29 Sep 2011 13:20

Green economy in focus at sustainability event

Called The Dynamics of Responsible Investment, the three-day conference was organised by Sweden’s Sustainable Investment Research Platform (SIRP) and the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) Academic Network, which helps set the agenda for the UN’s work in this area.

The annual event, this year held in the Swedish town of Sigtuna and sponsored by SEB, brings together the world’s leading academics and investors. Eklund’s presentation brought the “economist’s” perspective to the discussion on how to address environmental degradation and climate change.

“Climate change should be a simple thing to manage: we know what is causing it; we know the speed that we need to cut emissions to keep global warming below what is acceptable; we know what we need to tax or levy in fees to bring down the global trajectory enough,” Eklund said. “But the devil is in the details.”

He went on to explain the complex political web around the issue, from determining which countries should bear the highest financial burden to how that burden should be calculated.

Day two of the conference was topped off with a presentation to Beiting Cheng, who was named the winner of SEB’s 5,000 euro prize for research into responsible investment. She was recognised for a Harvard Business School research report showing that companies’ access to capital can be linked to the strength of their corporate social responsibility strategy.

“SEB’s institutional customers increasingly demand sustainable investments. Even the retail market is showing more interest in the area,” Peter Dahlgren, head of Institutional Clients at SEB says. “Beiting Cheng’s research shows what value a company’s work with environmental and social responsibility has. She has proved that sustainability work and access to capital is highly interlinked. Her research can help us make a better selection, eventually leading to better returns for our customers.”