The extent to which products influence the environment and our everyday culture is determined greatly by their design. The German Federal Ecodesign Award launched in 2012 by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the German Environment Agency, recognises innovative products and concepts that embody high ecological and aesthetic aspirations. The competition welcomes submissions of all types of environmentally friendly alternatives and ideas – from footwear to mobility concepts. For companies and designers, the competition provides a platform for showcasing products and ideas of outstanding ecological and design quality.

Please find more information about why to participate and how to win here.

Experts from the German Environmental Agency and members of the project advisory board are currently reviewing the submissions for 2019. The German Federal Ecodesign Award will be relaunched in spring 2020.

Who is the award aimed at?

The German Federal Ecodesign Award is aimed at companies in all sectors and of all sizes, as well as individual designers. Start-ups or market leaders, local providers or global players are all addressed, alongside design studios, marketing agencies and architectural or engineering offices. Thereby, it is essential that the submitted product is available on the German market, or in the case of services and concepts that they are oriented towards this market. International companies are also permitted to participate in the competition under these premises. In the Young Talent category, the competition is open to students and graduates who have completed their studies no more than three years previously.

What kinds of submissions are considered?

The German Federal Ecodesign Award comprises four categories: Product, Service, Concept and Young Talent. Detailed information on the categories can be found here.
As the winners in previous years demonstrate, the spectrum of prize-winning entries is extremely broad and reflects a scope that stretches beyond specific product groups or business sectors. The open approach allows the involvement of all types of projects, from graphic- and communication design all the way to interaction- or service design. Likewise, innovative solutions in the areas of mobility, sustainable construction and housing, as well as urban design, are all invited to participate, and projects with a focus on technical innovation are strongly encouraged. Products can be submitted from all design areas – from classic industrial, product or fashion design to graphic and communication design, as well as interaction and service design.

How are entries evaluated?

In the German Federal Ecodesign Award, environmental and design aspects are given equal standing. In a multi-stage procedure, the quality of submissions is assessed by experts from the German Environmental Agency, the project advisory board, and the jury. Throughout, consideration is given to the entire product life cycle – from the preliminary stages of production, up to manufacture, distribution, use, reuse/recycling, all the way to disposal. The repercussions for everyday culture and consumer behaviour are also taken into account. You can find more information on the evaluation procedure and criteria here.

What does the award honor?

The German Federal Ecodesign Award recognises and honours pioneers in the field of ecological design. Winners receive an award in their respective category as well as the right to advertise themselves using the Ecodesign title. After the official presentation of the award, the winning entries will be part of a high-profile publicity campaign in a range of media. They will also feature in the online exhibition on the Federal Award website and take part in a travelling exhibition. For each winning project, image clips will be produced. All winners will be provided with their own clip. Moreover, winners of the Young Talent award each receive a cash prize of 1,000 euros.

Who grants the award?

Since 2012, the Federal Ecodesign Award has been granted annually by the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) and the German Environment Agency (UBA) in cooperation with the International Design Center Berlin (IDZ).

What are the aims of the award?

It is now accepted that environmental sustainability and good design need not be contradictory objectives. Indeed, these aspects are now necessarily closely tied – a fact that the German Federal Ecodesign Award hopes to illustrate through the public presentation of outstanding examples of ecodesign. The overarching objective is to promote innovation and to support the market introduction and diffusion of environmentally sound products via a high-profile award.
Alongside specific types of products, these changes require the adoption of innovative services and smart concepts that encompass broad, system-oriented solutions. More sustainable production and consumption demands concrete alternatives to existing services as well as long-term changes to common processes. Not least, the objective of a more sustainable society calls for concepts that are capable of influencing consumer- and user behaviour in all of us. The winning projects in the previous competitions 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 und 2018 demonstrate the diversity of ecodesign and are outstanding examples of the exciting alternatives and new concepts that are already available.

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