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German consumer association sues DWS over alleged greenwashing

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Key facts:

A German consumer association commenced a claim against DWS Investment GmbH (DWS) in a regional court in Frankfurt over alleged greenwashing. DWS is an asset management unit of Deutsche Bank.

The claimant claim that DWS misled investors in an investment prospectus by misrepresenting the sustainability credentials of its Invest ESG Climate Tech Fund. For example, the prospectus claimed that the fund did not invest in controversial industries, such as coal. However, it also claimed that the fund’s holdings could include companies with up to 15% of revenue from the coal industry. The prospectus also claimed that the fund’s holdings generate 90% fewer CO2 emissions than benchmark companies, but did not explain how this had been calculated.

A court hearing was initially listed for March 2023. DWS submitted a cease and desist declaration before the hearing and committed to refrain from disseminating the advertisements in dispute. The consumer association said that it will re-assess the amended advertisements in due course.

Source(s):

IPE Magazine article and Reuters article

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