Discussion notes, Oikos panel on sustainable investment

Trends in sustainable finance & the opportunity narrative

See below, under ‘Sustainability vs. financial performance’

 

Greenwashing

Probably a lot of that going on, but takes endless amount of close-reading and lots of work to find and proof it.

The Swedish Friends of the Earth’s 2013 Greenwash price went to AP-fonder.

AP-fonderna – för att de investerar i oljebolag och bryter mot riktlinjer de lovat följa.” https://jordensvanner.se/svenska-greenwashpriset-sveriges-minst-attraktiva-miljopris (Feb. 2019)

 

Sustainability vs. financial performance – what is the case?

My impression, to investors profit still goes before sustainability.

– The Morgan Stanley 2015 survey.

– Al the funds show how well they are doing, so apparently that is considered important.

 

Regulation: Impact of regulatory changes on finance sector? Specifically referencing the EU’s Action Plan on sustainable finance

New to me, but a quick read:

Action 1: Establishing an EU classification system for sustainable activities

Action 2: Creating standards and labels for green financial products

Action 3: Fostering investment in sustainable projects

Action 4: Incorporating sustainability when providing financial advice

Action 5: Developing sustainability benchmarks

Action 6: Better integrating sustainability in ratings and market research

Action 7: Clarifying institutional investors’ and asset managers’ duties
… The proposal will aim to (i) explicitly require institutional investors and asset managers to integrate sustainability considerations in the investment decision-making process and (ii) increase transparency towards end-investors on how they integrate such sustainability factors in their investment decisions, in particular as concerns their exposure to sustainability risks.

Action 8: Incorporating sustainability in prudential requirements

Action 9: Strengthening sustainability disclosure and accounting rule-making

Action 10: Fostering sustainable corporate governance and attenuating short-termism in capital markets

Sounds like good intentions but a paper tiger ‘integrating’, ‘incorporating’ and ‘transparency’ says nothing about prioritizing.

 

What role does academia play in informing the policy/regulatory debate?

The usual role of speaking truth to power and come up with bright ideas. But, to Susanne Arvidsson, how much of that is going on?

 

Personal investment options & Future careers

Very little.

Funds are not very transparent about how they select, according to which criteria exactly. AP-fonderna even lied about it.

Secondly, I find most of their choices not very convincing. See here for a longer argument

It is hard work to just come up with meaningful criteria, that are easy to measure and hard to greenwash.

Then it is a lot of work to gather the data. See my efforts with just three simple criteria.

Some is for sale, but behind a paywall. For individual investors

 

 

Looking ahead – one key challenge or opportunity

To actually make it happen NOW that these companies, just like everybody else, start behaving.

The good thing is that it is on the agenda – finally – and that people are interested in it. We got past the ‘What do you mean?’ phase.

The challenge is that investors have to be tough, and not just take sweet talk, apathy and greenwashing as an excuse not to have a serious look into how their money is used.

Perhaps crowd sourcing can do a lot here!