How To Invest In Sustainable ETFs in Germany

Sustainable and ethical investments are good for the planet, people, and generating returns that benefit investors. 

ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) are a popular way to invest. Your money is spread across hundreds of shares and other assets. Generating more consistent returns than other options while spreading the risk. 

It’s more challenging, especially for first-time investors, to know which ETF to pick that will benefit the planet while growing their wealth. 

In this article, we help you solve both problems at once: “How do I find and invest in a truly sustainable ETF?” 

Let’s dive in…

What are ETFs? 

An ETF is a big basket filled with a wide range of investments.

Think of an ETF as a big basket, filled with different investments. Inside can be stocks, bonds, commodities or real estate. 

The ETF often represents a whole market, such as the biggest and more profitable companies in the US or Europe. 

“UBS MSCI Europe”, for example, is an ETF which holds 434 of the largest European companies. And if you invest in this ETF, your money will be spread across all 434 companies inside the ETF. 

So instead of buying each company separately, you can diversify very quickly through investing in ETFs. 

Benefits of Investing in ETFs 

  • Liquidity. ETFs can be easily bought and sold, which means you can easily convert them back into cash. Giving you peace of mind and liquidity when you need it.
  • Diversified investments. ETFs are automatically diversified, spreading your money across anywhere from 30 to 500 stocks, bonds, real estate, and other assets. Some of the shares inside your ETFs will grow, and some may fall, but whatever happens, you will make the average return of the market (which, of course, varies each year).
  • Indexed Investing. The best ETFs on the market use an investment strategy called “indexed investing.” It’s designed to ‘match the average market performance, not to beat it.’ Indexed investing is based on a Nobel-prize-winning principle known as the ‘Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH).’ It’s a solid approach and why retirees in Norway and Sweden enjoy some of the most comfortable retirements in the world, thanks to index investing.
  • Adjust and rebalance whenever necessary, observe when they require adjustments, and ensure that the selected ETFs are the best in their category.
  • Low-cost: ETFs are amongst the cheapest investment products on the market. That means there are fewer fees on our end, so we can pass that cost saving onto you. 

* As with any investment vehicle or fund: Past performance doesn’t predict future growth. Investment returns can and do fluctuate over time. Target returns and estimated profits are only reasonable estimates.

How to invest in ETFs?

Anyone can invest in ETFs. It’s easy to do. 

Simply search for them, and open an account via a bank, investment firm, or financial app that you know. 

Or take a look at some of the ETF platforms where you can compare products, research them more in-depth, and pick the right ones for you. 

Then, invest however much you can afford and hope your money grows. 

The problem is: 

  • How do you know you’re making the right choice (with 3000+ on the market!)? 
  • How risky are the assets it’s tracking?
  • How diversified is the portfolio: Are the ETFs spread across industries and geographies? 
  • How sustainable is the ETF? Even if they claim to hit sustainability criteria, every financial services firm and institution uses different criteria; there’s no universally agreed-upon national or international standard for sustainable investments. 

ETFs are a great way to invest. Cheap, diversified, and able to generate returns that beat savings accounts and other investment products. 

But, for those who want to grow their wealth to achieve their life goals while doing something to help the planet at the same time, picking the right ETF is a path full of pitfalls. 

Let’s consider the sustainability issue first and then look at the best solution for long-term wealth creation while making financial choices that benefit the planet and people. 

Why make sustainable and ethical investments? 

There are numerous benefits to making sustainable and ethical investments. 

As everyone knows, unsustainable economic growth is destroying the planet

Big corporates are the main drivers of pollution and waste globally (only 100 companies cause 71% of carbon emissions).

However, big companies can also have a much larger positive impact on the planet, thanks to their size and supply chains. One of the quickest ways to achieve a greener, more sustainable future is to encourage the big guys to make positive changes every year. 

The United Nations recognises this, acknowledging the efforts corporations make to reduce their carbon footprint. L’Oréal is recognised as a responsible leader because they reduced their industrial emissions by 78% in the past decade and they’re poised to achieve carbon neutrality in production by 2025. 

Examples of sustainable assets

Not every company is making the same positive steps as L’Oréal. Especially oil, gas, and other petrochemical giants, despite claims to the contrary. 

So, if we stick to sustainable and ethical investment practices, we can ensure money is only going into businesses that are committed to making a green, carbon neutral, eco-friendly future.  

Nordea, one of the biggest banks in the Baltics and Nordics calculated that investing sustainably is 27x more impactful than sustainable consumption.

Sustainable and ethical investing is committed to improving the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. Unlike traditional investments that only focus on profit while harming the planet and communities at the same time. 

