High-level conference on sustainable finance
High-level conference on sustainable finance

It's high time for sustainable finance

It's high time for sustainable finance

The 2020 Strategy Experience: Lessons for Regional Cooperation, EU Governance and Investment

Berlin, 17 June 2015
DIW Berlin, Mohrenstrasse 58, Schumpeter Hall

In October 2014 the European Council agreed to create a “reliable and transparent governance system… to ensure that the EU meets its energy policy goals”. With the announcement of the Energy Union Package in February 2015, the Commission initiated a debate on how to make the European energy sector more secure, sustainable and competitive. This conference therefore invites academia and think tanks to prepare new analysis and practitioners to discuss experience that Europe and its Member States have gathered with cooperation and coordination mechanisms for energy policy to date. The objective is to gather the evidence base to inform the future development of EU energy policy and governance.   


8.45     Registration

9.15     Welcoming remarks: Ingmar Jürgens (EC Berlin Office), Karsten Neuhoff (DIW Berlin)

9.30 – 11.00

Panel 1 - Cross-border and domestic infrastructure development

We will start the discussion by evaluating the experience with the development of electricity and gas infrastructure. The main question discussed during this session will be: How do member states coordinate their policies to advance projects across different regulatory regimes and involve multiple stakeholders? The panelists will also analyse the role of European mechanisms to support the development of infrastructure, including the European Fund.

Chair: Kacper Szulecki, University of Oslo

Paper 1: László Szabó, Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research, Budapest

The 10 % Interconnection target of the EU: what are the impacts on the EU carbon emissions? | PDF, 0.57 MB

Paper 2: Siddharth Fresa, University La Sapienza, Rome / Stanford Uni.

Multilevel EU Energy Governance. A new role for ACER? | PDF, 251.66 KB

Discussant 1: Anne-Therese Gullberg, CICERO, Oslo

Discussant 2: Jean Michel Glachant, Florence School of Regulation, EUI, Florence

Additional paper: Adrienn Selei, Borbala Toth

A top-down approach to identify the most important natural gas cross-border infrastructure projects | PDF, 1.45 MB

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee Break

11.30 – 13.00

Panel 2 - Regional cooperation and coordination

A deeper cooperation and coordination between the EU member states is necessary to achieve the goals of the European Energy Union. The panelists will look into the limitations and barriers to improve regional cooperation and coordination. We will also try to find out to what extent the European Semester has been effective in fostering coordination? Through which mechanisms and what are the visible effects so far?

Chair: Jacques de Jong, Clingendael International Energy Programme (CIEP), The Hague

Paper 1: Katharina Umpfenbach, Ecologic Institute, Berlin

Regional cooperation in the context of the new 2030 energy governance | PDF, 351.37 KB

Paper 2: Tomas Wyns, Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels

Situational analysis of EU energy law in relation to enhancing investor certainty and Member State cooperation under a post-2020 framework | PDF, 0.85 MB

Discussant 1: Oliver Sartor, Inst. for Sustainable Development and International Relations, Paris

Discussant 2: Jon Birger Skjærseth, Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Oslo

Additional paper: Jörn Richert

A Single Voice and Beyond. Energy Policy Making in the EU, the Influence of External Development, and the Development of an External Dimension

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

14.00 – 15.30

Panel 3 - Renewable energy expansion and policy diffusion

Development of renewable energy sources is a decisive factor that can make European energy more sustainable and secure. But taking into consideration the high costs of the upfront investment of new sources, how can we tackle the rising energy prices and make sure that competitiveness of the European economy is not compromised? Panelists will discuss what helped and hindered mutual learning among Member States. In particular we will explore the varying perspectives on renewable energy deployment and how experience with early deployment of renewable energy sources influenced developments in other EU member states. Special attention will also be given to the changing political economy of the energy sector with increased RES deployment.

