2021 is a landmark year for UKSIF – it’s our 30th anniversary!

We marked this milestone with a series of engaging activities, including the launch of UKSIF’s new Policy Vision, setting out the steps we believe policymakers and others should take to cement the UK’s leadership on sustainable finance and a panel discussion with senior industry leaders reflecting on the challenges ahead facing the sector.

We heard from John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrea Blackman, Managing Director, Global Head Moody’s ESG Solutions Group as well as a panel of industry leaders who were instrumental in the founding of UKSIF, reflecting on the progress the organisation has made and the future direction of sustainable finance in the UK.

Full details on our Policy Vision  can be found here.

Speakers:

John Glen MP – Economic Secretary to the Treasury
Andrea Blackman – Managing Director, Global Head of Moody’s ESG Solutions
Emma Howard Boyd – Chair, Environment Agency
Mark Campanale – Founder & Executive Chair, Carbon Tracker Initiative
Danyal Sattar – Chief Executive, Big Issue Invest
Steve Waygood – Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Aviva Investors
Helen Wildsmith – Stewardship Director, Climate Change, CCLA

We hosted the third webinar of our monthly series on the topic of: “Energy storage and batteries” on 13 April 2021, 11am.
In this webinar you learn about the progress being made in the energy storage field and the challenges experienced so far. We hear experts discuss the future of batteries, from electric vehicles and faster charging solutions to large scale stationary energy storage and its paramount importance in the short term balancing of renewable power pricing.
Speakers:
Thomas Fitzgerald, Co-Manager of EdenTree Responsible and Sustainable Global Equity Fund, and Lead Technology Analyst, Edentree Investment Management
Chris Morrison, Managing Director, Green Investment Group, Macquarie Capital
Shannon Notley, Founder, FlexeGRAPH

Watch the webinar here.

Ownership Day covered the topics at the forefront of active ownership; from stewardship for the net zero transition, the future of voting, and accountability of asset managers to regulatory updates from both the FCA and our panel of experts.
Here is the agenda of the day and the full programme with all of our speakers’ profiles.

 

Some take-away points

FCA’s Mark Manning gives keynote speech at ‘Owner ship Day’:
  • The FCA’s Mark Manning delivered a speech at UKSIF’s ‘Ownership Day’ Conference on 25 March, stating the regulator will consider greater scrutiny on the role of ESG ratings providers (this has been picked up in the press). He said the UK’s ‘green taxonomy’ would be an opportunity for the UK to show ambition on sustainability, and the regulator would support government in this area before turning its focus towards the implementation of SFDR. Mr Manning noted the regulator would examine how it could build on its climate work to consider bio-diversity and social issues more fully in time, and welcomed changes to the FCA’s remit.
Future of voting rights for pension schemes
  • Simon Howard provided an overview of the work of the Taskforce on Pension Scheme Voting Implementation, which he is leading. The Taskforce will shortly publish a consultation for industry feedback on voting rights for pension scheme trustees. Mr Howard indicated the approach of the Taskforce would be one of ‘radical evolution,’ stressing the importance of asset owners having the ability to express their preferences in a clear voting policy.
  • Representatives from Tumelo and Citizen Shareholders, Georgia Stewart and Alia Gerar, spoke on the panel alongside Simon Howard to discuss their digital platforms which aim to help trustees better engage with their investments and improve transparency throughout the investment chain.
  • The CEO of Tumelo, Georgia Stewart, argued if pension scheme members had a greater say over their money, this would lead to more support for sustainability-related resolutions at company AGMs. The Head of Communications at Citizen Shareholders, Alia Gerar, said the platform could allow individuals to get the issues they care about onto the radar of AGMs and called for change in the industry.
  • We expect this debate to continue to progress this year ahead of a possible shake-up by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on pension schemes’ voting rights.
Ownership Day 2021 was sponsored by Acty.
We would like to let our members  know that our event partner, Acty, is kindly offering a six month free trial of their platform to asset owners, investment managers and investor initiatives who registered for this event. To claim it, please contact their CEO and Co-Founder, Anton Ljung.
UKSIF hosted its second monthly webinar of 2021 on the topic of: “Net Zero Asset Management: Emerging good practices and techniques for a sustainable future” on 2 March 2021. In this webinar we heard from three asset managers who have recently made net zero declarations, BMO, M&G and Schroders. We learnt about the progress being made and the challenges experienced so far as well as actions others can take to start their journey to net zero.
Speakers:
Vicki Bakhshi, Director and Responsible Investment, BMO Global Asset Management
Ben Constable Maxwell, Head of Impact Investing, M&G Investments
Andy Howard, Global Head of Sustainable Investment, Schroders
Find the recording here.

UKSIF partnered with CCLA for a webinar to discuss the relation between investor engagement and modern slavery.

This webinar provides details of the risks to workers, how the engagement progressed, and ways in which companies responded to the concerns.

Moderator: James Alexander, Chief Executive Officer, UKSIF
Administrator: Joey Charisi, Communications & Events Manager, UKSIF

Speakers:
Rosey Hurst, Founder and Director, Impactt
Andrew Adams, Modern Slavery Project Lead, CCLA
Charlotte Buchanan, Modern Slavery Project Intern, CCLA

Watch the webinar here. Let us know if you have any comments or feedback.

