Products and services can contribute to a climate-neutral and socially equitable world, and financing can do so as well. The idea of sustainable finance is increasingly gaining ground. More and more investors are valuing not only the returns on their investment decisions, but also the impact their investments make as well. Politicians are also supporting the financial sector in the activities that are necessary for the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“Sustainable finance makes an important contribution to strengthening Germany’s competitiveness,” as the German government’s Sustainable Finance Committee emphasizes. The committee, which consists of representatives from the financial and real economy, civil society, and science, advises policymakers and develops proposals on how indicators from the fields of environment, social affairs and governance can be more strongly incorporated into the risk and opportunity management of investors. Klaus Wirbel, Head of Finance at the REWE Group, is the REWE Group’s representative on this committee.
To date, there are few legally binding regulations, and the linguistic distinctions between terms such as green, social, sustainable, ESG (Environmental Social Governance) compliant and impact are not always clear-cut. In summer 2020, however, the EU defined important terminology for the first time in its Taxonomy Regulation. This creates transparency and prevents financial market players from greenwashing – that is, falsely advertising actions as green or sustainable.