Chair: Karsten Neuhoff, DIW Berlin

Paper 1: Stefan Ćetković , Environmental Policy Research Centre, FU Berlin

Varieties of capitalism and renewable energy development | PDF, 203.09 KB

Paper 2 : Dorian Frieden,  Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft, Graz

Transnational renewable electricity cooperation: What's in for the host country? | PDF, 0.57 MB

Discussant 1: Severin Fischer, German Inst. for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Berlin

Discussant 2: Simon Müller, International Energy Agency, Paris

Additional paper: Oscar Fich-Roy

An offshore wind union? Diversity and convergence in European offshore wind governance | PDF, 411.04 KB

15.30 – 16.00 Coffee Break

16.00 – 17.30 Round-table: “Building an Energy Union: from Theory to Practice"

We explore what lessons can be learned from practical experience of European energy governance in different sectors gathered during the day for the structure and governance of the “Energy Union”. How can the political momentum behind the “Energy Union” idea be used effectively to improve European energy policy and governance? What are the main questions that arise from the Commission’s February 2015 Communication on the Energy Union Strategy Framework? What challenges need to be overcome to implement the Commission’s Strategy effectively and what options exist to do so?

To discuss these issues we will create a platform that brings together present and former policy makers and senior energy analysts from different knowledge backgrounds


Teresa Ribera, director, IDDRI, Paris


Andreas Goldthau, Belfer Center, Harvard University / CEU Budapest
Robert Brückman, eclareon, Berlin
Camilla Bausch (Ecologic), Berlin
Ingmar Jürgens (Representation of the European Commission, Berlin)

Additional paper: Kacper Szulecki, Severin Fischer, Anne Therese Gullberg, Oliver Sartor

Energy Union. Evolution, national expectations and implications for EU energy and climate governance | PDF, 303.18 KB

The discussion summary on the conference was published and is to be found here

A Climate Policy Journal Special Issue: Learning from the 2020 Strategy: New governance mechanisms and regional cooperation in European energy policy could be found here

Energy Security with Renewables

Berlin, 24-25 November 2016
DIW Berlin, Mohrenstrasse 58, Schumpeter Hall

The European Energy Union envisages important developments for the power sector: According to the Commission’s modelling, the economic pathway of decarbonizing the energy sector involves 27% of renewable in the European energy mix by 2030. This is backed by a corresponding renewable target, and will most likely result in significantly higher shares of renewables in the power sector. Regulators and power consumers request that this is achieved while ensuring secure and economic electricity supply -and investors are looking for clarity to guide strategic and financing choices. The EU Commission has announced a set of documents that will outline its perspective on key policy choices for fall of 2016. At the conference we will discuss whether and how proposals for the individual elements can fit into
a consistent picture?

Among decision makers from ministries, parliament, energy companies and recognized scientists and policy advisors we want to discuss how the design of short-term power markets contributes to secure and efficient system operation realizing the synergies of the integrated European power system. We then explore the role of renewable remuneration mechanisms as complement to short-term price signals and EU ETS for economic delivery of the renewable objectives. Analogous we then want to discuss the role of EU ETS and other policies for strategic choices on investment in conventional technologies and the portfolio of flexibility options. 


Thursday, November 24

10.00     Registration

10.30 - 11.00     Setting the scene

Laszlo Varro (International Energy Agency) Energy security in a decarbonising system | PDF, 0.94 MB

11.00 – 13.00

Session 1: Flexing the muscles: Is the power market robust for new technologies?

Intraday and balancing markets are gaining in importance to ensure economic and secure operation of Europe’s power system with increasing shares of wind and solar as well as flexibility and storage technologies. However, currently TSOs lack visibility and coordination of intraday developments resulting in increasing out of market interventions to align market outcomes with physical requirements. It is also discussed whether intraday and balancing products and market places are aligned with needs of different generation and flexibility options, or whether their differences across EU member states restrict optimization potential and complicate coordination between TSOs. How can all flexibility and generation technologies be fully integrated across borders? Is the whole EU transmission network actually coordinating enough to maximize its capacity or does this require smaller pricing zones?

Chair: Karsten Neuhoff (DIW Berlin)

Opening Comments:

Clara Poletti (Italian Regulatory Authority for Electricity Gas and Water)

Alberto Pototschnig (ACER) Flexing the muscles: Is the power market robust for new technologies? | PDF, 0.66 MB

14.00 - 15.30

Session 2: Dressing up: What policy will attract finance at low cost for renewables?

Large scale deployment of wind and solar requires very large volumes of capital. The returns necessary to attract investors may well be the main determinant of Europe’s power prices. Hence we want to explore how power markets can remunerate renewable generation and how this will impact the attractiveness of renewable for investor classes that can offer low-cost finance. How can regulatory risks and market failures best be addressed? What are the implications of auctions? What is the role of financial instruments offered for example by the European Investment Bank? What are risks for current and future consumers and tax payers?

