Institute of the Weltethos Foundation
at the University of Tübingen

First slide

What can and should the ECB contribute to the climate crisis?

The Global Ethic Research Group sets critical accents at its conference at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. Here you can find the talks on YouTube.

The new sustainability strategy of the European Central Bank was the focus of an academic conference of the Global Ethic Research Group Finance and Business on October 13 at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. Under the title “The European Central Bank and its role in a sustainable financial system – problems and opportunities,” experts discussed the monetary or financial policy instruments that can be used to achieve ecological goals in particular.

After the welcome address by the President of the University Prof. Enrico Schleiff, co-founder of the research group Prof. Johannes Hoffmann gave an overview of the sustainability situation in the financial market. Afterwards, press spokesman Peter Ehrlich, representing the ECB, presented its sustainability strategy. This was followed by a critical reflection on the credibility of the ECB sustainability strategy by Prof. Harald Bolsinger and Jens Minnemann. In this contribution, the focus was particularly on Prof. Bolsinger’s petition, according to which the ECB may only make investments that comply with human rights. A panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Bernd Villhauer, shed further light on the strategic issues.

A highlight was the Club of Rome panel, especially with the contributions of Dr. Mamphele Ramphele and Peter Blom. Dr. Ramphele brought a global perspective as co-president of the Club of Rome, an activist and former managing director of the World Bank, while Blom (chair of the Rethinking Finance Hub at the Club of Rome) shared his experiences as CEO of Triodos Bank. The panel was moderated by Dr. Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, who, as a member of the Research Group’s Board of Directors and a member of the Club of Rome, also focused on the social and cultural impact of financial transactions.

The lunch break was followed by a presentation on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) by Dr. Dirk Ehnts of the Institute for International Political Economy in Berlin. Ehnts’ focus was on the question of what debt policies will be necessary for the sustainability transformation.

The subsequent presentation by Dr. Fritzi Köhler-Geib also focused on lending criteria and sustainability programs of banks, more specifically on the role of the KfW bank in a sustainable financial system. The bank’s chief economist provided concrete insights into the bank’s practice, which strives to take a holistic view of sustainability criteria.

A second round of discussion, moderated by Benedikt Hoffmann, then shed light on the practical consequences of the ECB’s reorientation for entrepreneurs and consumers, and was concluded with critical questions from the audience.

Prof. Harald Bolsinger from the Global Ethic Research Group and Prof. Ulrich Klüh from the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Economic Policy finally drew a mixed conclusion for the group of organizers: the discussions about the ECB’s mandate will continue and it is central that a broad public is created for the basic questions of monetary and financial policy or their interaction with environmental and sustainability issues. The meeting of the Global Ethic Research Group on Finance and Economics could only be a start here. The group will continue to actively advocate for an ecologically and socially compatible financial system and critically accompany developments in international financial policy.

A further conference for 2022 is already being planned.