Finance summit tackles socially responsible investments

International financial experts are gathering in Edinburgh on the first two days of September to discuss ways in which global money movement can become more transparent. In particular, the Global Ethical Finance Forum (GEFF) will look at socially responsible investing and faith-based investing, both of which are currently poorly regulated.

‘Two streams of standards are required: robust standards to ensure the green credentials…and standards to ensure compliance with Shari’ah Law,’ said Justine Leigh-Bell, head of standards development at the Climate Bonds Initiative.

While there are international agreements in place these standards are not industry wide. This means that investments may not be as green as advertised, or that companies claiming to be making green investments may not be doing so. This has implications for the arts sector, which relies heavily on corporate investment but also has a history of supporting ethical practices.

The UN Principles of Responsible Investments (UNPRI) initiative was created in 2006 and set six guidelines for ethical international investment but has not been signed by all major financial institutions and not fully enforced by all signatories. So far 1,380 institutions have signed up to UNPRI with USD59 trillion in assets covered by the agreement

Conference attendees include Climate Bonds Initiative, UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) and Forum Ethibel. The head of policy at UNPRI Will Martindale is to address the conference and chair a panel discussion.

The conference is hosted at the Balmoral Hotel, with 67 speakers and panelists leading the debate.