Chair: Teresa Ribera (IDDRI)

Opening comments:

Irene Otero-Novas (Thesis Energy)

Jana Nysten (Becker Büttner Held)

16.00 – 17:45

Session 3: How to ensure renewables to contribute to energy security?

In European debates renewables are still often portrayed as gap filler, while their energy security contribution is better recognized in other regions. What is needed for generation adequacy to be a considered at regional or European level, so as to allow for reducing back-up requirements and mobilizing flexibility at regional and European scale ? How can an integrated perspective on short-term power market design and renewable remuneration mechanisms enhance predictability and visibility of power flows – and thus allow for higher utilization and more secure operation of power systems? How can renewable remuneration mechanisms not only hedge electricity producers against the risk of low power prices, but also help insure electricity consumers against periods of high electricity prices? Is integration of renewables into the European power market only possible once renewable remuneration mechanisms are abandoned? To date discussions have focused on the distortions that renewable support mechanisms can create to the fragmented European short-term markets. Assume the power market has flexed its muscles. Can we imagine design choices of renewable remuneration mechanism that will suit the market – or is the emperor better-off naked?

Chair: Jean-Michel Glachant (EUI)

Opening comments:

Andrew Claxton (EPEX) How to ensure renewables contribute to energy security | PDF, 214.02 KB

Leigh Hancher (University of Tilburg)

Catherine Mitchel (Exeter University)

Friday, November 25

9.00 - 10.30

Session 4: Can EU ETS provide pathway for fossils generation and flexibility options?

The EU 2030 strategy defines a 2030 target for renewables while for the remainder of the power sector it is largely argued that the emission trajectory embedded in EU ETS will guide investment and closure choices for gas, coal and lignite. In recent years, the potential of higher carbon prices under EU ETS did deter new investments in coal power stations. But can EU ETS also support strategic choices on new investment, large-scale re-investment or closure of gas, coal and lignite power stations? We want to discuss whether the strength and credibility of EU ETS are sufficient to achieve this objective. What are the uncertainties remaining about the role of gas, coal and flexibility options? What political risk can emerge from interactions with energy security and local economic development? We want to discuss the implications for investors so as to assess for what time frames it would be possible to develop a shared perspective on the role of key technologies necessary to guide public and private choices. Could policy provide support to address some of the uncertainties and barriers during a transition – and what risks could the additional policy interventions pose?

Chair: Simon Mueller (International Energy Agency)

Opening comments:

Daniele Agostini (ENEL)

Michael Grubb (University College London) EU Energy markets and carbon pricing | PDF, 455.28 KB

11.00 - 12:45

Session 5: What will empower consumers?

Retail competition with suppliers fighting for margins may no longer be the key issue for secure, sustainable and economic power supply. Local generation, digitalization or small scale storage are turning consumers into prosumers. Who will engage with the consumers – old or new retail companies – or third parties? What market design and regulation do they require - enhanced retail competition, third party access, or neutral regulated platforms? Can this be the starting point for unlocking flexibility from new devices, consumer response and multiple energy carriers and efficiency potentials in electricity and beyond – or will it result in uncertainty and reduce system integration? What can catalyze the development?

Chair: Carlos Batlle (Comillas University)

Opening comments:

Anna Colucci (European Commission)

Grzegorz Nowaczewski (Virutal Power Plant)

12:45 - 13.00  Concluding remarks

The program of the conference could be found here | PDF, 132.46 KB

Berlin, 22 February 2018
European House, Unter den Linden 78, 10117 Berlin, 1st floor

The final report by the EU high-level expert group on sustainable finance (HLEG) was delivered on 31 January, the Commission, in the meantime, “responded” with an action plan on 8 March and the March European Council will need to take a stance on it as well. More than 2 years after the “Paris Climate Deal” and the entry into force of the “Sustainable Development Goals”, is Europe ready to take sustainable finance to the next level, making finance work for sustainable development and for protecting our climate?

This and other questions were discussed at the high-level conference on sustainable finance, organized by DIW Berlin and the European Commission’s Representation in Germany in co-operation with the German Hub for Sustainable Finance on 22 February 2018 from 12 pm till 6 pm.

You can find the summary of the conference here | PDF, 158.56 KB


Welcome Note

The Representative of the European Commission in Germany, Richard N. Kühnel

Key Notes

- The Vice-President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis

- Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Michael Meister

Opening Debate – the policy context!

