The Berlin International Economics Congress

An Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Roles of Global Politics & Civil Society in International Economics

(Berlin; February 4th - 7th, 2010)

Renate Künast

Former Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of Germany, Leader of the German Green Party

Renate Künast was born on December 15, 1955 in Recklinghausen, North Rhine-Westphalia. She studied social work in Düsseldorf from 1973-1976 and began working as a social worker in Berlin from 1977-1979. She became involved in the local environmentalist scene and in 1979 she became a member of Germany’s Green Party. She quickly rose in the ranks of the Green Party to become chairwoman of the Greens in the parliament of Berlin during the 1990’s. From 2000-2001 she co-chaired the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen on the national level, together with Fritz Kuhn.

In 2001 Künast became a minister within the Gerhard Schröder coalition. Since 2001, she has served as the German Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. This was a suitable role for Künast, given she was a pioneer in the area of consumer protection, and she was very active I her ministerial role, promoting many reforms aimed at empowering consumers and their rights, supporting organic farming, and improving animal welfare. She is one of the loudest voice in the arena of organic food production, and author of books in the fields of ecology and health.

In the 2000’s Künast helped to make Germany the leading country in wind power production and the second most leading country in solar power in the world. Today Künast is often known as Berlin’s most powerful Green and is a strong voice in the fight against global climate change having said, "If you look at the results of more climate change and how expensive it will be versus the results of acting now to reduce our climate impact, there is no other alternative".