In its capacity as a national non-governmental organized interest group the German Federal Association for Sustainability sponsors the Sustainability Award "Federal Award for Sustainability" in recognition of particularly sustainable action and behavior in the 4 categories society, politics, administration and business. The winners will be selected annually on the "Arbor day" (25 April).
During the nomination periods nominations can be submitted via the German form → here.
The previous award winners
On April 25th, 2017 the General Assembly has selected the award winners of 2017 from the nominations (see below). The award ceremony took place on October 13, 2017 at → Pulsraum Berlin.
Prof. Dr. Byung-Chul Han, Berlin
From the statement: → Byung- Chul Han (born 1959 in Seoul, South Korea) is an author and essayist and professor of philosophy and cultural studies at the Berlin University of the Arts.
In numerous publications Byung-Chul Han throws a sun-clear view of social change processes, which oppose the collective work of sustainable action of many the development-inhibiting individualism and thus make sustainable development impossible.
Characteristics of such barriers in his opinion are amongst others a transparency bordering on totalitarianism in the course of digitization, in which man is seemingly more useful as a dataset or virtual being than as a living being:
“The increasing digitization of society greatly facilitates, expands and accelerates the commercial exploitation of human life. It subordinates areas of life to economic exploitation that were previously inaccessible to commercial access. So today, it is necessary to establish new areas of life, indeed to develop new ways of life that oppose the commercial total exploitation of human life. “
Big Data makes predictions of human behavior possible, which would allow the future to be calculated and manipulated. It creates a mastery of knowledge that makes it possible to make people controllable like puppets without this being noticed by them. Moreover, this would be perceived as an individual freedom. “So big data announces the end of free will.”
From the point of view of the jury the combination of an exaggerated, culturally lived individualism with a digitally supporting isolation raises the question of the validity of the self-definition as a human being, based on social and cultural interaction, awareness and reflective behavior.
In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, his work is a concrete contribution to goals → 4 (Quality education), → 11 (Sustainable cities and settlements) and → 12 (Responsible consumption and production).
UnternehmensGruen e.V., Berlin
From the statement: For the past 25 years, → UnternehmensGruen – Federal Association of Green Business has been the political voice of responsible, sustainable enterprises predominantly in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises with the declared goal of “consistent implementation of ecological concepts and strategies in the economy and society”.
Since 19 June 1992, the commitment of the non-profit organization has been to improve the political framework for sustainable business and to show that sustainable business concepts can generate sales and thus profits. From the point of view of the jury, the exemplary continuous preservation of authenticity over such a long period of time is remarkable, which is made possible by the economic independence of the association’s actors.
The association, independent from political parties, looks back in its history on milestones such as the German Renewable Energy Law, the eco-tax or the critical examination of free trade policy.
UnternehmensGruen was chosen because it succeeds in involving pioneers of sustainability in the political debate and in highlighting flagship projects. In addition, the association is involved in Education for Sustainable Development and at European level.
In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the work of UnternehmensGruen is a concrete contribution to goals → 8 (Decent work and economic growth), → 12 (Responsible consumption and production) and → 17 (Partnerships for the goals).
Stiftung WaldWelten, Eberswalde (Forests of the World Foundation)
From the statement: The → Forests of the World Foundation was launched jointly by the City of Eberswalde and the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE). The purpose of the charitable foundation is the promotion of forest-related science and climate impact research, public environmental education, the promotion of forest-related art and culture, as well as nature conservation.
From the point of view of the jury, these two public institutions are forging new foundations to generate sound information for sustainable development as well as to ensure experience and application. With information and experience, knowledge about sustainable development is created, which can be transferred and passed on. As the bearer of this knowledge, culture is a key driver of sustainable development.
With numerous projects and educational modules on the forest ecosystem, the foundation contributes to concretely capturing sustainability and sharpening the term. The concrete idea of sustainability that is possible in this way makes it possible to actively promote sustainable action. However, with the reflection of its experiences and results back in research and teaching, the Forests of the World Foundation goes one step further and in this way promotes transdisciplinary, systemic thinking and action.
