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Over 200 delegates gathered on 6 September in Amsterdam for the Euromoney/GlobalCapital Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Forum.
The conference opened with panellists giving their views on the next steps for COP21. Speakers were confident that a real agreement will be reached, despite the threat of a Trump presidency and the implications of Brexit to momentum, particularly given China’s recent bold move in tabling a document with a firm commitment. The mood was positive but speakers were realistic about the challenges of implementation. Much of the change we see already taking place, they acknowledged, is the result of 5-10 years of policy implementation. Countries don’t want to be embarrassed and left behind at the table, but how that trickles down into day to day finance will be key. Emphasis, they stated, needs to be on innovation, and there are already some clear signs that this is happening. Companies are providing their own power, decarbonisation programmes and carbon pricing for example.
The opening panel was followed by a fascinating keynote interview with Karim Hajjar, Group Chief Financial Officer of Solvay, who gave his views on sustainability from the perspective of a chemicals company. When asked whether he was a longstanding eco warrior, there was no hesitation in responding negatively. He admitted he had been getting it wrong professionally over the past 30 years in terms of sustainability, a view he only took about 6-12 months ago. Following that, a new debate on pure play issuers and whether or not they should follow the Green Bond Principles provided much food for thought with Justin Eeles of Affirmative Investment Management, and Chris Wigley of Mirova providing good points to both sides of the argument.
Other panels, case studies and debates throughout the day looked at developments in green bond standards and verification, green bonds as a policy tool in emerging markets, SRI and ESG and what it means to different people, stranded assets, the landscape for corporates and financial institutions, and developments in the social bond market. Kristin Halvorsen also took us through CICERO’s history and main areas of focus in an afternoon keynote interview. As former Finance Minister of Norway, she spoke about her role in introducing sustainability criteria for the Norwegian Pension Fund and its decision to divest away from coal. She also gave some background on the recently launched Climate Finance Centre and its key findings so far.
GlobalCapital announced the results of its first Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Awards in a ceremony immediately after the Forum. The Awards were the result of an extensive market poll, conducted in July. Issuers, investors, investment banks and other market participants voted in the poll, choosing the best Green and SRI bond deals, market participants and innovations in the year July 2015 to July 2016.
These Awards therefore represented the most comprehensive survey to date of market opinion on what are the most impressive actions and actors in this important market. We thank all who shared their expertise by voting in the poll, and congratulate all the winners and nominees.
Euromoney would also like to thank all sponsors and speakers for making the fourth Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Forum such a resounding success once again. We look forward to seeing you again next year.
Euromoney will make a donation to a Vulnerable 20 project on behalf of this year's sponsors. The project will be selected by a committee, the results of which will be announced shortly.
For sponsorship enquiries for 2017, please contact Andrew Lennon on email@example.com or +44 2077798043
For speaking enquiries for 2017, please contact Sara Leech on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 2077798819