Zurich, 29. January 2020, 12:30h
The main topic of the conference was dedicated to the development and possible enforcement of the European Union’s uniform ESG standard for the financial industry. What we will have as a result is that sustainability will no longer be just an issue dealt with by the social responsibility departments of individual companies, but it will find its way into the core business of entire industries.
“Companies and industries that are not moving towards zero-carbon emissions well be punished by investors and go bankrupt”, as Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England states in October 2019.
Various Swiss Financial institutions have recognized the importance of sustainability and have integrated ESG standards into their mainstream products. Due to its strong influence, the financial industry is thus assuming a leading role in introducing sustainability standards across the board. Sustainable Investing and Lending AuM in 2018 in Switzerland was CHF 717 bn (Swiss Sustainable Investment Market Study 2019).
But is ESG integration enough to really contribute to the change and such challenges as biodiversity?
WWF in collaboration with PwC have published a study which underlines the importance of it and clearly indicates the tremendous negative implications on biodiversity due to global warming. For those who do not care about the nature but about risks, it is important to understand that there are huge economic costs and financial risks associated with biodiversity loss. Transitional, Physical, Litigation and Systemic risks are named.
As per the research, the world lost an estimated USD 4-20 trillion per year in ecosystem services owing land-cover change and USD 6-11 trillion per year from land degradation. The inaction would cost us 7% of GDP by 2050.
What about taxes and sustainability?
“Corporate tax transparency is the next big sustainability task. In 2018, at least 90 hugely profitable US corporations paid NO US tax at all – an outrage that is not sustainable morally or in light of the societal investments needed worldwide”, Elise J Bean, Former United States Senate tax investigator.
The World bank states it clearly, that “…if we are order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reach our ambition to end poverty, reverse inequalities and curb climate change by 2030, serious action on taxation will be crucial”.
Therefore, I invite all corporations not only to think about the above but start acting to meet social welfare obligations between citizens and the economy.
At the end of the conference, we had a lively dialog with the audience about what is SDG investing, what is impact investing, what are practical examples and of course about the role of education in impact investing sector. We are still facing financial institutions where the client advisors and clients not aware about the difference of sustainable and impact investing and mixing it up.
To finalize, remember that at the end, it is all about sustainability in all aspects of our economy and business, meaning, to secure present needs without compromising the future generations ability to secure their needs. My dear Human, just act accordingly whatever industry and position you are!