With an introductory note about the key findings of the EU High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance by its Chairman, Christian Thimann, Senior Executive to the AXA Chairman

Has sustainable finance reached the financial policy mainstream?

  • Will sustainable finance be a one-off topic or become a strategic issue for the Commission, the Finance Ministry and Central Banks?
  • Is “sustainable finance” just stepping in for a failing climate policy regime or are we moving to an integrated view of what is needed from the demand and supply side of sustainable capital to avoid catastrophic climate change?
  • No regret options only or 2 degree compatibility - what will govern the ambition level of (sustainable) financial policy?
  • Does Brexit increase the degrees of freedom for EU (financial) policy makers? Will we see German leadership – or are others like France taking the lead?

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European Commission

Marcel Fratzscher, President of DIW Berlin

Christian Thimann, Senior Advisor to the AXA Chairman & Chairman of the EU High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance

Joachim Wuermeling, Member of the Board, Deutsche Bundesbank

Moderator: Kristina Jeromin, Head of Group Sustainability, Deutsche Börse Group

Session A: Finance for sustainability - the demand for sustainable finance from firms, households and the public sector: long-term policy signals; national “capital raising plans”; increasing the “project pipeline” - what is required?

  • How can policy decisions send a sufficiently strong signal to induce sustainable long-term thinking and corresponding investment strategies on the demand side?
  • What could be the role of the German public sector in green financing?
  • What is the role of sustainable finance instruments for the “real economy” to date? What is their performance (e.g. in terms of volatility and liquidity), what is missing?

Karsten Neuhoff, Head of Climate Policy Department, DIW Berlin

Bernhard Goeke, Head of Division Climate Policy, Federal Environment Ministry, Germany

Gerhard Schick, Member of the German Parliament, Die Grünen

Moderator: Karsten Loeffler, Co-Head of the Frankfurt School - UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance

Session B: The firm level: accounting standards; disclosure and reporting; governance of firms and financial institutions.

  • How do firms reflect long-term climate and sustainability targets in their strategies? Which role for accounting standards and governance processes and what are the necessary adjustments?
  • ubstantial uncertainty about climate regulation and climate impacts, how do they affect investment decisions? Will the role of Minimum Regret Options increase?
  • Which market features drive sustainable firm-level decision making?

Michael Schmidt, Managing Director, Deka Investment GmbH

Alexander Bassen, Member of the German Sustainability Council

Mirjam Wolfrum, Director Policy & Reporting, CDP Europe

Steffen Schwartz-Höfler, Senior Manager Sustainability Strategy, Reporting & Ratings, ThyssenKrupp AG

Moderator: Karsten Neuhoff, Head of Climate Policy Department, DIW Berlin

Session C: Financial policy and markets: benchmarks and sustainability ratings; banking, insurance and asset owners and their roles

  • Is financial policy ambitious enough? How and when are we moving from “do-no-harm” to “2 or 1.5 degree compatibility”?
  • What drives the take-up of sustainability ratings, indices and benchmarks?
  • Different business models of different financial market actors determine the role they can play. What is their potential and what is needed for them to exercise their catalytic roles in the sustainability transition?
  • Transparency, voluntary action and regulation – what’s the right mix? Do policies sufficiently emphasize the demand side and consumer choices?

Silvia Kreibiehl, Co-Head of the Frankfurt School - UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance

Katharina Latif, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Allianz SE

Gerald Podobnik, Global Head of Capital Solutions & Sustainable Financing, Global Capital Markets, FSG, Deutsche Bank AG

Moderator: Matthias Kopp, Head Sustainable Finance, WWF Germany

Closing debate – the outlook

Where do we go from here, who will take the lead and what can we expect from policy makers in Berlin, Brussels and around the EU?

  • What are the crucial next steps and how ambitious and quick can this Commission be? Will member states play along?
  • Signals from the financial sector are largely positive, so ambitious policy action should be less contentious! Right?
  • What is possible through the EU alone, what will need to happen at national level and what internationally?
  • (How) Will sustainable finance be integrated in the day-to-day work of Finance Ministries, the European Commission and Central Banks?

