The Oeko-Institut is organised as a non-profit association and has around 2,000 members, including more than 20 local authorities. In order to meet the demands of a dynamic research and consultancy landscape, we are continuously developing our internal structures in line with the principles of decentralised responsibility. This means participatory decision-making, a high level of individual autonomy and responsibility, and efficient and transparent processes with clearly defined roles.
The Committee has seven external members, who are elected by the Members' Meeting by secret ballot for a term of two years. A further five persons from within the Institute also sit on the Committee: a representative of the extended management, the CEO ex officio, and one staff representative from each of the Institute’s three offices – Freiburg, Darmstadt and Berlin. The Committee entrusts the day-to-day running of the Institute to the Executive Board, the research divisions, the departments and other staff in the Institute’s Central Services.
The current members of the Committee are:
works as a business consultant for non-profit organisations and has been a member of the Committee since 1996. She has a particular interest in human resources issues and is the Committee’s Equalities Officer.
worked at the Consumer Association of North Rhine-Westphalia (Verbraucherzentrale NRW) in various roles from the mid-1980s. Most recently she was head of its Food and Environment Division and was responsible, amongst other things, for the planning and implementation of environmental, climate and resource conservation projects. As a member of various bodies at the federal level, including the Science Platform Sustainability 2030 (wpn2030) and the Advisory Committee for Social-Ecological Research at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), she focused particularly on research projects relating to sustainability and consumption. She retired in October 2021 and, in addition to volunteering on the Oeko-Institut Committee, is involved in environmental and social policy initiatives at local and state level.
Ulrike Schell was previously a member of the Oeko-Institut Committee from 1986 to 1990 and re-joined it in 2011.
is Head of the Sustainability Management Unit at the City of Freiburg. Previously, he was a freelance communications consultant and sustainability expert based in Berlin and assisted ministries, local authorities, organisations and businesses in all matters relating to communications, public relations and sustainable development. The texts he publishes in his blog were recognised by the German Commission for UNESCO as a project within the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
has been a member of the Committee as staff representative of the Freiburg office since 2023. He is a Senior Researcher in the Resources & Transport Division.
has been a member of the Committee as the representative of the extended management since 2022. He is the Head of the Sustainable Products and Material Flows Division.
is acting CEO of the Oeko-Institut and a member of the Committee ex officio.
is a freelance consultant for businesses, government agencies and local authorities, specialising in energy, climate action and resource efficiency. Until his retirement, he was Director General of Baden-Württemberg’s Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector for 11 years. Before that, he was a Head of Department at the Consumer Association of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Helmfried Meinel was previously a member of the Oeko-Institut Committee from 2002 to 2011 and re-joined it in 2022.
has been a member of the Committee as staff representative of the Berlin office since 2021. He is a Senior Researcher in the Energy and Climate Division.
has worked in various nuclear regulatory authorities at national and state (Land) level since 1987. From 1999, he was a Director-General in Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry (BMU), with lead responsibility for the nuclear phase-out. From 2010, he worked as an appraiser and expert on nuclear safety and published numerous specialist reports and opinions. In 2012, he was appointed to a professorship at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, heading the Institute of Safety and Risk Sciences until 2015. He has been a member of the Austrian Government’s National Advisory Council on Nuclear Waste Management since March 2021. He joined the Oeko-Institut Committee in 2021.
has been a member of the Committee since 2023.
joined the Oeko-Institut Committee in 2014. He has been Professor of Business Administration and Material Flow Management at Mainz University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule Mainz) since 2001. His research and teaching focus on corporate management, strategic management, supply chain management and environmental management. From 1990 to 2001 he was employed by the Oeko-Institut as a researcher and from 1992 to 1994 he was Head of the Chemical Sciences Division.
has been a member of the Committee as staff representative of the Freiburg office since 2023. She works in the People & Development Department.
The Executive Board represents the Institute externally and is responsible for strategic development, human resources management and development, and the overall running of the Institute. It has two members, who lead, organise and oversee the Institute’s operations on behalf of the Committee.
The members of the Executive Board are:
Anke Herold, a geo-ecologist by training, is the Scientific Director of the Oeko-Institut. She has been a member of Germany’s delegation to the international climate negotiations for more than 20 years, and has also served with the European Union’s delegation. She has acted as chief EU negotiator on transparency, monitoring and verification at the international climate negotiations and was involved in the drafting of the Paris Agreement. She has also acted as Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author and performed other roles for various IPCC reports.
From 2008 to 2018 she held the post of research coordinator for international climate policy at the Oeko-Institut. Throughout that period she led numerous projects at national, European and international level covering a broad range of issues that included the design of the international climate regime and the assessment and implementation of climate policy instruments and actions in the energy, transport, agriculture, forestry and waste management sectors. Her research also focuses on reviewing and monitoring compliance with greenhouse gas mitigation targets and evaluating mitigation actions. In the course of diverse international projects she has advised partner countries, particularly in Latin America, on establishing and reaching climate targets.
