Catherine Bourin of the ABBL banking association says green finance needs to succeed in “making all citizens aware of the impact that their money can have on the planet”. Library picture: Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne
As part of the “Summer like no other” series, Delano and its sister publication Paperjam are looking at the people working in the grand duchy’s sustainable finance field.
This week, Catherine Bourin, member of the executive committee and head of the sustainability & conduct department at the Luxembourg Bankers Association (ABBL), shares the convictions that drive her.
Laura Fort: What was the trigger that pushed you to work in the field of sustainable finance?
Catherine Bourin: I took on responsibility for the sustainability & conduct department of the ABBL with enthusiasm, because this is a sector of the future, where everything is to be built, which we cannot ignore in the current context. Sustainable finance can be extremely important as long as we know how to make every citizen aware of the impact that their money can have on the planet and the development of humanity from a sustainable perspective.
What are you convinced about when it comes to sustainable finance?
Finance must be, and can be, a tremendous lever for sustainability. It should--must--fit into all levels of a bank’s strategy, not just the products and services it offers. By adopting a responsible strategy, today’s bank places sustainability at the centre of its actions: responsible investments, responsible strategy, social responsibility towards its employees, but also to society, by subscribing to a responsible approach vis-à-vis society.
On this path, the adoption of a CSR label by a bank--with conviction, of course--must make it possible to meet the expectations of today and tomorrow of our society.
What is your preferred work theme, or your favorite “fight” to take on?
Without hesitation: education. If we consider the 17 United Nations sustainable development goals, the one that appeals to me the most is objective number 4, which aims to “ensure access for all to quality education, on a equality, and promote lifelong learning opportunities”.
Education is the basis of all progress for all of humanity. It is in this logic that I initiated, within the ABBL, a financial education project for vulnerable populations, which ultimately aims at the social inclusion of these people.
I was fortunate to receive positive support, first from my colleagues, but also from the Ministry of Family and Integration, and finally from ABBL member banks to bring this project to life and make progress.
Who is someone that inspires you every day?
I have a spontaneous attraction for personalities who work on the basis of a nonviolent philosophy, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela, who all have in common that they wanted to make things happen regarding justice, equality between people, peace, human dignity.
They are magnificent fighters endowed with immense wisdom, all the more so since they were ready to sacrifice everything for their cause with total abnegation. Our world would be better if these people could inspire our leaders--and not just them.
What “sustainable” investment would you recommend?
The one that would have considerable leverage to advance our society: invest in the education of all, young and old.
Originally reported for Paperjam in French and translated for Delano