In this episode of Hardman Talks, Caroline Heagney chats with James Alexander, CEO of UKSIF, the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association – the organisation at the forefront of the drive for improved ESG standards in finance and investment.
James and Caroline discuss the key drivers behind the increased momentum in ESG considerations in the investment sector and, importantly, the broadening out of that focus from environmental to social and governance. James shares his views on the investor’s role in driving change, being a firm advocate of engagement with companies rather than divestment. The discussion touches on the increased role of regulation in ESG and concludes with James outlining how investors can navigate the market in choosing funds that are genuinely sustainable from the huge array of funds labelled ESG.
UKSIF represents a diverse range of financial services firms committed to these aims, and its 270+ members manage over £10tn in assets, including investment managers, pension funds, banks, financial advisers, research providers and NGOs, among others. UKSIF and its members have been hugely active in, and supportive of, efforts to promote the sustainable finance agenda and the organisation has worked closely with policymakers and others to find new ways to overcome the barriers to the growth of sustainability and deliver progress towards decarbonisation of the economy.
James Alexander has a background in international climate finance and infrastructure finance. Most recently, James supported global megacities to overcome the substantial barriers to financing climate action as Director of the City Finance Programme at the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.