Greenwashing in Sustainable Investment

*This article was originally written for our Swiss market, it may contain Swiss references.

So, you’re keen to invest in companies that share your values. That’s great!

Before you sign on the dotted line, you probably have a few questions you want to be cleared up. And if you’re anything like the Inyova customers that have come before you, your first question will be something like this:

How does Inyova decide whether or not a company fits my values?

It’s a great question. Investors should always ask this question.

You’ve probably heard of the term “greenwashing”. It’s a very real problem in our industry and beyond – where companies use sophisticated PR and advertising campaigns to make people believe they are more environmentally friendly than they really are. Like a nuclear power plant being environmentally friendly; Yes, CO2 emissions are pretty much zero, but what about nuclear waste? It’s not that simple.

If you look hard enough, you’ll find similar phenomena across the board. Gender equality, for example, might be written about in company policy, without much equal opportunity materialising.

A fashion brand might loudly celebrate its commitment to human rights, all while continuing to sub-contract parts of its manufacturing process to companies with less-than-transparent supply chains.

It’s a minefield out there. Part of our service commitment at Inyova is that we look beyond the surface and cut through the PR spin. With access to the cold hard facts, we enable you to invest in the companies that are truly helping to create a world you want to live in.

Here’s how we do it:

We start with raw data: We work with independent experts to analyse the environmental and social performance of companies. Data is collected on more than 400 relevant metrics and organised according to more than 70 data points. Using this data, we measure and benchmark a range of factors, from emissions and exploitation of resources, through to human rights, and more.

We go beyond the numbers: We work with a specialised research provider to monitor corporate controversies reported in the media, as well as lawsuits, and fines. Importantly, the methodology captures reports in local languages, which may not appear in the media outlets that you follow.

We assess ‘cradle to grave’: When considering the environmental and social impact a company has, we analyse the entire lifecycle of its products. This includes raw material extraction, materials processing, manufacturing, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, as well as disposal or recycling.

We identify the innovators: An online tech company like Amazon might have low emissions. But that may come down to the nature of the work it does. We will check its performance against other companies in its sector (for example Google and Microsoft) and only include the ‘best of the best’ in this industry. Similarly, we don’t reject every player in ‘dirtier’ industries (for instance, cement producers). Instead, we look for innovators who are truly reducing their carbon footprint and making consistent progress in the right direction. After all, the world needs cement, just like the world needs online shopping. A good dash of common sense is applied – cleaner cement firms don’t get prioritised above solar energy companies!

We don’t rely on self-reported data: Our specialised research providers tap into a number of external information sources, and never ever assess a company according to its own unverified data. Stringent methodology is in place for the occasions when external information is corroborated against company-supplied information to build a more in-depth picture.

We do not ‘set and forget’: We stay up-to-date with changes in a company’s commitment to your values. Let’s say a corruption scandal breaks, and that company is in your portfolio. If your customer file indicates that social issues are important to you, we have a system in place to remove this company from your portfolio and replace it with a company that better fits your values.

That’s great. Where do I sign up?

The first step is to get your personalised impact investing strategy here – it’s free and non-binding!

Using our easy online tool, you pick the sustainable and socially responsible investment themes that are most important to you. We show you exactly what stocks we recommend you invest in. You can also adjust your financial goals and risk preferences. With every adjustment you make, our algorithm makes sure your portfolio is financially sound. This way, you can control where your money goes – without compromising your returns.

Advertising notice: The information and evaluations presented here are an advertising announcement which has not been prepared in accordance with legal provisions promoting the independence of financial analyses and is not subject to any prohibition of trading following the dissemination of financial analyses. The acquisition of this investment involves considerable risks and may lead to the complete loss of the invested assets. Inyova receives an all-inclusive fee of 0.6 - 1.2 & p.a. for its services, depending on the amount of assets under management. The exact calculation can be found at

Risk notice: All information is only intended to support your independent investment decision and does not represent a recommendation by Inyova. The product information and calculation examples presented do not claim to be complete or correct. Only the specifications in the asset management contract incl. the further legal documents, which are made available to customers of Inyova via the complete customer documentation, are authoritative. Please read the asset management contract and the other client documents carefully before making an investment decision. The following applies to all shares and ETFs: Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Information on past performance does not permit forecasts for the future. Investments in securities include the risk of a loss in value. Other securities services may achieve different results. The results for individually managed portfolios as well as the different time full stops may differ due to market conditions, different entry times, different portfolio sizes, individual restrictions and the respective composition of the portfolio.

Disclaimer: Past performance of financial markets and instruments is never an indicator of future performance. The statements or information contained in this document do not constitute a recommendation, offer, or solicitation to buy or sell any security or financial instrument. Inyova GmbH assumes no liability whatsoever with regard to the reliability and completeness of the information contained in this article. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use of any information provided, including any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected. Furthermore, the statements contained in this document reflect an assessment at the time of publication and are subject to change. References and links to third party websites are outside the responsibility of Inyova GmbH. Any responsibility for such websites is declined.

EU Sustainable Finance Regulation: the terms and categories from this post do not correspond to the terms and categories of the EU Sustainable Finance Regulation. You can find the disclosures and explanations required under the EU Sustainable Finance Regulation at

Erik Gloerfeld

Erik Gloerfeld

Founder – CPO

Erik has been involved in sustainable business for 7 years. Before founding Inyova, he was an independent entrepreneur, launching the 'Lapel & Tie' project and expanding the GreenBuzz initiative.

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