Professor Dr. Klaus Töpfer has served as Founding and Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam. Before this he was the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi and Under Secretary General of the United Nations.
In the national political field he held the positions of German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (1987 to 1994) and of Federal Minister for Regional Planning, Civil Engineering and Urban Development (1994 to 1998). He was a member of the Bundestag.
Professor Töpfer was also engaged in several unsalaried institutions, so i. e. as Vice President of the German Hunger Organization and as Senator of the Helmholtz Association for Earth and Environment. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster he co-chaired the Ethics Commission on Safe Energy Supply in 2011.
Professor Töpfer holds a doctorate degree in economics from the Münster University and has received numerous honors and awards including the Federal Cross of Merit with Star and Sash of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990 and the German Sustainability Award in 2008.