The SRU is an expert advisory panel focusing on environmental protection founded in 1971. It consists of seven members, all of them university professors from a range of disciplines. The SRU's mandate is to independently advise the German Federal Government on environmental policy issues, describing and assessing environmental conditions and problems and pointing out solutions. Every four years, it publishes a report to the government that assesses policy developments and provides in-depth analyses of selected topics.
The SRU issues statements, comments and recommendations on environmental and energy-related political decisions and ongoing legislative processes – mostly in German but also occasionally in English.
The Council is a member of the network of European Environmental and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC).