Impact Investing: Verification under the Operating Principles for Impact Management

Embedding impact is a challenge and so is its verification. There has been limited guidance on it in the market. To address this challenge, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) launched the Operating Principles for Impact Management (the Impact Principles) in April 2019.

What are the Impact Principles?

The Impact Principles provide a framework of leading market practice for investors for the design and implementation of their impact management systems across the investment lifecycle.

Source: https://www.impactprinciples.org/

The Impact Principles are not limited to specific types of impact investors, sectors, geographies or asset types but are widely applicable and can be adopted for specific funds or vehicles or the portfolio. There are currently more than 150 signatories from more than 35 countries with AUM exceeding $450 million.

Why are the Impact Principles important?

Investors new to impact can use it as the start of their impact journey to design their systems and processes and investors that are already operating in impact can use it to benchmark their practice and look for areas of improvement.

The Impact Principles provide a structure for embedding impact. Each principle has action points and associated guidance, found here.

Becoming a signatory and undergoing verification

An organisation must first submit a Signatory Letter confirming its adoption of the Impact Principles. Within 12 months and annually thereafter, signatories must produce a Disclosure Statement in a standardised format describing their alignment with the Impact Principles. The Disclosure Statement is published on the Impact Principles as well as the signatories’ website.

Alongside the Disclosure Statement the alignment of the impact management systems and processes with the Impact Principles must be independently verified. The frequency of verification is not mandated by the Impact Principles, instead signatories must disclose the frequency of verification along with the reason for their choice.

GEFI’s verification for SIS Ventures

Principle 9 of the Impact Principles requires signatory investors to “[p]ublicly disclose alignment with the Impact Principles and provide independent verification of the alignment”.

In accordance with Principle 9, GEFI has recently completed the verification of the impact management systems and processes for SIS Ventures.  Formed in 2018, SIS Ventures is a part of the Social Investment Scotland Group, a leading Scottish impact investor. SIS Ventures’ aim is to support and grow high impact organisations through access to mission-aligned investment and it became a signatory of the Impact Principles in July 2021.

GEFI reviewed and documented SIS Ventures’ impact management systems and processes in line with each of the Impact Principles in turn. This was done through interviews with staff and review of key documentation. GEFI produced the verification statement and provided SIS Ventures with recommendations on how its impact management systems and processes could be further developed.

Next step for verification methodology

As an independent verifier, GEFI developed its own methodology to complete the verification.

Tideline, an impact investing consultant, has produced a report on investor alignment with the Impact Principles which includes verification methodology and scoring.

Verifiers developing their own verification methodology has both pros and cons. On one hand, innovation and experimentation are needed in this relatively new field. On the other, there is a risk that different methodologies may end up undermining the integrity of the verification process.

Moving forward, the Impact Principles may benefit from releasing methodology guidance and checklists for verifiers to ensure that verifications are completed in a standardised or similar way.

SIS Ventures quote

“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.

Please join us in Edinburgh on 6 September 2022 for our annual ethical finance summit, “ESG in a Volatile World – Profit, Purpose or Politics?


Scottish Financial Centres Climb in Global Green Finance Rankings

Edinburgh and Glasgow have both risen in the 9th edition of the widely respected Global Green Finance Index (GGFI), from prominent City thinktank Z/Yen.

Edinburgh climbed 4 places to 35th, while COP26 host city Glasgow rose 2 places to 51st; the only UK financial centres outside London to place on the list.

Glasgow ranks ahead of financial centres such as Milan, Istanbul and Tel Aviv, with Edinburgh leading Osaka, Hong Kong, Toronto, Chicago and Rome.

The rankings show that Scotland is well-placed to build upon the legacy of COP26 with its new Scottish Taskforce on Green and Sustainable Financial Services.

Led by the Scottish Government, Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) and Scottish Financial Enterprise, the Taskforce brings together prominent financial institutions, policymakers, professional bodies, academic institutions, and industry representatives to coordinate the Scottish financial sector’s approach to financing a net zero economy.

Elsewhere in the rankings, London, Amsterdam, and New York retained their 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively, while New York jumped 8 places to move into the top 10 for the first time, at 5th place.

