On Wednesday 3 May, a full house joined us and Reset Connect to learn how money makes the world go round. Here’s how the night unfolded.
How we manage our money today determines the society of tomorrow. We need a better financial system to solve the climate and social issues we’re facing. But building that system will take cooperation. Cooperation from cross-sector industries, and public/private sector cooperation, too.
That’s why we partnered with Reset Connect again. On Wednesday, 3 May 2023, we welcomed a full house to our second event – Money makes the world go round: the importance of sustainable and values-led finance.
On the night, we were joined by a diverse panel of experts, each with a unique perspective:
- James Alexander – CEO, UKSIF.
- Erik Stadigh – Co-founder, Lune.
- Charlie Bronks – Sustainability lead and head of ESG, Crown Agents Bank.
- Kenneth Green – Campaigns manager, Make My Money Matter.
Leading the discussion was Algbra’s very own CSO, Nizam Uddin, OBE.
Before diving into a conversation laced with insight into the importance of sustainable and values-led finance, we kicked things off in style. The Hidden Relationship, a two-minute (viral) video produced by Make My Money Matter, stars Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie of Games of Thrones. The thought-provoking piece highlights the complexity between finance and the environment – a perfect conversation starter for our evening.
Then our panel got down to business. We’ve broken down the evening’s main talking points below.
Starting an ESG journey.
We kicked-off by discussing how to start, accelerate or scale an ESG journey. And the big takeaway was clear.
The best way to start is, simply, to start. Because in the climate change battle, every second counts. And so does every good action. So get going, no matter how small your efforts may seem.
For organisations looking to start their journey, our panel reminded us that although ESG strategies can feel overwhelming, it’s easier than you think to get the ball rolling. And even if you’re not required to have an ESG strategy yet, pressure and regulations (like Sustainability Disclosure Requirements [SDRs]) are already knocking at your door.
A great, free way to begin is with your B-Corp Impact Assessment. It gives you a good idea of where you are and, more importantly, provides steps you could take to improve your governance and impact.
Our panel revealed ESG is going mainstream. It’s now normal to consider environmental and social risks during the investment process. But we need more. We need to move toward investments that make a positive societal impact, not just minimise negative effects.
Less talk. More action.
Our panel agreed that corporations and financial service providers all talk a good game. But it’s time for governments to step in and do more of the hard stuff. Because there’s a difference between talking a good game and playing one.
After all, consumers are increasingly consuming in line with their values. With that in mind, corporations must start taking people pressure more seriously.
But for words to turn into action, regulation is key. We also need to see ratings tools converging – to stop cherry-picking and provide more comparability. While there may be differences between internal and external business stakeholders and their agendas, there are enough similarities to make collaboration effective.
The only transition possible is a just transition.
The panel highlighted that marginalised communities are disproportionately affected by climate change. As we move to a green economy, we must prioritise their needs to ensure that transition is equitable as well as sustainable.
Without a Just Transition, we won’t have a transition at all. We can’t axe industries and jobs within communities without offering alternatives. The green transition is an opportunity for both the economy and society (a point missed by the UK’s Levelling Up Agenda).
On the international stage, it’s essential to consider the question of how can a green transition ensure economic growth and job opportunities for everyone. The need for a green economy cannot come at the expense of socio-economic development. Financing must be provided to help leapfrog the typical development trajectories and provide large-scale investment in renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure.
Green your finances.
Money really does make the world go round. To create a more equitable and sustainable society, we must consider how we spend, save and invest. Greening your banking and pension (and telling your company to do the same) is one of, if not the most, impactful things you can do.
We want to take the opportunity to say thank you one last time to all our panellists. Not only for their insights but for the work they do in their daily lives, too. Each of them is working towards creating a balanced, thriving society and net-zero society.