Sustainability in the asset world


Does the topic sustainability concern the financial markets somehow at all? As far as the ecological dimension is concerned, the financial markets as pure service industry cause no large environmental damage in their activity. However, the fact shouldn’t be forgotten that “each form of development, eather sustainable or not, must be financed to a large extent by these markets”.

Sustainability in the asset world will then become a even more important topic, the more strongly the aspects of sustainability effect on the economic success of financial intermediate. These would then increasingly let the three dimensions of the sustainability flow into their financial products, which would lead again to the fact that the offerers of such products could exert an increased influence on the enterprises whose equity is contained in these products.[2]

The concept of the sustainability with its three dimensions is not sufficient in the asset world in order to call an enterprise sustainable. In the asset world, the dark times of the stock exchange particularly showed that all visions, strategies and goals of an enterprise as well as its positive operational results no longer are sufficient to win the confidence of the investors. Today the meaning of rumors has rosen. The fundamental confidence into the published statements of the enterprises has clearly been weakened in particular by the heavy consequence scandals of the years 2002 and 2003.

How can is the confidence of the investors into the enterprise be repaired and/or basically made possible? The enterprise must openly present their activities which means make them transparent for the investor. Also the three sustainability dimensions can be reconstructed only by means of a transparent enterprise communication. According to that, one the diagram can be completed as follows:

The Four-Dimension Model

Graph 2: Four-Dimension-Model of sustainability in the asset world


A Sustainability fund has to pay special attention to the adherence to ecological, economic and social criteria and the communication politics of the enterprises in the sense of transparency, by choosing the shares that schould be included in the fund.


[Sustainability] [Sustainability in the asset world] [Standard]


[1] Stephan Schmidheiny: Finanzmärkte und Ökoeffizienz. In Rolf Gerling, Stephan Schmidheiny: Sustainable development: Finanzmärkte im Paradigmawechsel. München 1996, S. 11

[2] vgl. Stephan Schmidheiny, Frank Figge: Finanzmärkte - Treiber oder Bremser des betrieblichen Umweltmanagements. In: Eberhard Seidel: Betriebliches Umweltmanagement im 21. Jahrhundert. Aspekte, Aufgaben, Perspektiven. Berlin, Heidelberg 1999, S. 288