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Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank is the largest German bank and offers a range of financial services including retail, corporate and investment banking as well as asset and wealth management worldwide. The bank is a participant of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and, through its asset management subsidiary Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management (DeAWM) it is a member of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. Both Deutsche Bank and DeAWM are members of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).  The financial institution holds €1.2 trillion in assets under management which underlines not only its significant responsibility for the provision of finance through loans and underwritings, but also for its management of the shares and bonds of highly controversial companies.

Yet, despite its claim that “business initiatives with a potentially negative effect on the environment or society are subjected to painstaking scrutiny ”, Deutsche Bank is the top German provider of loans and bond underwritings for the companies investigated in the Dirty Profits 4 report, having financial affiliations with 19 of the 20 controversial companies presented herein. Deutsche Bank especially assists these companies through the underwriting of bonds.

Climate Change: For instance, Deutsche Bank’s massive investments in and financing provided for major carbon emitting companies clearly demonstrate that its commitment to the UNGC, its membership in the CDP and its claim to “take climate change very seriously” have no measurable impacts on its decision making for financing and investment. Between 2009 and 2014 Deutsche Bank provided 53 billion USD to fossil fuel producing companies and only 5 billion USD to renewable energy companies,making Deutsche Bank the 7th largest financier of fossil fuel companies worldwide. Deutsche Bank itself claims to “use its market expertise to support the transition to a clean and energy-efficient global economy … a segment in which Deutsche Bank has already taken a leading role”. In the run up to the COP21 in Paris, Deutsche Bank joined the “Paris Pledge for Action” for non -state actors which support the Paris agreement , and it made the assertion that “there need to be … investments in the areas of non-fossil (renewable) energy forms and energy efficiency”. Nevertheless, at the same time Deutsche Bank argues that a “carbon bubble is an unlikely development” considering the lack of commitment by governments and regulators towards a complete divestment from fossil fuels.

Agriculture: Deutsche Bank does not have publicly available policies for the agricultural and food sector apart from a requirement to “provide a plantation or mill certification plan in accordance with the criteria imposed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)” in order to be eligible for finance. However, despite Nestlés membership of the RSPO, one of its palm oil suppliers in Malaysia (itself member of the RSPO) has been criticized on the grounds of alleged human trafficking and the violation of basic labour rights. This is complemented by further findings showing Nestlé and its supply chain have been associated with slave labour in the seafood supply chain and child labour in the cocoa supply chain, standing in stark contrast to Deutsche Bank’s claim to “review if clients’ actions and decisions have the potential to violate human rights and … take appropriate action to manage potential risks.”

Pharmaceutical: Deutsche Bank has provided (between the period 2013 and 2015) financial services in significant amounts to the two big drug companies Pfizer and Sanofi since January 2013 (combined: €250 million in loans, 1,296 million in underwritings of bonds and €2,238 million in managed shares and bonds). Both have been in the media for impeding the access to affordable medicines in developing countries besides unethical testing and marketing practices. Furthermore, Sanofi and Pfizer have been involved in cases of widespread corruption and bribery. Even though Deutsche Bank has a policy stating that they “require monthly screening of existing clients against internal and external lists of adverse information, including matters related to … corruption”, there is no clear due diligence process set out which defines consequences for non-compliance with these principles, thus rendering it superfluous.

Defence Companies: Deutsche Bank has investments in and provides finance for defense companies such as Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce and Rheinmetall (combined €292 million in underwritings of bonds and €782 million in managed shares and bonds).  These companies are supplying weapons to countries violating human rights and/or are involved in the development of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) which are the subject of a prohibition process within the United Nations framework. Despite the overwhelming evidence for the harm caused by weapons production and trade, Deutsche Bank has to date no policy regarding its investments in the defense sector. After Deutsche Bank excluded cluster munitions (which included a phase out period) from its financing and investment universe in 2011 due to increasing pressure from civil society organisations, it remains among the few German banks which have not issued limitations on business activities related to the production and trade of other conventional and controversial weapons.

Deutsche Bank was once again included in the Dirty Profits 4 report, details of the financial ties to selected controversial companies can be found within the report and detailed data tables from the research period 2013-2015 can be downloaded here.

For detailed information regarding the controversial companies Deutsche Bank was / is invested in between 2012-2014, please refer to the Dirty Profits 3 report. More detailed tables regarding investments are available to download here.

For detailed information regarding the controversial companies that Deutsche Bank was invested in, between 2011 and 2013, please refer to the Dirty Profits 2 report. More detailed tables regarding investments are available here.

In the Dirty Profits 1 report, Deutsche Bank ranked second in harmful investment transactions with a total of €9.59 billion invested in 26 of the 28 controversial companies investigated in the PROFUNDO report. For detailed information regarding the companies that Deutsche Bank was invested in, in 2010-2012, please refer to the PROFUNDO research report links below. The PROFUNDO report, (conducted between 2010 and 2012), analyzes the investments between Deutsche Bank (and many other financial institutes) and controversial companies.

PROFUNDO – Underwritings of Shares and Bonds


PROFUNDO – Management of Shares and Bonds