Olivier Guersent, Director General of DG FISMA, European Commission

Levin Holle, Director General for Financial Policy, Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany

Chris Barrett, Executive Director, Finance and Economics, European Climate Foundation

Moderator: Christoph Bals, CEO, Germanwatch

Program of the conference could be downloaded here | PDF, 2.38 MB


Richard N. Kuehnel

Representative of the European Commission in Germany

Before joining the European Commission, Mr Kuehnel worked in the national diplomatic service of Austria in 1994. He served at the Austrian Embassy in Tokyo, in charge of economic and financial relations. Between 2000 and 2003, Mr Kuehnel was Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations in New York. In 2003, he returned to Vienna, first as Advisor to the Director-General for Development Cooperation and then as Member of Cabinet of the Foreign Minister.

In 2004, Mr Kuehnel joined the European Commission as Member of Cabinet of the EU Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner. He was responsible for multilateral relations and human rights. Between 2008 and May 2014, he was Head of Representation of the European Commission in Austria. Since June 2014, he has been Representative of the European Commission in Germany.

Mr Kuehnel is a lawyer by training, with an emphasis on international and European law.

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Valdis Dombrovskis

Vice-President of the European Commission

Valdis Dombrovskis is the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union. Prior to that, he served three consecutive terms as Prime Minister of Latvia, becoming the longest serving elected head of government in Latvia’s history.

Before becoming European Commission Vice-President, Valdis Dombrovskis was elected for the second time as a Member of the European Parliament (first, 2004- 2009) and Head of the Latvian Delegation in the EPP Group. He served as a Member of the Saeima (Parliament) of Latvia (March 2004- June 2004; January 2014-June 2014) and was Latvia’s Minister of Finance from 2002 to 2004.

Valdis Dombrovskis was born on 5 August, 1971 in Riga, Latvia. He graduated with a degree in physics from the University of Latvia (1993) and economics from Riga University of Technology (1995). He received his master’s degree in physics in 1995 from the University of Latvia. In 1995 -1998, he worked as a research assistant at Mainz University, Germany, at the Institute of Solid-State Physics in Latvia and at the University of Maryland (USA).

Prior to joining politics, he worked as a senior economist and chief economist at the Bank of Latvia (1998-2002). Together with Anders Aslund, he co-authored the book „How Latvia came through the financial crisis” which was published in 2011. In November 2014, Valdis Dombrovskis was awarded the Order of the Three Stars (Triju Zvaigžņu ordenis), the highest State Decoration of the Republic of Latvia.

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Dr. Michael Meister

Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance

Michael Meister was born on 9 June 1961. He holds a doctorate in mathematics and has been a member of the German parliament, the Bundestag, since 1994.

From 2002 to 2004 he was chairman of the finance working group of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag. Subsequently, until the end of 2013, he served as deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, where his responsibilities included fiscal and budgetary policy. Since December 2013, Meister has held the position of Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance.


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Dr. Christian Thimann

Senior Executive, AXA Group, Paris

Christian Thimann is a Senior Executive with the AXA Group, based in Paris. He was AXA’s Group Head of Strategy, Sustainability and Public Affairs from 2014-2016 and Member of the Group Executive Committee. In this role, he coordinated the group’s global business strategy, its engagement on corporate responsibility and its public affairs positioning. He was also Member of the Board of Directors of Alliance Bernstein Investment (New York) and of AXA Investment Managers (Paris), the two asset managers belonging to the AXA Group.

He subsequently became Group Head of Regulation, Sustainability and Insurance Foresight, also overseeing the AXA Research Fund, a €200 million initiative to support insurance-relevant risk research world-wide. In 2017 he became Senior adviser to the AXA Chairman, when he was appointed by the European Commission to chair the EU High-Level Group on Sustainable Finance, tasked to provide recommendations to hardwire sustainability and foster long-term investment in the EU’s financial policy and regulatory framework. Christian Thimann is also Vice-Chair of the FSB Task force on climate-related financial disclosures (chaired by Michael Bloomberg) and chair of the United Nations’ Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

Before joining AXA, he was Director General at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt; prior to this, he was staff member with the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.

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Professor Marcel Fratzscher, Ph.D.

President, DIW Berlin

Marcel Fratzscher is President of DIW Berlin, one of the leading, independent economic research institutes and think tanks in Europe, Professor of Macroeconomics and Finance at Humboldt-University Berlin, and Chair of the German government expert committee on "Strenghtening investment in Germany". The work of Marcel Fratzscher focuses on topics in macroeconomics, monetary economics, financial markets and global economy. In September 2014, his book "The Germany Illusion: Why we overestimate our Economy and need Europe" was published. In his recent book "The Battle for Redistribution – Why Germany is becoming more unequal“ (March 2016) he analyses the economic and social impact of the high and rising inequality in Germany.

