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Hugh Wheelan: here’s why you really need to be at RI Europe on June 5/6 in London

Just over two weeks to go until the 600+ delegate event.

Check out the RI Europe Agenda

We’re just a couple of weeks out now from the 2018 RI Europe conference on June 5/6 in London, and it’s getting very exciting!
The headline news is that we will be 600+ attendees again in London at one of the best conference venues directly opposite the Houses of Parliament for an event that is now firmly established on the calendar for real debate and top-level networking around the evolution of the responsible investment agenda in Europe. Notably, this year we’ll have about 140 asset owners attending; and we’ve worked hard to get these key investment decision makers there. Some of that work has come via the asset owner research project we launched in association with UBS Asset Management earlier this year. The long-term research survey is being sent to a large database of pension funds – firstly in Europe, and then other regions. It is titled simply ‘ESG: Do You or Don’t You?’ and we believe it is one of the biggest inquiries and series of follow up interviews with pension funds globally to answer the question of why some pension funds see ESG integration as a clear part of their fiduciary duty and a necessary addition to investment strategy, while others believe the opposite. The ‘first cut’ of the results from the initial survey will be presented during the final conference plenary on June 6, followed by a related debate with major asset owners from National Grid, the Brunel Pension Partnership, LGPS Central, USS and Caixa Bank – collectively running more than €100bn in assets – on the social, structural, behavioural and incentive explanations for asset owners regarding responsible investment.
The survey is one element of our aim to improve the depth and rigour of discussion on sustainable finance. The ‘challenge’ we pose ourselves every year for our conferences is to address, answer and ‘problem solve’ real sustainability questions with a view to action and change.
To that end, we no longer have plenary and panel ‘moderators’ because we do not aim to be moderate. Instead we have plenary and panel ‘debate leaders’ with the task of addressing specific questions to our speakers, and then rounding up the following discussion into a clear set of answers and ‘takeaways’. The RI Awards gala dinner to present The RI Reporting Awards, which takes place during the evening of June 5, is another way we believe we can drive change in sustainable finance practices.
The Awards shortlists were recently announced and can be seen here. The Awards were established in 2013 to encourage and recognise best practice and transparency in responsible investment reporting by asset owners and asset managers. They are based on proprietary research of more than 2,500 asset owner and asset manager reports around the world.What gets measured gets managed. But what gets reported, gets refined, read, appraised and then strategically developed across an industry. And we believe that the leaders should be recognised. We’re really delighted to have Fergal Keane, OBE, the Africa Editor at the BBC and a hugely respected journalist and author as the guest speaker and awards presenter at the gala dinner. Keane, who was given an OBE for services to journalism in 1997, has won numerous awards for his reporting, notably from some of the biggest humanitarian crises in Africa.
Context is everything for an event, and there’s a lot of sustainable finance context around in Europe right now! We are days away from the announcement of the Working Group that will implement the EU Action Plan on Sustainable Finance. And we have a great representation of speakers on the agenda that were part of the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) that informed the Action Plan.
We also have UK Green MEP Molly Scott Cato, who acted as rapporteur for the Report on Sustainable Finance by The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). Significantly, given that the conference is in London, we will also hear from Mary Creagh MP (Labour), Chair of the Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) which recently wrote to the 25 biggest UK pension funds managing £555bn in assets, asking them to report on how they are managing climate risk. We also have a keynote interview with Anthony Raymond, Acting Executive Director of Regulatory Policy and General Counsel at the UK’s Pension Regulator (TPR), talking about how they are advancing policy on ESG and fiduciary duty. And in the RI Europe tradition of securing a keynote ‘mega’ asset owner interview, last year we had the CIO of Japan’s huge GPIF fund. This year, I’ll be talking to Carine Smith Ihenacho, Chief Corporate Governance Officer at Norges Bank, which manages the trillion dollar Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund, one of the most influential shareowners in the world. We‘ll discuss how it is evolving its ESG practices in standard setting, ownership and risk management.
Finally, we have a keynote interview that looks at what we think of as an iceberg ESG risk issue for investors. Dame Sally Davies, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer has warned about the post-antibiotic apocalypse
regarding antimicrobial resistance, which she says could spell the end of modern medicine. That’s a big societal and investment iceberg! All of this is to say that you really should be at RI Europe 2018 on June 5/6. Have a look at the stellar agenda, and book your ticket now.
We look forward to seeing you there!

Tickets for The RI Awards Gala Dinner are limited. They cost £100 plus VAT. To register for your ticket please e-mail Jonathan Biddell or call on +442036409141

Check out the RI Europe Agenda