Award winners

Chronological overview by year of award

German Environmental Award 2023 in Lübeck

Prof. Dr. Friederike Otto

The climate scientist is investigating the causes of extreme weather events worldwide, such as this year’s heatwaves in North America, Europe and China. “By presenting the results in a timely and high-profile manner, it becomes clear what the climate crisis is costing society and what measures will make the affected regions more resilient,” says DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde.
Press release on the German Environmental Award for Friederike Otto

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Dagmar Fritz-Kramer

“Fritz-Kramer is doing excellent pioneering work with her company,” says DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde. “They and their employees are a real driving force for the industry and the construction turnaround. The DBU is honoring this outstanding contribution to energy-efficient and ecological construction with the German Environmental Award.”
Press release on the German Environmental Award for Dagmar Fritz-Kramer

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German Environmental Award 2022 in Magdeburg

Friedrich Mewis and Dirk Lehmann

DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde: “Mewis and Lehmann have created the Becker Mewis Duct together. This is a Daniel Düsentrieb moment for shipbuilding.”
Press release on the German Environmental Award for Friedrich Mewis and Dirk Lehmann

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Dr. Christof Schenck

DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde: “Alongside the climate crisis, species loss is the major ecological challenge of our time. Without biodiversity, we humans are in a bad way. Schenck’s irrepressible efforts have succeeded in protecting large wilderness refuges – a way to preserve the world’s natural heritage for future generations.”
Press release on the German Environmental Award for Dr. Christof Schenck

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Kathrin Muus and Myriam Rapior

“Ms. Rapior as a representative of the young environmental movement and Ms. Muus as a young committed person from agriculture are a great example of how trench warfare can be overcome. They have built bridges between the environment and agriculture in the Commission for the Future of Agriculture,” Bonde says.
Press release on the DBU Honorary Award for Kathrin Muus and Myriam Rapior

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German Environmental Award 2021 in Darmstadt

Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese

“In her many years of research, Ms. Böhning-Gaese has made an enormous scientific contribution to helping us understand the dramatic consequences of species loss for humans and the planet as a whole,” says DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde.
Press release on the Germann Environmental Award for Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese

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Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Joosten

“He stands for the fact that we need peatlands as climate protectors like no other. Moreover, Joosten coined the term “paludiculture,” the nature-compatible use of peatlands and thus the restoration of this so important habitat,” says DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde.
Press release on the Germann Environmental Award for Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Joosten

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German Environmental Award 2020 in Hanover

Prof. Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer

“Through his excellent research, science-based policy advice, as well as his high level of commitment, he manages to go beyond economic thinking to offer solutions to climate change that also address social justice issues,” says DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde.

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Laudation by Professor Dirk Messner

Annika Roth (born Trappmann) and Hugo Trappmann

“The measures taken go far beyond the usual and, as an example of best practice, point the way forward for many other manufacturing sectors,” says DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde.

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Laudation by Dr. Katharina Reuter

Dr. Martin Sorg

“Dr. Martin Sorg was the driving force behind the methodological standards and biodiversity studies on insects developed at the Entomological Association Krefeld,” says DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde.

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Laudation by Dr. Marlene Weiß

German Environmental Award 2019 in Mannheim

Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner

Professor Dr. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner of the Weihenstephan Science Center for Nutrition, Land Use and Environment at the Technical University of Munich in Freising is being honored for extraordinary commitment to the development of soil science as a transdisciplinary environmental systems science as well as for the promotion of young scientists and her innovative research. Kögel-Knabner was instrumental in researching how soils store carbon dioxide in a modified form.

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Reinhard Schneider

Reinhard Schneider, owner of the company Werner und Mertz (Mainz), has paved the way with his entrepreneurial all-round sustainability strategy and high personal commitment for environmental innovations to be established at ever higher standards in an entire economic sector. He has consistently made ecological products capable of gaining majority acceptance in a mass market, lives sustainability in all business decisions and thus secures the trust of consumers.

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German Environmental Award 2018 in Erfurt

Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius

Prof. Boetius’ research clearly shows that humans are impacting even the most inaccessible corners of our planet with greenhouse gases, overfishing, water pollution, etc.

