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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)


10 April 2018 – Investment leaders with more than $12 trillion under management and advice shared insights with the European Commission to support the implementation of the EU’s Action Plan on Sustainable Finance.

A top-level group of senior investment executives today gave the European Commission their full backing for plans to transition to a more sustainable financial model.

The Investment Leaders Group (ILG), a global network of CEOs and CIOs convened by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), met with the EU Commission’s Vice-President for Euro and Social Dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis in Brussels to offer support and insights to help meet the EU’s sustainable finance goals.

The meeting provided a unique opportunity for market leaders with more than $12 trillion under management to share their expertise in support of the Commission’s recently published Action Plan – the EU’s strategy for a greener and cleaner economy.

Roelie van Wijk-Russchen, Chair, Investment Leaders Group and Global Head of Responsible Business and Public Affairs, Aegon Asset Management said:

“We strongly endorse the need to find a new way of working together that the Commission proposes - to help find projects that improve and promote Europe's competitiveness, the wellbeing of its citizens and its transition to a more equitable, sustainable world,”

The meeting looked at the three goals of the Action Plan; to reorient capital flows towards sustainable assets, to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks into financial decision-making and increase transparency and long-termism.

The ILG shared its industry experience and research into how investors can deliver and disclose long-term value, focusing on how the private sector can support the EU’s legislative process to mainstream sustainability into the financial system swiftly and effectively.

Among the insights shared with Vice-President Dombrovskis and his team included ILG analysis confirming that environmental risk is financially relevant, both for a portfolio and to the financial industry as a whole.

As a result, the ILG has sought to incorporate this finding into the investment mandates between asset owners and asset managers to ensure these relationships and financial results focused on the long term.

The ILG is also currently developing a methodology to calculate a fund’s impact across environmental and social themes linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Such a methodology would help support the European Commission’s plans for a sustainable finance taxonomy that would allow investors and consumers to take more informed investment decisions based on the sustainability of the funds in which they invest.

Dr Jake Reynolds, Executive Director, Sustainable Economy, CISL, said:

“Until recently the debate about the role of finance in building a sustainable economy has taken place largely outside the policy sphere, dependent on enlightened self-interest by financial institutions, encouraged by market signals and reputation management. This meeting was an opportunity to consider just how much more could be achieved by policy and industry working hand in glove towards longer-range strategic objectives, the approach called for by CISL in our Rewiring the Economy plan.”


Valdis Dombrovskis is the EU Commission’s Vice-President for Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union