Chris Tait, Chief Operating Officer of GEFI said “The rise of both Edinburgh and Glasgow in the latest Global Green Finance Index shows the knowledge and expertise of Scotland’s green finance cluster. By bringing together stakeholders from across the sector, we will leverage our intellectual capital and financial history to deliver finance for net zero.”

Speaking at the Taskforce launch, Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and former Governor of the Bank of England, said “This Taskforce presents a unique opportunity, at the national level, for stakeholders active in one of the world’s oldest financial centres to work together to demonstrate leadership in defining and implementing the steps required to align with a net-zero future.”


PRESS RELEASE | UN joins forces with UK & Scottish Governments to Launch Green Finance Taskforce

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE INITIATIVE

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE

UN JOINS FORCES WITH UK & SCOTTISH GOVERNMENTS TO LAUNCH GREEN FINANCE TASKFORCE.

Global finance leaders, including representatives from the UN and both the UK and Scottish Governments, set out the role Scotland's financial services can play in the fight against climate change.

On the day UN climate body the IPCC issued its starkest warnings to date, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and former Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney; Scottish Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes and HM Treasury Economic Secretary, John Glen, came together to highlight how Scotland can become a world-leading hub for climate finance through the launch of a new Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services, chaired by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative.

They emphasised how Scotland can build upon the legacy of COP26 in Glasgow through its intellectual capital, history as a centre of financial innovation and existing strengths in green finance to lead on the transition to a net zero economy.

Kate Forbes, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, said:
"We know the transition to a net zero economy will be a monumental undertaking. It is going to be the single greatest social and economic transformation required in history, and it is going to impact every sector fo the economy. No part of our economy, no part of our society will be immune to the impact of that transformation. It will be hard: it is going to require the reallocation of trillions of dollars of capital."

Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, said:
"The more credible and predictable government climate policies are, the more investors will pour money in, in anticipation, driving large-scale investment, faster decarbonisation, more jobs and greater growth."

ENDS
NOTES TO EDITORS

See pre-launch press release:
https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/2022/02/28/press-release-scotland-stakes-its-claim-to-be-a-leading-centre-in-finance-for-a-net-zero-and-sustainable-future/

Speakers at the event included:

David Pitt Watson, Cambridge Judge Business School
Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy
Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance
John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to HM Treasury
Dame Susan Rice, Chair of the Banking Culture Board

The Taskforce will report on progress and policy recommendations to the First Minister’s Financial Services Growth and Development Board, thereby remaining aligned with existing Scottish Government and industry structures for government-industry collaboration.

Over 160,000 people are employed in finance related jobs and £9.5 billion of responsible funds are already managed in Scotland.

The Global Ethical Financial Initiative has become the hub at the centre of the ethical finance movement. Curating independent conversations among a broad coalition of financial services stakeholders, as well as delivering practical projects.

Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Scottish Government

Kate is the Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency (which includes Dingwall, the Black Isle and the Great Glen) and Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy in the Scottish Government.

Kate is from Dingwall, although she spent part of her upbringing in Glasgow and India. Until she was elected as MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Kate was employed as an accountant in the banking industry. Prior to that she studied History at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh.

As a backbencher, Kate served on the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, the Health and Sport Committee and the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee. She also served as Parliamentary Liaison Officer for Finance and the Constitution. As well as leading a campaign to ban plastic straws, Kate has participated in several cross party groups at Holyrood including Crofting, Gaelic, Human Trafficking, Palliative Care and Rural Policy.

A fluent Gaelic speaker, Kate made history by becoming the first female MSP to give a plenary speech entirely in Gaelic in the current Scottish Parliament chamber.
Kate was appointed as Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy in June 2018 and appointed into her current role on 20 May 2021.
Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance; Former Governor, Bank of England

Mark was appointed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance in December 2019. From 2013 to March 2020, he served as the Governor of the Bank of England and Chair of the Monetary Policy Committee, Financial Policy Committee and the Board of the Prudential Regulation Committee.

