Economic and ecological balance

The continual improvement of environmental performance is a company goal at Mainau GmbH. For this reason, environmental protection on the island has been organised professionally since 1998, in that we are voluntarily involved in a system for environmental management and environmental auditing; in short: EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme).

Since 1998, our environmental policy has been a continual and central part of the company management. After the introduction of energy management, the energy policy was added to the environmental policy on 24 July 2013, by Countess Bettina Bernadotte. The guiding principles for the energy policy are formulated from point 12. The basis for this is the guiding principle of Mainau GmbH: “Sustainability for region and environment. We achieve economic success for Mainau GmbH. 

We primarily work regionally and see the achievement of an economic and ecological balance as our goal and our obligation.” From the preamble to the environmental policy: “For us, it is a self-obligation not only to adhere to the valid environmentally relevant regulations but also to drive forward an appropriate, continual operational improvement. The environmental policy has the aim of reducing unfavourable effects on the environment to such an extent as can be achieved with economically justifiable expenditures and the best available technology. 

We want to strengthen touristic forms of economy which are based on the principle of sustainability”. For Mainau, establishing an energy management system is another important pillar of environmentally friendly trading. In the scope of the existing environmental management, Mainau GmbH creates the requirements for an ecologically sustainable energy provision.

Environmental policy & energy policy
  1. We see it as an important task to inform our guests about ecological issues with trained employees, advise them and inspire them to positive behaviour.

  2. We take suitable measures to avoid or eliminate strains which arise from tourism services and the resulting consequences for the natural environment. In the environmental areas, in which this cannot be achieved, it must at least be attempted to reduce the emissions and the waste generation or other consequences to a minimum, and maintain natural resources. Here, possible environmentally friendly procedures must be considered.

  3. We conduct internal audits to check the success of measures taken in connection with the environmental policy. Corrections are also carried out.

  4. For environmentally critical activities and procedures, we develop emergency plans with the relevant institutions or authorities, and take the necessary organisational/technical measures to prevent accidental release of substances.

  5. The overall responsibility for occupational environmental protection lies with the management, who have appointed a staff unit for environmental management and quality (EQM). Environmental protection is a management task, and equally as important as other company goals. The heads of department and division are included in the environmental management system (EMS), and jointly responsible.

  6. The employees at all levels of the company are encouraged to have a sense of responsibility for environmentally sustainable forms of tourism, which serve to retain an intact natural and cultural landscape, through regular information and training. We motivate the employees to actively get involved in their own area of responsibility. The managers act as role models.

  7. From all business fields – including the staff unit of environmental management and quality – when planning new projects, procedures and techniques, the environmental impact is investigated in advance, and the significant effects of the current activities on the local environment are checked, monitored and regularly documented.

  8. The contractual partners working at our site are informed and advised on the Mainau concept of ecological economic framework. They are asked to follow our way of doing business.

  9. The public is provided with information in an open dialogue, which makes the effects of our company activity on the environment more understandable. An environmental report regularly provides information about our efforts and measures in occupational environmental protection.

  10. Mainau strives to continually improve environmental quality in all departments. We would like to be a role model in the area of international Lake Constance tourism, and constructively work together with the relevant associations and authorities, in terms of the “GREEN CHARTER of Mainau” from 1961.

  11. Mainau takes measures to reduce the actively appearing professional and private “acceleration” of life, i.e. stress, hustle and bustle and nervousness, as much as possible during your stay on the island. This is not about slowness as an end in itself but conveying appropriate speed and change in a broader sense: in dealing with yourself, with your fellow men and your natural environment, not only during your stay on the island of Mainau, but also in the day-to-day life of every single one of you.

  12. By establishing an energy management system as a further important pillar of environmentally friendly trading, and in the scope of the existing environmental management, Mainau GmbH creates the requirements for an ecologically sustainable orientation of energy provision. The focuses of our energy management are energy saving and energy efficiency. In addition, we are committed to continually improving our energy efficiency, and discovering energy saving possibilities. We primarily concentrate on the processes that significantly influence energy consumption. Energy efficiency is a significant component in the selection and decision, with regards to the products and services that we source. In addition, energy efficiency is a key point in the layout of processes, systems and buildings.

