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These are the winners of the first German Sustainability Award Design 2021

By Simone Preuss


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The winners of the German Sustainability Award (GSA) were announced in live events with prominent guests both on-site and virtually on Thursday and Friday evening. Federal minister of economic cooperation and development, Gerd Müller, made the opening remarks, followed by other representatives from the fields of business, politics and entertainment. Singer-songwriters Joy Denalane and Jack Johnson as well as folk group Milky Chance made musical contributions to the program. The initiator of the award, science journalist Stefan Schulze-Hausmann, led through the evening.

In addition to the four established award categories ‘Climate,’ ‘Resources,’ ‘Biodiversity’ and ´Society and Fairness,’ the GSA Design was awarded for the first time this year in seven subcategories ranging from ‘Construction and Design’ to ‘Food and Agriculture.’ “What we lacked was a category that would take individual products and initiatives into account,” explains Schulze-Hausmann. The laudator of the new award was VDMD managing director Mara Michel of Germany’s largest professional association for fashion, textiles and design.

Textile and fashion innovations are among the winners and finalists of first GSA Design

“Sustainable design provides answers to the most pressing challenges of our time. Responsible design solves a range of societal problems through ecological and social innovation. The new German Sustainability Award Design recognizes the best solutions in all segments. It is intended to motivate designers to gear their work even more strongly towards sustainability and to provide top performance with momentum for continued success,” explains the GSA.

Thirty-four winners prove how diverse and far-reaching sustainable design can be. They have been listed according to their categorisation as “Icons” with more than five years of experience since market entry, “Pioneers” with less than five years of experience since market entry and “Visions” - companies before market entry.


No fewer than 7 “Icons” were honored, including relief organisation Bread for the World for its latest campaign, faucet and sanitary product manufacturer Grohe for a water system with filter technology and Lune Group Oy Ltd for its reusable menstrual cup Lunette. Among the 16 finalists in this category are the CodeCheck app for transparency in food and cosmetics products in terms of ingredients and production, the my Boo bamboo bicycle, the RePack packaging material that can be used up to 40 times and Bett 2.0, a bed made of corrugated cardboard.


Among the 20 winners of the “Pioneer” group are some fashion and textile brands such as Coccon UG with non-violent silk products, Erlich Textil with sustainably and fair produced underwear, eco label Fanfare, textile brand Nina Rein offering sustainable business clothing for women and Swiss backpack specialist Qwstion and its bio-based Bananentex material made out of banana fibres.

The 16 finalists in this category include accessories made of recycled fishing nets by Bracenet, recyclable packaging material EcoLam by Constantia Flexibles, the “We Reduce!” vegan series by i+m Naturkosmetik Berlin GmbH, the Kushel climate and resource-positive textile brand by Gustavo Trading, sporting goods manufacturer Puma’s LQDCELL Shatter sports shoe made of recycled PET water bottles, RE:Space technical textiles by Rökona and the Wildbag plastic bag made of plastic waste.


Among the 7 winners in the “Visions”category are tiles made of building rubble by Shards, the compostable sandal Cocolette by designer Laura Ullmann made of natural materials such as pineapple fibers, and reusable cloth diapers by Sumo GmbH. Among the 17 finalists are groundbreaking innovations such as the Meal Bag, edible packaging by designer Amelie Graf; the “save your shit” public dry toilet that turns human excrement into fertilizer, and some textile innovations such as recyclable swimwear made of Econyl by Mymarini, Vaude’s bio-based Skarvan pants and Jack Wolfskin’s Tokyo Cape made of recycled and reusable materials.

The complete list of winners, finalists and nominees of the first German Sustainability Award Design can be found on the website, nachhaltigkeitspreis.de/en/design-en.

Images: German Sustainability Award

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