Do investments in the context of sustainability contribute to a better world?
Prof. Dr. Timo Busch, Professor of Management and Sustainability at the University of Hamburg and member of the Academic Advisory Board, and Eric Prüßner, Senior Researcher at AIR, recently published a whitepaper entitled “Principles for Impact Investments: Practical guidance for measuring and assessing the life cycle, magnitude, and tradeoffs of impact investments”.
The whitepaper developed 18 principles that represent an important step toward coherent and practical guidance for measuring and evaluating impact investments. This should be seen as an ongoing project to stimulate discussion, thought and development, with the overall aim of contributing to further standardization in the field of impact investing.
Read more in the whitepaper.
Major U.S. investors are under attack from right-wingers for their sustainable investments – and are scaling back their involvement. But a new activist scene is now fighting climate change in the financial market.
“Now that sustainable investments have entered the mainstream, investors are increasingly asking why so little is changing in the real economy,” comments Prof. Dr. Timo Busch, Professor of Sustainability and Management at the University of Hamburg and part of our Scientific Advisory Board. That explains the popularity of impact funds.
Does that mean the ESG movement is finished? Are funds just publicly not committing to sustainability anymore – or are they pulling their money out, too?
You can read the whole article here (only available in German language/please use a language translation tool of your choice).
Urgent societal issues such as climate change and social inequality require fundamental organizational changes toward sustainability. While some companies are moving toward sustainability, others are struggling to make progress. One reason for this is differences in the way sustainability issues are perceived and interpreted.
Managing organizational change requires leaders to engage in meaningful activities to change how their employees interpret issues. However, detailed insights into how differences in employees’ roles and role identities interact with organizational sense-making are lacking. A better understanding of the interplay between role identities and sense-making is therefore crucial, as it sheds light on the microfoundations of organizational change.
This research gap is addressed by Joern Hoppmann, Marcel Richert and Timo Busch, Professor of Management and Sustainability at the University of Hamburg and member of our Scientific Advisory Board. Their 18-month longitudinal case study of a sustainability initiative at a medium-sized company has important implications for practice. It helps to understand how managers can design interventions to change frameworks and role identities from employees.
You can read the whole article here: https://doi.org/10.1177/10860266231183955 (Hoppmann, J., Richert, M., & Busch, T. (2023). Not My Business: How Individuals’ Role Identities Shape Sensegiving During Corporate Sustainability Initiatives. Organization & Environment, 0(0)).
The meaning of the term “impact” is gaining importance in the financial industry. However, there is a problem. For what “impact” means and how it can be determined in concrete terms has not been conclusively clarified, according to Prof. Timo Busch of the University of Hamburg.
You can read the entire article here (only available in German language/please use a language translation tool of your choice).
The European Commission is jeopardizing its own sustainable finance goals with its proposed European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), warn Timo Busch, professor at the University of Hamburg and part of AIR’s Scientific Advisory Board, Andreas Höpner, professor at University College Dublin, and Lisa Breitenbruch, senior researcher at AIR. They say the severely watered-down targets would counteract the EU’s intended funding of the transformation to a climate- and nature-resilient economy.
Read the full article here (only available in German language/please use a language translation tool of your choice).
Since spring 2022, AIR has been working together with the European Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif), the University of Hamburg and F.I.R.S.T e. V. to develop standards for a clearer definition of sustainable investments with a focus on the contribution to a sustainable transition. Based on the published classification scheme for sustainable investments, AIR, Eurosif and the University of Hamburg are currently developing a methodology.
As part of the Swiss Sustainable Investment Market Study 2023, the Swiss Sustainable Investment Forum (SSF), in cooperation with the University of Hamburg and AIR, tested this classification in a pilot study (see press release). The pilot study aimed to gather valuable insights and empirical values, especially for the innovative classifications “Impact Aligned” and “Impact Generating”. For this purpose, investments were classified according to their main objective and level of ambition in terms of their contribution to a sustainable transition.
The full market study can be found here.
AIR’s Chief Senior Sustainable Finance Researcher, Eric Prüßner, comments on the EU Commission’s answers to the questions posed by the ESAs concerning the implementation of the SFDR in Tagesspiegel Background Sustainable Finance.
You can find the article in Tagesspiegel here (only available in German language/please use a language translation tool of your choice).
Anyone currently following business news cannot avoid large-scale investigative research, investigative articles and NGO reports on (alleged) failures of sustainable investments. On the one hand, this is welcome – it is out of question that there is a need to critically discuss whether everything currently being promoted in the financial world as “sustainable” actually is.
Which central points are usually not sufficiently addressed in this blanket criticism can be read here (only available in German language/please use a language translation tool of your choice).
The growth of the FNG-Label as a quality standard for sustainable investments continues. In this year’s Awarding Ceremony, 291 financial products underwent a comprehensive scientific evaluation and were awarded with the independent quality label.
You can find further information on the FNG-Label here, and the QNG’s official press release concerning the Awarding Ceremony here (only available in German language/please use a language translation tool of your choice).
Simone Wagner, expert for Sustainable Finance of the University of Hamburg, addresses what sustainability labels can do for financial products. Do they really help to make the financial branch greener? – And: The FNG-Label is a “holistic sustainability label”.
Further information concerning the interview as well as the full recording “Greenwashing in der Finanzbranche: Helfen Nachhaltigkeitssiegel?” can be found here (only available in German language/please use a language translation tool of your choice).