Not only that, but 60% of sustainable investments generate better returns than other options, according to a huge scientific analysis of 2000+ papers. And 90% of the returns are no worse.

Why is SageWealth the best choice for sustainable and ethical ETF investments? 

SageWealth is the digital financial platform for sustainable, ethical, and long-term investments that helps our customers snowball their wealth. 

SageWealth ETFs achieve the highest possible sustainability criteria 

We are here to help anyone who’s got extra savings do something positive with their money—instead of it just sitting in a bank account barely earning any interest. 

For those who want to make a positive difference to our planet, ensuring the world is healthy and habitable for future generations, SageWealth is the best way to invest.

We invest in:

✔️ Clean energy
✔️ Future of food
✔️ Disruptive technology

We say no to: 

❌ Weapons 
❌ Tabacco 
❌ Oil and coal 

With SageWealth, you can invest to save for your long-term goals and contribute to a better tomorrow.

Smart investments can snowball your wealth and make your life goals possible—whether that’s having a family, getting on the property ladder, traveling, or retiring early. 

Ready to snowball your wealth? Get a free actionable financial plan from SageWealth: Book your meeting.

Let’s take a closer look at SageWealth’s sustainable ETF-selection . . .  

Sustainable ETF: SageWealth Stability

SageWealth made ETFs better and more sustainable than anything else on the market.

SageWealth Stability is our low-risk ETF product. Perfect for anyone making long-term plans—buying a house, having a family, or retiring. 

SageWealth ETFs only include ethical businesses and bonds that are on a mission to create a low-carbon future, such as green energy and sustainable food production.

Here’s a breakdown:

Average return (after fees)*: 3.5%
10-year (historic) return: +97%
Investment timescale: 3-7 years
Volatility: Low
Emotional stress: Light

With 3,000+ ETFs on the market, we’ve saved you hundreds of hours of research, while avoiding unsustainable and unethical investments. You can start planning your financial future sooner—while making fewer mistakes!

Find out more about our investment portfolios and sustainability standards.

* As with any investment vehicle or fund: Past performance doesn’t predict future growth. Investment returns can and do fluctuate over time. Target returns and estimated profits are only reasonable estimates.

Sustainable ETF: SageWealth Growth

SageWealth Growth is a more adventurous ETF. It’s perfect for those who are more comfortable with risk in the pursuit of larger returns. 

Here’s a breakdown:

Average return (after fees)*: 7.0%
10-year (historic) return: +256%
Investment timescale: 7+ years
Volatility: High
Emotional stress: Adventurous

It comes with all the same benefits as SageWealth Stability while aiming to generate larger returns for risk-friendly investors.

* As with any investment vehicle or fund: Past performance doesn’t predict future growth. Investment returns can and do fluctuate over time. Target returns and estimated profits are only reasonable estimates.

Why should you invest with SageWealth?

Here are 5 benefits of trusting SageWealth with your sustainable ETF investments . . .

5 Benefits of Investing in SageWealth’s sustainable ETFs 

1. World-class sustainability standards

Unlike other funds that practice greenwashing, our sustainability standards are ‘simply’ stronger. See our Sustainability Criteria.

In most cases, fund managers claim an ETF as is green if it ticks 1 of 4 criteria: 

✔️ ESG (exclusion)
❌ Sustainable leaders (strict SRI, Paris climate aligned)
❌ Innovators in Sustainability (themes)
❌ Measure the carbon footprint of the investments

SageWealth’s ETFs screening and sustainability criteria goes much further. We consider sustainability holistically, exclusively investing in the world's most sustainable and ethical funds (according to the EU’s new Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation).

We are pushing the frontier of sustainable investing

With hands-on support from Sustainable Market Strategies, world-class experts on sustainable investments, we crafted ETF portfolios to meet the highest possible standards for sustainable and ethical investing.

SageWealth exclusively invests in the planet's most sustainable and ethical funds (Article 8 and 9, according to the EU’s new Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation).

Our sustainability standards have three core criteria: 

  1. Exclude the worst offenders: No investments in weapons, firearms, nuclear weapons, tobacco, alcohol, animal agriculture, adult entertainment, gambling,  thermal coal and oil sands.
  2. Only invest in companies and bonds whose mission is to create a low-carbon future.
  3. Take a “best in class” approach to only invest in the top 25% of companies in the healthcare and technology sectors. 

