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Impact Summit Europe 2024

From combating climate change to promoting gender equality and eradicating poverty, impact investing channels capital where it’s needed most. On the 26th of March 2024, our Executive Director Merei Wagenaar moderated a panel session on innovative impact opportunities with panelists Rikkert Beerekamp, head of professional solutions at Carbon Equity and Oyin Oduya, Impact Measurement & Management practice leader at Wellington Management during Phenix Capital Group’s Impact Summit Europe.

The 10th anniversary of Impact Summit Europe, the leading impact investing conference for institutional investors, brought together the global impact investing community to pose, reflect and address the current and future challenges and opportunities in the impact investing space. In the afternoon session by UN Global Compact NL, asset owners and asset managers shared the challenges and opportunities they encountered in their climate technology strategy.

A holistic approach

How do you build an impactful climate tech portfolio? That’s the question. During the discussion, the crucial need for a holistic approach to investing in climate technology became evident. Oyin exemplified this by sharing their take on an investment in a company developing robots and AI to enhance waste sorting. While the environmental benefits of such innovation are clear, it’s essential to consider its social implications. While we aim for scalability, we must also assess how the advancement of such innovations will impact job opportunities and subsequently its broader social ramifications.

Another perspective that was underscored is why certain asset managers opt not to invest in climate technology. What is preventing them from doing so and how can we change that? Whether it’s the absence of a proven track record, concerns about greenwashing and reputational risks, or other factors – the prevailing agreement is that difficulty alone shouldn’t deter action.

Last but not least, when deciding where to invest, Oyin and Rikkert highlighted the importance of considering the long-term impact a certain investment can have on disrupting the system. Technologies with the potential to challenge existing norms and systems can drive innovation, foster progress, and create substantial value over time. By strategically allocating capital to such ventures, investors not only position themselves for potential financial gains but also contribute to shaping a sustainable future.

The Big Impact Debate

The day ended with a bang as four speakers took the stage to take part in The Big Impact Debate. In two rounds, each competitor had to argue either in favor or against a bold statement. Our very own board member and lecturer Sustainable Finance at the University of Amsterdam, Maarten Biermans, made a case against litigations stating that we should beware of coming a slave to the fine print. Whereas his component argued that litigation = mitigation. Things got heated, but not to worry, ended on good terms with everyone being friendly at the network drinks afterward 😉

Investments as a catalyst for impact

The UN has estimated that the world will need to spend between $3 trillion and $5 trillion annually to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. At the UN Global Compact we see corporate finance and investments as a catalyst for growth and social impact. There is enormous potential to align corporate investments and finance with the SDGs, both to finance business contributions towards the SDGs and to build on existing sustainable finance solutions and framework to support the transition to sustainable development.

The UN Global Compact has worked on sustainable finance for the last decade bringing companies, investors, and UN agencies together. It’s also one of the five focus areas in our Forward Faster initiative, stimulating companies to set more ambitious goals. No matter where you are on your finance and investment journey, we can help. Our action guide will show you how you can make the biggest, fastest impact for 2030.

Photo credits: Phenix Capital Group

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