In addition to his duties as Governor of the Bank of England, he has served as Chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) from 2011-2018, First Vice-Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board, a member of the Group of Thirty and the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum.

Mark was born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada in 1965. He received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard University in 1988. He went on to receive a master’s degree in Economics in 1993 and a doctorate in Economics in 1995, both from Oxford University.

After a thirteen-year career with Goldman Sachs in its London, Tokyo, New York and Toronto offices, Mark Carney was appointed Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada in August 2003. In November 2004, he left the Bank of Canada to become Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Finance. He held this position until his appointment as Governor of the Bank of Canada on 1 February 2008. Mark Carney served as Governor of the Bank of Canada and Chairman of its Board of Directors until 1 June 2013


PRESS RELEASE | Scotland Stakes its Claim to be a Leading Centre in Finance for a Net Zero and Sustainable Future

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE INITIATIVE

SCOTLAND STAKES ITS CLAIM TO BE A LEADING CENTRE IN FINANCE FOR A NET ZERO AND SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) will chair a Taskforce being launched today by the UN Special Climate Envoy and former Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney; Scottish Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes and HM Treasury Economic Secretary, John Glen.

Building on the long heritage and deep pool of expertise in responsible finance in Scotland, aligned with the global connections built over a decade of work in ethical finance by GEFI, presents a unique opportunity for Scotland to position itself as a leading hub for green and sustainable finance. The Taskforce builds on the momentum and legacy of COP26 as governments and financial institutions work together to raise the private sector capital needed for a successful net zero transition and to fund the UN's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Chair of the Task Force and Global Steering Group Member for GEFI David Pitt Watson said:

"Scotland has a long heritage of leadership in finance from the first public savings banks to the outstanding concentration of expertise in sustainable finance. The momentum and legacy of COP26 presents an opportunity to make Scotland globally competitive as a green and sustainable finance centre.

GEFI has been supported by the Scottish Government and Scottish Financial Enterprise to bring together the leading experts and leaders in the Scottish finance sector over the next three years to ensure that Scotland maximises the opportunity to grow this important finance sector in global markets, creates the skills pipeline and jobs to support this and positions Scotland at the forefront of sustainable finance. GEFI has just completed a two-year Path to COP26 campaign with over 60 global financial partners leading to the Glasgow climate summit and has been working with state banks, financial institutions and asset owners in countries as diverse as the US, Nigeria, Malaysia and the UAE.

GEFI has also announced a partnership agreement with University of Edinburgh to collaborate and use the University's outstanding resources and knowledge to drive forward the development of ethical finance.

ENDS

Click here to read the press release from the Scottish Government

NOTES TO EDITORS

The public launch of the taskforce is at 15:30 on the 28th February. Speakers at the event include:

  • David Pitt Watson, Cambridge Judge Business School
  • Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy
  • Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance
  • John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to HM Treasury
  • Dame Susan Rice, Chair of the Banking Culture Board

The Taskforce will report on progress and policy recommendations to the First Minister’s Financial Services Growth and Development Board, thereby remaining aligned with existing Scottish Government and industry structures for government-industry collaboration.

Over 160,000 people are employed in finance related jobs and £9.5 billion of responsible funds are already managed in Scotland.

The Global Ethical Financial Initiative has become the hub at the centre of the ethical finance movement. Curating independent conversations among a broad coalition of financial services stakeholders, as well as delivering practical projects.

David Pitt-Watson, Visiting Fellow, Cambridge Judge Business School

David is a leading thinker, campaigner and practitioner in the field of responsible investment – with over 20 years’ experience he was working in ESG before the term was coined! He was a co-founder, and former CEO, of Hermes Focus Funds and Equity Ownership Service, which became the largest responsible investment group of any institutional fund manager in the world.

David was closely involved in the setting up of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment and he chaired the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative in the run up to the Paris Climate Conference.

David has been involved in policy making in the UK, Europe and around the world, particularly in the field of corporate governance and financial market regulation, and has written extensively on these subjects. A graduate of Oxford and Stanford Universities he is currently a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University, where he teaches a course on “The Purpose of Finance”. His books have been translated into five languages.
David currently sits on GEFI’s Global Steering Group.

Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Scottish Government

Kate is the Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency (which includes Dingwall, the Black Isle and the Great Glen) and Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy in the Scottish Government.

Kate is from Dingwall, although she spent part of her upbringing in Glasgow and India. Until she was elected as MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Kate was employed as an accountant in the banking industry. Prior to that she studied History at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh.

As a backbencher, Kate served on the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, the Health and Sport Committee and the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee. She also served as Parliamentary Liaison Officer for Finance and the Constitution. As well as leading a campaign to ban plastic straws, Kate has participated in several cross party groups at Holyrood including Crofting, Gaelic, Human Trafficking, Palliative Care and Rural Policy.

A fluent Gaelic speaker, Kate made history by becoming the first female MSP to give a plenary speech entirely in Gaelic in the current Scottish Parliament chamber.
Kate was appointed as Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy in June 2018 and appointed into her current role on 20 May 2021.
Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance; Former Governor, Bank of England

Mark was appointed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance in December 2019. From 2013 to March 2020, he served as the Governor of the Bank of England and Chair of the Monetary Policy Committee, Financial Policy Committee and the Board of the Prudential Regulation Committee.

In addition to his duties as Governor of the Bank of England, he has served as Chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) from 2011-2018, First Vice-Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board, a member of the Group of Thirty and the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum.

Mark was born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada in 1965. He received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard University in 1988. He went on to receive a master’s degree in Economics in 1993 and a doctorate in Economics in 1995, both from Oxford University.

After a thirteen-year career with Goldman Sachs in its London, Tokyo, New York and Toronto offices, Mark Carney was appointed Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada in August 2003. In November 2004, he left the Bank of Canada to become Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Finance. He held this position until his appointment as Governor of the Bank of Canada on 1 February 2008. Mark Carney served as Governor of the Bank of Canada and Chairman of its Board of Directors until 1 June 2013


UK must make its Green Finance ambition work for the whole planet

The UK government has committed to establishing the UK as a global green finance hub, and to propagating consistently high standards around green finance globally. This is a very encouraging move ahead of COP26. At GEFI, we believe very strongly that international cooperation and, in particular, engaging with the global south will be key to developing credible plans for a global net zero economy.

As our co-founder and director Omar Shaikh said:

We welcome the ambition to make the UK a leader in green finance. But Net Zero is a global game and we must use the UK’s financial services position as a global leader to take the opportunity of COP26 to make the green transition fair for every citizen of our shared planet.

Our recent flagship Ethical Finance summit saw a full day devoted to a series of global showcases, bringing in perspectives on sustainable finance from regions including South Asia, West Africa and South East Asia; see our EFx platform to watch all of these and more.

The development and implementation of TCFD and TNFD frameworks must play a crucial role in government and regulatory strategies to ensure climate and biodiversity risks are not only recognised but are measured and reported on by financial institutions. Such developments will drive green finance globally as capital is diverted towards mitigation and adaptation investments.

The emergence of global frameworks provides best practice standards, consistency and transparency the finance sector has been seeking and, in so doing, reduces the threat of greenwashing. You can watch the new TNFD Co-chair Elizabeth Mrema and Mikkel Larsen of DBS Bank, one of the key institutions developing TNFD explain the new nature-focused framework at Ethical Finance 2021.

Ultimately, the financial sector must play a pivotal role in delivering a Net Zero economy, but it cannot do so without international collaboration.

COP26 represents the perfect opportunity for the finance sector to work with governments on a global stage. As the curtain gets set to rise in less than 17 weeks, the UK government must lead from the front to inspire others to commit to a Net Zero and nature positive economy that guarantees both the survival and prosperity of the whole planet. The need to raise awareness and inspire practical action has driven GEFI to convene a powerful group of financial services institutions and stakeholders through our Path to COP26 campaign.

Alongside programmes driving Finance for Nature, and integrating faith perspectives with the SDGs, the campaign aims to unlock the power of ordinary people’s pensions to deliver a better future for everyone, and position both Scotland and the UK at the heart of a global Green Finance that works for the whole planet, ensuring that people (and not simply profit) are allowed to prosper.


