No 4



Don’t be taken in – not every financial product is as green as it seems!

Beware of “greenwashing” – the practice of advertising a financial product as being environmentally friendly even though it doesn’t meet basic environmental standards. Terms like “ecological” and “green” are frequently used for this purpose, or advertisements feature certification that doesn’t even exist. Companies try to create a competitive advantage for themselves and their product in this way, to be able to charge a higher price by creating a more favourable image.

Do you also want to have green fingers when investing money?

When choosing your investment form, are you interested in more than just the security of your invested capital, interest income on it or opportunities for healthy returns? When investing your money, in the future you also want to contribute towards protecting the environment. Sustainability is a new aspect when assessing an investment.

What is sustainability?

In order to be ecologically sustainable, an investment must be designed in such a way that it also contributes to defined environmental objectives. Harmonised environmental objectives have been set under European law. Large European companies, banks and insurers are required to disclose information about sustainability in their annual reports. It is always worth taking a look at the annual report, which can be found on the company’s website.

A green branch requires transparency!

Financial undertakings and advisers are required to provide the following information on their websites as well as in their
pre-contractual information:

  • the sustainability strategy with regard to their own investment decisions
  • the sustainability strategy in relation to investment advice
  • the estimation about how climate and environmental risks may impact the returns on the financial products offered

To allow you to check how up-to-date this information is, the date on which the information was first published, as well as the date of every update to the information must be visible.


Currently such information relates to corporate strategy, at the latest from the end of 2022, information disclosure is intended to be expanded to cover all their financial products. According to proposals by the European Commission, investment advisors will be required to ask you in the future whether ecological issues are also important for you when investing. Sustainability preferences will therefore become a compulsory part of advisory meetings.

Risky Investment Forms

If you are actively interested in sustainable investments and have already conducted research about them, then you will almost certainly already encountered offers about investment in “green real estate”, wind farms and solar parks or hydro-electric power. Such projects in the grey capital market are frequently designed in the form of qualified subordinated loans, equity capital, debt securities or participation rights. Particular caution is necessary, as these are very risky investment forms! In the case that the project is unsuccessful or the company becomes insolvent, you may lose all the money that you have invested.


Sustainable investments are not necessarily more secure than comparable traditional investments. Ask questions and be critical!

Environmental targets:

Climate protection, adjustment to climate change, sustainable use and protection of water and maritime resources, transition to a circular economy including recycling and waste avoidance, avoidance and reduction of environmental pollution, protection of healthy ecosystems

Grey Capital Market

Market participants, whose product does not fall within the spectrum of supervision, but who are therefore allowed to offer it are active in the grey capital market.