Deutscher Umweltpreis (German Environmental Award)

The German Environmental Award honours commitments and achievements, that contributed decisively to the protection and the preservation of our environment as well as will contribute in future to a clear environmental relief.

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The winners of the 2016 German Environmental Award of the DBU (l. to r.): Bas van Abel, Prof. Angelika Mettke, Walter Feeß.

Creative Minds Lead the Way in the Global Resources Transition

To send a clear signal regarding the protection and sustainable use of natural raw materials, so that the basis of life on the planet Earth is preserved, for future generations as well as our own: this is one of the major goals which the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, DBU) aims to achieve with the presentation of its 2016 German Environmental Prize. “Representative research indicates that we are already pushing the earth’s environment past the limits of what it can take,” warns DBU General Secretary Dr. Heinrich Bottermann. Every year, the so-called “World Overshoot Day” is reached earlier in the year. On this day, all resources have been used up which the Earth can replace in that year. Bottermann: “We need creative pioneers who can show us how we can achieve a transformation.” The Environmental Prize recipients are such pioneers: on October 30th in Würzburg, German President Joachim Gauck will personally hand to the entrepreneur Bas van Abel (39, of Amsterdam), the scientist Prof. Dr.-Ing. Angelika Mettke (64, of Cottbus), and the entrepreneur Walter Feeß (62, of Kirchheim/Teck) the largest independent environmental prize in Europe. The prize is endowed with a total financial award of € 500,000.00.

Van Abels company “fairphone” has as its goal the production of an ethically viable smartphone which causes the least possible damage to the environment and does not exploit humans in its manufacture. We are delighted to honor, in Bas van Abel, a pioneer for more resource efficiency in the smartphone industry.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Angelika Mettke and Walter Feeß receive this year’s German Environmental Prize for their leading roles in bringing the circular recycling economy to the construction industry. We are delighted to recognize Mettke and Feeß for their work to encourage the use of recycled concrete elements and the concrete recycling process. With their commitment, both prize recipients have broken through entrenched structures in the raw materials economy.




The German Environmental Award honours commitments and achievements, that contributed decisively to the protection and the preservation of our environment. It also considers projects which promise well for the future criteria.


The following criteria characterise the idea of the award:

  • the excellent performance primarily should be of model function for other people, enterprises and organisations.

  • the achievement to be awarded should contribute to recognising environmental problems early and defusing them by means of suitable precaution and applicability strategies.

  • the merits should be so convincing, that an imitation effect is achieved. Accordingly, the model character and the applicability in practice should stand in the foreground.

  • innovative, integrated solutions are particularly considered. Co-operation-promoting achievements of interdisciplinary character are dealt with as a matter of priority.

Endowment and target groups

The award, endowed with 500.000 €, is directed at people, enterprises and organisations respectively. Projects, measures or also a person's "life's work" can be awarded. The award is given annually and can be shared among several winners.


The DBU receives the proposals on possible candidates for the German Environmental Award. The following people and institutions are allowed to submit proposals:

Selection of the winners

The jury, which is nominated by the board of advisors, consists of prominent personalities from economy, science, technology and from societal groupings and submits a recommendation for prizewinners to be awarded. To the board of advisors then makes the final decision.