So that earth
doesn’t become a desert

We make sustainability happen

Clear. Future-proof. Part of the solution.

Specialist organisation for sustainability

As Europe’s only association with a comprehensive, integrated model of sustainability, our work contributes to making the goals of sustainable development a reality.

Areas of activity and services

The core of our tasks includes: Social cohesion as the key to a successful transformation, the revitalisation of rural areas as an urgent task, the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the benchmark for our actions. And above all: education and research for sustainable development.

Beyond conventional concepts, we include obvious, related, complementary and seemingly contradictory aspects in the context of the topics to be analysed when looking at sustainability – participatory processes and culture are also key success factors in our approach.


Transformation mentoring
Sustainable business models

Strategic and content-related consulting, support in the transformation of processes and reporting as well as annual reviews for companies, organisations, administrations and corporations.

Advanced training

Profession and sustainability
Sustainable initial voctional training

Conception and development of education and training programmes for vocational training for sustainable development, including the implementation of the corresponding training courses.

Change of perspective

Stays abroad for
trainees and training staff

As a consortium leader in the Erasmus+ programme accredited by the European Commission, we organise internships, job shadowing and teaching placements in almost every country in the world.

Educational material

Teaching and learning about
sustainable development in a playful way

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has arrived in educational framworks and school curricula after almost 20 years. Our educational material provides you with a tool for organising lessons.


Bringing sustainability
to life

As a specialist association for sustainability, we are actively committed to a sustainable future. To this end, we develop projects that counteract inequalities and strengthen social cohesion.

Research host

Sustainable development
starts with partnership

The German Federal Association for Sustainability is available as host organisation for researchers with the German Chancellor Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

What does sustainability mean?

It is often considered sustainable if a company or product has existed for “150 years” or “will still exist in 150 years”. This is based on the longest, preferably eternal period of time. This is too short-sighted.

Closed loops

Inspired by nature
quality can grow indefinitely

Sustainability refers to the quality of what is created in a long-term, far-sighted, intergenerational and value-based process, such as:

  • Thinking in systemic contexts
  • Being aware of the interactions and effects of your own actions.
  • Creating decentralised, resilient structures.
  • Accepting diversity, living openness and broadening own horizons.
  • Using resources carefully, working in cycles and knowing when something is enough.
  • Interacting respectfully with nature.
  • Setting something (unselfishly) in motion of which results you do not necessarily profit from.

Sustainability model

Sustainability and
sustainable development

A holistic approach – looking at the big picture and the systemic interrelationships – is the key to stable sustainability. Our 6-component model encompasses both the goal and the path to it.

Sustainability as a goal in the form of the 3 pillars can only be achieved if people are involved in development. Participation fundamentally links the pillars.

Sustainable action is crucial for the success of sustainable development. This behaviour is culturally shaped. This applies equally to all regions of the world and is reflected, for example, in a corporate culture, in a social culture and in a culture of interaction with nature. Culture creates the second link and stabilises the pillars and carries a component that balances the relationship between humans and nature: the orientation towards balance.

Getting into action

Sustainability as a
task for society as a whole

We want to support and promote the process of sustainable development, which is based on a balance between the needs of people, the conservation of our resources and the stabilisation of the global climate for future generations.

Technologies, methods and sufficient money are available – what is still missing is the will and determination.

A focus on balance with the reduction of inequalities is one of many ways of preserving quality of life, living space and livelihoods for future generations and earning the respect of these generations.

Other approaches include overcoming short-term thinking in terms of election periods and quarterly figures and overcoming the battle for resources.


Everyone can do Circular, except Economy

Futurologist Michael Carl in conversation
with Vice President Martin Wittau

Nature can do the circular – and hardly anything else. Wherever we look: A supposed end is always the beginning of something new. Only we humans have been geared towards linear thinking, working and economic activity since the end of industrialisation at the latest. This is the source of prosperity and development in the first world, as well as the climate crisis and other phenomena.


Shortage of skilled workers

Futurologist Michael Carl in conversation
with Vice President Martin Wittau

If you really want to be a successful entrepreneur in the long term, you have to think and act sustainably. Success is a question of sustainable corporate policy. In this episode, Martin Wittau from the German Federal Association for Sustainability shows how a company that is consistently geared towards sustainability can also do better in the battle for skilled workers, young talents and labour.