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Union Investment focuses on “credible transformation”

80% of institutional investors in Germany now take ESG criteria into account when investing. Union Investment forecasts that this share will be close to 90% by the end of 2020. “Corona acts like an accelerator,” emphasizes Union Investment board member Alexander Schindler and host of the ninth sustainability conference.

Florian Sommer, Head of ESG Strategy at the Frankfurt Asset Manager, describes climate protection, which remains a political imperative, as a “historic course of action”. However, the signs would change due to the Corona crisis. In terms of the economy, many industries are struggling with a hard landing. For example, the corona pandemic for airlines is as serious as the financial crisis for banks. Added to this is the change in consumer behavior and a new structure of the global supply chains. For the textile industry, for example, ESG analyst Dijana Bogdanovic expects companies to focus even more on the longevity of their goods in the future. “Fast fashion is out,” the manager predicts.

Overall, global ESG pressure is increasing on companies in all industries, especially in the energy and mobility sectors. Shearing all companies together cannot and should not be the goal. That is why the cooperative fund company relies on transformation competence that is crucial for the future viability of companies when it comes to sustainability. Yesterday’s black sheep can develop into hopeful whites. “Credible transformation is required,” says Henrik Pontzen, head of the ESG team at Union Investment. To increase the pressure on the companies, the portfolio management wants to use the general meeting as the most important tool in the tool box. However, the managers reject a virtual AGM.

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