Sustainable Finance

As a factor for growth, sustainable finance is becoming increasingly important for banks, corporates and policymakers. Here you can find out more about sustainable financing instruments, the key role of banks and the way in which companies are setting an example, in addition to political initiatives such as the European Green Deal.

More on Sustain­able Finance

Sustainable business and the role of the financial sector

The Instruments of sustainable finance for a sustainable impact

Political leaders and the public at large are increasingly demanding an economy that protects the climate and promotes social justice. The financial sector has its hands on one of the key levers for this transition to sustainability. Its task: use the instruments of sustainable finance to steer capital flows in a direction that creates a sustainable impact.

Sustainability is becoming a significant factor

Consumers shopping for new domestic appliances have become thoroughly accustomed to looking at efficiency ratings as well as price and performance information when perusing the market. 

How much water and power can I save by choosing this washing machine over that one? How much of a difference can I make for the environment? Sustainability is becoming a significant factor in our decision-making when we shop for groceries, clothes, cars and even travel services too. Not always and not for everyone, but the trend shines through unmistakably across the real economy and shows no sign of abating.

Companies combine commercial success and a sustainable business model

The concept of growth at any price no longer holds water, with companies able to combine commercial success and a sustainable business model now the example for others to emulate. This is not just about public relations either: smart businesses understand that in the current era, profitability and sustainability are two sides of the same coin. Organisations that have still not managed to integrate sustainability into their strategy properly in 2021 are gambling with their very future: like a washing machine with a miserable efficiency rating, their prospects grow dimmer by the moment.

Sustainable Finance Glossary - Image Source: Lobro78 via Getty Images

What is sustainable finance?

Key terms associated with the issues of sustainability and green finance - explained in a clear and straightforward way.

The challenge of managing risk

Sustainability risks stand out

Why has (old style) business as usual become such a risky policy? Because the pressure to tackle the great problems of the age – climate change, declining biodiversity, social inequality and discrimination against certain groups – is building from all sides. Concern about these issues has increased exponentially of late.

There are also political and economic factors in play over which companies have virtually no control, such as trade wars and countries suddenly turning their back on multilateralism in favour of a decidedly nationalistic outlook. The pandemic is another such event: nobody can predict when they will arrive or exactly what form they will take, but arrive they will and the consequences cannot be ignored. Managing these many and varied risks is becoming part and parcel of business management in the real economy and for the financial sector. Sustainability risks stand out in this context because we know that they have come to stay: we cannot vote them away and we cannot inoculate ourselves against them.

European Green Deal and EU-Taxonomie

Policymakers are responding with new regulations – like the European Green Deal, which aims to make the EU climate neutral by 2050, and the EU taxonomy, which defines the criteria that characterise sustainable investment – that make sustainable operation effectively unavoidable.

Sustainability is not a flash in the pan, some momentary bubble of hype or passing fancy; sustainability is the core economic strategy for the future. This applies to companies of all sectors too even if their business model has no obvious connection with sustainability. Companies in certain sectors, such as the mechanical engineering, mobility, chemical and metal industries, do though undoubtedly have more scope to make an impact with sustainable strategies.

The power of the financial sector

Steer the real economy in the direction of sustainability with the use of financial instruments

Thanks to its ability to guide capital flows with its instruments and products, the financial sector has considerable power to ensure that investment ends up where it will help to advance the cause of sustainability. Banks have a particular responsibility to exercise the leverage at their disposal: policymakers and the public at large rightly expect institutions to use their financial instruments to steer the real economy in the direction of sustainability. 

Helaba ideally positioned for the era of sustainable finance

The tone is very much "We expect..." rather than "Would you mind..." The combination of this clear message and the regulations formally adopted at the political level makes sustainability a key issue for the financial sector. Banks that already have a sustainable approach hard-wired into their ethos possess a distinct advantage here. Helaba, which is organised under public law and thus committed to act in the public interest, is just such an institution: all our customer relationships have sustainability at their heart, so we are ideally positioned for the era of sustainable finance.

All roads lead to sustainability

Read the interview with Yvonne Zwick, Chairwoman of B.A.U.M.


Klaus Distler

An expert in international structured and plain vanilla financing arrangements in the form of bonds and promissory notes, Klaus Distler has over 30 years of banking experience. He moved to Helaba, where he is now responsible for Corporate DCM, in 2012 having previously been in charge of Financial Institutions Origination at WestLB and held leading positions at JP Morgan in London and BayernLB in Munich.

Ina Liermann

Ina Liermann has been structuring solutions for listed and family-owned companies seeking external finance with syndicated loans for years. Having first joined Helaba in 2001 to take up a position in the acquisition finance field, the business administration graduate has a sharp eye for specific customer needs and develops borrowing options to match – options in which sustainability plays an ever more central role.

