Our Research & Advisory Services


We can work with you in the development of your ethical and sustainable finance approach through completing research, delivering capacity building training and carrying out tailored advisory work.

The Sustainable Finance Journey

There is increasing pressure on financial institutions from government regulation and consumer activism to consider the impact of their actions on climate change and society.

Financial institutions are each at different points on their sustainable finance journey from traditional investing, with no consideration of social and environmental factors, to impact investing which considers the impact of an investment on society and the environment.

Traditional

Seeks financial returns regardless of ESG factors

Responsible

Negative screening based on values

ESG

Actively manage ESG risk and seek ESG opportunities aligned with market returns

Impact

Actively manage ESG risk and seek ESG opportunities aligned with market returns

Navigating this sustainable investment journey can be difficult due to the number of tools, frameworks and initiatives available and overcoming challenges around greenwashing and authenticity. It requires bandwidth and expertise that may not be readily available within an organisation.

GEFI can partner with you to guide you on your journey.

What is ‘unique’ about GEFI is your holistic / systemic approach to the issues and your truly impressive convening power across the full range of stakeholders

Managing Director Energy – Global Lead Energy Transition Wholesale Banking, top tier financial institution

How we can assist you


Research

We undertake tailored research on a range of topics in the ethical and sustainable finance sector. We can help with topics such as mapping the landscape and providing market insights.

How does Scotland feel about investing responsibly?

In 2019 Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) asked YouGov to carry out a survey to ascertain what people in Scotland felt about investing ethically: Did they feel that it was important for their investments to be invested ethically and did they feel that it was the responsibility of financial institutions to combat climate change? Since then, we have experienced the worst pandemic for a generation and seen increasing signs of the impact of climate change.

In August 2021, prior to COP26 in Glasgow, GEFI asked YouGov to conduct the survey again with additional questions relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, to see whether there were any changes in peoples’ attitudes towards investing.

Read about how Scotland feels about investing responsibly?

Mapping the responsible investing landscape in Scotland

We produced a report that considered the history, ecosystem, taxonomy and market size of the responsible investing landscape in Scotland. The motivation behind this work was to raise awareness and support the growth of the responsible investing market in Scotland. In partnership with the Centre for Responsible Banking & Finance, University of St Andrews School of Management, we conducted research and delivered a report that examined asset managers and owners actively engaged in responsible investing, identified Scottish-based investment funds that are managed ethically, and compared results from Scotland to Ireland and the UK to provide context.

The report has directly influenced Scottish Government policy with data included in the “Investing with Purpose: Global Capital Investment Plan” launched in March 2021.

Read about the Scottish investing landscape

Islamic finance and the principles for responsible investment

The report provides a quantitative and qualitative analysis of responsible investing in the Islamic finance sector, assessing the level of engagement with the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) amongst financial institutions in the 57 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states and analysed the approaches and terminology used by 12 Islamic finance signatories. It also featured four detailed case studies developed following in-depth interviews with senior representatives from PRI signatories in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the UK.

Our work can be used as a tool to assist investors looking to become PRI signatories.

Read about Islamic finance and the principles for responsible investment

Mobilising Private Sector Capital in Support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The SDGs requires a US$5-7 trillion per annum investment, with an estimated US$2.4 trillion per annum shortfall. Innovative financing structures that leverage private sector finance into SDG aligned projects at scale are key in filling this funding opportunity. After brokering a 2-year programme of collaboration with Scottish Government and UNDP we have led the research and development of an investment product to encourage private capital to fund SDG aligned objectives.

We provided a comprehensive review of the appetite amongst the global investor community for supporting the SDGs and ESG-aligned investing. We are now seeking an institutional partner to develop an innovative private sector financing initiative that leverages capital into projects that will help achieve the SDGs.

Read more below:

Read about the UN SDGs

Advisory Services

We provide customised advisory services, e.g. verifying impact processes and guiding organisations on the development of an ethical framework.

Verification in accordance with the Operating Principles for Impact Management

SIS V

The Operating Principles for Impact Management (the Impact Principles) provides a framework of 9 Principles that ensure impact is embedded throughout the investment lifecycle. Principles 1-8 look at how impact is integrated at the different stages of the investment cycle from strategic intent to impact at exist. Principles 9 requires signatories to publicly disclose alignment with the Impact Principles and this is independently verified. More information on the Impact Principles can be found here.

We were engaged by SIS Ventures, part of the leading impact investor Social Investment Scotland (SIS), to independently verify that SIS Venture’s impact management systems and processes were aligned with the Impact Principles. We did this through interviews with staff and a review of relevant documentation.

