How do we understand sustainability? In accordance with the broad definition of the United Nations, we understand it as the balance and interplay of three factors:
> protection of the environment and natural resources (ecological dimension)
> improvement of living conditions for as many people as possible (social and humanitarian dimension)
> consolidation of the economic foundation for acting ecologically and with social conscience (economic dimension)
The award is endorsed by the German Federal Government, local and business associations as well as numerous NGOs, among them UNESCO and UNICEF. The awards are presented to cities, companies and individuals promoting the idea of a sustainable society by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel or other members of her cabinet. The German Sustainability Award was established in 2008 to encourage the acceptance of social and ecological responsibility and to identify role models in this area.
The Awards Ceremony is designed as a gala night including film clips, tribute speeches, appearances by prominent musicians and guests of honour. The latest Awards Ceremony took place on Friday, December 7th, 2018. Approximately 1,200 invited guests attended, among them the chief executives of national and international companies, well-known sports, TV and movie personalities, representatives of local and national governments as well as individuals renowned for their efforts in promoting the idea of sustainable development through their commitment to NGOs, foundations and trusts. Roughly 150 members of the national and international media were covering the event.
The German Sustainability Award is a "green event" – from the competition and further organisational issues throughout the whole year to the very concrete production of the German Sustainability Day. Accordingly, congress and award ceremony are climate neutral events; unavoidable carbon emissions (including journeys of guests and participants) are accounted and offset. Every year the German Sustainability Award supports ecological and social projects by means of donations.