ESG Thematic Research

Providing academic insights and market knowledge

Our dedicated ESG Thematic Research team analyses relevant ESG topics and publishes reports on the issues and megatrends impacting investment decisions, such as climate change, renewable energy, water sustainability, corporate governance and social and labour practices. The team also partners with leading academics and sustainable finance experts, as well as participating in industry working groups and providing input to policymakers in cooperation with DWS’s investment specialists as it relates to ESG.

A robust ESG thematic research capability is an essential element in increasing the awareness of controversial ESG issues that are relevant for our client base and investment professionals. With in-depth analysis our clients are therefore better placed to make a decision on how they treat certain controversial sectors as well as identify potential investment risks and opportunities. Last but not least, we leverage the knowledge of our sector analysts across equities and fixed income for ESG integration related issues.

Financial markets are having to contend with rapid technological change and the increasing scope and pace of ESG regulation with the consequent implications for investment returns. The following research snapshots provide a flavour of some of the sectors and asset classes we believe hold significant ESG risks and/or opportunities.


"Our task is to support our clients and investment teams

to understand and consider major sustainability risks

and opportunities in their everyday business."

Michael Lewis,

Head of ESG Thematic Research

Our ESG Research

Oct 11, 2021 ESG

Oceans & Climate – Exploring the Nexus

The world's climate scientists and recent extreme weather have shown that even our current worst estimates of climate scenarios are proving too optimistic.
Jun 30, 2021 Sustainability

Exploring the financial materiality of social factors

In this paper, we examine the social factors that pertain to companies and why this is attracting increasing attention among institutional investors.
Jun 03, 2021 ESG

Why ESG reporting requires scientific verification

A credible set of sustainability reporting standards need to be science-based, incorporate double materiality, and go beyond simply climate-related financial risks to broader sustainability issues such as inequality, human rights, water risk and biodiversity loss.
Mar 24, 2021 ESG

Making Sense of a Chaotic ESG Reporting Landscape

Traditional approach to corporate reporting and the drive towards sheer profit maximisation has led to environmental damage, human rights abuses and greater inequalities
Mar 08, 2021 ESG

The paths of responsible investing in China and Europe

In this joint white paper, Harvest and DWS compare and contrast the drivers of responsible investing in China and Europe. We explore the pros and cons of the approaches adopted and provide our recommendations to support the market’s growth.
Jan 20, 2021 ESG

DWS and WWF research highlights why we can no longer afford to neglect water risk

DWS and WWF, the largest independent conservation organization in the world, have co-authored an article highlighting the importance of underpinning investments with a clearer approach to water risk and opportunities.
Dec 15, 2020 ESG

ESG in Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA): A practical implementation framework

Nov 30, 2020 ESG

A transformational framework for Water Risk

An institutional framework on addressing water risk across asset classes
Nov 10, 2020 ESG

Sustainable Energy Trends: Small is Beautiful

Oct 06, 2020 ESG

The U.S. election and America’s ESG journey

How sub-national actors have taken center stage in climate action
Sep 11, 2020 ESG

Stakeholders and shareholders

Why Milton Friedman got it wrong
Jul 06, 2020 ESG

How best to measure asset managers’ credentials when it comes to ESG

A transparent approach is required particularly when it comes to measuring ESG AuM, assessing proxy voting track record and understanding ESG datasets.
Jun 12, 2020 ESG

Investing for a green or dirty planet

Climate risk and corporate capex
May 25, 2020 ESG

Green, healthy buildings as economic stimulus

EU policy recommendations on starting a paradigm shift
May 20, 2020 Research Paper

Real estate and ESG in a post-COVID world

How the priniciples of sustainable real estate can improve outcomes during the crisis and beyond.
Apr 06, 2020 ESG

How Covid-19 could shape the ESG landscape for years to come

From more rigorous integration of social issues into the investment process to the strategic case for sustainable investments.
Mar 26, 2020 Macro

The response to the Coronavirus epidemic

As long term investors we believe in investing where there is demand and critical need and long-term drivers of growth.
Mar 13, 2020 ESG

ESG investing - getting under the hood

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing has gathered significant momentum over recent years. This momentum has occurred as investors aim to include material extra-financial information into their investment process with the aim of improving the return characteristics of a portfolio.
Feb 06, 2020 ESG

How European insurance regulators are responding to climate risk

Efforts to measure, stress test and manage climate risks among insurers are accelerating
Nov 18, 2019 ESG

Integrating climate transition risk into investment portfolios

Climate change is a significant risk for investors, from the financial losses incurred from extreme weather events, the asset re-pricing in the transition to a low carbon economy to the use of law courts as a new instrument to enforce and accelerate climate change action.
Oct 29, 2019 ESG

Why emerging markets are defined by ESG

ESG forces are moving deeper into emerging markets from the network of central banks sharing best practice, stock exchanges mandating ESG disclosure requirements, regulators acting in the area of fiduciary duty and the launch of new EM-focused investment products.
Oct 09, 2019 ESG

Responsible investing - The world tour

How the U.S. is playing a leading role, why ESG is particularly relevant for Emerging Markets, and Europe’s ambitions to be a global rule setter
Jul 24, 2019 ESG

German Corporates & Sustainability

German corporates are faced with significant risks and opportunities when it comes to sustainability and specifically climate change.
Jan 28, 2019 ESG

Ambitions of the EU Sustainable Finance Action Plan

The Why, The What and The How
Nov 28, 2018 ESG

Green bonds explained

Green bonds are an important part of a portfolio that is aligned with the low-carbon transition.
Nov 23, 2018 ESG

Experts on climate change

Everything you need to know about climate change from a scientific, legal, actuarial, accounting, investment consultant, and portfolio management perspective.
Nov 07, 2018 ESG

Greening the financial system and the role of central banks

Central banks are increasing their efforts to promote the transition to a more sustainable financial system
May 01, 2018 ESG

Leaders Low Carbon

Responsible investing that reduces your carbon footprint.

The ESG-Corporate Financial Performance Relationship

ESG and Corporate Financial Performance - Study 2018

Digging deeper into the ESG-Corporate Financial Performance Relationship
Read more

ESG and Corporate Financial Performance - Study 2015

Mapping the global landscape
Read more

Sustainable Finance Report

Sustainable Finance Report #2

The gathering forces of ESG investing explored
Read more

Our Research Experts

Michael Lewis

Head of ESG Thematic Research

Murray Birt

Senior ESG Strategist

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