VfU (Association for Environmental Management and Sustainability in Financial Institutions) is a think tank and network of financial service providers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, developing strategies and tools to stimulate sustainable development within the financial sector.
Starting in 1994, VfU´s is working with the financial sector, given the capacity financial institutions have not only to manage and amend the environmental impact of their own operations but also to mandate or stimulate clients to better account for environmental, social and governance issues in their operations.
Since 2008, the VfU has been particularly concerned with the issue of biological diversity and its relevance within the financial sector. In cooperation with the Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM) at the Leuphana Universität Lüneburg (Germany) and other contributors and Facilitated by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN, Bundesamt für Naturschutz), the “VfU Forum Biodiversität“ task force compiled the biodiversity principles. These biodiversity principles serve as a guide for business companies within the financial services and insurance sectors, helping them develop individual strategies and integrate the conservation of biodiversity into their business practices.
VfU´s other area of expertise is in environmental reporting. In 1996 VfU presented the VfU indicators, a tool to measure the in-house environmental performance of financial institutions, which became a standard. The VfU indicators have become a standard with high acceptance in German speaking countries and increasingly at an international level.