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Invitation to University of Oxford Roundtable on Investor Relations departments

12 June 2017, 12pm - 3pm (lunch provided) | Venue tbc, London.

The University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment is beginning a new research project focused on the Investor Relations (IR) departments of companies involved in upstream fossil fuel production. IR departments are a key interface between companies and the financial community, including current and potential owners of company debt and equity.

As investors attempt to be more coordinated in how they engage with fossil fuel companies, anecdotal evidence suggests that IR departments are responding. Given that so many climate-related investor strategies – divestment, engagement, shareholder resolutions etc – interface with IR departments there is a lack of understanding of how IR departments actually work, how they are organised, and how they might be evolving in response to investor strategies focused on climate change.

As part of the project we are undertaking a consultation exercise with NGOs and investors aiming to influence fossil fuel companies. We want to better understand what NGOs and investors are trying to achieve and how they currently go about it, as well as their level of understanding of IR departments. We also want consult to find out what NGOs and investors would like to understand about IR departments.

As part of the project and the consultation process we are organising a roundtable discussion with NGOs and investors on the 12th June 2017 in central London from 1200–1500 (venue tbc).

Please RSVP with events@smithschool.ox.ac.uk

Northern European Partnership for Sustainable Finance (NEPSF) Inception Meeting

14 June 2017, 11am - 5pm | Venue tbc, University of Oxford

Northern Europe is at the very centre of global efforts to align finance with sustainability, including in terms of policy, regulation, and crucially, investment practice. There is an urgent need to further improve this global engine for improving and multiplying the use of sustainable finance. This is also an urgent imperative if we are to ensure capital flows to support the transition to global environmental sustainability across Europe and internationally.

In response, the University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, together with the Finance Dialogue and other partners, is initiating the Northern European Partnership for Sustainable Finance. We would like organisations supportive of this mission to participate in and support the Partnership.

Northern Europe has driven the development of sustainable finance. For example, the Bank of England has completely shifted the debate on the relationship between climate change, finance, and financial regulation; in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden pension funds have been pioneering how to take account of climate-related risks; Norway's global pension fund is setting norms for how sovereign wealth funds should consider climate change; and the French Government is pioneering new forms of mandatory climate disclosure. In Northern Europe the ecosystem of institutions across the investment chain working on sustainable finance topics is impressive - from green bonds to climate aligned indices through to new analytical approaches and regulatory innovation.

While there is obviously extensive communication and dialogue between actors across these jurisdictions, this can be enhanced and translated into more tangible examples of pioneering cooperation. There are also ways that financial institutions, regulators, and policymakers can learn from one another. 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.

The Partnership is being created to help facilitate and encourage this cooperation. It will involve finance practitioners, regulators, policymakers, and civil society. The Partnership will be launched in Autumn 2017 with a conference hosted in the UK. This will be preceded by a working meeting on Wednesday 14th June 2017 from 10:30am at the University of Oxford to develop the agenda and build consensus around an approach. The Partnership will initially involve organisations and representatives from Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. The Partnership will then create working groups on key issues (e.g. green credit; climate-aligned indices; data; disclosure; financial stability; governance; fiduciary duty) co-chaired by representatives between two organisations from different jurisdictions. The next annual conference would take place in another partner country (TBD).

If your organisation would like to be involved in the Partnership and/or would like to attend the June event, please express your interest by replying to events@smithschool.ox.ac.uk with details of your organisation. We will make sure you receive further information as it becomes available.

Reception for Oxford Smith School-John Ellerman Foundation Sustainable Finance Course

19 June 2017, 5.30pm - 7.30pm | British Academy, 10–11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

The University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, supported by the John Ellerman Foundation, piloted a new Sustainable Finance Course in 2016. The pilot brought together mid- to senior-level leaders to develop their understanding of finance and investment, so as to help global economic and financial systems create better environmental outcomes.

The course began with a four-day residential workshop at St Peter's College, Oxford in September last year. Over the subsequent months participants have engaged in extended learning projects implementing a real-world project related to finance and sustainability. The course will continue in 2017 and starts at Balliol College, Oxford this September. Find details here.

We would like to invite contributors, participants, and supporters of the pilot course, as well as those interested in joining the 2017 iteration, to attend a reception from 5:30pm on Monday 19th June 2017 at the British Academy in London to hear about what has been achieved so far and our plans for the future.

Please RSVP with events@smithschool.ox.ac.uk

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.