Sustainable Finance for Breakfast (12)

Held on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 8:30-10:00am

With support from Deloitte


  • Ben Caldecott (University of Oxford)

  • Raj Thamotheram (Preventable Surprises)

  • Marte Borhaug (Aviva Investors)



We have been a bit quiet on the ESG/climate change area since July. But there’s been a lot going on – much of it reflected in the meetings of the UN General Assembly and Security Council in New York. Just to look at a few initiatives/developments:

  • there’s the Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability project, which published a new report this month (with support from Aviva);

  • there’s the UBS debt issue for the World Bank, aimed at ultra-wealthy individuals, with a yield tied to sustainability criteria;

  • there’s Vanguard’s first ESG ETF aimed at the US market, which will swamp most of the existing funds; and

  • there’s even an interesting development in Trumpland, where the US BUILD Act may give OPIC and USAID an ESG mandate (or not).

There was also a ringing endorsement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals from the IMF’s Christine Lagarde at a memorial lecture earlier this month, here in London. The Fund is, she said, working on “Positive Incentive Loans”, which would meet ESG criteria.

In other words, a lot to discuss. I am, therefore, delighted that Ben Caldecott, of the Smith School at Oxford and founder of its Global Alliance for Sustainable Finance, has, once again, agreed to anchor this month’s discussion. He has recently been deeply immersed in the Smith School’s very successful Sustainable Finance Foundation Course, but we are delighted that he has been able to tear himself away to fill us in on recent developments.

Backing him up are two more ESG experts:

  • Raj Thamotheram, founder and chairman of Preventable Surprises (which aims to stop “dysfunctional corporate and market behaviour” by focusing on investors). He is a pioneer in responsible investing and has been described as “one of the 10 most influential figures in the corporate governance field”. Before setting up PS, he spent five years at AXA IM and six years at USS as head of ESG. He is also a founder of the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets and, by background, he trained in medicine.

  • Marte Borhaug, head of ESG Strategic Projects at Aviva Investors and vice-chair of the Business at OECD Finance Task Force. Before joining Aviva, she was head of financial services and corporate governance at the CBI.

Lots to discuss – and I am sure you will also have your own thoughts as to what should be on the agenda. If you (or a colleague) would like to join us, please let us know by emailing or by calling the Centre on 0207 621 1056. As usual (this time, thanks to Deloitte’s hospitality), there will be tea and coffee, and lots of sticky buns.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Hilton