André Nelius has been Executive Director Institute Management since 1 March 2023, working in Oeko-Institut’s Freiburg office. He has headed the Finance & Accounting Department since 2019. He has further developed the department and introduced various digital applications. With his move to the Executive Board, he continues his focus on the strategic development of the Institute and, in particular, the Institute Management. In his professional career, he previously advised public administrations and non-profit organisations on finance and controlling topics.
In his studies of Political Science and Economics in Friedrichshafen, Berlin, and Indiana (USA), André Nelius focused on public management and public finance.
The staff working for Central Services ensure that all the Institute’s internal procedures run smoothly. The main functions of the Central Services include financial planning and management, maintenance and development of the IT infrastructure, human resources and communications.
The research divisions are the pillars of the Institute’s scientific activities. They develop solutions to current sustainability challenges and map viable pathways towards a sustainable and equitable future.
The Energy & Climate Division addresses the many issues and challenges surrounding the energy transition and climate action: How to limit global warming and maintain a stable climate over the long term? How to achieve an energy transition that is predictable, affordable and environmentally sound? Our staff research these issues at all levels – national, European and international. They craft projections and scenarios, and design energy and climate policy strategies and instruments and appraise their environmental and socio-economic outcomes. The Division employs an extensive toolbox of methodologies comprising detailed quantitative modelling, projection- and simulation-based analysis, and semi-quantitative and qualitative assessment and evaluation. Our staff put their knowledge and findings at the service of policy advice, academia, the private sector and civil society. The Energy & Climate Division’s work tackles and integrates socio-economic and environmental issues as well as social science aspects. This comprehensive, integrative approach is made possible by our interdisciplinary team in which engineers, natural scientists, economists and political and social scientists join forces to foster climate action.
The Nuclear Engineering and Facility Safety Division deals with a range of nuclear technology issues in its scientific studies and reports. Technical, economic, political and legal aspects are given equal priority. In the field of facility safety, the work focuses on performing safety analyses, assessing and communicating risks, analysing reportable events and developing standards, codes and regulations.
The researchers address various aspects of radioactive waste disposal, including safety issues in the transportation, interim and final stage of radioactive and chemotoxic wastes, and the decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear facilities. The Division also works on issues relating to radiation protection in nuclear facilities, medicine and electromagnetic fields. It has extensive experience in performing environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
The Nuclear Engineering and Facility Safety Division is commissioned mainly by licensing and supervisory authorities and international institutions. Its staff members provide information and advice to local authorities, political parties, trade unions, environmental NGOs and citizens’ action groups.
In their application-oriented research and consultancy projects at both national and international level, the researchers translate the vision of sustainable development into viable approaches, focusing on products and businesses, sectors and areas of need, consumer practices and lifestyles, and policy instruments and strategies. We support the development and introduction of new technologies, help companies to create innovative products, assess products and services, analyse the prerequisites for a sustainable transformation of production and consumption patterns, and provide practical tools to support decision-making by consumers and purchasing departments.
The Division provides policy-oriented advice on the practical implementation of European framework directives, on the development and harmonisation of (sustainability) labels and on the further development and implementation of sustainable public procurement practices. In international cooperation, solutions to problems are developed and tested in practice under various socio-economic conditions in close collaboration with local partners. This involves the introduction of environmental standards and product labels as well as adapted solutions for issues relating to resource management and a circular economy.
Sustainability in mobility, in the private sector, in resource management and in the staging of large-scale events is the thematic area addressed by the Resources and Transport Division. Its researchers have been working successfully for many years to identify solutions to key questions: How can mobility be shaped sustainably? Which technical and logistical measures need to be implemented in passenger and freight transport, and how should this be done? Which standards and targets should apply to sustainable businesses, and which tools and mechanisms are appropriate for global corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises to attain these goals? What are the criteria for sustainable resource management, and how can the potential to reduce environmental impacts be utilised in an efficient, equitable and economically viable manner?
The researchers deliver precise and critical analyses, deploy cutting-edge software tools, develop and refine interdisciplinary research methodologies, and engage in committed, critical and open-ended consultancy for partners and clients, including the European Commission, UNEP, the German Environment Ministry, the German Environment Agency, regional governments and local authorities, industrial companies and civil society associations.
The Environmental Law and Governance Division addresses legal and social science issues relating to the framing of environmental and sustainability policy. The researchers provide advisory services and conduct research projects for public-sector and private clients at European, national and municipal level. They deliver expert reports and opinions on aspects of the law, conduct governance analyses, draft proposals for instruments and legislation, develop strategic initiatives and evaluate policies.
The topics covered range from cross-cutting environmental policy issues and socio-ecological change to a sustainable economy and international, European and national environmental law. In the context of a sustainable economy, the Division focuses on corporate social responsibility (CSR), consumption, procurement and management of natural resources. In the area of environmental law, it works on conventional themes such as pollution control, waste and water law as well as on newer aspects of energy and climate change legislation.