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Future peace and prosperity will no longer be within our reach, if we in Germany do not commit more resolutely to greater sustainability and channel all our energy into making it happen – be it in politics, business, science or civil society.

Marlehn Thieme, Chairwoman of the Council

Marlehn Thieme

The principle of sustainability is the only option for responsible global action; it protects our eco-systems and thus ensures the survival of generations to come.

Olaf Tschimpke, Deputy Chairman of the Council

Olaf Tschimpke

Measuring sustainability and identifying interrelationships are major success factors for anchoring this topic in companies and on capital markets.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Bassen, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Alexander Bassen

Avoiding past mistakes means pointing progress in the right direction: the principle of sustainable development is a good compass for technical and social innovations at local, national and global level.

Ulla Burchardt, Member of the Council

Ulla Burchardt

The global sustainability and climate protection goals are the long-term milestones. Now we have to engage in an honest discussion about what the state, private sector and citizens can and must do to achieve them.

Kathrin Menges, Member of the Council

Kathrin Menges

The energy revolution has greatly reduced the costs of green electricity, so it is competitive at international level and helps to achieve the global sustainability goals without additional CO2 emissions.

Alexander Müller, Member of the Council

Alexander Müller

The idea of sustainability is at the core of a viable, innovative economy and is vital for a society that aims to safeguard quality of life in the long term. That is why the three pillars of sustainability – economic, environmental and social – must be considered together.

Katherina Reiche, Member of the Council

Katherina Reiche

Make the sustainable choice the easy choice.

Prof. Dr. Lucia A. Reisch, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Lucia A. Reisch

Sustainable development requires to find as much common ground as possible but also to accept differences.

Dr. Werner Schnappauf, Member of the Council

Dr. Werner Schnappauf

Today, sustainable development requires an agenda which explicitly links global and national goals and policies and thus gives global cooperation a strong push forward.

Dr. Imme Scholz, Member of the Council

Dr. Imme Scholz

In forest science, we learned how important the sustainable management of natural resources is centuries ago. Empirical knowledge, openness to new things and humility in the face of nature can help other sectors, too.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schraml, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schraml

Cities, even more so than today, will become hubs of technological and social development in the future. All the more important are efforts to encourage the sustainable development of our cities.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuster

We need to make bold political decisions that reward growth less and sustainability more and that encourage the common good instead of profit-seeking.

Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger

The UN Sustainable Development Goals present the vision of a fundamental socio-ecological transformation. They are not a specialist task for development or environmental policy, but are binding for all cabinet members.

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Member of the Council

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul
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Sustainable Finance Summit Germany, 23 Oct. 2017

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Newly created Hub for Sustainable Finance to consolidate sustainable finance activities

Logo: H4SF - Hub for Sustainable Finance Germany

When it comes to the topic of sustainable finance, Germany lags behind in European comparison – that is the diagnosis. A Hub for Sustainable Finance could give new impetus to positive development. The German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) and Deutsche Börse AG have been working since summer 2017 on jointly coordinating and developing their activities related to sustainability in the financial sector.

Traders on the floor at Deutsche Börse: in Frankfurt, too, people are discussing how to make the financial markets more sustainable. Photo: Deutsche Börse AG
Traders on the floor at Deutsche Börse: in Frankfurt, too, people are discussing how to make the financial markets more sustainable. Photo: Deutsche Börse AG

The joint activities of Deutsche Börse and the German Council for Sustainable Development are to be coordinated and developed further via a Steering Committee for the newly created Hub for Sustainable Finance (H4SF). Currently, the body comprises the members Prof. Dr Alexander Bassen, member of the German Council for Sustainable Development, Kristina Jeromin, Head of Group Sustainability at Deutsche Börse, Michael Schmidt, member of the Management Board at Deka Investment and member of the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance of the European Commission, Dustin Neuneyer, Head of Continental Europe from PRI Principles for Responsible Investment, Dr Velibor Marjanovic from KfW as well as the Hesse Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development. The activities of the Hub for Sustainable Finance will be shaped by ongoing discourse with the business sector and stakeholders from civil society.

As its first public event, the Hub will be holding the German Sustainable Finance Summit on 23 October in Frankfurt in the offices of the DVFA, the German Association of Financial Analysts and Asset Managers. At this summit, the main recommendations (here in German, too) from the members of the Steering Committee of the Hub for Sustainable Finance on sustainable finance in Germany will be discussed. They are derived from the content overlap between the interim report of the High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance of the European Commission, the PRI Roadmap for Germany, the Living Document Sustainable Finance of the Council for Sustainable Development, the goals of the Accelerating Sustainable Finance Initiative of the Deutsche Börse and the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures of the Financial Stability Board. It is noteworthy that these initiatives all worked in parallel and published their content at the same time.

The path towards the Hub for Sustainable Finance

The first impetus for bringing new momentum to the debate on co-regulation processes for a sustainable financial sector in Germany came a few months ago from the RNE – initially under the key term “green finance”. This topic is one of the focus areas of the Council’s current work. Former Council member Achim Steiner, who has been Head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) since 19 June, and Council member Alexander Bassen, Professor of Capital Markets and Management at the University of Hamburg, had prepared a discussion paper together with Council Secretary General Bachmann as a “living document” and opened up discourse on the paper in a specialist panel. On 12 June 2017 the Council invited a range of experts to engage in an open dialogue on these first ideas and recommendations on the topic. Participating experts from the political arena, the financial sector and civil society comprised representatives of the federal environmental and finance ministries as well as the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, from banks and other financial institutions, consumer protection, impact investing and a variety of non-profit organisations with ties to the financial sector.

The living document had already been presented in March 2017 at the PAGE Conference, in the State Secretaries’ Committee on Sustainable Development and at the RNE’s annual conference, among others. A key proposition of this document was to establish in Germany a “Hub for Sustainable Finance”, through which the numerous and varied stakeholders could collaborate. “A key step on this path was the expert panel,” comments Alexander Bassen summarising the main results of the event.

The first task was to create a common basis for discussion, and the results from the panel served to more concretely specify and improve and amend the “living document”, define some of the issues more clearly and examine possible levers for taking the topic forward. The participants were united in their view that the many activities being pursued in parallel by various bodies needed to be coordinated so as to be able to tap into synergy effects and promote constructive dialogue.

How you can be a part of the public discourse

If you are interested in being informed about events, please send an email to Yvonne Zwick (yvonne.zwick@remove-this.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de). As the event is already fully booked up, there will also be a live stream of the Sustainable Finance Summit on 23 October 2017. You can subscribe to news and updates on all sustainability topics by clicking here.

Statements on the living document

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avesco Financial Services AG

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CRIC e.V. - Verein zur Förderung von Ethik und Nachhaltigkeit bei der Geldanlage

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Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen e.V. (FNG)

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Dr. Santosh Kumar Mishra, India

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NABU - Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V.

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oekom research AG

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Antje Schneeweiß, SÜDWIND e.V. et al.

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Triodos Bank n.V.

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Union Investment

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