His prior professional experience includes work as Head of the International Policy Analysis at the European Central Bank (ECB), where he worked from 2001 to 2012; the Peterson Institute for International Economics in 2000-01; before and during the Asian financial crisis in 1996-98 at the Ministry of Finance of Indonesia for the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID); and shorter periods at the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and in various parts of Asia and Africa.

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Professor Joachim Wuermeling

LL.M., Member of the Executive Board, Deutsche Bundesbank

Joachim Wuermeling is a Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank and honorary professor at the University of Potsdam.

After studying law at the Universities of Bayreuth, Erlangen and Dijon, Joachim Wuermeling earned a PhD in European Law from the University of Bayreuth and subsequently a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Comparative, European and International Laws at the European University Institute, Florence. Having completed his academic training, he worked as a ministry official at the Bavarian representative office in

Bonn, at the European Commission in Brussels and at the Bavarian State Chancellery in Munich. From 1999 to 2005 he was a Member of the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg, focusing in particular on legal and economic issues. In 2002/2003 he was also a Deputy Member of the European Constitutional Convention. Following the 2005 parliamentary election in Germany, Joachim Wuermeling was appointed State secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology in Berlin, an office he held until 2008. After three years as a Member of the Executive Board of the German Insurance Association (GDV), he worked on the Board of Directors of the Association of Sparda-Banken in Frankfurt between 2011 and 2016. Since November 2016 he has been a Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank and he is currently responsible for Directorates General Information Technology and Markets.

Since 1995 Joachim Wuermeling has taught as a visiting lecturer, first at the University of Bayreuth, then at the University of Potsdam, where he was awarded an honorary professorship in 2011.

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Kristina Jeromin

Head of Group Sustainability, Deutsche Börse Group

Kristina Jeromin joined Deutsche Börse Group in 2009 and was initially responsible for the internal and external communication of the Group-wide sustainability strategy. Since 2015, she is responsible as Head of Group Sustainability for Group-wide sustainability management, covering the company’s roles as an international capital market organiser, DAX-listed company and member of society. Since September 2017, Kristina Jeromin is a member of the Executive Board of econsense – Forum Sustainable Development of German Business e. V. in Berlin. In addition, she is member in the steering committee of the Hub for Sustainable Finance (H4SF).

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Professor Karsten Neuhoff, Ph.D.

Head of Department Climate Policy, DIW Berlin

Karsten Neuhoff is head of Department Climate Policy at the German Institute for Economic Research and Professor at the Economics and Management Faculty of Technical University Berlin. He has published on Power Market design, Innovation Policy and governance, finance, and instruments of Climate Policy. He is leading research and advice projects for the EU Commission and governments of EU member states. He holds a diploma in Physics from the University of Heidelberg, an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge.

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Dr. Gerhard Schick

Member of German Parliament, Die Grünen

Gerhard Schick is Member of Parliament since 2005 and part of the green parliamentary group. He works on policies for a stable and sustainable financial system that serves the people and co-authored the book ‘Finanzwende’.

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Karsten Loeffler

Co-Head of the Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance

Karsten Loeffler is Co-Head of the Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance, a strategic cooperation between UN Environment and the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. His work focuses on support mechanisms that support to fund the transition to a low carbon economy, as well as on using insurance as an efficient risk financing tool regarding natural catastrophe risks in vulnerable countries.

Before joining the Centre Mr Loeffler worked for Allianz Group for 28 years, including 11 years for Dresdner Bank, where he was a Sales Trader in capital market products to the German Mittelstand. At Allianz Global Investors he was responsible for its mutual fund range as Head of Product Management, and for setting up the Allianz Global Sustainability Fund. In 2008 he changed to Allianz Climate Solutions to position Allianz and advance its businesses in light of climate change.

Mr Loeffler serves as vice-chair of Oikocredit’s supervisory board, a Netherlands’ based development finance cooperative, and is member of the German Wissenschaftsplattform Nachhaltigkeit 2030 that supports the implementation of the global SDGs.

