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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

8 March 2018 – The European Commission has today published its response to the recommendations of the High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Sustainable Finance, marking a major milestone in how to ensure that the financial system channels capital into a truly sustainable economy.

The response from the European Commission, published via a new Sustainable Finance Action Plan, comes a month after the launch of the final HLEG report. The expert group comprised private sector and external experts, and one academic institution, the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

One of the key - and often neglected – elements explored by the HLEG was how to engage and empower the retail consumer, or the everyday investor.

Speaking about the report’s recommendations, Paul Fisher, Senior Associate at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and member of the HLEG, said: “As a member of the High-Level Expert Group, I’m proud that our report advocates such a positive and constructive policy agenda that will support the European economy in a sustainable way for many years to come.

“We have made a broad range of practical policy recommendations looking at every part of the financial system and how it works as a whole. This agenda is pro-business and pro-jobs. For me, it's about maximising the potential prosperity of the European economy in a way that can be sustained across generations.

“Most of all, I hope its recommendations will make a difference to the financial decisions of ordinary people across Europe. They should be empowered to both understand the social and environmental impact of their savings, and also be able to improve it over time.

“This is why we have now included key recommendations to improve transparency and accountability for retail products.  Quantifying the impact on sustainability of all savings products destined for the retail market, with a few simple but science-based metrics, will be a major step forward.”

The Investment Leaders Group is currently working with CISL to develop an open methodology that offers greater transparency so investors can understand and improve the impact of their investments.

By offering simple but science-based metrics based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, researchers and investors are developing a practical framework so savers can judge the impact of their investments on people’s basic needs and wellbeing, decent jobs created and contribution to resource security, climate stability and healthy ecosystems.

CISL’s Director of Sustainable Finance, Andrew Voysey, offers his take on the 10 key takeaways from Europe’s landmark sustainable finance plan here.