Envisioning a greener future: New paths for the German sustainability strategy

The German Government are currently working on reorienting the approach to sustainable development in Germany. In light of this, adelphi presented and discussed its recommendations for renewing the policy approach’s guiding principles with a high-ranking audience of experts in Berlin in mid-June.


On 31 May 2016, Chancellor Angela Merkel introduced a draft of the Government’s new German sustainability strategy. When compared to previous progress reports on the strategy, originally developed in 2002, the new draft represents the most dramatic revision of the strategy to date. Following the passage of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), structural and management concepts have been updated to align them with the SDGs. At the same time, there are still significant gaps and areas in need of development before the strategy’s final version can be adopted later this year. 

Focus of the debate: results from the “Sustainability 2.0” project

On 17 June, adelphi organised the conference to discuss the draft entitled “Sustainability 2030 – between global goals and societal challenges“, commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). Representatives from all significant German sustainability policy bodies (Federal Chancellery and relevant departments, the German Council for Sustainable Development, the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development), from civil society, science, and industry, came together to discuss challenges and possibilities stemming from implementing the SDGs, the further development of indicators, and especially the strategy’s guiding principles and management rules. Important contributions were made by Stefan Bauernfeind (Federal Chancellery), Jörg Mayer-Riess, (BMUB), Marianne Beisheim (German Institute for International and Security Affairs, SWP), Alois Vedder (WWF Germany) and Klaus Milke (Germanwatch).

adelphi and its project partner the Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment (izt) presented results from the project “Sustainability 2.0” for discussion. The goal of the project was to advance the guiding principles underlying sustainable development, to make them more effective, and to rework the sustainability strategy’s management rules.

Following the conference, adelphi will publish policy recommendations for advancing the guiding principles of sustainable development and for the re-working of the management rules. The project has been carried out by adelphi in cooperation with the Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment (izt) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) under the leadership of the Federal Environment Agency.