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Wastewater experts from Leipzig

The Leipzig wastewater experts have made novel system solutions for decentralized wastewater treatment capable of gaining consensus in a difficult political environment and put them into practice – for effective water protection.

(top from left: Dipl.-Ing. Wolf-Michael Hirschfeld, Dr. Manfred van Afferden, Prof. Dr. Mi-Yong Becker, Prof. Dr. Roland A. Müller)

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German Environmental Award 2017 in Braunschweig

The “Green Belt”

The Green Belt in Germany also launched the vision of a European initiative for a Green Belt Europe as the continent’s longest habitat network and set a symbol for overcoming the Cold War.

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Johannes (right) and Bernhard Oswald

Their electric motors, which do not require gears, have significantly increased the energy efficiency and productivity of equipment such as industrial shredders and presses, helping a “revolution in drive technology to take off.”

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Tony de Brum (†)

Contributed significantly to the success of the 2015 climate negotiations in Paris and created the key conditions for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees as a milestone in climate policy.

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German Environmental Award 2016 in Würzburg

Bas van Abel

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Angelika Mettke and Walter Feeß

German Environmental Award 2015 in Essen

Prof. Dr. Mojib Latif

Latif’s decades of work, he said, are driven by personal concern for the state of the planet. As one of Germany’s outstanding climate researchers, he pointed out, among other things, that without intact oceans our planet threatens to become uninhabitable for humans. In his book “The End of the Oceans” he offers an extremely instructive and readable introduction to current marine research. In it, life in the sea, the complex and not very clear physical relationships between climate and the sea as well as the consequences of marine pollution for marine life and also for humans would be conveyed in an understandable way and in vivid pictures.

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Prof. Dr. Johan Rockström

Johan Rockström has been Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) e.V. and Founding Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University since September 2018. Resilience is essentially understood as the ability to adapt and develop further in crisis situations despite disruptions to changing conditions. An important area in current resilience research in which Rockström has excelled is trying to understand the risks posed by crossing critical boundaries at the planetary scale so as not to jeopardize human evolution.

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Prof. em. Dr. Michael Succow

He is regarded nationally and internationally as an exceptional personality in nature conservation, and his commitment to large wilderness areas in Germany is unique. Within a very short time, at the time of German reunification, he had succeeded in securing 12.1 percent of the land area of the former GDR with temporary and 5.5 percent with final protection status as a national park, biosphere reserve and nature park in one fell swoop with the national park program for eastern Germany.

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German Environmental Award 2014 in Kassel

Prof. em. Dr. Peter Hennicke

The energy transition and energy efficiency were already close to his heart when the topic was still revolutionary new and in its infancy in the 1980s. With exceptional commitment and scientific expertise, he continues to work successfully today for the ecological transformation of the energy system, the conservation of energy and the economic feasibility of a full supply from renewable sources. He is one of the most high-profile and tenacious pioneers of the energy transition.

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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gunther Krieg

With its innovative, globally unique measurement and analysis systems, Krieg is turning its vision of curbing the global waste of valuable resources into reality. With commitment and courage, he has taken the step from science to business and set milestones in production-integrated environmental protection. With its revolutionary processes, valuable plastics can be recycled at a higher quality level and chemicals can be dosed more precisely and saved in offset printing, for example – a great relief for the environment and a promising prospect for the future.

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Hubert Weinzierl

Hubert Weinzierl is one of the very few contemporary witnesses who have moved organized nature conservation out of its niche and into the center of our society.” With these words, Dr. Heinrich Bottermann, Secretary General of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), today honored the life’s work of the environmentalist and conservationist. For 60 years, the trained farmer and forester has been involved nationally and internationally in ecology and nature conservation. Bottermann: “Weinzierl is not one, he is the supporting personality of nature conservation in Germany. He has set important accents for sustainability, responsibility for creation and the protection of biodiversity. He knows how to combine his passion for nature with a modern entrepreneurial spirit.

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German Environmental Award 2013 in Osnabrück

Carmen Hock-Heyl

Without Carmen Hock-Heyl’s visions, persistent commitment, entrepreneurial assertiveness and courage to take risks, there would be no insulation mats made of the renewable raw material hemp in house construction today.

