I recently attended a superb webinar by SustainabilityWorks on “Demystifying Sustainable Finance”. The webinar was hosted by SustainabilityWorks’ CoFounder Laura Heuston and it addressed the meaning of Sustainable Finance, the role of the financial sector in Sustainability and who the key stakeholders are.

A key takeaway from this webinar is that Sustainable Finance is the future of finance. In truth, I didn’t fully understand this concept before. To me climate change and a sustainable future was about how we can all make our lives “greener” on an individual, practical level. How collectively as a people we can contribute to the overall climate action plan domestically and globally. I hadn’t thought about it from a financial perspective.

What I understand now is that finance has a critical role to play delivering the sustainability agenda. Companies and large corporates will have to invest in sustainable solutions.

Traditionally, Financial Planning in organisations did not include ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) factors. This is a new consideration in the Financial Planning and Financial Risk process. Companies now need to address how they can incorporate ESG into their investment process and investment portfolios. On an individual level, we need to be asking ourselves questions such as How do we spend our money? How do we invest our money? What are the sustainable investment choices?

So what is Sustainable Finance in simple terms? Sustainable Finance is the way in which organisations and financial services providers incorporate ESG into their business and their investment decisions for the betterment of their clients and society as a whole. Sustainable Finance means different things across different sectors. The key stakeholders include investors, lenders, financial regulators and policy makers. Although it is still a relatively new concept, it is becoming increasingly more relevant if we are to make a difference to climate change and our shift to a more sustainable future.

This webinar was major food for thought for me and helped me understand the relationship between climate action and how sustainable finance fits into that. It was informative, insightful and more importantly understandable!

I certainly can’t claim to be an expert in Green Finance or Responsible Investment but what I do know is that it should be and will be on all financial service organisation’s agendas going forward. The time is now. What we as companies and individuals do today will have a massive impact on the future of tomorrow.   As a recruiter in the Accounting & Finance space, I can see more and more of ESG and Sustainable Finance positions being a mandatory part of company’s strategic teams going forward.

Candidates interested in pursuing a career in renewable energy finance can find more information from the MSc in Renewable Energy and Environmental Finance from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

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