On this page
On this page
The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) funds volunteer programmes, including ones in ecological areas. BMFSFJ funds the Federal Volunteer Service (Bundesfreiwilligendienst, BFD), which can be environment-related, and the Voluntary Ecological Year (Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr, FÖJ). The Voluntary Ecological Year can be in the area of conservation, environmental protection or environmental education. It is managed at a federal state level. The organisations providing the volunteer programmes are mostly youth, environment (protection) and nature (conservation) associations or church organisations. They are recognised places of work for the Voluntary Ecological Year. The Voluntary Ecological Year can also be done abroad.
Information on BFD and FÖJ can be found under Voluntary activities
Environmental activities are often included and even the focus of international workcamps in Germany and abroad and are paid for from public funds (Child and Youth Plan of the federation [Kinder- und Jugendplan des Bundes], regional youth plans [Landesjugendpläne]). At the workcamps, young people from different countries work together in small groups on a charitable project. The camps are between two and four weeks long.
The federal government and the federal states fund programmes, initiatives and projects to promote sustainable production and consumption. The ministries for education, nutrition, agriculture, energy, environment, transport and consumer protection are responsible at a national and state level.
- Aim: To improve sustainable consumption in households, mobility, nutrition, office and work, clothing, tourism and leisure time and educate consumers by providing more information.
- Target group: All parts of the population, including children and young people.
- Key programmes/outcomes: Programmes and campaigns on sustainable consumption and awareness-building.
- Funding: Federal government.
Examples of government-supported/implemented projects
Competition: “Let’s do this” (“Lass ma machen”)
- Aims: To motivate young people to come up with ideas for sustainable everyday consumption and for reaching climate goals, and to encourage others to join in.
- Target group: Young people aged 14 to 26.
- Key programmes/outcomes: The three most interesting submissions in the categories “Creativity”, “Replication potential” and “Ecological relevance” will receive support so they can be implemented and scaled up.
- Funding: Federal Government (Federal Environment Agency/Umweltbundesamt).
'Too good for the bin!' initiative (Zu gut für die Tonne!) of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft, BMEL):
- Aim: In part to bring attention to the value of food and the effects of being wasteful. The focus is on handling and storing food and leftovers.
- Target group: All parts of the population, especially pupils in years 3 to 9 (Schulmaterialien, Informationen).
- Key programmes/outcomes: Programmes and campaigns to reduce food loss and waste.
- Funding: Federal government.
'Interfaces – education on sustainable consumption' project (SchnittStellen – Bildungprojekt zum nachhaltigen Konsum) of the youth and education foundation (Stiftung Jugend und Bildung)
- Aim: To bring attention to the importance of taking collective responsibility in a global world through engagement with the topic of supply and value chains.
- Target group: Teachers and young people.
- Key programmes/outcomes: Creation of teaching resources for use in schools and non-formal education.
- Funding: Federal government.
Sustainable swaps game 'Meat or bicycle?' (Fleisch oder Fahrrad?) by the German Youth Hostel Association (Deutsches Jugendherbergswerk, DJH) and the Council for Sustainable Development (Rat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung)
- Aim: To get young people to think about sustainable consumption.
- Target group: Young people aged 14 to 19.
- Key programmes/outcomes: 90 youth hostels across Germany have integrated the game into their education programme and introduce young people to the issue.
- Funding: Federal government, DJH funds.
'Conscientious living' project (WELTbewusst erLEBEN) by the Youth of BUND (BUNDjugend)
- Aim: To raise young people's awareness of sustainable lifestyles and get them interested in collaborative alternatives.
- Target group: Young people between 18 and 30.
- Key programmes/outcomes: Events were organised across Germany between June 2014 and May 2016. Additionally, volunteers could attend intra-regional further training workshops and take part in networking and exchange tandems with other towns and cities. An “activity box” with tips and tricks for organising one’s own activities was designed and is still on offer.
- Funding: German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA).
'Jam for all!' (Marmelade für Alle!) campaign by the Federation of Protestant Youth in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Evangelischen Jugend in Deutschland) against food wastage
- Aim: To raise awareness of the importance and value of food.
- Target group: Interactive project for youth groups, children, cross-generational.
- Key programmes/outcomes: At places where fruit remains unharvested, ask whether it can be taken for free and make jams, juices etc. for use in spare time, in seminars and group gatherings. Unused products are sold or swapped at fairs.
- Funding/support: Federal government, Bread for the World (Brot für die Welt).
Federal states (Bundesländer)
An initiative by churches, non-governmental organisations and contributors to One World work, the 'NRW mobile phone campaign' (Handy-Aktion NRW) collects old phones for proper recycling. People interested in taking part can hold their own collection drives – for example in the church community, in youth work, at school or at work. Free collection boxes, posters, flyers and other materials can be ordered. The proceeds from the campaign go to projects in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Philippines. The SÜDWIND Institute provides fact sheets on the effects of the extraction of natural resources for use in mobile phones.
The State Chancellery of Saarland (Staatskanzlei Saarland) initiated the sustainability and information campaign 'Responsibility and sustainability – do your bit' (Verantwortung und Nachhaltigkeit. Mach mit!). Old mobile phones are collected to set an example about the conservation of natural resources. Target groups include all secondary schools, primary school years 3 and 4, other educational institutions, social, environmental, youth and senior citizen associations, cities and local communities, and other associations and institutions.
Other contributors helping to motivate young people to support green production and sustainable consumption can be found at the German portal on the UNESCO Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development bne-portal.de.
Further information on campaigns, initiatives and projects
Global education website with information on campaigns related to global education.
Database of the UN Decade Education for Sustainable Development with information about official decade projects and local communities and contributors to the decade
Fridays for Future is a global social movement launched by school students to fight for as comprehensive, fast and effective a set of climate protection measures as possible, so as to achieve compliance with the 1.5 °C target agreed at the 2015 UN Climate Conference (COP 21) in Paris. In Germany, the Fridays for Future movement is recognised as an association of persons without legal capacity and sees itself as a grassroots democratic movement. In response to the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Fridays for Future initially cancelled all public climate strikes and demonstrations and moved its activities online.