More than just a final report
The central advisory body of the German government on sustainable financing, the Sustainable Finance Advisory Council, "operates with less visibility on the public stage," seeking direct dialogue with experts in the ministries. Silke Stremlau, the council's chair, described the council's approach during the conference "Sustainable Impact in Action" in Frankfurt. The conference, hosted by Börsen-Zeitung in collaboration with its partners, including the entities behind the FNG seal, the University of Hamburg's spin-off Advanced Impact Research, and French Skills Communication, provided a platform for scientists, politicians, and practitioners to discuss current issues related to impact investing.
Stremlau explained that the council is now engaging in "shorter and more concise" discussions with ministry officials. Their work does not solely revolve around producing a final report. Stremlau cited examples, such as the council drafting papers on the EU Commission's Taxonomy and Retail Investment Strategy. Additionally, the council interacts with the financial regulatory authority BaFin regarding potential conflicts between investors' and asset managers' engagement and the prohibition of "acting in concert."
The council also tackles ESG rating agencies, addressing the specific information needs of capital providers. Furthermore, the government advisory body explores how blockchain solutions can align with the requirements of the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act.
From rating to supply chain
The council also explores ESG rating agencies, questioning the specific information requirements of capital providers. Additionally, the government advisory body investigates the extent to which blockchain solutions can align with the demands of the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act.
"We have established trusted channels into the ministries," Stremlau reported. Direct exchanges between officials and practitioners have proven beneficial. Officials now know whom to approach within the council for specific topics. In public discourse, Stremlau noted, there often is a tendency to directly link the call for reduced bureaucratic burdens with the demand for a reduction in sustainability reporting requirements. She clarified that the emphasis should be on focusing and evaluating which information is truly relevant to assess a company's sustainability, rather than a blanket reduction of reporting obligations.
"It's about impact."
The Sustainable Finance Advisory Council itself is in the process of focusing on a few central themes to avoid getting lost in too many issues. According to the chair, the council's current term will primarily concentrate on two aspects: firstly, transformational financing. This includes exploring the conditions that can be established to facilitate effective transition for companies. Secondly, there will be a stronger emphasis on ensuring that individual measures indeed achieve measurable impact. "It's about impact," emphasized Stremlau.