Responsible Investing Summer Course

Hear the ideas of leading academics on the impact Covid-19 has had on government, corporate and individual behaviour. Explore with us to what extent these changes are likely to be irreversible and how they will affect the future of responsible investing. Organised in cooperation with the Academy of Business in Society (ABIS).

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Green recovery and circular economy

22 September, professor Fenna Blomsma, University of Hamburg

The circular economy is put forward as a way to “Build Back Better” and to support the “Green Recovery.” And rightly so, as replacing the ‘take-make-waste’ paradigm with one that keeps resources in use for longer can lower greenhouse gas emissions, whilst ensuring the resilience of economies. This talk shows how a (more) circular economy can be brought about through technology, business model and value chain innovation. Questions like: “Where can sources of value creation and capture be found in a circular economy?”, “What business models suit a circular economy?” and “How can I align interests within the value chain?” are explored using case examples.

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Strong institutions for responsible investing: business integrity in Asia and ASEAN

17 September, professor Lawrence Loh, National University of Singapore

Good business performance, as measured financially, is a relentless corporate pursuit. Investors, however, are now placing premiums on good business behaviour. This session will contextualise the ongoing debate on whether unethical practices, particularly corruption or fraud, can be mitigated by strong financial performances. Drawing on real corporate examples from Europe to Asia, the session will examine the ethical dilemma facing investors when picking companies. The ASEAN context will then be used to unbox the “black box” of business integrity by looking at current challenges in leading corporations. The underlying foundation will be UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16, which points to the importance of having strong institutional mechanisms to bridge corporate practices with responsible investing.

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Moving towards transformative resilience

9 September, professor Enrico Giovannini, Tor Vergata University of Rome

The EU is currently facing unprecedented challenges and policymakers and academics are increasingly looking at ‘resilience’ as a holistic conceptual, analytical and policy framework to synthesise insights from across disciplines. Resilience is needed for the EU to ‘bounce forward’ and swiftly recover and emerge stronger from the current and future crises, by accelerating its transitions, minimising damage and relieving the suffering caused by crises through adaptation and transformation. The seminar will look at these issues from a conceptual point of view showing how a strategic approach based on the concept of resilience can be implemented in practice, both by governments and companies.

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Corporate social responsibility & responsible investing: an accelerated convergence after the crisis?

3 September, professor Nicolas Mottis, École Polytechnique

Responsible investing has seen impressive growth globally over the last 10 years. At the same time, there has been a lot of progress on integrating extra-financial parameters on the corporate side. CEOs and top executives are showing a growing interest in these dimensions. At the same time, many of them would still argue that most investors they interact with only care about risks and shareholder value. As many sustainable funds have proven their resistance during the crisis and helped demonstrate the value created by good ESG performance, will there be more convergence between RI in financial markets and CSR on the corporate side? Is the alignment between CEOs and investors we expect to occur already underway?

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How China is stimulating the transition to a more sustainable society post Covid-19

26 August, Professor Cary Krosinsky, Yale University

Solving issues such as climate change requires an accelerated low carbon transformation that also in-cludes Asian economies. However, current approaches to the China-West relationship are hostile, isolating China, slowing down its ability to transition successfully. Efforts by climate change advocates and investors often focus on developed, Western economies, ignoring what will soon be the largest component of the world’s energy consumption. Financial cooperation between China and the West has the potential to help solve challenges such as inequality and climate change.

In this lecture, Cary Krosinsky examined how China has become a global leader on the development of green finance mechanisms and policy and how this is opening up opportunities for investors.

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Designing new business models with impact

19 August, professor Jan Jonker, Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands

We are in the middle of a transition to a different, a (more) sustainable society. For companies and organisations, actively contributing to this transition is no longer optional. Organisations must structure themselves sustainably and contribute to resolving their customers’ sustainability challenges in a measurable and impactful way. This implies changes in thinking, in strategy and ultimately in business and revenue model. Business models should have a positive impact on people, society and the environment.

Jan Jonker is a tenured professor of Sustainable Entrepreneurship at Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. His work focuses on the transition to new economic models based on sustainability, social inclusion and circularity.

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Change agency for a sustainable future

12 August, professor Satu Teerikangas, Turku School of Economics

The aim of this session was to awaken the participants’ capacity to become change agents in proactively shaping a sustainable tomorrow. There is an enduring discussion about whether individuals, or existing systems matter. In this session, the focus was on agency, the conscious and active choices, behaviours and actions we undertake as individuals. And how in making these choices and taking this action, we can help shape the present and the emerging future.

Dr. Satu Teerikangas, professor at Turku School of Economics, presented a framework to appreciate the landscape of change(s). Dealing with new things requires us to ride the emotional rollercoaster of change. In times of crisis, more opportunities for leadership development arise that we can tap into.

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The 2020 consumer

5 August, Professor Emma Macdonald, University of Warwick

The Covid-19 crisis has affected the daily lives of people all over the world. The pandemic has also raised awareness of climate change, social and economic inequality, and the sustainability implications of our behaviour.

Emma Macdonald, Professor of Marketing at the University of Warwick, UK, led a session that focused on how consumption patterns change in times of a recession, how lifestyles are changing in the 1.5-metre society and whether individual and corporate behaviour will become more responsible. Her research is focused on strategic marketing (customer insight; customer value; customer experience) and sustainable behaviour (sustainable consumption; collaborative innovation).

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Responsible investing: the new normal

29 July Professor Alex Edmans, London Business School

Even before the corona crisis, investors had been placing increasing emphasis on companies’ social performance. But does responsible investing actually pay off? Do investors have to sacrifice financial returns to achieve their social goals? How can they actually assess whether a company’s business and behaviour are sustainable?

Professor Alex Edmans addressed these questions at our first summer course session on 29 July, with a particular emphasis on what responsible investing will mean in the post-corona world. The discussion drew on rigorous academic research and real-world examples, as well as Edmans’ new book, Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit.

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