Fostering Economic Recovery through Green Finance Education

ACCA and Green Finance Platform lead the debate on Fostering Economic Recovery through Green Finance Education

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On 14 October 2020, global and EU experts explored the increasing need for the finance sector to develop new capabilities through relevant education and training in green finance principles and practice at joint ACCA-Green Finance Platform online event.

You can watch the webinar here

As the world convalesces from the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders are calling and taking actions for building back better, almost five years on from the Paris climate agreement. Finance professionals have an important role to play in delivering a green and just recovery, but to achieve this, they need to be better equipped with the right education and training in order to mainstream green finance knowledge and skills.

To raise awareness on , and debate this vital issue, the Green Finance Platform and ACCA hosted a webinar on “Fostering Economic Recovery through Green Finance Education”, welcoming an impressive line-up of global experts.

After a welcome speech by Benjamin Simmons, Head of Secretariat of the Green Growth Knowledge Partnership and a keynote speech by Heidi Hautala, MEP, Vice President of the European Parliament, the panel discussion moderated by Jimmy Greer, Head of Sustainability, ACCA included Géraldine Ang, Senior Policy Analyst, Green Finance and Investment, OECD; Helen Brand, OBE, Chief Executive, ACCA; Thomas Verheye, Principle Advisor, Green Finance & Investment, European Commission and Mardi McBrien, Managing Director, Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB). Concluding remarks were delivered by ACCA Council Member Joseph Owolabi.

Discussions highlighted that many concerted actions are needed to help transform our economies , and the Green Deal is a game changer to guide such actions, of which education & training are an essential building block. A first priority is education & capacity building of all financial actors, to better understand, assess and manage climate and other environmental issues. A second priority is to educate and raise awareness from savers, consumers and citizens on green finance and investment.

The European Commission has taken a leading role in accelerating sustainable finance, notably in its Sustainable Finance Action Plan, and the Communication on the European Education Area gives great importance to promoting green skills- including green finance education. In June 2020, the world’s first Green Finance Education Charter collectively committed signatories to incorporating green and sustainable finance principles and practice into their education and training programmes for professionals worldwide.

The debate also confirmed that what isn’t measured can’t be managed, and that a poor understanding of environmental risks and opportunities together with the lack of standardized metrics and methods for measuring environmental risks are amongst the core obstacles preventing a boosting of the green agenda. Speakers agreed that we would benefit from adopting a comprehensive framework that captures all key aspects of the environment or natural capital in one go. The work the European Commission, five ESG standard-setters, the World Economic Forum, and the IFRS Foundation Trustees towards establishing a common set of non-financial reporting standards was also highlighted.

Helen Brand, OBE, ACCA’s Chief Executive concluded “As sustainability is a truly global challenge, the solutions we develop need to be global. The Statement of intent from the main standard-setting bodies – CDP, CDSB, GRI, IIRC and SASB – to work together on a shared vision for a comprehensive, globally accepted, corporate reporting system is an important step. We also strongly welcome IFRS Foundation trustees’ Consultation Paper on Sustainability Reporting, which aims to assess demand for global sustainability standards and explore possible roles the IFRS Foundation may have for the development of internationally recognised standards on sustainability reporting.