Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt

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One of the largest foundations in Europe

The German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, DBU) is one of the largest foundations in Europe. It promotes innovative exemplary projects for environmental protection.

Since the foundation began its work in 1991 (it was established in 1990), it has supported more than 10,900 projects with a funding volume of around 2.03 billion euros. Today, the foundation’s capital is around 2.42 billion euros.
(as of October 2023)

In accordance with the foundation’s mission and guiding principles, the DBU promotes innovative, exemplary and solution-oriented projects for the protection of the environment with a special focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.

Funded projects should achieve sustainable effects in practice, provide impetus and have a multiplier effect. It is the DBU’s concern to contribute to the solution of current environmental problems, which result in particular from unsustainable economic and lifestyle practices in our society. The DBU sees key challenges above all in climate change, biodiversity loss, the unsustainable use of resources, and harmful emissions. In this way, the funding topics tie in with both current scientific findings on planetary boundaries and the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN.

The Board of Trustees

The Foundation’s Board of Directors – and thus its most important body – exercises control functions and votes on important decisions. It consists of the following members appointed by the federal government.

Office of the German Federal Foundation for the Environment

The DBU office in Osnabrück is headed by the Secretary General Alexander Bonde, who was appointed by the Board of Trustees. He represents the Board of Trustees in day-to-day business.


On October 24, 1989, at the suggestion of the Federal Minister of Finance, Dr. Theo Waigel, the Federal Cabinet passed a resolution in principle to use the proceeds from the sale of the federally owned Salzgitter AG for an environmental foundation. The amount of 1,288,007,400 euros was to serve as the foundation’s capital, and the annual income from it was to be used for the promotion objectives.

The law establishing a foundation “Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt” was promulgated on July 18, 1990. The foundation was established as a foundation under civil law with legal capacity. The name, tasks and objectives of the Foundation are set forth in this Act.

The statutes (contained in the funding guidelines) for the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt were adopted on August 9, 1990. It designates Osnabrück as the location of the office. In addition, the Articles of Association regulate the structure of the Foundation, its tasks in the individual functional areas, the course of proceedings and asset management.

The Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt began its work with the constituent meeting of the Board of Trustees on December 17, 1990. Its legal mandate is to promote projects for the protection of the environment, with particular emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises. In doing so, it is generally intended to operate outside of government programs, although it can supplement them.

The Foundation’s office has been headed by Alexander Bonde since February 1, 2018. His predecessors were Dr. Heinrich Bottermann from 2013 to 2017 and Dr.-Ing. E.h. Fritz Brickwedde from 1991 to 2013.

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