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Oxford Smith School Sustainable Finance Course 2017

18-21 September 2017

We are inviting applications for our Sustainable Finance Course in 2017. The Sustainable Finance Course was successfully piloted in 2016 and is designed as an introduction to sustainable finance for current and future leaders working in policy, regulation, civil society, and investment. The course is centred around a four-day residential workshop held at a college of the University of Oxford and over the subsequent six to nine months, participants engage in an extended learning project implementing a real-world project related to finance and sustainability. The course is developing a global network of practitioners working at the intersection of finance and the environment.


Conferences on Climate Change and Liability Risks to Directors, Officers and Companies in Canada Vancouver

18 October 2017 | Toronto, 20 October 2017

The conferences will highlight what leading companies are doing to manage climate change risk and to develop opportunities from the policy transition underway to a low-carbon economy. Please apply to attend via joanne.forbes@ubc.ca.

The conferences will involve leading members of Canada's business, law and investment communities to discuss the liability risks to Canadian directors and companies from failing to take seriously the need to transition to a low-carbon economy, and to think through strategies to ameliorate those risks and to promote strong, facilitative governance and regulatory policies for both companies and investors. Discussions will address (a) boards' and investment trustees' fiduciary obligations to develop climate-resilient strategies; (b) securities disclosure requirements and liability risks; and (c) the best thinking on operationalizing Canada's transition to a low-carbon economy.

These conferences are being developed as part of the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI), a joint initiative originally founded in 2016 by three organisations: The University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, The Prince of Wales' Accounting for Sustainability Project, and ClientEarth. Since then, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University and the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia joined to become founding Canadian partners.

Private Roundtable: Mobilising to tag and back-tag all new and outstanding issuance of securities 'green'

26th October 2017, 1230 - 1430 | Central London (tbc)

The current 'green' tagging of securities is focussed on new bond issuance wanting to self-identify as green. This accounted for only 2.1% of total new bond issuance globally in Q1 2017 and 0.25% of the global bond market. Many bonds that do not self-identify as green are as 'green' as their officially labelled equivalents.

The prize is larger. Accurately tagging all 'green' securities would enable institutional investors to shift allocations in the right direction over time. A major new undertaking is required by actors engaged in sustainable finance: the systematic tagging and back-tagging of all new and outstanding issuance of securities 'green' or 'sustainable'. A related endeavour is required for bank loans. This is not an unsubstantial task and organisations and researchers will need to organise themselves accordingly.

This private roundtable discussion is an attempt to bring together interested actors in order to spur coordinated and significantly enhanced progress on back-tagging. There will be several short presentations followed by a moderated discussion to develop consensus on next steps.

Spaces are severely constrained and to apply for your place please provide details of your position, organisation, and briefly why you would like to attend. We will only consider offering one place to a senior-level representative from relevant organisations. Please apply via events@smithschool.ox.ac.uk

Symposia on Directors' Liability for Climate Change Damages

Johannesburg, 16 January 2018 | Cape Town, 18 January 2018

The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI) is organising two high-level symposia in South Africa on the legal exposures of company directors to climate change-related damages.

The first symposium will be held at The Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg on Tuesday 16th January 2018. The second symposium will be held at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town on Thursday 18th January 2018. Each symposium will facilitate a cross-institutional and cross-jurisdictional exchange of legal thought leadership on director liability risks relevant to plaintiff and defence lawyers, regulators, investors, accountants, and insurers. Please apply to attend via events@smithschool.ox.ac.uk.

It is now clear that climate change presents material - if not unparalleled - economic risks and opportunities. The Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, together with others, have recently warned of the potential liability exposure of company directors for i) their company's contribution to anthropogenic climate change, ii) a failure to adequately manage the risks associated with climate change, and iii) inaccurate disclosure or reporting of these factors. These emerging exposures have implications for corporate governance in climate-risk exposed industries (from financial services to mining, infrastructure, agriculture, and beyond), and for the insurance sector (in terms of professional indemnity and directors' and officers' insurance). Despite these risks, there remains little in-depth analysis of how prevailing corporate governance laws and fiduciary duties facilitate - or constrain - the actions of company directors confronted with complex climate change challenges.

Detailed programmes for each symposium will be available later in the year.

Inaugural Conference: Northern European Partnership for Sustainable Finance (NEPSF)

6 March 2018, 0900 - 2100 | Guildhall, City of London

Northern Europe is at the very centre of global efforts to align finance with sustainability, including in terms of policy, regulation, and investment practice. But there is an urgent need to further improve this global engine for improving and multiplying the use of sustainable finance.

In response, the Northern European Partnership for Sustainable Finance (NEPSF) has been established as a collaboration designed to ensure that Northern Europe continues to be the centre of innovation in sustainable finance and investment and drives progress internationally. Further success in Northern Europe can support efforts elsewhere in Europe, support supra-national action through the European Union (e.g. Capital Markets Union), and efforts across the G7 and G20. There is also a need for a vehicle to support European cooperation on sustainable finance that straddles both EU and non-EU member states. These efforts will help ensure that capital flows are consistent with the transition to global environmental sustainability and climate resilient development.

The Partnership is being launched at its inaugural conference on Tuesday 6th March 2018 at the City of London’s Guildhall. The Partnership will initially involve organisations and representatives from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK, as well as representatives from relevant European institutions. It will be open to financial institutions, regulators, policymakers, civil society, researchers, and investor coalitions.

Activities under the Partnership will develop over time and will need to be i) an innovation in practice or policy, mainstreaming of such innovations, or introducing relevant ideas into new contexts; ii) an activity where cross-border collaboration and coordination across Northern Europe is important to success; iii) additional and not duplicative of existing processes or activities; and iv) impactful and practicable.

More details will be available in due course. In the interim, please save the date or apply to secure your place by contacting us events@smithschool.ox.ac.uk.