Thematic focus

Covid-19 has sparked an unprecedented social and economic crisis and clearly slowed progress on the SDGs as well, but the response represents an opportunity to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable economy. The coronavirus crisis hits us at a time when we have about a decade left to reach a low-carbon transition and when we need to avoid warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius at all costs. Climate change requires policymakers and business leaders to understand the physical, socio-economic and financial risks and impacts of climate change and to examine all business decisions and solutions aimed at sustainable change with a focus on avoiding or reducing these risks. Sustainability is no longer a “nice to have” but has become a “need to have”.

The 4th Sustainable Investor Summit will shed light on all relevant topics in all major asset classes, the drivers of change and megatrends such as innovation, transport and energy transition, investments in biodiversity and, finally, technical and political drivers such as data collection or the evaluation of policies.

Program overview

Women in Sustainability - Gender & Diversity Investing

It is increasingly recognized that sustainability and the green economy are interlinked, as sustainable development is based not only on economic growth, but also on environmental and social sustainability.

Across the globe, women are increasingly making their mark in the green economy. Women's leadership skills, such as long-term thinking, innovation, collaboration, transparency, environmental management, and social inclusion, are essential to greening the economy.

This session will explore the challenges and opportunities for women in sustainability and introduce a diverse group of women leaders working in this field.

Women in Sustainability - Gender & Diversity Investing
CEO View - A New Deal for Europe in Turulent Waters

In 2020, COVID-19 triggered an unprecedented kind of shock, causing a severe economic downturn. As the crisis appears to have peaked in most countries, the focus has now shifted to the recovery, which appears to be longer and more complex than the downturn. However, instead of being blown off course, we need to find ways to finance sustainable development to pave the way to avoid another crisis.

This session will discuss how to make the necessary transformation and why it is central to firms' strategies and to achieving long-term sustainable returns.
We will hear how the current financial turmoil may be diverting attention from the urgent need to increase investment in climate action and sustainable development, and how leaders are planning to secure a sustainable future for their customers and society.

CEOs View – A New Deal for Europe in Turbulent Waters
Germany and Sustainable Finance – the Story so Far

In contrast to its reputation as a pioneer in renewable energy, Germany is considered a laggard internationally in promoting and using green finance for climate and energy policy. Germany has the largest economy in Europe, but ranks only fourth when it comes to green money.

The government has adopted a strategy to make Germany a leading center for sustainable finance. Achieving this vision will require significant capital and investment from participants and stakeholders in the German economy and opens the door for Frankfurt to become the regional center for sustainable finance.

At the Sustainable Investor Summit, we are asking key stakeholders in Germany to share their perspectives and insights on the development of sustainable finance and highlight the successes to date as well as the existing challenges that need to be addressed in order for Germany to achieve its ambitious goals.

Germany and Sustainable Finance – the Story so Far
Impact of Technology on the Green Economy - Investing in Technology for a Better Future

Technological innovation plays an important role in promoting green growth. Technology can help improve the efficiency of energy supply and use, minimize water consumption, reduce waste and increase food production. It can enable the development of new processes so that environmentally friendly alternatives are used. Most importantly, technological innovation makes sustainable practices more affordable and accessible.
As green investing expands to include innovative ideas that integrate sustainability into everyday commerce and the consumer experience, we believe VCs can play a large role in supporting a better future without compromising returns.

This session discusses the role innovation plays in the transition to a green economy, with a particular focus on the importance of venture capital. Why did venture capital's first foray into sustainability fail in the early 2000s? How does VC define what is "green"? What does ESG mean in VC?

Impact of Technology on the Green Economy - Investing in Technology for a Better Future
Family Offices - Unlocking the Potential for Global Impact

Investing in companies, organizations and funds with the goal of generating a social or environmental impact in addition to a financial return is a concept that has gained increasing appeal and attention. Often referred to as impact investing, the concept has become an industry, bridging the gap between philanthropy and traditional investment practices by leveraging private capital for social good while generating financial returns. While interest in impact investing has grown among a wide range of investors, one group is particularly noteworthy: family offices.