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Michael Schmidt

CFA, Member of the Board of Directors, Deka Investments GmbH

Michael Schmidt is a managing director of Deka Investment and Head of Asset Servicing & Alternative Investments. He is also responsible for all activities related to sustainable investments and corporate governance. From 2009-2014, Michael was a board member at Union Investment Privatfonds GmbH and was head of the equity portfolio management division of the Union Investment Group. Prior to that, he was an equity fund manager for 14 years in the asset management division of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt and London where he held various analyst and management positions, most recently as head of equity portfolio management for institutional clients. Michael completed a banking apprenticeship, holds a master degree in business administration and is a CFA Charterholder. He is on the board of the German Association for Financial Analysis and Asset Management (DVFA e.V.), he is a member of the sustainability advisory council of Deutsche Post DHL and a member of the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance of the EU Commission.

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Professor Alexander Bassen, Ph.D.

Member of the German Sustainability Fund

Alexander Bassen is a full professor of capital markets and management at the University of Hamburg, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Science (Germany). He teaches courses in finance and investment, ESG and capital markets and reporting. Alex is a member of the German Council for Sustainable Development - advisory body of the German Federal Government, chair of the UN PRI Academic Network Steering Committee, Honorary Research Associate at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (University of Oxford), member of the Social & Governance Issues (CESG) of the European Association of Financial Analysts Societies (EFFAS) as well as member of several other advisory committees.

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Mirjam Wolfrum

Head of Policy, Public Affairs, CDP Europe

Mirjam is Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Communications at CDP Europe. In her role she translates CDP’s work with companies and investors into information and asks for EU policymakers.

Before starting work with CDP in 2015, Mirjam was an independent Information Professional. She did business, market and product research for European companies of the clean technology sector. Having started her career as Partnership Relationship Manager in a business consultancy, Mirjam worked three years at the Goethe Institute in Brussels, being in charge of public information and liaison with the EU institutions. Mirjam holds degrees in Information Management and Journalism.

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Dr. Steffen Schwartz-Hoefler

Senior Manager Sustainability Strategy, ThyssenKrupp AG

Steffen is a manager and expert in sustainability strategy development, sustainability & integrated reporting, climate change strategy and carbon footprinting with 10+ years experience in the field. He worked in several positions within thyssenkrupp group leading various aspects of sustainability. He has also chaired the econsense expert group on reporting & ratings for several years. Steffen holds a PhD in political science.

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Silvia Kreibiehl

Co-Head of the Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance

Silvia Kreibiehl is Co-Head of the FS – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance, a strategic cooperation between UN Environment and the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. Set up as a think-and-do tank, the Centre combines practice-oriented research and policy advice with implementation expertise in developing and emerging countries. Ms. Kreibiehl’s work focuses on innovative financing schemes and regulatory frameworks unlocking international and local private sector investments.

Before joining the Centre Ms. Kreibiehl had worked for Deutsche Bank for 17 years, with 10 years in corporate finance, in particular in the RE sector. She was responsible for DB’s shareholding in the Desertec Industrial Initiative and was the lead analyst for the design of the GET FiT programme.

Ms. Kreibiehl has been a contributing author to the Fifth Assessment Report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She serves as a member of the C3E International Ambassador Corps since 2016 and was nominated as a member of the Independent Technical Advisory Panel of the GCF in 2015.

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Katharina Latif

Head of Corporate Sustainability, Allianz SE

Katharina Latif is the Head of Corporate Responsibility at Allianz SE. In her role, she is responsible for ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) integration into operations, investments and insurance segments of Allianz Group. On top she oversees sustainability reporting, corporate citizenship programs and disaster relief efforts of Allianz.

Her previous positions included being the Managing Director of Allianz Climate Solutions, where she oversaw all aspects of the business strategy and operations of the Allianz Group’s climate change center of competence. As management consultant for European energy, chemicals and utilities companies with Accenture, Germany, she carried out project-based work on topics including market and competitor analyses, product development.

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Dr. Gerald Podobnik

Global Head of Capital Solutions & Sustainable Financing, Global Capital Markets, FSG, Deutsche Bank AG

Gerald is Global Head of Capital Solutions & Sustainable Financing as well as Co- Head of FIG EMEA in Global Capital Markets. In his Capital Solutions & Sustainable Financing role, Gerald is responsible for regulatory and rating agency optimized capital measures for banks, insurance companies and corporates as well as the emerging sustainable financing toolbox. Key products are all forms of green/social/ sustainable bonds, hybrid capital securities and regulatory capital advice in the changing environment of Basel IV, resolution regimes, Solvency II, ICS etc. In his FIG role, Gerald is responsible for debt issuance and balance sheet solutions with financial institutions in Europe, Middle East and Africa. He holds a doctorate degree in law and a Masters degree in business administration from Graz University, Austria.