In line with the “Sustainable Development Goals” adopted by the UN, the work of the Foundation is a concrete contribution to goals → 4 (Quality education), → 13 (Climate action), → 15 (Life on land) and → 17 (Partnerships for the goals).
The Start-up company Geschmacksentfaltung GmbH, Aalen (Unfolding Taste Ltd.)
From the statement: → Geschmacksentfaltung GmbH was nominated with the question:’Do you know how many plastic spoons are used annually in this country for to-go drinks and disposed unrecycled in the garbage?’ ‘The answer was included: 7.5 billion.
Also the second question about the quantity of tea bag clamps consumed in Germany (about 50,000 kg aluminum. Jury note: this requires about 700 megawatt hours of electricity for pure production, which corresponds to the consumption of about 430 single households) shows that with creative, sustainable solution of problems central questions of the Circular Economy and resource efficiency can be answered.
The company produces an article called the ‘Greenspoon’, which in the eyes of the jury shows in an impressive way how simple innovations can be in inconspicuous niches of daily life without the need to change the way of life.
Greenspoon is a foldable spoon with integrated tea that is made from a single base material that, according to the manufacturer, is also 100% biodegradable. Thus, from the point of view of the jury the product is the counter model of the madness of coffee capsules.
What initially appears as a packaged teabag in the outer packaging, is – after unfolding – a combination of a paper-made spoon filled with tea. Poured over with hot water in the cup the entire spoon can be disposed compostable after the appropriate brewing time.
In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the product is a concrete contribution to goals → 3 (Good health and well-being), → 12 (Responsible consumption and production) and → 15 (Life on land).
On April 25th, 2016 the General Assembly has selected the award winners of 2016 from the nominations (see below). The award ceremony took place on June 12, 2016 at → Pulsraum Berlin.
→ Sanktionsfrei (penalty free) charitable association, Berlin
From the statement: “The initiative “sanktionsfrei.de” engages an absolute social novelty: a practice-oriented, practical and nationwide available assistance for those receiving transfer payments according to the 2nd book of the German Social Security Code in case of long-term unemployment (colloquially: Hartz 4) and feeling overwhelmed in dealing with the authorities and the regulations and are therefore at risk of being occupied unnecessarily with sanctions or penalties.
The assistance is comprehensive and accessible: in addition to the multilingual option to fill out aid applications online, it is above all easy to understand tools that simplify the correspondence with the Job Center. Combined with legal advice options and standardized propositions there is for the first time an opportunity to reduce sanctions or penalties drastically. This also allows to relieve work- and cost-intensive administrative processes at Job Centers.
According to the → Sustainable Development Goals released in 2015 by the UN, sanktionsfrei.de is a concrete contribution to the goals 1 (no poverty), 10 (reduced inequalities) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).”
→ Netzwerk Lebenswerte Stadt (Network Livable City) Association, Berlin
From the statement: “The association is the responsible organization for the Berlin bicycle referendum. This referendum is characterized by 2 decisive criteria for the selection:
a) for the first time multilevel participatory and inclusive methods applied in the development of the upcoming voting bill, which have the potential to develop the future of design/draft work in the legislative process:
The rough draft was developed by a so-called “Law Hackathon” (nationwide participation of transport experts and lawyers after appropriate public call) and has been further developed and refined in the context of other participation opportunities through a public Facebook group.
In a final round of participation the bill draft was published on the website of the initiators inviting the public to comment the draft. The many comments then were incorporated into the final version of the draft law.
b) the referendum is representative for the practicing of a future approach to contemporary democratic empowerment both at a general population (currently still without non-German population), as well as in politics. Even the announcement for the implementation of the referendum has led to manifold impulses in politics.
According to the “Sustainable Development Goals” released in 2015 by the UN, the bicycle referendum is a concrete contribution to the objectives 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 13 (climate action) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).”