  13. The guiding principle of Mainau GmbH “Sustainability for region and environment” also applies to the energy policy. We are convinced that it makes sense and is possible to cover the energy requirement where it arises. This means that existing regional potential in the energy sector can be used, which benefits both the environment and the local economy. In view of the fact that we all bear responsibility for our environment, and in terms of sustainable climate protection, we primarily see the expansion of renewable energies on the island of Mainau as an additional measure, which goes beyond increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption. The increasing shortage of fossil fuels and the resulting foreseeable energy price increases also reinforce our goal to build up renewable energies. We are convinced that investments in future-oriented technologies, which we are currently making, will significantly reduce our energy costs in future, which will have a positive effect on economic viability and competitiveness.

  14. We establish target figures and commit to revising these targets and the mentioned focuses of energy saving and energy efficiency regularly. Furthermore, the type and quantity of energies that we use will be systematically recorded and evaluated. The adherence to legal guidelines and all relevant valid requirements in relation to its energy aspects is a requirement in all areas of the company, without exception.

  15. The management of Mainau GmbH, as those responsible for energy management, appointed an energy management representative to implement these energy policy targets. They manage the energy management system on their own responsibility and in coordination with further management systems (currently environmental and safety at work) linked to the integrated management system. They monitor operative business and report directly to the management. They will be provided with the necessary resources and information for this. Energy efficiency and energy saving are not only dependent on technologies, but qualifications and motivation of the employees also play an important role. Therefore, our employees are introduced to the topic of energy in regular briefings and training sessions, motivated to participate, and informed about the current status, progress and future plans. Communication with employees, suppliers, service providers, visitors and other interest groups is a given for us. Therefore, we provide information about our activities and progress in the area of energy management, in an annual report. Our energy policy is regularly communicated, and updated if necessary. Furthermore, we offer interested groups tours, where they are guaranteed an insight into the energy system technology, and additional information is provided on the topic of energy.

Ecological milestones

From 1957 until today, responsible persons from science, politics, economy and media meet at Castle Mainau to discuss issues of maintenance and conservation of our environment.

since 2010


  • Certification and distinction as a “sustainable destination” by Minister Alexander Bonde, Baden Württemberg, after an extensive sustainability check by TourCert Stuttgart
  • Successful revalidation of Mainau GmbH according to EMAS
  • Honoured by the Federal Minister for Environment, Construction and Reactor Safety, Dr. Barbara Hendricks, for innovative environmental protection measures and transparent reporting


  • First sustainability report with tested environmental declaration 2015 for Mainau GmbH
  • Awarded with the TASPO Award 2015 in the category: Best regional anchoring
  • 1st Mainau sustainability dialogue. Prospects for people and the environment – sustainable climate protection in communities. Host: Ministry for the environment, climate and energy industry, Mainau GmbH



  • Successful revalidation of Mainau GmbH according to EMAS
  • Own energy management comes into force
  • Implementation of an unusual building procedure in the harbour area, with own environmental programme and a total of 13 environmental measures


  • Nomination for the environment prize Baden-Württemberg
  • Distinguished in the B.A.U.M. competition “The most bicycle-friendly employers” as the most bicycle-friendly company in Baden-Württemberg


  • Introduction and expansion of in-house energy management according to ISO 16001
  • Start-up of a wood gasification combined heat and power plant, with a performance of 150 kWel and 300 kWth
  • Installation of a new photovoltaics panel with 15.12 kWpeak


  • Countess Bettina Bernadotte receives the “Ökologia” prize from the Stiftung für Ökologie und Demokratie e.V. (Foundation for ecology and democracy), Bonn
  • Award in the B.A.U.M. competition “The most bicycle-friendly employer”
  • Successful revalidation of Mainau GmbH according to the ordinance (EU no. 1221/2009) EMAS III


  • Countess Bettina Bernadotte is appointed as “Ökologia” – ambassador of ecology 2008 – by the Stiftung für Ökologie und Demokratie e.V.
  • Countess Sonja Bernadotte receives the sustainability prize from Neumarkter Lammsbräu


