On Monday, October 15th, the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility will be hosting a Sustainability Investment Forum in Calgary, Alberta, a month in advance of its anticipated 10th Annual CBSR Summit, with the latter event being hosted in Toronto.
The objective of the Sustainability Investment Forum is clear-cut – a quick look at the agenda will tell interested parties that this event has been crafted with the intention of boosting the knowledge base of investors and finance professionals vis-à-vis sustainable investing, and what kind of prospects this practice offers in short-term and long-term portfolios.
Sponsored by Enbridge Inc. and Raymond James Ltd., and presented in conjunction with the University of Calgary’s Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability, this colloquium features a number of prominent corporate professionals (executives, analysts) as well as academic experts whose focus is sustainability, giving to the event an interdisciplinary approach which will assist the forum participants and attendees in understanding the concept, implementation and opportunities that sustainable investments bring to the table.
The theme of this year’s Forum is to “explore how managers assess market value and gauge how CSR/sustainability practices add value.” By encouraging finance professionals, academics, and other interested parties to come together in dialogue centred on environmental, social, and corporate governance topics, the Sustainability Investment Forum aims to foster discussions across professions and disciplines with the aim of “challenging our understanding of sustainability.”
The agenda for this year’s Forum will include presentations on:
- Trends in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability
- Integration of financial statements and Corporate Social Responsibility
- Sustainability investment put into context
- Investment strategies, practices, and trends
- Corporate Social Responsibility in practice
As the Social Investment Organization’s 2011 honorary recipient of the Canadian SRI Lifetime Achievement Award, there is probably no one better suited to head up this conference than Jane Ambachtsheer, Partner and Global Head of Mercer Investments’ Responsible Investment unit. Ambachtsheer has an impressive résumé coming into this event, serving as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto, where she teaches a graduate seminar on responsible investment while also double-hatting as a member of the university’s Environmental Finance Committee. She previously established the responsible investment division at Mercer, served as a consultant to the United Nations on its Principles for Responsible Investment initiative, and currently sits on the Advisory Committee of the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Other notable delegates attending this conference include:
- Dr. Leo de Bever – Chief Executive Officer, Alberta Investment Management Corporation
- Patti Dolan – Financial Advisor, Raymond James Limited
- Dr. Irene Herremans – Professor of Accounting and Tourism, Haskayne School of Business; Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary
- Paul Hunt – Corporate Director of Sustainability and Social Responsibility, Enbridge Incorporated
- Myrna Khan – Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Canadian Business for Social Responsibility
- Craig Stenhouse – Group Lead (Corporate Responsibility), Cenovus
- Michelle de Cordova – Director, Corporate Engagement and Public Policy, NEI Investments
This year’s conference is also invigorated by a series of events over the past months that have seen socially responsible investing and environmental, social, and corporate governance receive huge injections of government support on both sides of the US-Canada border. A major development that has boosted the vitality of ethical business in past months is the implementation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of a pivotal congressional ruling that “will provide important information to investors and help stem corruption in resource-rich countries.” In Canada in turn, recent events south of the border have led to the creation of a Resource Revenue Transparency Working Group north of the border. Additionally, the results of the Rio + 20 Conference and its Corporate Sustainability Forum are still fresh in people’s minds, as are the outcomes and declarations which emerged from the SIO Conference on Socially Responsible Investment this past June.