We, the Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale (Helaba), use cookies that are absolutely necessary to provide you with our website. No additional cookies will be set for the duration of your visit to this website if you close the banner by clicking on "Decline". If you give your consent, we will use additional cookies to process information about your use of our website for the purposes of statistics (such as measuring reach) and marketing (such as displaying personalized content).

Your consent is voluntary and not necessary for the use of the website. By clicking on "Settings", you can individually determine in detail which cookies we may use based on your consent.

You can also consent to all additional cookies at the same time by clicking on "Accept".

You can revoke your consent at any time via the "shield icon" in the toolbar on each page or change your cookie settings there.


When you visit our website, Helaba makes use of required and optional cookies. Cookies are small text files that are stored on your computer and saved by your browser. Their purpose is to make our range of services more user-friendly, for example so that you do not have to re-confirm an automatically generated disclaimer more than once. Cookies that we use are so-called “session cookies” because they are automatically reset at the end of your visit to our website.

Further information on the use of cookies on helaba.com can be found at Data protection.

cookie [publisher]purposestorage period / Follow-up processingthird country transfer
disclaimer_disclosureRequirements [helaba]necessary: Verification when accessing certain (sub) areas of the websitesessionno
disclaimer_residenceGermany [helaba]necessary: Verification when accessing certain (sub) areas of the websitesessionno
hideCookieNotice [helaba]necessary: Saves that the cookie or data protection notice will not be requested every time you visit.30 daysno
WSESSIONID [helaba]necessary: Standard cookie to use with PHP session data.sessionno

The sole purpose of using analytical services on our website is to optimise the online information we provide. Data collected in this way, such as IP address, date or time of the request, contents of the page accessed or the browser used do not enable any users to be directly identified. Analysis by Helaba of a user’s data is not intended to identify any individuals or conduct any profiling, in order to, for instance, send online advertising to visitors of our website.

You  find more information on statistics cookies here: Data protection

cookie [publisher]purposestorage period / Follow-up processingthird country transfer
_et_coid [etracker]statistic: cookie detection2 years / Evaluation to improve the user experience of our websiteno
allowLoadExternRessources [helaba]statistic: Saves the user decision that external components may be loaded automatically.30 days / Evaluation to improve the user experience of our websiteno
allowTracking [helaba]statistic: Saves the user decision that visitor behavior may be tracked.30 days / Evaluation to improve the user experience of our websiteno
BT_ctst [etracker]statistic: Is used to detect whether cookies are activated in the visitor's browser or not.session / Evaluation to improve the user experience of our websiteno
BT_pdc [etracker]statistic: Contains Base64-coded visitor history data (is customer, newsletter recipient, visitor ID, displayed smart messages) for personalization.2 years / Evaluation to improve the user experience of our websiteno
BT_sdc [etracker]statistic: Contains Base64-encoded data of the current visitor session (referrer, number of pages, number of seconds since the beginning of the session), which is used for personalization purposes.session / Evaluation to improve the user experience of our websiteno
isSdEnabled [etracker]statistic: Detection of whether the visitor's scroll depth is measured.1 hour / Evaluation to improve the user experience of our websiteno

On our website, we use a so-called re-targeting technology provided by The UK Trade Desk Ltd., 10th Floor, 1 Bartholomew Close, London EC1A 7BL, United Kingdom. With this technology, cookies (so-called third-party cookies) are stored on your hard drive when you visit our website. These cookies are either permanent or temporary cookies that are automatically deleted after a certain period of time has elapsed.

You find more information on marketing cookies here: Data protection

cookie [publisher]purposestorage period / Follow-up processingthird country transfer
EDAAT [.adsrvr.org]Marketing: Stores a temporary security token for EDAA sign-out pages such as http://www. youronlinechoices. com/1 hour / evaluation for the playout of banners for marketing purposesyes / United Kingdom
TDCPM [.adsrvr.org]Marketing: Matching IDs to avoid redundant calls.365 days / evaluation for the playout of banners for marketing purposesyes/ United Kingdom
TDID [.adsrvr.org]Marketing: recognition of web profiles over time on different websites.365 days / evaluation for the playout of banners for marketing purposesyes / United Kingdom
TTDOptOut [.adsrvr.org]Marketing: Stores the decision to opt out of re-targeting.5 years / evaluation for the playout of banners for marketing purposesyes / United Kingdom
TTDOptOutOfDataSale [.adsrvr.org]Marketing: Stores the decision against selling data to third parties.5 years / evaluation for the playout of banners for marketing purposesyes / United Kingdom
No choice made so far
Partial selection made
Agreed to all cookies