Financing A Sustainable Future- Global Ethical Finance Summit Speakers Revealed

The Earth Day Summit convened by President Biden has put delivering finance front and centre of the world’s efforts to deliver climate change. Countries and companies not only need to make commitments but also must have clear plans in place to deliver them.

A major UK summit on climate finance this summer will bring together global finance leaders, the head of the European Investment Bank, CEOs of major banks and UN chiefs ahead of COP26 The summit builds on ten years of work by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative to reshape the finance sector for a sustainable future.

Ethical Finance 2021, to be convened virtually in Scotland, will include leadership showcases from fourglobal financial centres with more than 3000 delegates from over 100 countries expected to participate in the three-day event. Free registration is now open.

The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) summit is hosted by NatWest Group, and supported by Chartered Banker and the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, as well as the Scottish Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Keynote speakers include:
• Dr Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank.
• Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator
• Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF’s climate and energy global practice leader, a former Environment Minister of Peru and chair of COP20.
• Hiro Mizuno, UN special envoy on innovative finance and sustainable investments, and former executive management director of the Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan – the largest pool of retirement savings in the world.
• Bill Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank
• Inger Anderson, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.
• Dora Benedek, deputy division chief, fiscal affairs department of the International Monetary Fund.
• Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, the Frank Ramsey Emeritus Professor of Economics at Cambridge University and author of The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review.
• John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister.

With a global footprint and Scottish roots, GEFI is leading a ‘Path to COP26’ campaign which has united major financial services institutions representing over £2 trillion in assets to help build more resilient economies which support the transition to a greener, net-zero planet.
The finance sector needs to act together to achieve decisive action at COP26, the most important climate summit since Paris, and the campaign will deliver a series of over 30 events and projects leading up to Glasgow.
This includes Ethical Finance 2021, the flagship global summit to be convened in June.

Omar Shaikh, co-founder of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, said:

“Today’s Earth Day Summit shows that the financial services sector has a fundamental role to play in delivering targets such as the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal to fix our planet. However, despite its potential, the current financial system can be a cause, rather than a solution, to some of the pressing challenges our planet and its people currently face.

“Ethical Finance 2021 will show how financial services can support inclusive economic growth without depleting natural resources or leaving anyone behind. We’re very proud to have convened so many leading professionals from across the world, bringing them together virtually in Scotland to address the pressing issue of climate finance and turn talk into action.”


PRESS RELEASE: SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT TO PARTNER ‘PATH TO COP26’ CAMPAIGN

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE INITIATIVE

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT TO PARTNER ‘PATH TO COP26’ CAMPAIGN.

The Scottish Government has announced it will be a campaign partner for the ‘Path to COP26’ campaign to demonstrate to the world that Scotland is playing a leading role in the shift towards more environmentally responsible and sustainable finance. Led by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, the campaign has united major financial services institutions representing over £2trn in assets for a programme including over 30 activities ahead of COP26.

This includes Ethical Finance 2021, a flagship global summit to be convened virtually from Scotland in June, with confirmed speakers including a former COP President, head of the UN Environment Programme and CEOs and financial services leaders from four continents.

Held in conjunction with the Scottish Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the summit will explore the long-term future of ethical finance, looking at the climate finance challenge, financing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leadership in finance for the challenges ahead.

NatWest Group is the host partner, and the global event is supported by Chartered Banker and the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. Confirmed speakers include Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Climate and Energy Global Practice Leader at WWF, COP20 President and a former Peruvian environment minister, Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme and David Pitt-Watson who co-chaired the finance discussions at the Paris climate summit.

The announcement comes after the Scottish Government yesterday unveiled its global capital investment plan, which aims to build a pipeline of ESG-ready (environmental, social and governance) projects that deliver for people and places in Scotland.

Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Innovation and Public Finance, said:

“The Scottish Government is delighted to further strengthen its relationship with the Global Ethical Finance Initiative.

“By providing support for a series of events on the road to COP26 showcasing Scotland’s investment opportunities, GEFI will help signal to the world that Scotland is leading the global movement towards investment which is socially and environmentally responsible.

