Economic growth and sustainability need not be contradictory

This is one of the main conclusions of João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Minister of Environment and Climate Action, who spoke yesterday at the “Sustainable Finance” Conference organized by ISEG – Lisbon School of Economics & Management.

The session also included Sasja Beslik, Director of Sustainable Financial Development at Banco J. Safra Sarasin Ltd, Rick Nogueira of the DC Green Finance Authority, Miguel Martins, a consultant at IFC-World Bank, as well as Clara Raposo and Sofia Santos at ISEG

At the Conference, the Minister for the Environment argued that economic growth and sustainability must go hand in hand. “An Environment Minister is expected to be agnostic about the economy. I’m not. The economy has to grow, to create well-being for those who will be here in 2050. It cannot grow outside the natural limits. The economy has to be circular, carbon-neutral ”, he explains. “For this, the financial sector, banking, and universities play a major role in the awareness of the next generations.

The director of Sustainable Financial Development at Banco J. Safra Sarasin Lt, Sasja Beslik, stressed the need for change: “in 2003, when I started working in the area of ​​sustainable financing, this area was not seen as financially intelligent, because it did not increase profit. However, in recent years, with changing world conditions and our needs too, the importance and opportunities of sustainable financing have begun to be realized ”. He adds: “In the perspective of the Paris Agreement, we analyzed 3,000 European companies and only 117 presented sustainable business models. The transition to a sustainable future must be accelerated

Miguel Martins went even further: “for the implementation of a sustainable financial system, two things are needed: new business models and a change in mentalities. The business models of the future need to be long term and responsible, more open and more transparent and must incorporate environmental, social and corporate governance.

The urgency to change paradigms was the central theme of the intervention of Rick Nogueira, who was responsible for Climate Finance for the executive of Barack Obama, “The next generation wants sustainable investments! And if at this moment it is the baby boomers who are managing the capital, it will transition to the “millennials”, who will move forward with the sustainable investment. And investors are already feeling that pressure.

With this initiative, ISEG showed its concern with this central theme for the European Commission and with the future of the current financial models; taking the opportunity to present his most recent Executive Course “Sustainable Finance: Green and Climate Finance”, which has institutional support from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Action. This training addresses various issues such as new performance metrics, circular economy, sustainable asset management, green bonds, sustainable financing, among many others.

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