“As signatories to the Operating Principles for Impact Management we need to work with external experts to satisfy the requirements of Principle 9. The team at Global Ethical Finance Initiative were methodical and robust in their verification approach, whilst also highly professional and approachable. The team also provided us with a useful short report on how we could further improve our impact processes and this will help inform our future practice. I would confidently recommend GEFI’s services in this area to others.” Lindsay Wake, Head of Impact, Social Investment Scotland.

Read the Verification Statement

Guide for Malaysian Banks Supporting SMEs in the Sustainable Recovery from covid-19

United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)

We were commissioned by the UNEP FI to develop a Guide assist Malaysian banks in helping Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to embed sustainability / ESG practices as business-as-usual. The Guide was developed through findings from a desk-based review and interviews with 13 Malaysian and international banks.

The Guide includes a Framework for action that banks can take in supporting SMEs in the sustainable recovery from the covid pandemic including 19 key suggestions on bank wide approach and supporting SMEs as well as a step-by-step guide for product development. The suggested actions in the Framework are applicable to all banks, not just those in Malaysia.

The Guide highlighted that banks are uniquely positioned to support SMEs in taking action on sustainability, both through finance related activities (such as developing sustainability products) and broader activities (such as capacity building), illustrated with various case studies. As we recover from the covid pandemic, momentum is building amongst Malaysian banks to further support SMEs on their sustainability journey.

The Guide concluded that responsibility for assisting SMEs on sustainability should not lie with banks alone and support is also required from government and other industry players to incentivise action.

Read the Guide

An analysis of the barriers businesses face and the types of finance that could address local needs

Office of the Chief Economist

This report analyses the barriers businesses in the South of Scotland face to job growth and the types of finance that could address local needs. We were commissioned by the Scottish Government’s Office of the Chief Economist, in partnership with The Good Economy, to look at the barrier’s businesses in the South of Scotland face to job growth and the types of finance and investment that could address local business needs. We completed desk-based research into availability of finance in the region, conducted face-to-face interviews with local businesses, drafted sections of the report, and reviewed the final report.

The research provided Scottish Government and the South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership with policy recommendations and practical guidance on business-led inclusive job growth for the South of Scotland Enterprise – the new economic and community development agency for the region.

Read about Inclusive Growth

Development and implementation of an ethical statement and associated ethical framework

The Scottish National Investment Bank

We guided the SNIB in the development and implementation of its ethical statement and associated ethical framework. The Scottish National Investment Bank (“the Bank”) is a mission-led development bank providing patient capital to build a stronger, fairer, more sustainable Scotland, launched in 2020.

Prior to its public launch, we were commissioned by the Scottish Government to provide advice and guidance that could be used by the incoming leadership team to inform the development and implementation of the Bank’s ethical statement and its associated ethical framework. The final report provides practical steps for creating and implementing the ethical statement and framework.

Read the SNIB Case Study

Experience and Expertise

We have a depth and breadth of experience and have worked with financial institutions and regulators, guiding them on their ethical and sustainable finance journey.

Advisory work is delivered by our core team and senior advisors who have a range of skills in consultancy, project finance, private equity, banking law, Islamic finance, audit and reporting, assurance, investment advisory, strategy, governance, risk, PR and communications.

Our relevant experience includes:

The Scottish National Investment Bank

We guided SNIB in the development and implementation of its ethical statement and associated ethical framework.

Office of the Chief Economist

We investigated the barriers businesses in the South of Scotland face to job growth and the types of finance that could address local needs.

Mobilising Private Sector Capital in Support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

We reviewed the appetite amongst the global investor community for supporting the SDGs and ESG-aligned investing.

Islamic Finance and the Sustainable Development Goals

We delivered a 5-day practitioner-led, capacity building programme on ethical finance, including an overview of the UN SDGs.

Islamic Finance and the Principles for Responsible Investment

We completed analysis on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of responsible investing in the Islamic finance sector.

Mapping the Responsible Investing Landscape in Scotland

We produced a report that considered the history, ecosystem, taxonomy and market size of the responsible investing landscape in Scotland.

The Scottish National Investment Bank

We guided SNIB in the development and implementation of its ethical statement and associated ethical framework.

The Scottish National Investment Bank (“the Bank”) is a mission-led development bank providing patient capital to build a stronger, fairer, more sustainable Scotland. It was launched in 2020 and is a £2bn-capitalised public investment fund with a focus on investments in projects that support Scotland’s transition to net zero, build communities, promote equality, and harness innovation.

Prior to its public launch, we were commissioned by the Scottish Government to provide advice and guidance that could be used by the incoming leadership team to inform the development and implementation of the Bank’s ethical statement and its associated ethical framework. The underpinning analysis involved: completing a literature review; identifying and reviewing relevant frameworks, regulations and standards; conducting a horizontal benchmarking exercise of comparable institutions; and interviewing the team of civil servants and consultants building out the Bank. The final report also provided practical steps for creating and implementing the ethical statement and framework.