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Ursula Sladek

Their courage and drive are an exceptional example of the success of the energy transition on the ground. From a citizens’ initiative in Schönau, she founded Germany’s first green electricity provider and lives the vision of a decentralized and environmentally friendly energy supply. From the very beginning, it has relied on close cooperation with citizens, proving that it is possible to work together to achieve ecological change even against what are actually overpowering large energy supply companies. This makes them a social role model.

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German Environmental Award 2012 in Leipzig

Dr.-Ing. E. h. Günther Cramer (†)

With his technological excellence in photovoltaics, Günther Cramer has been pursuing the vision of making the system change towards a one hundred percent decentralized energy supply with renewable energies possible for more than 30 years. He wants to bring solar energy to regions that are not connected to the power grid. Together with his founding colleagues Peter Drews and Reiner Wettlaufer, Cramer succeeded in developing SMA from a small engineering firm into a globally operating technology and market leader with more than 5,500 employees by consistently focusing on research and development.

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Dr. Andreas Bett (left) and Hansjörg Lerchenmüller

Low material costs, efficiency records, qualified jobs: With a spirit of research and the courage to take risks, Andreas Bett and Hansjörg Lerchenmüller have taken solar energy into a new generation and shown that ecology and economy go together. With module efficiencies of around 30 percent, its concentrator photovoltaics are among the top in the photovoltaics industry worldwide and make a major contribution to climate-friendly energy supply.

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German Environmental Award 2011 in Stuttgart

Jürgen Schmidt

Jürgen Schmidt is a trendsetter in sustainability: ecologically and ethically convinced and with ambitious economic goals, he makes his business decisions. Whether it’s product range design, logistics, site or personnel management: at memo AG, which he founded, the environment, social issues and the economy are on an equal footing. Schmidt has accomplished an exemplary feat of development that stands for a significant increase in the environmental compatibility of everyday products and resource conservation that is suitable for everyday use and the masses.

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Dr.-Ing. Joachim Alfred (left) and Dr.-Ing. Joachim Georg Wünning

Father and son Wünning stand for the harmony of economy and ecology. With their successful entrepreneurial activities, coupled with technological and scientific excellence on an international scale, they have made a key contribution to the fact that more efficient use of energy and significant reductions in emissions are the order of the day in high-temperature processes, for example in the manufacture of steel, glass or in the chemical industry, and that Germany is the world market leader in this segment.

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German Environmental Award 2010 in Bremen

Dr. Winfried Barkhausen (left) / Edwin Büchter Clean-Lasersysteme

With a high level of professional commitment, the courage to take risks and a great deal of perseverance, they have turned the vision of an ecological cleaning process using the medium of light into reality. With their great willingness to assume responsibility, extreme motivation and personal initiative, they have developed their company into a global technology leader in an ecologically and economically exemplary manner and have noticeably improved occupational safety issues in the companies that use their technology.

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Michail Gorbatschow (†)

Outstanding commitment to humanity and environmental protection

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Prof. Dr. Rainer Grießhammer

With his integrating personality, Rainer Grießhammer has successfully advanced the solution of environmental policy problems. In particular, his commitment to sustainable production and consumption has helped to anchor the guiding principle of sustainability in people’s everyday lives. Whether as a scientist, publicist or public mediator, Grießhammer has had a decisive influence on the environmental debate in Germany and lives the principle of sustainability every single day.

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German Environmental Award 2009 in Augsburg

Dr. Carsten Bührer

Medium-sized innovative strength leads one of the most energy-efficient key technologies to the world’s first industrial application.

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Petra Bültmann-Steffin

Medium-sized innovative strength leads one of the most energy-efficient key technologies to the world’s first industrial application.

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Prof. Dr. Bo Barker Jørgensen

Groundbreaking research in the field of microbial metabolic processes in marine sediments and near-bottom water layers represent the achievements of Prof. Dr. Bo Barker Jørgensen.

