Team Sustainability Research

The ÖKOWORLD principle completely separates sustainability research and asset management. The fund management team may only invest in investments that have been approved and included in the investment universe on the basis of predefined social, ethical and ecological criteria.

The Sustainability Research Team therefore checks all companies that qualify for inclusion in the investment universe for each of the ÖKOWORLD funds. This means information such as the investment profiles is graded via special filters for the independent, voluntary investment committee of 11 members that select companies for inclusion in the investment universe for ÖKOVISION funds. Dr. Brendgen and his team receive support from an external academic expert advisory board for ÖKOWORLD KLIMA and ÖKOWORLD WATER FOR LIFE.

ÖKOWORLD sustainability research forms the core of the ÖKOVISION investment process. The team evaluates and filters companies for potential investment step by step in a transparent phased model. A huge number of different sources are used, including carefully selected daily newspapers and websites, information services, numerous specialist publications, studies and reports. Externally, our analysis work is also supported by the independent, well-known ratings agencies oekom Research and Sustainalytics.

Dr. Karl-Heinz Brendgen, Managing Director, Head of Sustainability Research

Dr. Karl-Heinz Brendgen became involved in environmental research as early as 1982 – in policy consulting and communal policy, as well as the foundation of Ökobank, which he co-initiated. The expert has been part of the ÖKOWORLD Group for over 25 years and is part of the close circle surrounding the Chairman of the Executive Board of ÖKOWORLD and founder Alfred Platow. Blazing a trail together with Alfred Platow, he built up sustainability research from scratch.

During his career, the expert has also been Chairman of the Executive Board at ÖKOWORLD LUX S.A. and currently acts as Managing Director. As Managing Director, he is also responsible for developing the information and documentation system for the ecological / ethical company, fund and country research at ÖKOWORLD. He has accompanied and shaped the research division at various levels during his career with great success and is responsible for developing this specialist division into what makes it so unique today in the sustainability market.

The team managed by Dr. Karl-Heinz Brendgen for sustainability research is made up of economists Sebastian Leins and Lena Keul.

Mathias Pianowski, Senior Sustainability Analyst

Mathias Pianowski studied economics, specialising  in finance and banking, taxation and auditing as well as environmental management and controlling. For his master thesis he wrote his first sustainability report for an international industrial company. Since then, he has concentrated especially on the subject “sustainable economy and companies”.

For six years Mathias worked as Director of Sustainability and Innovation at the consulting company BCC in Frankfurt/Main and Berlin. He advised corporations, NGOs, associations, ministries, the UBA and the German Council for Sustainable Development on questions of sustainable development, green finance, environmental valuation of infrastructure projects, development of sustainable business strategies and implementation, engagement of stakeholders, communication and the evolution of sustainability and integrated reporting.

In addition, Mathias taught sustainability management and reporting at the University of Duisburg-Essen for more than five years. He moderated workshops and panels for DVFA, FNG and DIRK. Mathias is an EFFAS certified ESG analyst and environmental auditor.

Caroline Glatte, Senior Sustainability Analyst

Caroline Glatte (Dipl.-Reg.-Wiss. (Lat.) equiv. Master of Regional Sciences (Univ.)) studied Regional Sciences of Latin America at the University of Cologne with the main emphasis on Political Sciences. During her studies she gained practical experiences in the sector of Sustainable Investments and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), preparing company profiles for the Natur-Aktien-Index (NAI). Henceforth she focussed on the social and ecological impact of business activities particulary in the commodity sector of Latin America as well as on the political framework for an ethical and ecological economy.

Dr. Silvio Schmidt, Senior Sustainability Analyst

Silvio initially qualified as insurance broker and then completed university degrees in International Economics and Sinology. He then obtained his PhD in Environmental Economics writing his thesis about the economic costs of climate change. Silvio`s prior work experience is in the insurance and food wholesale business. For more than nine years he worked for Munich Re, initially focussing on credit and surety insurance and later in the Group’s sustainability department. As Group Environmental Manager he was responsible for the group wide environmental management system and co-developed the company´s carbon neutral strategy. Silvio also worked for the German food wholesale group METRO, where he coordinated the submission for ESG ratings, developed the company´s strategy for climate protection and water and was further responsible for environmental accounting and reporting. Since March 2019, Silvio is a member of the Research Team at ÖKOWORLD.

Verena Kienel, Senior Sustainability Analyst

Since 2017 Verena Kienel holds a MBA degree in Sustainability Management from the Leuphana university in Lüneburg. She also holds a Master (MSc) degree in International Business Economics obtained in the UK. Verena has over 10 years work experience in the financial industry, mainly in London and Luxembourg. In London, she worked 10 years for an  international investment bank, where she advised institutional investors on risks and processes in international financial markets with a focus on emerging and frontier markets.

Luise Kuschmierz, Sustainability Analyst

Luise Kuschmierz is supporting the Sustainability Research Team since December 2018. After finishing her undergraduate studies in International Business and Management, Luise obtained her Masters Degree in Corporate Social Responsibility from the University of Nottingham. During her Masters, she focussed intensively on issues of corporate sustainability. She analysed, for instance, sustainability efforts by fast food companies. After her studies, scientific activities followed, e.g. at the Technical University of Dortmund in the EU-funded project "SI-DRIVE".

Manuel Voßwinkel, Sustainability Analyst

Manuel Voßwinkel joined the sustainability research team in January 2019. He has a Bachelor degree from the University of Applied Sciences Trier in Environmental and Business Administration and studied a semester abroad at the Université Aix-Marseille. For his Master’s degree, Manuel Voßwinkel moved back to the region Bergisches Land. At the University of Wuppertal, he obtained a Master of Science degree in Sustainability Management.

During an internship at a retailer for natural products, he worked on the company’s CSR-strategy and sustainability reporting.