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Sustainable Views

Sustainable Views: Lessons from a whistleblower

Season 2, Ep. 1

If you work in sustainability, you'll already be familiar with Desiree Fixler.

If you're new to this area, Desiree is the whistleblower who instigated multiple investigations into the ESG credentials of DWS, the asset manager part of Deutsche Bank. At one point, the German police got involved too. The company’s shares dived; its CEO stepped down. This is arguably the biggest sustainable finance scandal to date.

Desiree, who used to be DWS’s global sustainability officer, accused her former employer of greenwashing. In September this year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission concluded she was right. It fined the asset manager a whopping $19mn for ESG misstatements - the SEC's largest ever ESG fine.

In this new episode of Sustainable Views, Desiree talks to Silvia Pavoni, your host, about how sustainable finance should change to actually be sustainable – and avoid misleading investors. 

She also shares her views on regulators’ role in this area (she’s not a fan of the EU’s sustainable finance disclosure rules, which she says are a “train wreck”); and calls on companies to build solid ESG expertise internally, rather than outsourcing the work – and the responsibility – to consultants.

Desiree also gives advice on how to tackle greenwashing within companies, and how to deal with life as a whistleblower.



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