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Prof. h. c. Angelika Zahrnt

Economist Dr. Angelika Zahrnt received the 2009 Environmental Award for her many years of voluntary commitment to the environment.

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German Environmental Award 2008 in Rostock

Prof. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker

The biologist and physicist Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker is considered one of the important pioneers of the concept of sustainable development.

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Dr. Holger Zinke

Industrial / “white” biotechnology is the use of nature’s virtually inexhaustible toolbox for industrial applications and products. This contains microorganisms, but also isolated components such as enzymes, biocatalysts and bioactive natural substances.

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German Environmental Award 2007 in Aachen

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Köhler

Development of innovative and environmentally friendly air conditioning and refrigeration systems for vehicle construction.

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Carl H. Schmitt

Development of innovative and environmentally friendly air conditioning and refrigeration systems for vehicle construction

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Prof. Dr. Joachim Schellnhuber

Climate expert Prof. Dr. Schellnhuber received the Environmental Award in 2007 for his scientific research on climate change and his commitment to climate policy.

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Beate Weber

Outstanding long-standing and successful commitment to community climate and environmental protection.

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German Environmental Award 2006 in Dresden

Dr. E. h. Hans G. Huber (†)

Hans Huber received the German Environmental Award in 2006 for the development and production of machines that sort, separate and recycle wastewater.

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Prof. Dr. Ernst-Detlef Schulze

Prof. Dr. Schulze was awarded the Environmental Prize in 2006 for his basic research on forest health.

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German Environmental Award 2005 in Lübeck

Prof. Dr. Berndt Heydemann (†)

Prof. Heydemann received the Environmental Award in 2005 for his adventure park “Future Center for Man, Nature, Technology and Science” in Nieklitz.

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Prof. Dr. Joachim Luther

Outstanding services to solar energy Professor Luther is considered one of the most renowned scientists in the field of technologies and systems for the use of renewable energy sources.

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Hon.-Prof. Heinz Sielmann (†)

A Life for Nature “Expeditions into the Animal Kingdom,” “Rulers of the Jungle,” “Galapagos – Dream Islands in the Pacific” – Heinz Sielmann’s animal films are still familiar to every child today. They are known far beyond the borders of Germany, have been dubbed into 25 languages and have won numerous film awards.

German Environmental Award 2004 in Mainz

Prof. Dr. Garabed Antranikian

Professor Antranikian has pioneered the field of white biotechnology.

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Alfred Heinrich Jung

The entrepreneur Alfred Jung developed a sealing system that significantly reduced the emission of pollutants.

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Prof. Dr. Hannelore Schmidt (†)

Honorary Life Achievement Award for “Species Protection as a Matter of the Heart

German Environmental Award 2003 in Osnabrück

Prof. Dr. Claus Mattheck

Prof. Claus Mattheck received the Environmental Award in 2003 for his research on the growth behavior of trees, which was successfully transferred to mechanical engineering.

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Hermann-Josef Schulte

The entrepreneur Hermann Josef Schulte develops and builds environmentally friendly exhaust systems – primarily for diesel vehicles.

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German Environmental Award 2002 in Magdeburg

Dr. Peter Lüth

Dr. Peter Lüth discovered special fungal spores as a highly effective plant protection agent and received the Environmental Award for this in 2002.

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Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer (†)

Environmental Award for: International commitment to environmental protection

German Environmental Award 2001 in Freiburg

Prof. Dr. Hermann Auernhammer

Professor Auernhammer receives the German Environmental Award 2001 for his outstanding scientific and practical work on the development and application of modern information, sensor and positioning systems for effective and environmentally sound agricultural production, which have become known as “precision farming”.

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Dr. Franz Ehrnsperger

Dr. Franz Ehrnsperger is awarded the German Environmental Prize 2001 for his particularly successful development and introduction of a holistic ecological corporate concept, which serves as a role model for the brewing industry.

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Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Feist

The German Federal Foundation for the Environment awards the German Environmental Prize 2001 to Dr. Wolfgang Feist, head of the private-sector Passive House Institute he founded, for his significant role in the development of the Passive House concept.

