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Desiree Fixler      

Sustainable Finance Expert & Greenwashing Whistleblower

Desiree Fixler is a leading expert and one of the most influential in the practice of sustainable finance. She was the Chief Sustainability Officer at Deutsche Bank’s asset manager, DWS, when she blew the whistle on material greenwashing activities at the company, leading to a federal police raid, ouster of the CEO and the largest SEC greenwashing fine. Her whistleblowing action sent shockwaves throughout the finance industry and galvanized efforts to reform ESG disclosure practices.

Fixler has over 25 years of experience in sustainable finance and investment banking and now she serves a trusted advisor to financial institutions, NGOs and regulators including the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore and guest lectures at Cambridge University.

She is a frequent media contributor and keynote speaker, providing expert insights on the ESG movement, the prevention of greenwashing, whistleblowing and risk management.

Speech Topics

Unmasking ESG

A critical assessment of today's practices and policies

Desiree shines a light on why the ESG movement has accomplished little positve impact in addressing climate change and social inequality. She addresses:

  • The different meanings and practices under the ESG and sustainable investment label.
  • The purpose and limitations of corporate actions versus government action.
  • Fractured and burdensome regulation.
  • Investment flows and mixed performance research.
  • Widespread greenwashing practices.
  • A better pathway forward to making positive impact.

Corporate Sustainability Best Practice

How to navigate today's challenges and backlash

Desiree discusses best practice considering today's fractured regulatory landscape, investor and activist scrutiny, increased litigation and the anti-ESG movement. She addresses:

  • Corporate organizational structure.
  • Expertise requirements.
  • Quality and substantiation of disclosure.
  • Compensation incentives.

Greenwashing Detection and Prevention

Assessment and Protection Strategies for companies and investors.

Desiree discusses and helps companies and investors spot potential greenwashing in product labels and strategies, statements and pledges. With ESG regulation, litigation and regulatory enforcement actions greatly on the rise, many companies are having to urgently re-assess the integrity of their products and services and public statements to ensure accurate disclosure and robust governance and incentives.

The importance of Whistleblowing

Desiree was Group Sustainability Officer at Deutsche Bank’s asset manager, DWS, when she exposed extensive greenwashing at the company- huge discrepancies between the firm’s public ESG claims and its internal statements and actions. When her concerns as well as her job were dismissed by the C-suite and Board, she decided to speak out publicly.

US and German authorities next launched investigations, which culminated in a police raid at the firm’s headquarters, the ousting of the CEO and senior executives at the firm and the largest SEC greenwashing fine. Her whistleblowing action sent shockwaves throughout the finance industry and galvanized efforts to tackle greenwashing. She poignantly tells cautionary yet inspirational story which held the most senior corporate executives to account, led to market-wide reforms as well as her own professtional reinvention.

Diversity and the gender pay gap

How to recruit, retain and promote diversity so as to banish old school group thinking and the resulting backward status quo behavior. How to identify problem areas and divisions and the needed tools and metrics to allow diversity and inclusion to flourish.

Speak up culture and whistleblowing

How to build strong corporate governance frameworks that encourage critical and creative thinking necessary to grow and optimize your business.

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Greenwashing challenges and addresses

What not to do when building out your ESG platform. The authentic and evidence based approach to avoid greenwashing accusations.

ESG and sustainable finance

How to build a robust and impactful ESG investment business amid regulatory changes and increased investor demands.

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