This year’s UKSIF London Conference was a must-attend event! Designed in collaboration with UKSIF’s Analyst Committee, the event featured a tailored and high-impact programme. Structured into two key themes: ‘The Big Picture: ESG in 2020’ (Day 1) and ‘The Sectoral Dimension’ (Day 2). The event was hosted virtually on 25 & 26 November 2020.

Day one covered the race to Net Zero, the impact of the pandemic and the Build Back Better campaign and pressing social issues, including race and diversity. We heard from pension and research providers, banks, investment professionals and policy-makers.

Day two was a deep dive into pressing topics and sectors that affect the future of sustainable investment, society and the planet. Our panels discussed the social responsibilities that the pharmaceutical sector and the fashion industry carry with their accessibility to products and their supply chains. We explored the viability of aviation’s sustainable future, key investment themes to end plastic pollution and solutions for BioGas leading to Net Zero.

 

Find here a full programme for DAY 1DAY 2 with details on the panels.

Watch the DAY 1 sessions here.

Watch the DAY 2 sessions here.

With thanks to our event partners:  MSCI, Vigeo Eiris and Neural Alpha. And our media partners: Clarity AI, Profit Impact, FAIRR, Plenitude, P1 Investment Management and Virtuvest,

We have an exciting portfolio of events lined up for 2021! Support our events and enjoy the range of benefits we offer. If you would like to partner with us, let us know and we will be in touch with all relevant details and partnership packages.

 

We were delighted that the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth could give an address during our AGM on 24th September 2020.  Watch the video of his address here.

The Minister covered a wide range of topics inked to the recovery from Covid and the future of green finance in the UK. We had a large number of questions submitted by members and were able to put a few of them after the address. Two exchanges which might be of particular interest to members were on green gilts and the possibility of a new National Investment Bank:

Q) There was a lot of talk about green gilts two or three years ago, is it still being discussed in Whitehall?

A.) I think the intellectual argument for green gilts is being won or has been won…. I think there is a general recognition that the green gilt is a good idea…I’m hopeful we can get some movement on this ahead of COP 26 next year.

 

Q.) UKSIF and others have written to the PM asking about a National Investment Bank is that kind of innovative thinking welcome?

A.) Definitely. You know I’ve mentioned it and other people have mentioned it, this has been part of the conversation for a few months. And we should continue to make it part of the conversation. And I think there is a huge amount of activity in this space. Unfortunately COVID-19 has absorbed considerable amounts of the Government’s attention but we are still very committed to the green agenda, we are still committed to the fight against climate change and we are extremely focused on meeting our legally binding target of net zero by 2050.

 

Rt. Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng MP Biography

Kwasi Kwarteng was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 24 July 2019. Kwasi was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Exiting the European Union from 16 November 2018 to 24 July 2019. Kwasi read classics and history at Trinity College, Cambridge, and then attended Harvard University on a Kennedy Scholarship. He earned a PhD in economic history from the University of Cambridge in 2000.
Before becoming a Member of Parliament, Kwasi worked as an analyst in financial services. Kwasi was elected the Conservative MP for Spelthorne in 2010. From 2010 until 2013 he was a member of the Transport Select Committee, and in 2013 he joined the Work and Pensions Select Committee where he was a member until 2015.
In October 2016 Kwasi joined the Public Accounts Committee, where he was a member until May 2017.In 2015 Kwasi was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the House of Lords, and in 2017 he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The FAIRR Initiative and UKSIF hosted an event on the importance of the alternative proteins market as both a growth driver and climate-risk mitigation tool for leading food companies worldwide.

Protein diversification has become an important growth driver and climate-risk mitigation tool for leading companies worldwide. Consumer demand for alternative proteins is increasing rapidly –  we discuss the climate-related benefits, the strategic evolution of the largest global food companies to address this growing market, and the investor opportunities that it brings.

We have FAIRR experts on the panel to present and discuss their findings from a series of reports examining how global food retailers are using protein diversification to drive growth and build climate-aligned portfolios.

Investors can compare company progress year-on-year and access individual company assessments, engagement questions, and best practice examples.

Watch our webinar session here.

Agenda

Welcome: Charlene Cranny, Communications and Campaigns Director, UKSIF

The Case for Protein Diversification: Jo Raven, Senior Manager – Engagements, FAIRR Initiative

Company & Investor Round Table: Sustainable Proteins – The Long Term Growth Opportunity

  • Speaker tbc, Aberdeen Standard Investments
  • Nikki Gwilliam-Beeharee, Director of ESG Research, Invesco
  • Giles Bolton, Responsible Sourcing Director, Tesco
  • Carla Hilhorst, EVP R&D Foods and Refreshment, Unilever

Moderated by Charlene Cranny, Communications and Campaigns Director, UKSIF

Q&A 

Closing Remarks: Jo Raven, Senior Manager – Engagements, FAIRR Initiative

”it’s bigger than MiFID”

This was one member’s response to the looming question of UK responsible finance regulation: how it changes in response to the Government’s “green” ambitions and in response to the EU Action Plan. The FCA has asked for UKSIF member views and we want to start gathering them.

 

Catch up on our webinar, in which we discuss the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation and the proposed regulatory technical standards. The webinar explores the strategic questions facing the UK as a result of leaving the EU and the EU’s Sustainable Finance.

 

The webinar features Iain Richards Head of Responsible Investment at Columbia Threadneedle, Seb Beloe Head of Research at WHEB Asset Management and Ben Nelmes Head of Public Policy and Programme Director at UKSIF.

 

Watch the discussion here. Please contact our Senior Policy Manager for any questions or feedback.