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Green pragmatism & financial idealism

July 3, 2023

Are you the right person to make the economy more sustainable and the world a better place through ESG & Sustainable Finance? Does “green finance” offer the right job for you to be an ESG pioneer and use the most effective lever we have in terms of sustainability?

We do not want to go into the historical background and economic requirements of the EU Action Plan for Financing Sustainable Growth and the resulting EU Green Deal here. You can read about this in our blog article “Money makes the world go green!”.

It should only be emphasized that finance is THE linchpin of sustainable economic development. Money controls the direction of development: WHAT is financed and HOW something is refinanced are the levers with which the economy can be most effectively transformed in the direction of sustainability.

The right job for the right sustainability pioneers

What the EU action plan still brings are many (new) jobs and fields of activity not only in the financial sector! The areas around ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and sustainability now require a lot of technical knowledge – and adapted to the respective company orientation. You need explicit sustainability/ESG know-how in every function of a company in some form and different granulation to understand and master the complex interrelationships of sustainability and green finance!

The continuing education program Sustainable Finance Management at FHWien der WKW serves precisely these target groups. These are very heterogeneous and concern all industries, not only financial services. It is no longer just about employees and managers or supervisory board members in large companies. It affects almost all employees of companies that are involved in an international value chain and have to fulfill the specifications that a customer gives them. For example, they too will have to report their carbon footprint or other environmental data in the future, and not just in the context of a credit discussion with their principal bank. Public and private tenders already frequently have requirements that relate to ESG & Sustainable Finance.

Or, if a company seeks external support, for example, the responsible employees must not only understand the interrelationships, but also be able to implement them sustainably and long-term within the company and check them for plausibility. This requires a certain ESG minimal training.

With four programs, the modular structure at FHWien der WKW offers the entire range of training in this field: from the “Compact Seminar (Executive Program)” over 6 days, divided into 3 weeks, to the MBA over 3 semesters. From the short and intensive to the in-depth MBA program, there is a suitable program or module for every area, for every function and for every hierarchical level. Here you are guaranteed to find the right, well-founded and high-quality education and training program for you – if your interest has been aroused. If you are still in doubt, I – Heidrun Kopp, Head of Program – will tell you my story …

Life is change

Not just now, but already many years ago – as an expert in large international financial companies – ideas were running through my head about the wonderful opportunities a bank has or would have to do many “good things” (the word “sustainable” was not yet so fashionable at the time) with little effort that could have a big impact. The real economy was not yet ready back then either. Today, I’m convinced that the topic of “sustainability” – regardless of the industry – has become a really meaningful way of using one’s expertise to do something good for (one’s) company and for the environment at the same time.

And yes, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to earn good money in your job. If you can combine that with an exciting, diverse topic where you also enjoy the privilege of dealing with many exciting stakeholders. You can work in a bank or a company, interacting with environmental organizations and relevantly engaged people, and have an honest, critical discourse. There is an enormous amount to learn and you can make the world a bit better in the context of a well-paid job, without anyone suffering a loss of wealth as a result.

People who are interested in sustainability need not immediately think of doing without. Rather, it is a shift in consumption habits. Life is change. Anyone who is 40 behaves differently than they did when they were 30, and someone who is 60 behaves differently than they did when they were 20. And it’s not a loss, it’s a transformation. The same is true for our consumer life. Here, we are moving thematically away from corporate aspects to private (sustainable) finance topics. This has nothing to do with our Sustainable Finance Management continuing education program, but there is a point close to my heart that I would like to raise here:

On the emancipatory (and feminist) aspect of money

Sustainability does not stop at one’s own private door. That’s why I provide sustainable financial education – especially for women. My credo is: Women have to look after their money! Of course, this also applies to men – but they are more accustomed to it than women due to their socialization. Money is printed independence, printed freedom. Even the most idealistic job must pay my rent and my provisions for old age. Money, salaries, compensation, etc. are always an expression of the esteem in which I hold someone else. The point is not to exploit people, but to pay accordingly well for the service you buy. We are a society that defines and expresses itself through money – and those who don’t understand this sell themselves short. That is anything but sustainable!

Conclusion: Those who invest in (their) financial know-how act sustainably. Those who train in the direction of “ESG & Sustainable Finance” invest in the future – in their personal and in that of a better, more sustainable (economic) world.

More about the advanced training program

All information about the continuing education program Sustainable Finance Management and the four different modules at the Vienna Management Academy by FHWien der WKW can be found here.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Heidrun Kopp, Head of Program via telephone (0800 40 00 77-01) or via e-mail: