European investors are pouring trillions into promises of green growth. Where does that money end up?

Sustainable investments are booming. In Europe alone, investors are currently investing 4.2 trillion euros in funds that promise a sustainable world in one way or another. Many investors find the promise of green growth – where financial returns and a sustainable economy go hand in hand – irresistible.

Making money while creating a better world: who wouldn’t want that?

But what is this promise worth? Does the money of the European investor with green intentions actually end up in companies developing a sustainable society? 

To answer these questions, Follow the Money and Investico initiated a cross-border data project.

This is The Great Green Investment Investigation.

Thousands of fossil investments

We examined the so-called Article 9 funds. These are allegedly the most sustainable funds in Europe; banks and asset managers consistently promote them as ‘Dark Green Funds’.

We scrutinised these Dark Green Funds, asking two simple questions: in which companies have they invested, and how sustainable are these companies?

Follow the Money, Investico and nine leading European media collected the portfolios of hundreds of investment funds that label themselves as dark green. We built a database of all their investments, and there were thousands of them, totalling over 619 billion euros.

We judged these investments by their own sustainability standard. The result: in more than half of the investment funds that label themselves as dark green, we found investments within the fossil fuel industry or the aviation industry.

You find a list with all publications below. Read more about our research methodology here



Follow the Money
De Tijd
Le Monde
El País
Der Standard
Luxemburger Wort
Luxembourg Times

L'llusione verde


  • Adrien Sénécat (Le Monde)
  • Bettina Pfluger (Der Standard)
  • Carlotta Indiano (IRPI)
  • Daniele Grasso  (El Pais)
  • Edoardo Anziano (IRPI)
  • Emiel Woutersen (Platform Investico)
  • Fabio Papetti (IRPI)
  • Giulio Rubino (IRPI)
  • Ingo Narat (Handelsblatt)
  • Joseph Gepp (Der Standard)
  • Lars Bové (De Tijd)
  • Lars-Marten Nagel (Handelsblatt)
  • Linda van der Pol (Platform Investico)
  • Martin Murphy (Handelsblatt)
  • Mathias Hagemann-Nielsen (Børsen)
  • Michael Verfürden (Handelsblatt)
  • Peter Van Maldegem (De Tijd)
  • Remy Koens (Follow the Money)
  • René Bender (Handelsblatt)
  • Sönke Iwersen (Handelsblatt)
  • Thomas Klein (Luxemburger Wort)
  • Ties Gijzel (Follow the Money)
  • Ties Joosten (Follow the Money)
  • Volker Votsmeier (Handelsblatt)
  • Yannick Lambert (Luxembourg Times)
  • Yara van Heugten (Follow the Money)


Published November 29 2022. Updated and redesigned November 29 2022

Data visuals: Leon de Korte

Development: Jorik van Essen & Richard Jong

Project management: Tom Bolsius

Social media: Veerle Schyns

Editor-in-chief: Eric Smit