This session will discuss how - and why - families are making the move to impact investing. We will discuss what is driving the trend and whether family capital is better suited for impact investing, especially for early stage companies.

Familiy Offices: Unlocking the Potential for Global Impact
Resilient Infrastructure - Bridging the Gap between Public and Investor Needs

Climate resilient infrastructure systems are one of the most important areas of investment needed to adapt to a climate uncertain future. The pandemic demonstrated the urgent need for resilient infrastructure. Information and communications technologies have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. The crisis has significantly accelerated the digitization of many businesses and services. Private capital can help bridge the infrastructure financing gap, and institutional investors, such as insurance companies and pension funds, could increase their allocation to infrastructure over the long term.

This session will discuss the need for an industry standard for resilient infrastructure. How can ESG risks of a project be mitigated? What are the key criteria for sustainability and resilience in an infrastructure project? How are performance standards aligned with international reporting frameworks and country-specific disclosure guidelines and regulations?

Resilient Infrastructure: Bridging the Gap Between Public and Investor Needs
ESG Reporting - Implementation of the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosures Regulation

ESG has moved to the top of the regulatory agenda. There is strong momentum to change the financial services landscape for the better. However, companies need to balance improving their ESG record with the need to weather the impact of the crisis and address issues such as credit risk, cost reduction and consolidation. For institutional investors, the financial risks of climate change are coming into focus as regulators set expectations for stress testing and climate risk management.

This session will discuss the need for consistent ESG reporting. What challenges do companies face in ESG reporting? What needs to be done to improve and align corporate reporting approaches?

ESG Reporting – Implementation of the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosures Regulation
Private Equity - A positive long term capital appreciation

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading worldwide. Government measures to contain the spread are affecting the economy and our social life. Private equity is experiencing a unique year and demonstrating how to succeed in this challenging environment. If the private equity industry is confident enough and understands the transformative trends, measurable impact, this should be Europe's momentum.

This session discusses the biggest challenges and opportunities for private equity. How has the pandemic impacted current and future private equity investment strategies? Is the private equity industry moving fast enough to be at the forefront of helping entrepreneurs navigate the transition? How can private equity firms future-proof their portfolios?

Private Equity - A positive long term capital appreciation
Venture Capital - Creating Alpha with ESG

Venture capital investments have positive economic effects. However, market failure leads to suboptimal levels. While the problem in Germany used to be acute in seed financings, it now also affects later, larger financing rounds.

The increasing importance of the digital economy has contributed to this shift. This is because digital startups are under pressure to scale quickly, which requires larger venture capital investments. In the U.S., venture capital investors have adapted to the specific needs of digital startups. In Germany, this evolutionary step has not yet taken place.

Germany is in danger of losing out in important technology areas, which are largely driven by VC-funded startups, and no longer being competitive internationally. Since in many digital markets size and familiarity are crucial to maintain a long-term position in the market, it is almost impossible for companies to catch up later.

This session will discuss the need for domestic and foreign investors to interact for a healthy and sustainable venture capital ecosystem. It is important that all stakeholders in the value chain, including investors, fund managers, and entrepreneurs, have a clear understanding of what impact goals should be pursued. How can weaknesses in individual market phases be addressed by mobilizing private capital? How can companies be measured against specific predefined impact KPIs that directly drive positive social or environmental change?

Venture Capital - Creating Alpha with ESG
Impact Through Listed Equities: Opportunities and Challenges

The integration of ESG variables into fundamental analysis usually starts with public equity markets - not least because this is often the largest asset class in the portfolio, which also offers the comparatively most robust ESG information. Responsible investing has gained strong momentum in recent years, but what progress have global institutional investors made in integrating ESG principles into their investment decisions?

Equities as an asset class don't really offer the opportunity to have a direct impact like a solar or wind energy project, but they can have an indirect impact over the long term. Investors can have an impact by actively engaging, as well as constructively working with company management, to find ways for companies to make a positive social or economic impact by leveraging their existing strengths and resources.

