Carrier of the award

German Sustainability Award Foundation.

The award is sponsored by the German Sustainability Award Foundation (Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis e.V.), which maintains the independence and reputation of the award, provides funding and aligns the project with the highest standards. This applies in particular to the transparent control and further development of the methodology.


Good governance.

A broad funding structure that includes not only companies but also associations, research institutions and ministries ensures the foundation's independence. The founder is Stefan Schulze-Hausmann; the acting bodies are the Executive Board, the Board of Trustees and the General Meeting.


Executive Board.

The members of the Board are responsible for the goals, further development and financing of the GSA, appoint the Board of Trustees and agree on partnerships.

Initiator der Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis, Stefan Schulze-Hausmann

Stefan Schulze-Hausmann

Lawyer, science journalist

Prof. Dr. Günther Bachmann

Secretary General of the German Council for Sustainable Development (ret.)

Vorstandsmitglied der Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis, Otto Schulz

Dr. Otto Schulz

Partner at EY Parthenon

Board of Trustees.

The members of the Board of Trustees from business, politics and society provide advice on content and methodology and appoint the jury.

Bärbel Dieckmann

Chairwoman of the Expert Commission “Causes of Flight” of the Federal Government

Dr. Volker Hauff

Former Chairman of the German Council for Sustainable Development

Sylvia Schenk

Head of the Sports Working Group of Transparency International Deutschland e.V.

Rüdiger Kruse

Director of the Global Society Institute, Chairman of the Enterprise Forest Foundation Germany, 2009 to 2021 Member of the German Bundestag

Yvonne Zwick

Chairwoman of B.A.U.M. e.V. - Network for Sustainable Management

Jury procedure.

Decisions on rankings in the competition are made by the juries. The work of the foundation and the decisions in the competitions are completely decoupled.

The juries are independent and not bound by any particular interests. Their decision-making is exclusively committed to the ethical standards of sustainability and the objective of the GSA. When making its appointments, the Board of Trustees takes into account the personal and professional suitability of the members as well as a balanced representation of different stakeholders.

The juries make the judgemental selection of nominees, finalists and winners of the GSA. They take into account the facts compiled as part of the competition for the GSA, personal expertise and the findings of the relevant stakeholder groups.

The jury's evaluation criteria are essentially aimed at effective, successful and exemplary contributions to transformation in a multi-stage process.

In addition, the judges can take into account different (company) sizes, select different business models or key topics in the top field, and take into account development dynamics that make it recognisable, for example, that a player has developed particularly quickly from problematic sustainability balances. In competitions such as Sport or NEA, the jury follows different, separate assessment criteria.

Dealing with conflicts of interest.

Clear rules and measures ensure independent decisions.

The jurors are obliged to be transparent about possible conflicts of interest. A conflict of interest exists if your personal interests or the interests of the organisation you represent could impair or compromise the neutral performance of your jury mandate. The GSA appoints an independent ombudsperson who supports jurors and makes a decision in cases of doubt. If there is a conflict of interest, the jury member continues to take part in the vote, but cannot vote in favour of the finalist with whom they have a conflict.

All assessment partners undertake to be transparent about any conflicts of interest in the context of their assessments that may jeopardise their independence. In case of doubt, the independent ombudsperson appointed by the DNP will provide advice. If there is a conflict of interest, the assessment partner does not work on the company in question. The assessment is then carried out exclusively by the other partner.

Due to the new competition methodology in the company award, it is to be expected that partners of the foundation will also be among the pioneers in their sectors. Partners are not excluded from competitions, nor are competitors excluded from partnerships. All existing partnerships will be publicised on the website. All assessment partners undertake to evaluate partnerships completely independently, freely and according to their professional expertise. They therefore undertake not to take a partnership into account in their work in any way, either favourably or unfavourably.

Partners may not intervene in the process at any point and undertake in the partnership agreement to refrain from any attempt to exert influence. All assessment partners undertake to report any attempt to exert influence by a company (whether partner or not) to the ombudsperson appointed by the GSA.

Organisational structure of the GSA.

The conceptual body of the award is the Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis e.V., the organisational implementation is the responsibility of an implementation agency.

The GSA was launched in 2008 by the communications agency COMENT, whose managing director is the lawyer and science journalist Stefan Schulze-Hausmann. After a successful premiere, the governance and compliance rules for awarding the GSA were designed and implemented as a multi-stakeholder project (with the support of the then Secretary General of the German Council for Sustainable Development, Dr Günther Bachmann, and Sylvia Schenk, then Chairwoman of the Board of the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International, among others).

Since 2009, the German Sustainability Award Foundation (Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis e.V.) has been the conceptual sponsor of the German Sustainability Award. COMENT GmbH has been commissioned since 2009; the underlying contract is reviewed annually by the Board of Trustees and the General Assembly and signed by all members of the Executive Board.

The responsibilities of the foundation association and the implementation agency are clearly regulated; the proper cooperation between the association and the agency is supervised by the Board of Trustees.

COMENT GmbH realises the competitions and events of the GSA in close cooperation with the Foundation Association, which in turn also contributes management and implementation services. This is made transparent in the partner contracts and on the homepages of the GSA and the GmbH. The flow of funds is reported in detail to the Board of Trustees on an annual basis. In addition, the organisation, financing and division of tasks between the association and the general contractor as well as the market conformity of the fees are reviewed by the ministries or project sponsors before each contract is concluded with the public sector.

This is how the GSA is financed.

The project is made possible by the support of a large number of partners, the
sale of tickets for the congress and the award ceremonies and the
licensing of the seal.

As a multi-stakeholder project, the GSA, unlike many other awards, is not fully funded by a single political institution or a single other donor. The financial and material resources required for its realisation are raised again and again.

The project is made possible by numerous, essentially long-term partnerships. Here too, it follows a multi-stakeholder approach that excludes majorising financial support. The partners include federal and state authorities, local authorities, associations, NGOs, the media and companies. All partnerships are content-driven.

As a rule, the communication services of the Award (e.g. participation in the congress, communicative formats, cooperation at special prices, ticket contingents) are offset by financial or in-kind contributions from the partners. For example, the German government uses the Award to present and communicate sustainability-related initiatives. All partners are publicised.

In addition, the GSA is financed by ticket sales for the GSA award ceremonies and the GSD, licence fees for seals and inclusion in GSA print publications. Previously, participation fees partially covered the costs of the testing procedures. These were largely abolished in 2023.

Income and expenditure are reported in detail to the Board of Trustees each year.

403.696,81 euros for sustainable initiatives

Through donations, the Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis e. V. regularly supports organisations and projects that promote the idea of sustainable development.

The GSA helps on the ground in Laos.

Living with a disability is difficult in many places - and we all need help sooner or later. For this reason, the GSA in cooperation with Kleine Hilfsaktion e.V. made it possible to build a training centre for people with disabilities in Luang Prabang, Laos. Currently, 29 people are supported in making a living for themselves.