Office of the Chief Economist

We investigated the barriers businesses in the South of Scotland face to job growth and the types of finance that could address local needs.

Scotland’s Economic Strategy sets out its commitment to the mutually reinforcing goals of boosting competitiveness and tackling inequality, supported by four priority areas: investment, innovation, internationalisation and inclusive growth. Inclusive growth can only be sustainable in the long-term if it is business-led, working alongside the public sector and partners to create the right conditions for success.

We were commissioned by the Scottish Government’s Office of the Chief Economist, in partnership with The Good Economy, to look at the barrier’s businesses in the South of Scotland face to job growth and the types of finance and investment that could address local business needs. We completed desk-based research into availability of finance in the region, conducted face-to-face interviews with local businesses, drafted sections of the report, and reviewed the final report.

The research provided Scottish Government and the South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership with policy recommendations and practical guidance on business-led inclusive job growth for the South of Scotland Enterprise – the new economic and community development agency for the region.

Mobilising Private Sector Capital in Support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

We reviewed the appetite amongst the global investor community for supporting the SDGs and ESG-aligned investing.

Accomplishing the SDGs requires a US$5-7 trillion per annum investment, with an estimated US$2.4 trillion per annum shortfall. Innovative financing structures that leverage private sector finance into SDG aligned projects at scale are key in filling this funding opportunity. After brokering a 2-year programme of collaboration with Scottish Government and UNDP we have led the research and development of an investment product to encourage private capital to fund SDG aligned objectives.

We provided a comprehensive review of the appetite amongst the global investor community for supporting the SDGs and ESG-aligned investing. We consulted almost 100 representatives from a cross-section of investment professionals and asset owners, representing total assets under management of over US$21.5 trillion and then developed a recommended solution.

We are now seeking an institutional partner to develop an innovative private sector financing initiative that leverages capital into projects that will help achieve the SDGs.

Islamic Finance and the Sustainable Development Goals

We delivered a 5-day practitioner-led, capacity building programme on ethical finance, including an overview of the UN SDGs.

The SDGs are designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The 17 quantitative and qualitative SDGs reflect the aspirations of people around the world. Our research highlighted there was limited understanding of the SDGs, perceived lack of relevance of the SDGs to the commercial agenda and limited desire to consult with peers and participate in the SDG debate among Islamic Finance Institutions.

Our work provided a summary of the SDGs, the financial opportunity, the role of Islamic finance and the UN initiatives that provide a good starting point for financial institutions interested in the SDGs, including the Principles for Responsible Investment, the Principles for Responsible Banking and the Principles for Sustainable Insurance.

The research provides a guide and insight for both conventional and Islamic finance institutions that are interested in integrating the SDGs into their organisation.

Islamic Finance and the Principles for Responsible Investment

We completed analysis on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of responsible investing in the Islamic finance sector.

There has been limited participation from the Islamic finance sector in leading UN initiatives that support financial institutions seeking to align with the SDGs. To achieve SDG targets, Islamic Development Bank Member Countries require annual funding of between US$700 billion and US$1 trillion. The primary purpose of our work was to increase awareness and inspire practical action amongst Islamic financial institutions in relation to the SDGs.

The report provided a quantitative and qualitative analysis of responsible investing in the Islamic finance sector, assessing the level of engagement with the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) amongst financial institutions in the 57 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states and analysed the approaches and terminology used by 12 Islamic finance signatories. It also featured four detailed case studies developed following in-depth interviews with senior representatives from PRI signatories in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the UK.

Our work can be used as a tool to assist investors looking to become PRI signatories.

Mapping the Responsible Investing Landscape in Scotland

We produced a report that considered the history, ecosystem, taxonomy and market size of the responsible investing landscape in Scotland.

The motivation behind this work was to raise awareness and support the growth of the responsible investing market in Scotland. Having engaged with a number of stakeholders as well as undertaken internal desk-based research it was apparent that, whilst data on the sector exists for the UK as a whole, there was little or nothing specific to Scotland available.

To address this issue, in partnership with the Centre for Responsible Banking & Finance, a research centre within the University of St Andrews School of Management, we conducted research and delivered a report that: examined asset managers and owners actively engaged in responsible investing; identified Scottish-based investment funds that are managed ethically; and compared results from Scotland to Ireland and the UK to provide context. The report considered the history, ecosystem, taxonomy and market size of the responsible investing landscape in Scotland.

The report has directly influenced Scottish Government policy with data included in the “Investing with Purpose: Global Capital Investment Plan” launched in March 2021. The report is a useful tool for those interested in gaining insight on the responsible investing landscape in Scotland.

If you are interested in working with us please get in touch to find out more.