The German Council for Sustainable Development consists of 15 public figures. Its tasks comprise developing contributions to implement the National Sustainability Strategy, specifying concrete areas for action and projects, as well as making sustainability an important public issue. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel is continuing the national Sustainability Strategy. I’ve talked to the General Secretary Prof. Dr. Günther Bachmann, and here’s what he had to say!

Daniel Anthes: Please create a tweet (160 characters) about what sustainability means to you.

Günther Bachmann: It is about transferring the Enlightenment into the 21st century.

Anthes: How does your organization contribute to sustainability worldwide?

Bachmann: With giving advise, advocating change and acting as an agent.

Anthes: What is the main driver of your company’s sustainability activities nowdays, and how is that going to look like in the future? 

Bachmann: None of the mentioned, because the German Council for Sustainable Development neither is company nor are we acting “as if”. We are a multi stakeholder body mandated by the German Government. We advocate a major relaunch of the German National SD Strategy. Currently, we are rolling out the German Sustainability Code. We just established the Open SDGclub.Berlin, and we are doing creative dialogue projects involving society and the private sector. The future will be different from the today, and will probably see partnerships and practices of a different kind. We are trying to surprise ourselves.

Anthes: If you had all the power & money in the world, what would you do to change the world for the better?

Bachmann: I would stop this kind of questions.

Anthes: What do you think is going to be the next big thing in sustainability?

Bachmann: SDG No. 18: Governance of intermediary action, arts and science, and the notion of hope

Anthes: Everybody has to pull together – that’s right. But who really needs to change his doing in order for our world to change for the better?

Bachmann: It is “how” rather than “who” because it about the mindset. The remarkable part: When change is actually happening nobody wants to stay apart. When change is not yet triggered the notion of “I will if you will” squashes or procrastinates progress.

Anthes:  How will the world look like in 2050?

Bachmann: None of those we are used to consider as megatrend today, most probably and given the experience of the last 40 years. But how would I know ? I hope for a different set of megatrends that will feature hope and empowerment, will see an African continent in selfmade prosperity, will still be broadening up democracy. Whether there is “economic growth” or post-growth of some kind I am not sure of. Maybe, in 2050, people are not as obsessed with this as they are today?

Anthes: Do you know how big or small your personal carbon footprint is? Please give us a figure.

Bachmann: I am pretty much average with food and domestic mobility

Anthes: In your personal life, what do you do to live more sustainably?

Bachmann: Having a life partner and friends. Sustainable shopping, a small housing footprint, no car, basically the works.

Anthes: Mr. Bachmann, thank you very much for the interview.

For further information go to the website of the German Council for Sustainable Development.