The German Chancellery has initiated a Peer Review of Germany’s sustainability policies. The peer review process is being organised by the German Council for Sustainable Development. It is based upon evidence drawn from different sources. One of these sources is this background report, which has been prepared by a scientific team in order to provide the peers with background information on the various topics of German sustainable development (SD) policies. The outline of the background report, the issues and main questions have been discussed and agreed upon among the Peers during a scoping meeting on March 11 and 12. The information presented in this report has been gathered by analysing literature and policy documents, as well as through more than 30 expert interviews with stakeholders and practitioners from government, business and society about their experiences with Germany's SD policies. The interviews provided rich information and supplemented the background information for the peers. During these interviews, the representatives of the German government, civil society, scientific community and business expressed great interest in the peer review process, as well as in policies for sustainable development in Germany. The research team is most grateful for sharing their experiences and hopes to contribute to a fruitful discussion on the future of German sustainable development policy.