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On Tuesday 5 September, Euromoney Conferences and GlobalCapital joined forces for the second time for the Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Forum. Welcoming over 190 issuers, investors, financial intermediaries and senior government officials, the one day conference analysed and debated the big questions and developments surrounding the capital markets mobilising finance flows to sustainable assets and climate change solutions.
Our opening keynote address was delivered by Dr Jason Box, a climatologist and glaciologist, who gave a compelling account of his trips to study the Greenland ice sheet, and what it tells us about how climate change is not only advancing, but may be doing so by unexpected leaps and bounds. It definitely served as a reminder of the climate change challenge we are faced with.
Throughout the day, the conference hosted four panel discussions spliced with a debate, case study and special session. The first panel was titled ‘Shifting Finance Flows on to a Sustainable Path’. Senior representatives of the Asian Development Bank, Carbon Tracker Initiative, European Commission, Rabobank and WWF explored the overarching idea of making the financial system fit for purpose, when at the moment it is supporting an unsustainable economy.
For the debate, four green finance experts — Doris Kramer of KfW, Justine Leigh-Bell of the Climate Bonds Initiative, Peter Munro of ICMA and Sabrina Schulz of E3G - addressed the motion ‘Can Green Finance Make Progress if Governments Keep Dragging their Feet?’ The shades of opinion varied, but most argued that governments did need to advance the cause of green finance — although the private sector could do a lot, there were limits to its capabilities without government support.
In the second panel discussion, ‘Pricing Climate Risks’, speakers wrestled with the problem that as climate change worsens, all financial actors are going to face risk. The case study focused on innovation in green loans; EDF and Royal Philips were invited to discuss their recent green loan transactions, both organised by ING who was also represented in the discussions. Green housing and buildings were the topics discussed by experts from ABN AMRO, Berlin Hyp and EMF-ECBC in the special session. They outlined different initiatives their organisations are looking at including introducing a blanket average A rating for energy efficiency to their property portfolio.
Andrew Hohns, managing director at Mariner Investment Group, was welcomed to the conference stage for an interview in which he talked about the multiplying power of securitisation, as his hedge fund recently engaged in a deal that freed up 75% of capital for new green loans.
Further keynote addresses were given by Christopher Steane, managing director and global head of lending at ING Wholesale Banking, and Matthew Weatherley-White, co-founder and managing director of The CAPROCK Group respectively. Mr Steane outlined the bank’s comprehensive approach to sustainability, and the shift in their approach to environmental and social risk from negative to positive. Mr Weatherley-White’s address was an enlightening start to the afternoon session, in which he noted his belief that soon “it will indefensible to deploy capital without regard to the environmental and social consequences.”
The panel on social and sustainable Bonds, Arnold Fohler, it was asserted that “at one point the volume of social bonds might surpass the volume of green bonds”, since they could finance a wider range of topics, such as education or coping with refugees. In a first for this conference, delegates had the opportunity to join in with the discussions in our new target table format. Six tables, each with ten participants and hosted by our sponsors, discussed six different topics and highlighted their conclusions to the rest of the audience. This was held alongside an impact investing masterclass hosted by Matthew Weatherley-White and held under Chatham House rules, where ‘no question was left unanswered’. In the final panel addressed the issue of growing the green bond market and senior representatives from from ACTIAM, AFT, BNP Paribas, EIB, and TenneT talked to green bond issuance, the future of the market, and the work of second opinion providers.
Delegates were able to have a more interactive and engaging conference experience this year using the new conference app allowing delegates to vote in panel polls and ask questions to the moderator as the discussions took place live on stage. The conference was followed by the second annual GlobalCapital Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Awards which saw organisations including Agence France Trésor, Berlin Hyp, Mirova and EIB take home awards. A great end to an action-packed day of discussions and networking.
Euromoney would like to thank all our sponsors, speakers and delegates, without whom the event would not be possible. We look forward to the sixth Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Forum in 2018, and seeing you all there.