Germany is an export-oriented nation with a strong manufacturing industry and well established eco-innovation areas and markets. Since 2013 the Germany’s performance in the Eco-innovation Scoreboard has dropped by one place and ranks fourth in 2014-2015. This is mainly attributed to a downshift in the socio-economic and resource efficiency outcomes. Germany performs particularly well in the subcategories eco-innovation patents and exports of products from eco-industries.

With respect to a circular economy, Germany is characterised by very good waste infrastructures and recycling rates. The present focus on technical waste management and end-of-life measures is simultaneously signalling further demand for innovative waste instruments at the interface of material cycles and new business models. A first step was taken by introducing the Waste Prevention Programme in 2013. A strengthening of the regulatory framework and a better alignment of responsibilities, competencies and approaches towards a circular economy seem important for the increase of secondary input rates and a closing of the loops. The demand for high-tech and waste technologies is expected to remain high in the world and–as one of the market leaders– Germany has a strong standing in exporting innovative waste management solutions.

The German green tech sector is expected to further develop dynamically. The early implementation of the Renewables Energies Act (in 1991) and the introduction of the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess) in 2012 serve as important and drivers for energy and resource efficiency, eco-innovation and the energy transition in Germany.

The framework conditions for innovation are generally well developed and include both supply and demand-side instruments while there is a pronounced reliance on voluntary and informational approaches at the consumption side. An eco-innovation action plan is under development. Nevertheless, Germany will probably not meet its sustainable development strategy targets for raw material and energy productivity, energy consumption, biodiversity, land use, mobility and farming .

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Germany




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For further information:

  • BMBF, 2014, The new High-Tech Strategy: Innovations for Germany. Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Berlin.

  • BMBF, 2015, Research for Sustainable Development – FONA3. Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Berlin.

  • ISI, 2013, Innovative Technologien für Ressourceneffizienz in rohstoffintensiven Prodkutionsprozessen (Innovative technologies for resource efficiency in material intensive production processes), Frauenhofer verlag, Karlsruhe.

  • Taurus, 2013, EU Action Paln for Environmental Innovation (EU Eco-Innovation Action Plan): “Promotion of environmental protection and evnironemntal technology through innovation”, UBA.

  • Adelphi and Borderstep Institut, 2013, Treiber und Hemnisse für die Transformation der deutschen Wirtschaft zu einer “Green Economy” (Drivers and barriers for the transformation of the German economy into a green economy), BMBF

  • [Expert Commission on Research and Innovation] Expertenkommission Forschung und Innovation (2011) Gutachten zu Forschung, Innovation und technologischer Leistungsfähigkeit Deutschlands 2012. Berlin: EFI.

  • [Federal Ministry of Education and Research] Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (2012) Bundesbericht Forschung und Innovation 2012. Berlin: BMBF.

  • OECD (2012) OECD-Umweltprüfberichte: Deutschland 2012, OECD Publishing. URL:

  • Hottenrott, H., Rexhäuser, S. and R. Veugelers (2012) Green Innovations and Organizational Change: Making Better Use of Environmental Technology - Discussion Paper No. 12-043. Mannheim: Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung GmbH (ZEW).

  • BMU (2012a) Renewable energies already provide more than 380,000 jobs in Germany - Federal Environment Minister Röttgen: Transformation of energy system creates new opportunities on the job. Press release No. 036/12, Berlin, 26.03.2012.

  • BMU (2012b) Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz – KrWG - Gesetz zur Förderung der Kreislaufwirtschaft und Sicherung der umweltverträglichen Bewirtschaftung von Abfällen.


  • BMU (2012c) GreenTech made in Germany 3.0 - Umwelttechnologie-Atlas für Deutschland. Berlin: Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Reaktorsicherheit und Naturschutz.


  • Bundesregierung (2012) Deutsches Ressourceneffizienzprogramm (ProgRess). Programm zur nachhaltigen Nutzung und zum Schutz der natürlichen Ressourcen. Beschluss des Bundeskabinetts vom 29.2.2012. URL:

  • DIHK [Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag - German Chamber of Industry and Commerce] (2011) DIHK-Innovationsreport 2011:  Innovationsdynamik deutscher Unternehmen ungebrochen - Ergebnisse einer Befragung der IHK-Organisation bei über 1100 innovativen Unternehmen. Deutscher Industrie und Handelskammertag e. V. Bereich Wirtschaftspolitik, Mittelstand, Innovation – Berlin 2011.

  • Haščič, I., 2012, Environmental Innovation in Germany. OECD Environment Working Papers, No. 53, OECD Publishing. Available at

  • UBA, 2015b, Environmental Data 2015 - Environmental Trends in Germany, Federal Enviroment Agency, Berlin

  • Wilts, H., 2016, Nachhaltige Innovationsprozesse in der kommunalen Abfallwirtschaftspolitik - eine vergleichende Analyse zum Transition Management städtischer Infrastrukturen in deutschen Metropolregionen, Verlag Dr. Kovac, Hamburg.

( 5 Votes )

Eco Innovation in Practice in Germany

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Technological eco-inn…

Technological eco-innovation

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22 May 2011 Hits:5291 Germany

Product eco-innovatio…

Product eco-innovation - Functional integration: the resource-efficient building envelope Office building, Erfurt, Refurbishment

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Materials eco-innovation - High-Performance Building Materials made from Renewable Resources (laboratory stage)

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Strip casting allows the casting of new, high-manganese steels, by achieving energy and carbon dioxide savings in comparison to conventional technologies. Due to the low... Read more

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