In advance of the event, Delano spoke with Hakan Lucius of the European Investment Bank. He delivers a tutorial on “Investing for sustainable development – the What, the How and the Why?” on the second day of the conference, at 9:10am.
Aaron Grunwald: What do you want the audience to get most from the sustainable development session?
Hakan Lucius: Sustainability outperforms. This is the main message that I would like to get across. I am strongly convinced that companies that have a strong sustainability performance, also outperform financially over the long term. In my view, it makes perfect business sense to conduct operations as sustainably as possible.
What ESG issue do you think European fund firms are not paying enough attention to? What should they be doing about it?
Integrating ESG, i.e., environmental, social and governance, into due diligence is not easy, but necessary. Looking at financials only does not give the full picture. One has to analyse holistically, covering, both financial and ESG issues together. This is what is being done at the EIB. All investment projects supported have to meet EIB environmental and social principles and standards. Furthermore, an economic appraisal is conducted to assess the costs and benefits to society as a whole.
What’s on your “risk radar” for the asset management sector this year?
I would prefer to talk about opportunities. The high level expert group report on sustainable finance, of which the secretariat is provided by the European Commission, has issued this year a report on financing a sustainable European economy. It has numerous recommendations, which need to be considered attentively.
Have you recently read a book, related to business or sustainability, that you would recommend to others in the industry?
While there are many books on sustainability, they rarely make a tight connection between business and sustainability. That’s why I decided to publish on the subject, which I have done in multiple languages. My latest contribution was published by Springer, Singapore, on “Sustainability Challenges Shaping Competitive Advantages”, a few weeks ago; it gives an insight on how corporates that adapt to the sustainability challenge gain an edge over their competitors.