“We are very excited to officially announce that Desiree Fixler has joined us as the chair of our board,” VentureESG said in a LinkedIn post. “The learnings which Desiree brings from her experience in the public markets, including around the dangers of ESG-washing, will be invaluable for the VentureESG community.”
Fixler was let go from her role at DWS in April last year after just six months. At the time, Bloomberg reported an internal memo revealed the firm had cited that progress on ESG had been too slow. Asoka Woehrmann absorbed her responsibilities following her dismissal.
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Woehrmann resigned at the start of June 2022, after German police and regulator BaFin raided DWS headquarters in Frankfurt amid a greenwashing investigation.
She subsequently told the Wall Street Journal that the firm had overstated its sustainable investing efforts. Fixler lost a labour suit against the firm in Germany in January 2022.
She told VentureESG co-founder Hannah Leach in an internal interview: “Today, ESG can mean everything and it can also mean absolutely nothing. ESG washing and greenwashing are real problems as it can be used very effectively just as a marketing tool.
“Companies have ratcheted up the ESG rhetoric, often with ‘bold’ commitments on net zero or diversity. And with that, the offering of ESG products and services has gone into overdrive. Without standardised definitions and sustainability reporting requirements, there are insufficient quality controls and a great deal of mislabeling in the market.”
Fixler has previously held roles at JP Morgan, BlueOrchard Finance, and Merril Lynch, according to LinkedIn.