“Scotland is already in a strong position in attracting ethical investment and GEFI, along with Scotland's outstanding financial sector, is paving the way in this developing field of green finance.

“Our global capital investment plan reemphasises our commitment to Net Zero and a wellbeing economy, and we will continue to work with partners and investors who share our values as a nation, making Scotland the destination of choice for ESG investment.”

Omar Shaikh, co-founder of GEFI, said:

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s support for the Path to COP26 campaign. The flagship summit at the heart of this, Ethical Finance 2021, will be a crucial milestone for the finance industry ahead of COP26.

“We’ll be convening leading professionals from across finance, from banking, to asset management, to asset owners, so that we drive further action ahead of the UN summit in Glasgow in November.

“It’s time to move from talk to action.

“We have been working with Scottish Government, the UN and global financial institutions to position Scotland as a leader in ethical, sustainable finance to attract the global capital needed to support a successful and fair transition.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

More information on Path to COP26 is available here:   www.pathtocop26.com

Ethical Finance 2021 – ethicalfinancesummit.com #EthicalFinance2021 will be held between Tuesday 8th – Thursday 10th June 2021 and is themed “Financing a Sustainable Future: Climate and Beyond”.

The world depends on global finance making the right choices to deliver positive change and achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. To deliver this change, we need to connect people and ideas, and the Ethical Finance Summit has a six-year history of driving action through frank, honest debate among a global coalition across financial services.  Previous speakers have included First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Archbishop Justin Welby, NatWest Group CEO Alison Rose and UK Committee on Climate Change Chief Executive Chris Stark. The 2020 summit attracted over 1500 delegates from 96 countries.

Register free or find out more at www.ethicalfinancesummit.com

GEFI is a non-profit based in Scotland with a global footprint. We are dedicated to enabling finance to deliver positive change and help achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Our core team has expertise in corporate finance, ethical finance, faith-based finance, sustainability, economics, banking law & governance and communications.

Find out more at   www.globalethicalfinance.org

Chartered Banker have designated Ethical Finance 2021 for continuous professional development to enhance the learning content for their 30,000 members after completion of professional qualifications. See more at:   www.charteredbanker.com


PILOT TO INCREASE PRIVATE CAPITAL TO DELIVER UN GOALS

A pilot scheme is being developed to massively increase the flow of private sector capital to achieve the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

A major new report has concluded that ‘business-as-usual’ in the financial services sector will not deliver the 2030 target to achieve the Global Goals.

With sustainability and impact quickly moving from being specialist subjects to being core drivers of investment strategies worldwide the report calls for a ‘step-change’, identifying a private equity fund-of-fund solution that provides the required scale to attract new capital from institutional investors. The new independent managed platform, a global impact fund-of-funds, will fill the gap between specialist impact fund managers and mainstream investors.

The proposal is designed to attract global institutional investors who otherwise would not deploy tens of millions of dollars in this space, ensuring they receive a financial return at the same time as delivering an authenticated positive social and environmental impact.

Detailed due diligence for a pilot scheme will now take place following a virtual workshop held this week organised by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative and UNDP and involving fund managers, asset owners and specialist impact investors.

The pilot is due to be launched at the COP26 climate summit, currently scheduled to be held in Glasgow in November.

The project comes after a two-year collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Scottish Government, with work led by the Edinburgh-based Global Ethical Finance Initiative and analysis in the report conducted by merchant banking group R.J. Fleming & Co.

A copy of the report, ‘Mobilising Private Sector Capital in Support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals’, can be read here.

 

Omar ShaikhOmar Shaikh, managing director of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, said:

“Having 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, we have undertaken one of the most comprehensive contemporary reviews of the appetite amongst the global investor community for supporting the SDGs and ESG aligned investing.”

“By developing a deep understanding of the challenges investors face in this space we have identified a long-term, private markets solution that we believe will remain attractive despite the economic downturn. Current market conditions present significant opportunities as cash is at a premium, especially for small to medium-sized businesses.”

