Women in Sustainable finance – How to make it in the green economy

Female leaders share their advice for considering a career in sustainable finance

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In association with the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Responsible Investor presents a free-to-air series looking at female leaders in the sustainable finance space. This kick-off article is an overview while future articles will focus on leading individuals in the sector. We hope you enjoy this series and please feel free to pass to your contacts!

“Celebrating trailblazing women is one of the best parts of my job. I want other women to follow their lead and embrace the opportunities presented by clean growth, like those in the sustainable finance sector.” — Claire Perry, Energy and Clean Growth Minister.

The UK Government’s Clean Growth Grand Challenge aims to support UK industry towards a global shift to cleaner economic growth.

The relationships between, and the direct effects of, our lifestyle habits and consuming choices is under greater scrutiny as we transition to a more sustainable economy, and as a result we are making more ethical and sustainable choices.

Consumers are increasingly drawn to businesses that demonstrate environmental and social responsibility and this green trend is also being reflected in their investment decisions.

We’ve long championed diversity and celebrating women in leadership positions, that’s why we’re shining a spotlight on four of the industry’s fiercely talented female leaders to show that you can be ethically and socially conscious while earning an attractive salary. Through their industry experience and leadership platforms they continue to articulate powerful messages on how to make it as a woman in sustainable finance in 2019.

Read on to learn how they got started, their thoughts on the industry and their advice for other women considering a career in sustainable finance. It’s invaluable advice from women who’ve achieved great success in an industry where just 35% of the workforce are in female leadership roles, according to Acre, social responsibility recruitment specialist.

A responsible investment analyst starts at around £30,000. According to the Acre 2018 Sustainability Salary Survey salaries can rise to six figures for those overseeing a responsible investment team.Sustainable finance: what’s it all about?

• An important component of Sustainable Finance is Green Finance, which refers to raising capital and financial investments into companies, services, products and projects that accelerate the development of an environment friendly and climate-resilient economy.
• In 2018, the Government announced the establishment of a new Green Finance Institute that will build on the existing Green Finance Initiative (launched 2016) – to act as a ‘one-stop-shop for the UK’s green finance activity.
• Last year the Government published the Clean Growth Strategy, setting out plans to decarbonise for the decade ahead, including investing more than £2.5bn in clean growth innovation.
• Government analysis shows that up to £6bn could be saved by 2030 through investment in cost-effective energy-saving technologies – underpinning the Government’s ambition to support businesses and industry to improve energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2030.
• We will publish a Green Finance Strategy later this year to further strengthen the UK’s global green finance leadership.
• Through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the Government is investing hundreds of millions of pounds with industry to develop low-carbon technologies including batteries.
• Government announced a package of measures to transform energy infrastructure to make it cleaner, including the launch of £320m fund in low-carbon heat networks, match funded by industry, alongside proposals for new laws for smart energy appliances.
• We established a Green Finance Taskforce bringing together some of the country’s brightest minds to produce recommendations on how to accelerate the growth of green finance.
• During the first annual Green GB and NI Week (October 2018), 67 companies pledged to take clean growth action – from John Lewis moving to a clean fleet to HSBC committing £250m for clean growth investments.
• The London Stock Exchange is home to over 95 green bonds which have raised in excess of US$26bn. The global green bond market reached $167bn in 2018
• According to EY, 17% of Millennials prefer to invest in companies that meet the highest ESG standards, compared with just 9% among older generations.
• Green Finance combines all financial transactions that favour the energy transition and fight against climate change but only 35% of the workforce are female.
• According to Acre, sustainability recruitment specialists, the desire to address gender diversity has grown significantly in momentum in the last 2-3 years, clients expect a 50/50 female/male shortlist.