TALK | business ethics Professor Dr. Josef Wieland: “Ethical investments are important, only the 'how' is not yet clear!”


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WielandJosef Wieland is Professor for Business Administration at the University of Applied Sciences Konstanz. Specializing in business ethics, morality is the business card of every company. Especially in the banking sector. In an interview he explains why sustainability should not just be grafted on! Josef Wieland is particularly through the developed by him Concept ABC School Joke Oud governance ethics, which ties in with Niklas Luhmann's systems theory and the approach of new institutional economics with regard to transaction costs. Wieland initially trained as an industrial clerk and then worked in industry for ten years. He studied economics and philosophy at the University of Wuppertal. After completing his degree in economics in 1985, Wieland worked until 1990 at Bernd Biervert's chair for “Market and Consumption” in Wuppertal, where he received his doctorate in 1988 with the work “The Discovery of Economics” with summa cum laude. From 1990 to 1995 Wieland was head of the Research Center for Business Ethics at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster. In 1995 he habilitated in economics at the University of Witten / Herdecke on "Economic Organization, Allocation and Status". Wieland has been teaching at the Konstanz University of Applied Sciences since 1995.




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Jan Thomas Otte 55Jan Thomas Otte is a consultant for Accentur, journalist, coach and research fellow at Princeton University.

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Mr. Professor Dr. Wieland, can ethical investments (re) establish something like justice?

The idea is good and correct. Only the "how" is not really clear. Investing in ethically sound stocks and funds is only a fraction of the market volume worldwide and especially in Germany. So far a limited thing.

“The banks are about branding the good”

Why are banks involved in ethical investments?

I suspect that it is often about the topic of the reputation of the banks and the financial markets, a "branding" of the good, especially in the face of the crisis. The banks are measured by the customer by their products, not by their mission statements.

This applies globally and regionally. Which funds are invested in? What about energy and water? Are there loans for socially weak people? How is table movement supported? That's what society wants to see. Until then, social investments remain a communication strategy.

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“Banks are often too passive”

Let's stick to a concept. What does sustainability mean to you?

At any rate more than the continuity of business. This would be only the part of the economy, one-sided without the ecological and social component. It is about the provision of social prosperity. Banks are the backbone of our society, and they are often too passive.

Some institutes are already boldly engaged today, the savings banks and cooperative banks with their regional promotion contract. But we should pay more attention to the development of sustainability before our own doorstep.


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  1. Simone Janson

    Hello Jan Thomas,
    what is also mentioned in the interview above: Lack of trust in the banks and the suspicion of a kind of “greenwashing”. I could tell great stories about how banks gamble away trust every day with arrogance and lousy advice (which is only aimed at sales and commission!)
    You give me ideas ...

  2. Jan Thomas Otte

    … Very good, Simone! The report from Mainz doesn't always have to be such “consumer topics”. Your book but one is already there, your next post on career insights) too ;-)

  3. Jan Thomas Otte

    Thanks for sharing! What are your main critiques, why ethical investment has not yet been possible? JTO

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