 

Jamison Ervin, Manager from United Nations Development Programme, said:

“There is an asymmetry between the availability of supply of private sector finance and the supply of investment-ready projects.”

“Our goal in this partnership is therefore to explore and test new ways of channelling finance to focus on inclusive, nature-based, SDG-aligned enterprises.”

“We are excited to support the development of a new, innovative finance instrument that will help accelerate the deployment of private sector financing where it is most needed.”

 

James Dauman, Managing Director from R.J. Fleming & Co. said:

“In these uncertain and troubled times, the need to support the SDGs has perhaps never been greater. We are remain fully focused on delivering capital towards making a meaningful positive impact whilst at the same time generating market-rate investment returns.”


COP26 – FINANCE SECTOR MEETS IN SCOTLAND TO BUILD GREENER ECONOMY

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE INITIATIVE

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE

COP26 – FINANCE SECTOR MEETS IN SCOTLAND TO BUILD GREENER ECONOMY

Leading financial institutions will come together in Edinburgh today (THU) for the start of a ‘Path to COP26’ campaign to build a greener global economy. A round table event will explore the role of the finance sector in the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy in the run-up to the global climate change summit in Glasgow in November.

To start the process of accelerating the combined efforts of the industry, the event will be addressed by Jonathan Taylor, former Vice President (Environment and Climate Action) at the European Investment Bank, and Gary Lapthorn, the head of sustainability and responsible business at Lloyds Banking Group Commercial Banking.The round table has been organised by the Edinburgh-based Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), which oversees, organises and coordinates a series of programmes to promote finance for positive change.

As part of the ‘Path to COP26’ campaign, GEFI will also host a series of events in the UK and beyond, ahead of the November summit. The campaign is designed to encourage banks, asset management firms and other financial companies to demonstrate their commitment to the climate agenda. According to the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, the climate transition will require additional investment of at least $60 trillion from now until 2050 – meaning private sector commitments are vital to tackling the climate crisis.
Bold climate action could deliver at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits through to 2030, compared with business-as-usual, a recent report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate found.

Gail Hurley, senior consultant to the Global Ethical Finance Initiative and former senior advisor to the UN, said:
“The eyes of the world will be focused on Scotland when senior politicians from across the globe convene at COP26 in Glasgow in November to negotiate the global response to tackling climate change.
“Climate change is a large, systemic financial risk that will change asset values as investment moves away from high carbon assets towards a low carbon economy.
“For financial institutions to become enablers and catalysts they must therefore understand the commercial risks and opportunities and know how to act on them.
“Finance can be a positive force for change, and we call upon organisations from across the globe to sign up to our Path to COP26 declaration to help us assist the financial sector to commit to practical efforts to tackle climate change.”

Jonathan Taylor, former Vice President (Environment and Climate Action) at the European Investment Bank, said:
“COP26 in Scotland will be a key milestone on the road to a successful conclusion to the fight against climate change.
“Expectations are high that countries should commit themselves to demanding targets to meet the agreed goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
“So we should all think about what we can do to help ensure success, including financial institutions.
“The GEFI round table’s ‘Path to COP 26’ initiative makes an excellent contribution, and I am delighted to be part of it.”

 

Gary Lapthorn, head of sustainability and responsible business at Lloyds Banking Group, Commercial Banking, said:
“Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking is delighted to support the GEFI round table exploring the role financial institutions are playing in the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy.
“As part of the UK’s leading financial services group, Lloyds Banking Group, we can make a real difference to tackling climate change by helping to finance a greener future together.
“This will require new ways of living, working and investing for our business and our customers.
“That’s why we’re setting ourselves an ambitious goal to accelerate working with customers, government and the market to help reduce the carbon emissions we finance by more than 50 per cent by 2030, equivalent to removing the emissions produced by almost a quarter of UK homes.”

 

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

More information is available at www.pathtocop26.com

Broadcast interview opportunities with GEFI are available.

A photo of Gail Hurley is available for download here.

A photo of Jonathan Taylor is avilable for download here.

