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Anna Irmisch

anna irmisch

How and why does the sustainable investment community influence political interest representation of multinational corporations?

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Miranda Schreurs

Sustainable investors make financial investment decisions based upon environmental, social, and governance criteria. Sustainable investment initiatives like the Global Reporting Initiative, the CDP, or active shareholders such as the Norwegian GPFG tackle a range of global challenges, e.g. climate change, or social justice, and encourage more and more businesses to adapt to their stakeholders’ expectations.

Still, it is puzzling how and why the sustainable investment community actually affects corporate political interest representation. Although shareholder activism focusing on political expenditures and lobbying has been on the rise, the academic literature on sustainable investment usually omits lobbying. Moreover, research about political interest representation of corporations often lacks the sustainable investors’ perspective. Anna Irmisch addresses this gap with her Ph.D. project, which is based on original research and data: in addition to analyzing the biggest American, Danish, and German corporations’ websites, sustainability ratings, CDP profiles, EU as well as U.S. lobby register entries, Anna conducted 89 expert interviews with lobbyists and sustainable investment professionals, both in the U.S. and Europe.


Currently, Anna Irmisch is a Ph.D. scholar, analyzing the sustainable investment community’s influence on lobbying. Before joining the Freie Universität Berlin, Anna was a visiting Fulbright doctoral scholar at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy in Charlottesville, USA. Previously she worked at the University of Jena’s department of sociology as a researcher investigating sustainability indices.

Anna holds a master’s degree in sociology, intercultural business communication and media sciences from the University of Jena, Germany. She also studied international relations and Scandinavian area studies at the Syddansk Universitet in Odense, Denmark, and participated in the ECPR Summer School on Interest Group Politics at the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway.


Irmisch, Anna (2013): Graswurzelkommunikation im Kontext politischer Interessenvertretung. In: Speth, Rudolf (edit.): Grassroots Campaigning. Springer VS, Wiesbaden: 201-212.

Irmisch, Anna (2011): Astroturf. Eine neue Lobbyingstrategie in Deutschland? VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden.


communication within and about organizations (winter 2014/15), at the University of Jena’s Department of Sociology, D

Dansk for begyndere (spring 2008, winter 2008/09), at the Adult Education Center Leipzig, D


Sustainable Lobbying and Investment: Paper presentation at the ECPR General Conference, 03.- 06.09.2014, University of Glasgow, UK

Sustainable Responsible Lobbying and Investment: Guest lecture during Prof. Dr. Christine Mahoney’s class ‘Global Advocacy and Action’, 23.09.2013 at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of  Leadership and Public Policy, Charlottesville, USA

Sustainable Responsible Lobbying: Poster presentation at the research conference ‘Influencing EU Politics: Mobilization and Representation of European Civil Society’, 29.05.-01.06.2013, Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, D

Sustainable and Responsible Lobbying: Presentation at the Transatlantic Doctoral Academy on Corporate Responsibility VIII, 28.01.-02.02.2013, University of Toronto, CA

Astroturf als strategische Instrumentalisierung bürgerschaftlichen Engagements: Paper presentation at the conference ‘The New Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere’, organized by the Sociological Associations of Austria, Germany and Switzerland, 29.09.-01.10.2011, Leopold Franzens University, Innsbruck, AUS


2014 conference travel grant by the German Academic Exchange Service

2013-14 Fulbright Doctoral Scholarship, German-American Fulbright Commission

2013 Prix d’Excellence by the University of St. Gallen’s Department for Business Ethics

2013 Conference grant by the Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen

2012 Scholarship by the University of Jena’s Pro Chance Programme for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in Science

2007 Scholarship dedicated to internships in international organizations or German diplomatic representations abroad by the German Academic Exchange Service

2005 Erasmus scholarship by the European Union