Leaders from the world’s largest financial institutions have been gathering in Edinburgh to address the climate emergency and other pressing global challenges; showcasing the city as a centre for education on sustainable finance.
The Ethical Finance Global 2022 Summit was held in Edinburgh this week.
Organised by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), the summit is the largest financial services gathering in the country on sustainability since COP26, bringing together the World Bank, the Bank of England, government ministers and many of the planet’s major firms.
Sarah Breeden, executive director at the Bank of England, delivered a keynote speech at the event on ‘the nature of risk’ in what is the institution’s first significant announcement on nature-based finance.
In her speech, Breeden said: “Addressing nature loss and degradation is important to all of us on the planet. And in the round, this work will allow us to determine the nature of those risks, and so enable the Bank and the financial system to play its part in the collective response to this critical challenge.”
Omar Shaikh, GEFI managing director, added: “When we come together to share insights and commit to action, we truly can change the world. Alongside governments, private financial institutions must step up to help build a responsible, inclusive, sustainable and green future.
“This week, Scotland once again takes centre stage in the battle against climate change by bringing together professionals and experts to shape a better financial system. Larger financial services firms will have to show real leadership if ethical finance is to cascade down to smaller companies, through the supply chain, and into the wider economy.
“The challenge of climate change is daunting – but giving up is simply not an option. Banks and financial institutions hold the key to building a more sustainable world.”
The summit produced an international prospectus to target students and professionals seeking a career in ethical, green and socially responsible financial services.
More than 160,000 people are employed in finance-related jobs and around £9.5billion of responsible funds are already managed in Scotland.
GEFI assessed more than seven courses, including master’s programmes, against the UN’s sustainable development goals before including them in its 18-page prospectus.
Subjects include climate change finance and investment and environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.
In conjunction with the summit, the University of Edinburgh Business School (UEBS) hosted 30 delegates at an executive education course, having recently partnered with the Asian Banking School (ABS), which is based in Kuala Lumpur.
Professor Colyn Gardner, chief executive of the ABS, said: “Asian Banking School is well-positioned to be on the pulse of what the industry’s training needs are and where it is headed to. We ensure that our courses are innovative, leading edge and relevant.
“That is why, when looking to partner on a new executive education programme for banking leaders covering the latest industry topics, we looked towards the UEBS to collaborate with.
“The collaboration has produced a stellar programme that has been warmly received by the Malaysian banking industry. We were especially thrilled when our programme dates coincided with the summit.”
“We all depend on global finance making the right choices to deliver positive change and achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals,” continues Shaikh.
“Ethical finance offers the opportunity to learn how finance can serve the economy without losing sight of its impact on society and the environment.
“Scotland has an enabling culture for sustainable finance. Our new guide will help full-time students and busy professionals find the right opportunity in their journey towards sustainable finance.
“The partnership between the ABS and the UEBSl is a testament to an inherent culture of inquiry that can once again shape the world.”