2017 Responsible Investment Association Conference

I was inspired recently by attending the subject conference in Vancouver, and wanted to pass this on to my clients.

The conference brought together an impressive group of thought leaders from Canada the US and abroad, all focused on deploying investment capital to achieve impacts beyond solely profits.

In a jam-packed two-day agenda, I heard from…

  • Helle Bank Jorgensen, who now serves as the President of Global Compact Network Canada; Canada’s network for responsible businesses and organizations. She was appointed as the UN Special Advisor to the Global Compact in 2013, and discussed what investors can do to address barriers faced by women in having greater influence on corporate boards of directors.
  • Discussing trends in micro-finance that aim to create greater financial inclusion in global society was Eugene Ellemen manager of Oikocredit’s office in Canada. Oikocredit is a global investor in three major sectors: financial inclusion, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. With total assets of more than 1 billion, Oikocredit is one of the world’s largest investors in development finance.
  • Matt Moscardi currently serves as a Head of Financial Sector Research and Head of Thematic Research for MSCI ESG Research. Prior to joining MSCI, Matt developed low-carbon investment programs and engaged directly with US pension funds and asset managers managing over USD 10 trillion in assets as a Manager at Ceres, a Boston-based non-profit. He discussed the developing global market for green bonds
  • Discussing key issues related to human rights and how these must influence corporate decision-making was Anne-Marie Gagnon. She joined the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) as an Equity Analyst, ESG Integration in October 2013. bcIMC is an investment manager with about $121 billion Canadian dollars in asset under management and primarily serves the BC public sector pension funds. She discussed
  • Antoine Sorange is responsible for the ESG analysis for the whole Amundi Group, who manage around 168bn in SRI assets as of December 2016. He tackled issues that businesses face surrounding their exposure to water risks
  • Exploring the regulatory environment and conflicting forces surrounding pipeline development were Eric Denhoff who was appointed DepMinister of the Alberta Climate Change Office in September 2016. He was previously involved in leading mediation for the Government of Alberta on land use issues. Also on hand was Mark Jaccard, professor since 1986 in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. He served as Chair and CEO of the BC Utilities Commission in 1992-97.
  • Stanislas Dupr initiated the 2 Investing Initiative and now serves as Director. He discussed decarbonization as an efficient alternative to divestment from fossil fuels

This is just a sample of the topics discussed, and I want my clients to be assured that there are many passionate and committed people and institutions who are working to integrate environmental, social and governance issues into the investment process, with the ultimate aim of creating a more just and sustainable planet.

I am thrilled to be a part of promoting these initiatives and integrating my clients concerns into the investment process.

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