Sustainable Finance for Breakfast (15)

Held on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

With support from Deloitte


  • Ben Caldecott (University of Oxford)

  • Sophie Robinson-Tillett (Responsible Investor)

  • James McManus (Nutmeg)



It has been a mixed month, but I guess the direction of travel is still encouraging.

One the one hand, EdenTree published a report on the continued prevalence of ‘greenwashing’ – which rather surprised me since I had thought we were beyond that. And Financial News had a story on green bonds, describing them as “good for the City, pointless for the environment” – which also set me back.

Plus there was a distinctly underwhelming World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, where (as far as I can judge) ESG issues got even less traction than in the past, although TPG agreed to change its analytics, Refinitive (ex-Thomson Reuters) introduced a new benchmark and Blackrock went all gooey-eyed.

On the other hand, 16 utility companies (led by EDF, but including our own super-sewer) launched their Corporate Forum on Sustainable Financing, and Bloomberg reported that “financial vehicles linked to environmental and/or social benefits” raised a record US$247 billion last year around the world – with the US leading the way through Fannie Mae’s green home loan programme. And, if correct, the well-trailed bankruptcy of PG&E – though it cannot be directly tied to climate change – does emphasise just how vulnerable utilities are.

But that is only a taster. The expert in this field, and our guide for the last fourteen sessions, is Ben Caldecott, founding director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at Oxford’s Smith School. As usual, he will sort the wheat from the chaff – assisted, this time, by:

  • Sophie Robinson-Tillett, deputy editor of Responsible Investor, where she focuses on climate finance, green bonds and policy-related news. She was previously news editor at Environmental Finance and a reporter at The Guardian.

  • James McManus an investment manager and head of ETF research at Nutmeg, which he joined in 2015 from Coutts.

This is a caring-and-sharing experience, so we hope you will be able to contribute your own thoughts as well. 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 (and thanks to Deloitte’s generosity), there will be tea, coffee and buns a-plenty.

Many thanks,

Andrew Hilton