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German Environmental Award 2000 in Potsdam

Prof. Dr. Franz Daschner

The award of the German Environmental Prize 2000 to the pediatrician Prof. Dr.- med. Franz Daschner is based on his exemplary achievement in successfully demonstrating modern environmental and material flow management in hospitals while maintaining hygiene standards and at the same time saving costs, and in successfully introducing it in many hospitals.

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Dr. E. h. Bernhard Aloys Wobben (†)

The award of the German Environmental Prize to Dipl.-Ing. Bernhard Aloys Wobben recognizes his pioneering technological developments and his entrepreneurial achievements in the field of wind turbine construction.

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German Environmental Award 1999 in Weimar

Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Barthlott

Prof. Dr. Barthlott received the Environmental Award in 1999 for his research on the lotus effect.

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Prof. Dr. E. h. Klaus Steilmann (†)

The award winner Klaus Steilmann, an entrepreneur with a strong interest in social and ecological issues, addressed the topic of ecology in textiles and clothing at an early stage, keeping an eye on the entire production process “from the cradle to the grave”.

German Environmental Award 1998 in Frankfurt

Prof. Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, Prof. Dr. Hartmut Graßl, Prof. Dr. Klaus Ferdinand Hasselmann

The Climate Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology has contributed with its research to the improvement of global and regional climate models taking into account the oceanic circulation and the global carbon cycle.

Georg Salvamoser (†)

Georg Salvamoser was honored as a personality with exemplary function for his entrepreneurial and technical achievements in the photovoltaic industry, which have an impact far beyond the borders of the Federal Republic of Germany.

German Environmental Award 1997 in Bonn

Integral Energietechnik GmbH

The company receives the award for developing a refrigerant for worldwide use in industrial chillers that is not toxic, does not damage the ozone layer or contribute to the anthropogenic greenhouse effect, and requires less energy than before

Prof. Dr. Michael Otto

The introduction of a pioneering environmental management system at Otto Versand GmbH & Co. in Hamburg has pioneering character.

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Ulrich (†)

His scientific work on material and energy flows in forests forms the basis for research in the field of ecosystems.

German Environmental Award 1996 in Hamburg

Prof. Dr. Maciej Nowicki

During his time as minister, he initiated environmental policies in Poland that are still in place today and established the Polish National Environmental Protection Fund, the most comprehensive and developed environmental levy system in Europe.

Wilkhahn Wilkening + Hahne GmbH + Co

As early as the beginning of the 1950s, the Wilkhahn company set the entrepreneurial goal of producing durable goods with increased utility value in order to conserve natural resources and reduce material consumption. Starting in 1992, environmental controlling was systematically introduced into the company.

German Environmental Award 1995 in Munich

Klaus Günther (†)

In the field of environmentally oriented corporate management, he has been an exemplary advocate for the spread of environmentally oriented thinking and action in business, both in his own companies and beyond.

Dr. Georg Winter

Through his many years of activity in the field of environmentally oriented corporate management, he has paved the way for a reconciliation between economy and ecology in an exemplary manner, both in his own company and far beyond.

German Environmental Award 1994 in Dresden

Prof. Dr. Frank Arnold, Prof. Dr. Paul Crutzen (†)

Frank Arnold and Paul Crutzen have helped to explain and measure the formation of the ozone hole.

Environmental initiatives of the economy in East Westphalia

The 157 companies united in five environmental initiatives have successfully set particularly high environmental standards through their own example and their commitment to the regional economy and have shown that there is also an economic perspective in environmentally sound corporate management.

Association “Ecological storage” & municipality of Wulkow

The association and the community have taken the initiative in the ecological renewal of the Brandenburg village, which had already been abandoned and economically depressed in GDR times, and in doing so have created a forward-looking example of environmentally compatible development in rural areas.

German Environmental Award 1993 in Berlin

Foron Hausgeräte GmbH

FORON Hausgeräte GmbH with its managing director Eberhard Günther has succeeded in developing the world’s first CFC- and HFC-free refrigerator and bringing it to market in the face of sometimes considerable resistance from major electrical household appliance manufacturers.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Haber

The scientist pioneered conservation through his teaching, research, and personal efforts at a time when it was not yet self-evident or popular.