  • Countess Sonja Bernadotte receives the B.A.U.M. environmental prize 2007 (Federal German working circle for environmentally conscious management (bundesdeutscher Arbeitskreis für umweltbewusstes Management e.V.)), amongst other things for her environmental policy services as Managing Director of Mainau GmbH
  • Successful revalidation according to EMAS
  • Opening the EMAS multi-sensory experience


  • Awarded the German and European EMAS Award 2006 for the best measure in Europe, in the area of “best internal and external communication” (EMAS with all senses – sustainability experience)
  • Successful continuation of the Bioland certification in agriculture


  • Founding of the project “EMAS – with all senses”


  • Mainau catering awarded the European BIO certificate
  • Successful revalidation of Mainau GmbH according to the new “Eco audit ordinance” (ORD. EU no. 761/2001) EMAS II
  • Introduction of the combi ticket
  • Construction of several photovoltaic panels in Schwedenhof and in the gardens for all on the island of Mainau


  • FSC certification of the 420 ha Mainau forest on the mainland


  • From now on, annual organisation of the trade fair “Moderne Energien” (Modern Energies)
  • Selection of Countess Sonja Bernadotte as Eco Manager of the year by business magazine “Capital” and the environmental foundation WWF


  • Construction of an operational natural gas filling station, and acquisition of further natural gas operated business vehicles
  • The approx. 4 ha orchards distinguished as recognised Bioland
  • The restaurant Schwedenschenke participates in the DEHOGA competition again, and is distinguished as an environmentally friendly business again.
  • Inclusion of Mainau catering in the Q seal campaign of the state of Baden-Württemberg, and DEHOGA, to build up a quality management system which integrates the environmental goals
  • Project Mainau Lake Constance path – 3rd component: in cooperation with the Institute for Lake Research (Federal Research Institute for environmental protection), a further station is built for visitors – environmental information on the topic of “drinking water storage Lake Constance”
  • Project Mainau Lake Constance path – 2nd component: in cooperation with the Bodensee-Wasser-Versorgung (BWV) (Lake Constance Water Supply), the second nature and environmental information station is built on the topic of “From lake water to drinking water”
  • In the course of the reorganisation of Mainau GmbH – creation of the staff unit environmental management and quality, which replaces the department of ecology & nature education
  • Setting up the 4th Mainau mobility forum in cooperation with Ministry for the environment and transport Baden-Württemberg
  • Carrying out the second environmental audit in accordance with EMAS II, taking into account a system audit, with the environmental management officer, by the eco-audit ERFA department of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK)
  • Successful revalidation of Mainau to the new “Eco audit ordinance” (ORD. EU no. 761/2001) EMAS II


  • New ecological wine education trail “Weinberg am Schwedenturm” (Vineyard at the Sweden tower)
  • Conceived in cooperation with the Institute for Wine Growing, Freiburg, as a test and show garden
  • Mainau GmbH and their environmental representative Gerhard Worm receive the renowned B.A.U.M. – environmental prize 2000 for the services of environmental management in tourism
  • New build of an energy information pavilion, using exemplary building biology, with an exhibition on the topic of “energy for the future”, and information for the visitors on the innovative energy supply for the island, combined with practical suggestions for saving energy at home


  • Introduction of innovative cleaning technique in catering: installation of an energy saving large dishwasher connected to the local heating network
  • Project Mainau Lake Constance path – 1st component: in cooperation with the international Lake Constance Foundation, the first station for natural and environmental information on the topic of “Ecosystem Lake Constance”
  • Environmental protection prize “Die Goldene Blume von Rheydt” awarded to Countess Sonja Bernadotte