This means, our ETFs are doing everything possible to tick all four boxes: 

✔️ ESG (exclusion)
✔️ Sustainable leaders (strict SRI, Paris climate aligned)
✔️ Innovators in Sustainability (themes)
✔️ Measure the carbon footprint of the investments

2. Diversified, Sustainable Hand-crafted Investments

Both of SageWealth’s ETFs include a mix of everything from real estate to infrastructure, bonds for stability, and stocks in companies of every size around the world. 

We are trained financial advisors. However, we haven’t done this alone.

Our team works with Sustainable Market Strategies, world-class experts on sustainable investments. With their help, we’ve crafted the most sustainable, ethical, and risk-adjusted portfolios possible.

That way, you can rest assured your money will grow, is secure, and is making a positive impact on the people and health of the planet. 

3. Start saving for your retirement today 

There are numerous ways to save for your retirement. With dozens of products on the market, like pension insurance, you’ve got a lot of choices. 

The problem is, in most cases: 

  • Returns aren’t great (investments are very conservative to keep risk to a minimum);
  • Your money is locked away until you retire (unless you want to incur fees and taxes for closing the account); 
  • Fees are often hidden, contracts are complicated; 
  • Most, if not all, invest in unsustainable and unethical assets, like oil, gas, coal, tobacco, weapons, etc.

A better way to save for your retirement is to put your money in a diversified and sustainable ETF portfolio, such as SageWealth Growth, with its long-term time horizon. Keep saving and re-investing until you’ve got a healthy retirement fund, and keep that money separate from other savings and investments. 

Most pension newbies ask themselves: How much should I save and for how long to enjoy the lifestyle I want when I retire?

We can help you answer that question.

Find out how much you need to save to enjoy a comfortable retirement with SageWealth’s Free Pension Calculator: Invest sustainably with long-term wealth advisors.

Try out our Pension Calculator today.

4. More convenient money management 

Managing your money should be easy. Including investments and pensions. 

No one wants to call customer service, fill in forms, or go to a bank. 

But it’s still helpful and reassuring to have someone you can speak to for advice. Instead of sticking your money in an app and having an AI-powered advisor link to a bunch of self-help articles. Not very helpful! 

SageWealth is the best of both worlds. We provide personal, English-speaking financial advice while making it easy for you to manage your money online. 

Get peace of mind and convenience with SageWealth. Your personal wealth advisors are only a video call or email away.

We’ve made it easy:

  • Book an online/video meeting;
  • Based on your financial goals, we’ll give you an actionable investment plan;
  • If you want to go ahead, simply open your account online (it only takes 15 minutes);
  • Put your plan into action with sustainable investments (Stability or Growth ETFs), and start paying into your account;
  • We will be with you every step of the way (ongoing support).

5. Keeping your money secure 

A question we’re always asked is, “How do I know my investments are secure with SageWealth?” 

It’s an understandable concern. Especially if you’ve never invested before or you’re familiar with startups (e.g., you’re a founder, employee, or work in the tech/startup sector). 

Let us put your concerns at ease: 

  • As a regulated financial services institution, we don’t control your money. 
  • You can access or withdraw money anytime you want. Your funds are kept in individual securities accounts at Baader Bank, Germany’s largest private investment bank, for added security.
  • Our partner, Bank für Vermogen, monitors our legal processes. All parties are regulated by the BaFin (Germany’s financial supervisory authority).
  • Even if SageWealth or Baader Bank went under, your money is separate from either company. EU banking regulations laws ensure that your assets are automatically transferred to a new security account in any bank you choose.
  • In addition, any cash remaining in your account is subject to the EU deposit guarantee scheme (DGS) (up to €100,000). For more information, please visit 

Other benefits of investing with SageWealth include:

  • Personal English-speaking Service: Once you sign-up, we are your personal wealth advisors, and with you every step of the way. We don’t believe financial advisors need to wear suits. We founded SageWealth to solve the same financial headaches as you. We take calls from 100s of first-time investors every month, and we’re always happy to help!
  • International. Moving house or country? Not a problem, access your account wherever you go within Europe. 
  • Flexible: Deposit and withdraw your money, increase or decrease what you pay in any time.
  • Cheaper than banks: Our fees are always under 1%/annually, half of what most banks charge.
  • Setup and forget: Setup auto monthly deposits and watch your money grow stress-free.

Get started today with a free financial plan from SageWealth: Book your meeting

In one call, SageWealth’s financial advisors will give you actionable advice on:

🎯 Your financial goals (traveling, financial independence)
🌿 Sustainable investing with ETFs & more
👵 Retirement plan

Wrapping up…

We hope you’ve found this sustainable and ethical ETF investment guide helpful!

Please remember, as with any investment vehicle or fund: Past performance doesn’t predict future growth. Target returns and estimated profits are only reasonable estimates.