This session will discuss the progress institutional investors have made in integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles into their investment decisions. The lack of high-quality data highlights a barrier to broader ESG adoption. How can an investor measure the impact created by their contribution to an equity fund? How can impact measurement tools be developed that allow investors to see what impact their money is having?

Impact Through Listed Equities: Opportunities and Challenges
Green Bonds - Opportunties and Challenges

Green bonds are becoming increasingly interesting for financing. This is because investor demand is greater than supply. This offers bond issuers interesting opportunities to broaden their investor base if the bonds have certain environmental characteristics. Green bond issuers must demonstrate that the money is being used in an environmentally friendly way and that the bond is helping in the fight against climate change. The spectrum here is very broad. Whether renewable energies or electric mobility, energy efficiency or reduced resource consumption.

Experts expect this financing instrument to develop further with great momentum. Investors are increasingly switching from conventional to "green" investments. A rethinking that has begun on the capital market. The chances are good that green bonds will make a growing contribution to the fight against global warming - and ultimately help the much-publicized Paris Agreement and subsequent world climate conferences to succeed.

This session discusses the developments and hurdles of this boom and critically analyzes what investors need to watch out for. How can greenwashing be prevented? How can maximum impact be achieved? What green guidelines for targeted markets have already been defined and disseminated, in line with the EU Action Plan? What are the best practices?

Green Bonds – Opportunities and Challenges
Blue Economy - The key to the future of a green planet

The loss of biodiversity in the oceans poses a relative risk to investors. The transition from the current short-term, destructive approach to ocean assets to a climate-safe and sustainable Blue Economy represents a tremendous economic and sustainable investment opportunity. It also plays a critical role in the global transition to future carbon neutrality.

The Blue Economy is growing and attracting investment because of its potential for sustainable economic growth. Many opportunities have been identified where investors can make a difference, particularly in sustainable aquaculture, renewable marine energy, plastic pollution prevention, and conservation finance - all fast-growing sectors with great investment potential. Investors are addressing the biodiversity crisis. Policymakers and investors are waking up to biodiversity loss and adapting a playbook they created for measuring and managing climate risk. Developing an ocean finance infrastructure that promotes sustainable use of the ocean will be critical to scaling sustainable blue economy investments in a way that is attractive to the broader capital market.

This session will discuss the tremendous economic and sustainable investment opportunities that lie in the Blue Economy. What are investable opportunities that offer solutions to ocean challenges? What are the drivers for sustainable blue economy investing and what barriers still need to be overcome? What ESG issues are relevant to investors in light of the diverse ocean economy and complex global ocean ecosystem? Is there guidance on how to measure and manage risk?

Blue Economy – The key to the future of a green planet – a sustainable growth strategy
Sustainable Agriculture & Timberland - Opportunities across asset classes

Extreme weather, biodiversity loss, and deforestation pose relative risks to investors. The transition from the current short-term, destructive approach to agricultural and timberland assets to a climate-resilient and sustainable economy represents a tremendous economic and sustainable investment opportunity. It plays a critical role in the global transition to sustainability and a future carbon neutrality.

Practitioners of sustainable agriculture seek to integrate three main goals into their work: a healthy environment, economic viability, and social and economic justice. Every person involved in the food system-farmers, food processors, distributors, retailers, consumers, and waste managers-can play a role in ensuring a sustainable agricultural system.

Demand for food is growing and attracting investment because of its potential for sustainable economic growth. Many opportunities have been identified where investors can make a difference, particularly in the areas of sustainable agriculture, efficient water use, and reduced pollution - all fast-growing sectors with great investment potential.

This session will discuss the potential and opportunities for growing and attractive investments in sustainable agriculture and forestry. What are the drivers for sustainable agriculture and forestry investment and what barriers still need to be overcome? How can investors achieve engagement across asset classes? What technological innovations can be leveraged for sustainable agriculture and forestry?