  • Signing of the Constance water generation contract, written in the sense of “Agenda 21”, for the protection of drinking water by Mainau GmbH
  • First audit of the island of Mainau by an independent environmental auditor, in accordance with the regulations of the eco-audit ordinance, in accordance with VO EEC 1836/93: certification of Mainau according to EMAS, as the first German tourism company and only botanical garden in Europe
  • Entry of Mainau into the location registry, and therefore participation in the system
  • First participation of the restaurant Schwedenschenke in the competition of the Deutscher Hotel- und Gaststättenverband e.V.  (German hotel and restaurant association) and the Landesfremdenverkehrsverband e.V. (regional tourism association): the first environmental plaque is awarded
  • Conversion of the complete company laundry to new energy and water saving steam technology
  • A comprehensive verification audit and a validation takes place
  • Start of the now annual event “Mainauer Mobilitätsgespräche” (Mainau mobility forum) on the topic of mobility and sustainability, in cooperation with the Ministry for the environment and transport Baden-Württemberg, and the Lennart Bernadotte Foundation
  • Work on new projects for more environmentally friendly mobility in the scope of a symposium with touristic multipliers


  • Introduction and expansion of an “environmental management system” according to the guidelines of the EU-ORD 1836/93 with support of CIC Hochrhein-Bodensee and the Ministry for the environment Baden-Württemberg – a pioneering service in the tourism sector
  • Conversion of the energy supply of Mainau GmbH from heating oil to natural gas, with woodchip heating and two combined heat and power stations, in a local heat network. Promotion of the model overall project by the German Federal Environment Foundation and the state of Baden-Württemberg
  • Concretising the company goals through guiding principles – the ecological aspect is an important component in this
  • Start of the partner project “Lichtblicke im Gärtnerturm” (Rays of hope in the gardener's tower) in cooperation with the international Lake Constance Foundation, setting up an information centre on the topic of nature and culture on Lake Constance, provision of both specialist environmental information and a multivision show about the natural and cultural region of Bodensee. The aim of setting this up is to make visitors aware of the topics of nature and the environment.


  • 1st symposium “Tourism and the environment” by the Ministry for the environment of Baden-Württemberg on the island of Mainau – from this the initiative “Tourism Forum Lake Constance” arises
  • First participation of Mainau GmbH in the event “Natürlich Mobil” (naturally mobile): conceptual and financial promotion of this local public transport event in the region
  • Recognition of Mainau orchard as a Bioland operation


  • Installation of a waste concept with the aim of reduction and separation of the waste in the park
  • Conversion to an extremely low sulphur diesel fuel, for the whole diesel fleet of Mainau


  • Commitment by park maintenance to significantly reduce the use of peat, and where possible, avoid replacement products – to make a contribution to conservation of valuable moorland
  • Installation of environmental technology for dehumidification of organic waste from the catering trade
  • Recognition of the orchard as a Bioland operation, over 3.5 ha – last expansion in October to now 4.5 ha and time extension


  • An in-house environmental department “ecology and nature education” is set up


  • Creation of an extensive programme of nature education projects for the “Green School Mainau” – a varied learning opportunity, which is oriented at both children and young people and adults


  • Definition of the company philosophy “Mainau 2000” in the scope of a workshop
  • Making “direct contact” with nature and raising environmental awareness on the natural experience trail – a new method of understanding nature and learning to protect it


  • Pro Integration: project to support young people with learning difficulties, through training in horticulture


  • Introduction of the green telephone – a free service for amateur gardeners looking for advice – development into an “organic telephone”


  • The first international “Mainau youth games” are carried out, as a model project for nature and environmental education in the international Lake Constance region
  • Promotion of maintenance of Mainau's own conservation areas


  • The “Green telephone” is set up as an ecological advice service
1960s and 1970s


  • Ruling on the “Lake Constance Manifest” by politicians and experts from the Bodensee neighbouring states on the basis of the “Green charter of Mainau”


  • First award of the conservation prize “Die Goldene Blume von Rheydt” (oldest German conservation prize, awarded by the city of Mönchengladbach) to Count Lennart Bernadotte, former president of the German Horticultural Society and spokesman of the German Council for landscape management


  • 20 April 1961: decree of the “Green Charter of Mainau” by Count Lennart Bernadotte at the 5th Mainau round of talks
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Sustainability Parcours

Discover nine stations dotted around the island. Lookout for the wooden symbol in the shape of a footprint.

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Green Charter of Mainau

The Green Charter of Mainau was announced on 20th April 1961. 

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