taken on responsibility and are helping make the world a better place for us all. The times we live in are rife with fear about threats to our material and physical wellbeing, with concerns about peace, tolerance and civil liberties, and with resentment about the ‘system’ that repeatedly churns out yet more inequalities. Worrying doesn’t help. But what does, however, is rolling up our sleeves and creating a future that corresponds to our desire for – and our concepts of – a better life for all.

Here our guests tell their story. What are they doing, what have they learned and what might the outcome be? Their backgrounds are different, but they all share the same commitment to solidarity, dialogue and sustainable development.

RNE hosts: Dr. Imme Scholz, Olaf Tschimpke
Moderator: Verónica Tomei, RNE office

Gisela Burckhardt, Femnet e.V.
Clara Leiva Burger, Archdiocese of Cologne
Dr. Volker Hauff, Retired Federal Minister
Melanie Hörenz, Civic Foundation Dresden
Philipp Schönrock, Centro de Pensamiento Estratégico Internacional, Colombia

Forum 6: New governance laboratory – Rolling out the sustainability strategy – what’s the next move?

Sustainable development as a joint effort: the updated German Sustainability Strategy aims to integrate actors much more intensively. The strategy already includes initial deliberations that now need to be expanded.

Together with you, we want to rethink governance and invite you to contribute your ideas on cooperation, participation, knowledge transfer and political steering to help implement the German Sustainability Strategy.

This forum is the place to present your precise and concisely worded ideas on the governance of the German Sustainability Strategy – there’s no panel discussion but there will be an open exchange of opinion and a culture of debate based on respect and trust.

RNE hosts: Ulla Burchardt, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul
Moderator: Andrea Thilo, journalist

Dr. Stefan Bauernfeind*, Federal Chancellery
Dr. Ingolf Dietrich*, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Dr. Ulrich Hatzfeld, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Thilo Hoppe, Bread for the World
Andreas Jung, MP, Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development
Thomas Kubendorff, Former Administrator of the Steinfurt District
Lisi Maier*, German Federal Youth Council
Dr. Falk Schmidt, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies
Dr. Laura Schneider, econsense e.V.

Forum 7: A culture of sustainability – A discussion with guests

Hearing about sustainable development from others: values, visions, actions, diversity

RNE hosts: Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger, Alexander Müller
Moderator: Jörg Thadeusz, author, radio and television presenter

Leoni Beckmann, Restlos Glücklich e.V. (No leftovers, completely happy)
Dieter Kosslick, Berlin International Film Festival
Rüdiger Kruse, MP, CDU/CSU parliamentary group
Elisabeth Mars, Working group ‘Weltbilder’
Walter Spruck, Initiative Grünes Kino (Green Cinema Initiative)
Britta Steffenhagen, journalist

* tbc

Conference Management

The conference management team will gladly provide you with further information and answer any questions you may have:

Claudia Pietsch
labconcepts GmbH
On behalf of the German Council for Sustainable Development
+49 (0) 30 / 259 22 759
Fax: +49 (0) 30 / 259 429 11

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