So Much for Green: “Sustainable” Funds Can Be Environmental Sinners Too

As shown in a new infographic from, the volume of investment into sustainable investment funds in Germany has increased by 1,745% in the last 10 years to reach more than €107 billion. More and more people are coming to the conclusion that returns and ecology don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Yet a recent study reveals that there is actually little difference between sustainable and conventional funds.

The study shows that more than 70% of sustainable investments in the energy sector are in fossil fuels, including almost €100 million in coal. Companies such as Gazprom or BHP are included in some supposedly green funds. There are accusations of greenwashing being levelled, while fund operators criticise the approach taken by the authors of the study.

The infographic reveals that large shareholders, including institutional investors, are the main drivers of sustainable investments, accounting for 82% of the volume, while private investors account for 18%.

Meanwhile data from Google reveal that sustainable shares are also becoming increasingly popular among the masses. The trend score for the search term pair “sustainable shares” currently stands at 63, with a value of 100 representing the highest possible relative search volume.

According to current forecasts, the trend towards sustainability on the stock exchange floor is far from over. While 14.7% of capital was invested sustainably at the end of 2020, this figure is expected to rise to 37.7% by 2025. To make sure that this is not just window dressing, it is essential to have standards and ecological seals to verify that these assets are sustainable, inside and out.

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