Case studies and expert dialogues: insights into divestment processes in German cities

For the first time, adelphi has examined the divestment and reinvestment processes in four German cities through a case study approach. Those cities and actors that are interested may take part in expert dialogues and receive one-on-one consultation.


The divestment movement is gaining traction worldwide and in Germany. Nine German cities are now amongst the more than 1000 institutions with a divestment agreement, which have decided to withdraw their funds from non-sustainable investments. Instead, their investments are now determined based on climate-friendly and ethical criteria.

Case studies show successful divestment

In cooperation with the Forum für nachhaltige Geldandlagen (FNG) and the Klima-Bündnis e.V., adelphi carried out a case study analysis. Concerning the studies on Bremen, Leipzig, Münster, and Stuttgart, divestment experiences were summarised and the process steps were documented. None of the cities reported any yield losses, and overall the divestment process was determined to be easy to implement. The case studies further highlighted the importance of civil-society engagement in order to get divestment onto the political agenda.

Expert dialogues to share experiences, opportunities, and risks

Additionally, expert dialogues were held from November 2018. Political, administrative, and civil society representatives from the participating cities convened to discuss the results of the case studies. At the opening event, the host city Münster presented its’ experiences as the first city with a divestment agreement. Participants discussed the necessary prerequisites for such an agreement, as well as the opportunities, risks and challenges for municipalities with regard to divestment and reinvestment. Discussions with climate protection managers at the second event held in Berlin on 31 January in 2019, as part of the BarCamps kommunaler Klimaschutz, also focused on divestment.

Future events and consulting opportunities for cities

More events with different formats targeting cities and other actors are envisaged throughout 2019. The project “Klimafreundlich investieren” is further offering consultations on divestment and reinvestment to cities, which will facilitate the joint development of suitable formats for each municipality.

adelphi, the Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlange (FNG) e.V., Klima-Bündnis e.V. and the non-profit organisation are jointly carrying out the project “Klimafreundlich investieren. Kommunales Divestment und Re-Investment“ as part of the national climate protection initiative. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety is funding the project.

Short versions of the case studies are available in German at:

Further information on events and consultation offers is available in German at: