Metrics and innovation in sustainable finance frameworks will have to accelerate at record pace if the international private wealth community is to “get it right on ESG”, according to panellists at the recent Jersey Finance Annual Private Wealth Conference.

Held this week (14 December), the Jersey Finance virtual event, entitled ‘Making a Positive Impact’, saw a number of panel sessions discussing sustainable finance trends, impact investing and philanthropy and how international finance centres (IFCS) such as Jersey support those agendas through industry expertise, connectivity and relationships around the globe.

The event took place this year in a highly innovative, interactive format, attracting delegates from around the world.

Speaking in a session entitled ‘Green Investments and the Future of Sustainable Finance’, Andrew Mitchell, Founder of Equilibrium Futures, and who is currently working with Jersey Finance to implement a sustainable finance strategy for Jersey, commented that Covid-19 had been the ‘penny drop’ moment in terms of sustainable finance: “Things are going to have to move very fast in terms of frameworks, tools, data and metrics if we are to get ESG right,” he said. “Expertise and upskilling will be vital and IFCs like Jersey, that have strong track records on oversight, regulation and compliance, can have a really important role to play on the governance strand. Family offices can also have a big role to play, given they are aligned with long-term horizons and multi-generational wealth.”

Meanwhile, in a second session entitled ‘The Evolution and Future of Philanthropy’, panellists echoed similar themes, agreeing that, as philanthropic strategies become more sophisticated and as collaboration on philanthropic endeavours becomes more commonplace, private investors and family offices will have to place a growing emphasis on reporting, measurement and data-driven analytics.

Also speaking at the event were Lord Hague of Richmond, who explored key areas of acceleration in 2021 and how government-mandated innovation will be necessary to combat climate change, while CEO and Co-founder of Olio, Tessa Clarke, discussed how the food-sharing app was helping to tackle food waste, climate change and poverty. In a closing address, Ruby Wax, OBE, discussed the importance of good mental health.

In closing the event, Joe Moynihan, Chief Executive Officer, Jersey Finance, said:

“A key message to emerge from this year’s conference was that private investors and family offices are more focussed than ever before on how their wealth can generate value to the world we live in, both now and in the future. As custodians of wealth, they are acutely aware of their responsibilities, particularly in light of the pandemic, but they need specialist expertise and support as approaches to sustainable finance become more sophisticated and evidence driven.

“I firmly believe that, given the experience Jersey has in regulatory change, compliance and governance, we have a critical role to play in supporting the philanthropic and sustainable finance aspirations of the next generation of investors, as we move forward to a period of major global economic recovery.”

Panellists at the half-day virtual event were, on the ‘Green Investments and the Future of Sustainable Finance’ panel: Moderator Dr Emiko Caerlewy-Smith, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, KIT Consulting; Andrew Mitchell, Founder, Equilibrium Futures; John David, Head of Rathbone Green Bank Investments, Rathbones; Alison Cambray, Sustainability and Climate Change Specialist, PwC and Kurt A. Morriesen, Head of Sustainable Investments in Europe, United Nations Development Programme. Speakers on ‘The Evolution and Future of Philanthropy’ session were moderator Gwyn Garfield-Bennett, freelance writer; Richard Joynt, Executive Director, Ocorian; Sarah Gordon, CEO, Impact Investing Institute; Darshita Gillies, Founder and CEO, Maanch; and Fergus Drake, Chief Executive Officer, Crown Agents.