The path towards the Hub for Sustainable Finance

The Hub for Sustainable Finance Germany is organized by the German Council for Sustainable Development as an open platform for active stakeholders contributing to Sustainable Finance. The activities in the Hub for Sustainable Finance are characterized by dialogue with business and civil society actors.

Central event is the Sustainable Finance Summit Germany once a year. With a first summit in October 2017, the format was successfully placed in DVFA's premises in Frankfurt's financial center. The second summit continued the still young tradition with a high-level Sustainable Finance Dinner and a stakeholder event under the auspices of BMF and BMU at the end of September 2018. You can read the current state of the discussion in Germany in the documentation of the Second Sustainable Finance Summit entitled "Insights, impressions, outlook" (pdf, 5,4 MB).

The Sustainable Finance Summit is organized in alternating leadership: in the first year of Deka Investments, in the second by the German Council for Sustainable Development, in the third by the Green and Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany.

The Initiative of Deutsche Börse AG 

Hub for Sustainable FinanceThe Deutsche Börse Group, together with major players at the financial centre Frankfurt, launched the Accelerating Sustainable Finance Initiative in May 2017.

As an international infrastructure provider at the heart of the financial centre Frankfurt, the Deutsche Börse Group regards it as its responsibility to establish an open dialogue on this great process of transformation of global financial structures and to drive sustainable progress and innovation together with all relevant players. The joint initiative demonstrates that the financial centre Frankfurt is very aware of its responsibility for the future of international capital markets and is willing to leverage the momentum and potential of its core business.

By signing the Frankfurt Declaration, the players affirm their intention to define framework conditions for a sustainable financial sector and launch various initiatives on the subject at the financial centre Frankfurt. That includes identifying innovative fields of business and a responsible approach to risks. The goal of that is to holistically mobilise the potential of sustainable financial market infrastructures so as to support positive economic and social development, while ensuring unconditional protection of the natural basis of life. The inaugural conference was followed by the establishment of three Task Forces, whose contents reflect the focal issues of the inaugural conference: “Impact Investing,” “Sustainable Products & Services” and “ESG Data”.

In April 2018 the Accelerating Sustainable Finance Initiative and the Green Finance Cluster of the Ministry of Economic Affairs for Hesse joined forces to form the Green and Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany. In line with the Frankfurt Declaration, the Cluster is tasked with the following mission: to develop and implement a strategic concept for establishing a sustainable financial sector in Germany. This goal will be pursued across four areas of action: Sustainable finance – status quo and development, Metrics and standards, Data and digitisation, Dialogue and capacity building.

The initiative of the German Council for Sustainable Development

The German Council for Sustainable Development delivers the initial impetus and helped inject new momentum into the debate on co-regulation processes for a sustainable financial sector in Germany at the beginning of 2017 – initially under the key term “green 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.

Sustainability profiled associations of the financial sector in Germany

The discussion about a sustainable finance economy in Germany was strongly shaped and driven by bundling further, particularly profiled actors and associations. In terms of pooling resources, they are also represented in the Hub for Sustainable Finance.

CRIC_logo_end-(1).jpgCRIC (Corporate Responsibility Interface Center) is a non-profit association for the promotion of ethical and sustainable investment and sees itself as both an information platform and a centre of competence. The aim of CRIC’s activities is to encourage business and the economy to give greater weight to environmental, social and cultural considerations. To promote ethical/sustainable investment, CRIC engages in dialogue with representatives from the economy, politics and society. The association sees itself as a mouthpiece for the idea of ethical and sustainable investment and actively interfaces with the various stakeholder groups. CRIC is the largest investor community for the promotion of ethical and sustainable investment in the German-speaking countries. CRIC was founded in 2000 as a follow-up initiative to the Frankfurt-Hohenheim Guidelines, has more than 100 members, predominantly in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and is based in Frankfurt-on-Main.

FNG.jpgFNG (Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen), the industry association for sustainable investment in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, represents more than 175 members which are working to promote sustainability in the financial sector. These include banks, investment companies, rating agencies, financial advisers and academic institutions. FNG promotes dialogue and exchange of information between the worlds of business, academia and politics and has been working to improve the legal and political framework for sustainable investments since 2001. FNG awards the Transparency logo for sustainable mutual funds, publishes the FNG Sustainability Profiles and has developed the FNG Label for sustainable mutual funds. FNG is also a founding member of the European umbrella organisation Eurosif.