For several years cooperation between universities and the offer of joint courses are a new method for transnational collaborative studies with mutual recognition of qualifications. This model can be found again in the close integration of German universities or from several universities within a study area.
Essentials of such cooperations are strengthening the academic quality, the assumption of shared responsibility and the opportunity to offer courses that otherwise could not be done by only one university for reasons of cost.
Thus, a study has been developed which allows a bachelor’s and master’s degree for Public and Nonprofit Management and students are offered a special, overarching view into public administration, public companies and non-profit organizations. This opens up a mutual understanding of the needs and problems and especially non-profit organizations benefit from the resulting professionalization.
According to the “Sustainable Development Goals” released in 2015 by the UN, cooperation between universities and this particular degree course are a still rare concrete contribution to the objectives 4 (quality education), 10 (reduced inequalities), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).”
The Start-up company → BioInspiration GbR, Eberswalde
From the statement: “BioInspiration was founded in 2014 in Eberswalde. Both founders have met in the playground of their children and thought about how they could manufacture their children’s toys less hazardous to health and from renewable resources materials. Considering this the idea first arose to modify the raw material for 3D printers so that the health risk by fine dust from the previous use can be eliminated. The first product is a plant-based polymer, which they could modify for use in 3D printers.
The next step – as the basic of the selection for the award – is the conceptual development of decentralized production of so-called “Bio-polymers”, which can be obtained on the basis of metabolic products of algae or bacteria. Here bioinspiration is doing groundwork for the development of steps also for further processing, which opens new perspectives particularly for so far mainly agricultural regions.
According to the “Sustainable Development Goals” released in 2015 by the UN, BioInspiration adresses to the objectives 3 (good health and well-being), 8 (decent work conditions and economic growth), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and 12 (responsible consumption and production).”
On April 25th, 2015 the General Assembly has selected the award winners of 2015 from the nominations (see below). The award ceremony took place on June 02, 2015 in the Berlin Forum Factory.
→ Mein Grundeinkommen e.V. i.Gr. Association (My Basic Income).
From the statement: “This experimental and practical approach to research from civil society to verify the decades-long debate on the effects of unconditional basic income to the people was long overdue. The initiators have demonstrated courage to risk failure and by April 2015 will have helped 10 people to experience a 1-year basic income. Meanwhile the methodology takes worldwide attention, in the Netherlands the methodology comes to public, too.”
→ Liquid Democracy e.V. Association.
From the statement: “With the development of the “Adhocracy” platform for the implementation of participation in (political) decision-making processes, the association offers the best conditions for the active participation of civil society. The platform is used both within existing organisations as well as in the public sector and allows a clear, honest, trust-promoting and results-oriented trialogue between politics, administration and citizenship.”
The City of → Weilheim in Upper Bavaria.
From the statement: “The coat of arms of the city is an open gate in a city wall. Already therefore suggests that the Weilheim citizens are open to new ideas. As one of the first municipalities in Germany, Weilheim committed to public participation as 4th pillar of Sustainability: “People must have the opportunity to participate in the decisions which are important for them and for sustainable development. The involvement of citizens strengthens the ownership and promotes awareness of problems.” This active participation is made possible by several permanent working groups which cover a broad range of subjects and are specifically supported by the City Council. This goes far beyond the concept of traditional citizenship.”
The company → TRIGEMA Inh. W. Grupp e.K.
From the statement: “The entrepreneur Wolfgang Grupp leads TRIGEMA and its 1200 employees with considerable personal risk and liability. His recipe for success of the company includes to focus on the core business, a philosophy of qualitative growth, high creation of value with the result of a stable economic base and the exceptionally high level of social responsibility to the employees. TRIGEMA has been operating since 2004 as one of the first – and still very few – companies with a product line in terms of circular economy, the Cradle-to-Cradle. Therefore TRIGEMA is a pioneer of economic change from the perspective of the production and assumes responsibility for sustainable awareness among consumers. TRIGEMA is farsighted set up in every way and justifiably a sustainable company within the meaning of the Responsible Economy.”