What is the Global Ethical Finance Initiative?
The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) oversees, organises and coordinates a series of programmes to promote finance for positive change. It brings together the world’s business, political, and social leaders to build a fairer finance system for people and the planet. The organisation is based in Edinburgh, and hosts the global ethical finance summit. More information is available at www.globalethicalfinance.org/ethical-finance-2020/

What is ethical finance?
A fairer system of financial management that combines profit with better outcomes for people and the planet. The full working definition of ethical finance: A system of financial management or investment that seeks qualitative outcomes other purely the management of returns. Outcomes sought may reflect ideas from faith, environmental and governance theories.

Why does ethical finance matter?
Although ethical finance is not a new concept the financial crisis has led to a growing interest in sustainability, climate change and social justice. This has seen a collective desire to create a fairer, more inclusive and responsible global financial system. Trust in banks is diminishing and today’s generation of consumers believes that investment decisions should reflect the issues they care about. Ethical finance in the UK is valued at around £40billion, creating thousands of sustainable job opportunities. Today, with the world facing a climate emergency there is a pressing need to develop environmentally sustainable financial solutions.


2020 GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE SUMMIT ANNOUNCED

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE INITIATIVE

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE

2020 GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE SUMMIT ANNOUNCED

The 2020 global ethical finance summit has been announced, bringing hundreds of major investors, asset owners and finance leaders to Scotland.
Supported by the Scottish Government and the United Nations Development Programme, the flagship event will focus on building a more sustainable financial system.
With the COP26 UN climate change conference taking place in Glasgow next year, the summit’s theme will be protecting our future.
There will be a focus on how financial services can support inclusive economic growth without depleting natural resources, and how the sector can help deliver the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
It comes after the COP25 climate talks in Madrid ended with a compromise deal on the global response to curbing carbon.

The ethical finance conference, to be held at the Edinburgh headquarters of RBS on October 6 and 7, 2020, is organised by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), which oversees, organises and coordinates a series of programmes to promote finance for positive change.
It follows a hugely successful conference in 2019, which included a keynote speech from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and video addresses from former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and attracted over 350 participants from around the world.
The announcement of the 2020 summit was made today (MON) at GEFI’s latest ethical finance round table event in Edinburgh, hosted by Baillie Gifford, which addressed responsible investment and more sustainable models for the banking sector.

 

Omar Shaikh, managing director of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, said:Omar Shaikh
“The 2019 ethical finance summit attracted major international attention, bringing global leaders together to discuss key challenges including products, culture, system change, regulation and maintaining returns in financial services.
“A new way requires holistic thinking which is why the summit uniquely convenes the banking and investment ecosystem, addresses the big challenges we face that rethink capitalism, and connects people to enable partnerships to produce ethical financial solutions.
“To build on this desire for positive change, we’re bringing the finance world back to Scotland in 2020 for our next global summit in October.
“With COP26 taking place in Glasgow just a few weeks later, it significantly enhances the global prominence of this year’s summit and provides an excellent opportunity to focus on climate finance.
“Moving from talk to action, our theme will be protecting the future for everyone.”

 

Kirsty Britz, director of sustainable banking at RBS, said:
“We are looking forward to once again hosting the Global Ethical Finance Summit next year.
“The conference will be an important milestone in an exciting year for Scotland, with world leaders set to come to Glasgow for the UN’s COP26 climate talks in November.
“As a founding signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, RBS has committed to further align our strategy with the Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.
“The global ethical finance summit provides an excellent opportunity for us to work collaboratively with stakeholders, peers and partners who are leading the agenda.”

 

Andrew Cave, head of governance and sustainability with Baillie Gifford, said: 
“Following the success of this year’s event we are delighted to be supporting Ethical Finance 2020 in Edinburgh next year.
“The global summit is an important platform for facilitating collaborative and insightful discussions that challenge and inspire asset owners and financial institutions to invest responsibly and take practical actions to deliver positive impact for people and the planet.”

 

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

More details on Ethical Finance 2020 can be found here: https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/ethical-finance-2020/

A 2019 event summary can be found here:
https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/EF19-Summary.pdf

A photo of Omar Shaikh can be downloaded here