Sustainable Agriculture & Timberland – Opportunities across asset classes
Emerging Markets - Why will emerging markets outperform in 2021?

Emerging market growth will recover significantly, led by China as a growth driver, providing an anchor despite the ongoing damage from COVID-19. According to Goldman Sachs, emerging markets will outperform the rest of the world as the global economy begins to recover in the second quarter. With reduced political uncertainty following the U.S. election and the potential for further positive inoculations, analysts and investors have pointed to opportunities in risky assets that lag other markets. While prices in developed markets are rising, institutional investors are increasingly looking for value in emerging markets.

This session will discuss the momentum following the global pandemic and economic shifts. What lessons have we learned and how can we capitalize on the opportunities while managing the risks? Can technological developments catalyze emerging market growth, give them a competitive advantage, and attract significant global capital investment? Where are investors deploying and allocating their capital, in terms of geos and sectors? How does ESG factor into investor decision-making?

Emerging Markets - Why will emerging markets outperform in 2021?
Energy Transition - Mapping the unstoppable transformation

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact global financial markets, the energy industry is also facing short-term disruptions that are impacting heavily impacted assets. However, given the continued global demand for energy investments and the long-term, stable nature of the asset class, private investments are likely to prove resilient in a post-pandemic world. However, COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated the need for more resilient investments in this asset class and relevant sectors. It has also underscored the need to tap more innovative financing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Green Deal puts the EU on a path to climate neutrality by 2050, through a deep decarbonization of all sectors of the economy. The energy and infrastructure system is critical to achieving these goals.

This session will discuss the dramatic changes in market conditions that are driving strong investment demand from institutional investors around the world. Experts will discuss the latest opportunities in Europe and the types of assets that will be in contention in the new normal and less affected by the slow market recovery. What actions are leaders calling for, particularly in the energy sector? Is there an imbalance between supply and demand for renewable energy assets? Are current return expectations realistic? Where do investors expect opportunities in the next five years?

Energy Transition - Mapping the unstoppable transformation
Integrated Mobility - The Challenges in Urban Mobility

By 2030, nearly 60% of the world's growing population will live in cities. As technological innovations in the form of electrification, connectivity and autonomy advance, the way people get around in urban environments will change dramatically. New business models (e.g. rideshare platforms), increasing urbanization, and the growth of "megacities" are already changing traditional mobility patterns. This presents opportunities for both the public and private sectors to benefit from the increasing cross-sector changes. An integrated perspective is critical for key stakeholders as the various mobility trends - infrastructure, autonomous driving, connectivity, decentralization of energy systems, electrification, shared mobility, and public transit - are interconnected and will affect both consumers and businesses.

This session will discuss emerging business models and the increasing opportunities for the public and private sectors to capitalize on the growing cross-sector shifts. How can institutional investors benefit from this? How will mobility needs evolve in European cities? What challenges do we have to face and what trends can be derived from this?

Integrated Mobility- The challenges in urban mobility
Sustainable Investing in Real Estate - Opportunities for social impact investing

Despite strong political and economic headwinds, Europe's leading real estate experts remain firm believers in real estate as an attractive asset class. However, secure, stable returns remain the guiding principle for most of the industry. With interest rates expected to remain low for longer and bond yields in negative territory in many European countries, real estate income retains its broad appeal to investors.

The framework conditions for companies are being redefined in favour of greater sustainability and climate protection. This also affects the real estate industry. Not only are stricter laws and new regulations increasing the pressure on the industry, but the capital market is also demanding sustainable innovations. The industry is at the beginning of a new era. Impact-oriented action with positive effects for people and the environment will be the mission and the benchmark for future success.

This session discusses the opportunities for social impact investing in the real estate industry. How can the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) be implemented in all future business plans? How can all stakeholders be involved? Which alliances are necessary to be successful? What best practice examples are there in other countries?

Sustainable Investing in Real Estate - Opportunities for social impact investing