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Matthias Kopp

Head of Sustainable Finance, WWF Germany

Matthias Kopp heads up the sustainable finance activities with WWF Germany and is a member of WWF’s international Finance Practice.

He holds a degree in industrial engineering and management (Berlin/London) and worked with PwC management consultants until 2005before joining WWF as Project lead energy and finance sector. For the last three years he has been leading WWFs finance sector focused activities across WWFs areas of work.

Activities included managing an international partnership with Allianz Group on a climate compliant business model, initiation and implementation of CDP Germany 2006-11. He worked with Credit Suisse, Unicredit. Mercer and others.

One focus of work lies on climate compliance in the lending, investment and insurance value chain, risks assessments and transparency (TCFD), most recently including water related risks. As such Matthias co-developed first pilots on  „margin@ risk“ assessment-approaches and was involved in the EU Horizon 2020 project SEI-M on climate performance assessments in financial portfolios. A further area of focus is financial markets’ regulation in the G20, G7, EU and Germany.

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Olivier Guersent

Director General of DG FISMA, European Commission

OLIVIER GUERSENT graduated with distinction from the “Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Bordeaux” in 1983. He joined the French Ministry of Economy and Finance in 1984, where he carried out many investigations for the French Competition Authority. He joined the European Commission in 1992, initially with the "Merger Task Force" in the Directorate-General for Competition. Since then, he has alternated between the private offices of a number of European Commissioners (Karel Van Miert, Michel Barnier and Neelie Kroes) and DG Competition (successively Deputy Head of Unit in charge of cartels, Head of Unit in charge of policy and coordination of cases, Head of Unit in charge of merger control, Acting Director “Transport, postal and other services" and, from 2009, Director responsible for the fight against cartels.

From 2010 to 2014 he was the head of the private office of Michel Barnier, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services. Having held the position of Deputy Director-General since July 2014, Olivier Guersent has been Director-General of the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union since 1 September 2015.

Married and a father of three children, Olivier Guersent is a member of the board of the non-profit organisation Aremis that provides medical care in the home, primarily to cancer patients in the Brussels area. He is a regular lecturer to postgraduate university students.

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Dr. Levin Holle

Director General for Financial Policy, Federal Ministry of Finance, Berlin, Germany

Levin Holle is the Head of the Financial Markets Policy Department of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance. His responsibilities include the formulation of policies and strategies with respect to federal credit institutions, federal debt management, financial markets as well as anti-money laundering and international financial markets policy. He is also responsible for the supervision of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority and the Financial Market Stabilisation Authority. Additionally he is supervisory board member of the Deutsche Bahn AG since 2018.

Prior to joining the German Finance Ministry he worked 15 years for the management consultancy Boston Consulting Group, his last position being Senior Partner and Managing Director of the Berlin office. In 1996 he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Goettingen.

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Chris Barrett

Executive Director, Finance and Economics, European Climate Foundation

Chris Barrett is the Executive Director for Finance and Economics, and the Chair of the Finance Dialogue Steering Group. In these roles, he leads the international strategy on the potential and logic of the low-carbon transition from economic and finance perspectives.

Before joining the European Climate Foundation, Chris Barrett was Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for three years. Prior to this, he was Chief of Staff to the Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan from 2007 to 2010, and served in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet from 2003 to 2007, culminating in the position of Deputy Secretary of the Policy and Cabinet Group. He began his career as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group in Melbourne in 1992, and has degrees in economics and public policy from the University of Melbourne and Princeton University.

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Christoph Bals

CEO,  Germanwatch 

Christoph Bals, born in 1960, is the Policy Director of the environmental and development organization Germanwatch. In 1991 he was a founding member of this NGO and has been engaged since then in the politics of climate and development. He is a board member of the "Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit" (Foundation for Sustainability), the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) which is pushing for insurance for the people of developing countries against climate risks, and the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI).

Bals is also member of political coordination of the international Climate Action Network and in the speaker board of Klimaallianz. Bals has taken part as an active observer in all the UN climate summits to date. He has co-initiated many political initiatives in the area of climate and development as well as climate and economics - the European Business Council for Sustainable Energy, e-mission 55 and atmosfair, for example. Bals studied theology, economics and philosophy in Munich, Belfast, Erfurt and Bamberg.

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