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Alex Fraser speaks at Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum

17 January, 2019Alex Fraser

This Week is Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and we're there working with ABU DHABI Sustainability Week and the Abu Dhabi Global Markets Academy to help accelerate sustainable finance.

Our CEO, Alex Fraser, was a keynote speaker at Sustainable Finance Forum. Here’s his speech in full.

Alex Fraser's Sustainable Finance Speech 

Alex-Fraser-Abu-Dhabi-Sustainable-Finance-Forum16 January 2019

Excellencies, distinguished guests, it gives me great pleasure to introduce the work being undertaken to support this important and timely initiative to improve awareness of sustainability within the financial services industry and beyond.

First a few words about the Institute. The London Institute of Banking and Finance has been educating bankers for 140 years, and we have been present in the region for nearly 40 years.

Supporting careers and younger generations

We support people who are established in their careers through ongoing development and training and we have 20,000 members around the world.

But today we also focus on supporting younger generations. Our financial capability programmes play a major role in improving financial inclusion which is itself a cornerstone of sustainability.

We are now a University in our own right. We give our Undergraduate and Postgraduate students the skills and knowledge they will need to build successful careers in the banking industry of tomorrow, an industry which will continue to value traditional technical banking knowledge but will also require its employees to harness the potential of digital technology and Artificial Intelligence to reduce costs and improve customer service.

Embedding sustainability

For the last five years, we have been embedding sustainability into our academic framework.  Our overarching objective is to develop long-term, forward-facing and responsible financial thinking and practice within the industry and ensure that our students leave us with sustainability in their DNA.

So we have incorporated sustainable finance in all of our programmes. We have also created an online Sustainability Toolkit, which allows users to access a wide range of information and interesting facts about sustainability.

Today, we connect on a wide range of sustainability issues with external bodies in education, finance and business in order to promote sustainable futures. These include major commercial and investment banks, environmental associations and central government departments. 

Partnership with ADGM Academy

We are very proud of our partnership with the ADGM Academy and honoured to be asked to support the third pillar of the roadmap. We will work with the Academy to build programmes which are locally relevant but firmly set in a global context.

We share with the Academy the belief that better education, information and communication on the opportunities presented by the sustainable future will be crucial to the success of this initiative. Communicating these ideas effectively will help unlock enormous potential for long-term economic prosperity and social inclusion.

If we are to achieve this potential we will have to “unlearn” a lot of what we have accepted as the norm and learn to think differently, and to value different things.

Sustainable economy

This will apply not just to those who lead financial institutions, but to everyone who will be called upon to perform effective governance and stewardship in a sustainable economy and who will lead the changes in corporate culture which will be needed.

It will apply to those in management roles responsible for areas such as risk management, accounting and reporting, to those responsible for policy setting and regulation – and of course to the investment community in its broadest sense. And it will also apply to those who are at earlier stages of their lives- whose future quite literally depends on sustainability.

Educational programmes

So today I am delighted to announce that we will launch a series of educational programmes, from Foundation to Advanced levels, to help these different groups understand how sustainability will shape their roles and responsibilities through a mixture of theory and practice, delivered by tutors with deep industry knowledge and relevant experience. Practitioners with a passion for pedagogy. At Advanced level we will offer a Global Executive Masters in Sustainable Finance the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The programmes will cover the following areas: governance, policy and regulation;  accounting and disclosure; energy and sustainable development; investment; risk and strategy.

Learning Centre

In addition, running alongside formal programmes, we will create a new Learning Centre. This will be a unique resource for practitioners from the region and beyond to access learning resources in this complex and dynamic field. The new Centre will contribute to debates and forums and provide peer-to-peer engagement opportunities. It will publish research into the topic, collaborate on projects with other academic bodies and will sponsor awards and other recognition schemes.

We will foster a greater awareness and encourage engagement from broader sections of the community by demystifying what can be a daunting topic for the general public. Their active support, commitment and enthusiasm will be a critical success factor and will be more easily achieved if simple language and concepts are used in integrated public education campaigns.

Multi-faceted approach

These then are some of our plans to support this initiative…..

  • Programmes
  • A Research Centre and
  • Public Awareness

… a multi-faceted approach to such a challenging but important new area.

I would like to thank the Chairman of ADGM, His Excellency Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, for the opportunity to support ADGM in this critical endeavour.   

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