From GSE to ESG? The role of sustainability in capital market communication

Oliver Maier (Bayer AG)
Kristina Jeromin (Deutsche Börse AG)
Tim Albrecht (DWS)
Prof. Dr. Thomas Berndt (Universität St. Gallen)

The communication of non-financial information to the financial community is becoming increasingly important. The focus is on the three elements: Environmental, Social and Governance Data (ESG). Investors demand detailed information on aspects of sustainability. The panel discussion focused on the interface between corporate strategy, investor relations and sustainability.

Oliver Maier (Bayer AG) reported on his experiences and challenges in the exchange with the capital market on sustainability issues. He also appealed to capital market participants to comprehensively appreciate sustainability against the background of the history, industry and development of an issuer. Kristina Jeromin (Deutsche Börse AG) pleaded for close integration of corporate strategy and sustainability to ensure competitiveness. She was convinced that capital market participants take material sustainability indicators into account in order to gain a comprehensive understanding not only of the risks, but also of the potential of a business model.

Tim Albrecht (DWS) shared his expectations of corporate sustainability communication and spoke about the challenges from an investor perspective. This included not only data quality, but also the consideration of numerous ESG indicators. Albrecht reported on the expansion of sustainable asset management offerings, but also warned of the risks of possible divestments of such portfolios in the event of inadequate ecological sustainability. Professor Berndt (University of St. Gallen) supplemented and discussed current study results, focusing in particular on the challenge of data quality and comparability. An increasing standardization of ESG data is an essential prerequisite for a reliable assessment of sustainability.

The discussion focused on the importance of a credible link between corporate strategy and sustainability. In particular, the standardization of ESG data will play a central role. At present, there is still some uncertainty - both among issuers and investors. There was a consensus that sustainability is establishing itself as an important component of investment decisions.