Our final event of 2022 saw us wrap up the year just gone and look ahead of 2023 with Amanda Young of abrdn, Thom Kenrick of NatWest Group, Dr Sarah Ivory of the University of Edinburgh, David Pitt-Watson of Cambridge Judge Business School and GEFI’s own Graham Burnside.

The discussion opened by considering the impact of energy crisis on the continued adoption of renewable technologies, and the role that the newfound important of energy independence will play in future energy policy.

As the sector has matured, there are growing concerns about whether ESG departments are overstretched. As most of the panellists emphasised, experienced sustainable finance professionals are in high demand within their organisations, which can lead to burnout: Amanda Young suggested a need to “Make Sustainable InvestingFun Again”.

With all this, there is a risk of watering down boundaries, a risk highlighted by the number of funds around the world downgraded in response to more stringent regulations, though interestingly not to any great extent in Scotland’s fund management community.

Some on the panel argued that there is a need to ensure the E, S and G are considered together, possibly by emphasising the actual problems that finance seeks to solve, rather than the broad categories into which those problems fall. For example, rather than using environment, specify climate change, or biodiversity.

Finally, the panel suggested their 1 thing to focus on for the coming year:
Amanda Young: Make Sustainable Investing Fun Again
Thom Kenrick:
steer the economy through the cost of living crisis
Dr Sarah Ivory:
focus on professional skills in finance
David Pitt-Watson:
every company must consider how they contribute to climate change in generating profit