Environmental aspects flourish in green funds. Copyright by umweltzeichen/JB.

Fund Congress in Vienna

At the Fund Congress in Vienna on 8-9 March 2023, the focus was also increasingly on environmental aspects such as climate protection, biodiversity, clean water, greenwashing, ESG, e-mobility, raw material efficiency, impact assessment, sustainable infrastructure and building refurbishment.

This year's Fund Congress took place on 8/9 March 2022 in Vienna (Messe Wien). As in previous years, environmental aspects such as climate protection, biodiversity, clean water, greenwashing, ESG, e-mobility, raw material efficiency, impact assessment, sustainable infrastructure, building refurbishment, etc. were increasingly part of the agenda. were all part of the lecture series. During the four half-days, about two dozen topics were directly or indirectly dedicated to the interface between environmental protection and financing.

Many countries or regions are stepping up their efforts to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement or net-zero targets. The significant investments needed to scale up green technologies represent a major investment opportunity for this decade. The European Union has set a target of investing around €600 billion (EC, 2023) in the so-called "Green Deal", while in the US $370 billion has been budgeted under the Inflation Reduction Act and $127 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (The White House, 2021, 2022). In 2022, China was the world's largest investor in renewable energy with USD 546 billion (WEF, 2023).

In addition to renewable energy, the financing of sustainable investments also includes water technologies or pollution control technologies, production efficiency improvements in the context of the circular economy, e-cars in connection with smart cities, hydrogen, solar and wind power, to name just a few key industries.

Production processes have long been international, with China undoubtedly leading the way. For example, about 80 % of all important manufacturing stages of solar modules are controlled by China (IEA, 2022). In sustainable mobility, the balance of power is similar. 70% to 85% of the key components for e-cars are manufactured in China, while the USA, for example, is currently responsible for only 7% of battery production (2 IEA, EV Outlook, 2022).

The financial industry has taken this development into account for some time. Many funds are increasingly shifting investments or investment products from fossil energy production or "brown industries" in general in favour of sustainable forms of investment in order to avoid so-called "sunk costs" or "stranded assets".

A number of exhibitors and speakers at the fund congress not only emphasised sustainability in environmental protection, but also in the returns of their products. Many fund managers prepare detailed analyses of the value chain to select the most attractive sustainable sub-themes, integrate sustainability risks and opportunities into their fundamental analyses, implement controlling instruments for sustainable portfolio monitoring, etc.

The Ecolabel for "Sustainable Financial Products" is not only highly regarded in the domestic financial sector, but also in neighbouring countries. Many of the financial institutions have products in their offers that are licensed with the UZ-49. The Fund Congress has meanwhile become an important forum for ecological forms of investment or promotes this development by actively shaping topics in the direction of sustainable investment opportunities.