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Dr. Tom Gosling interviews Harald Walkate from Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth (University of Zurich) & Route17 on their approach to writing a trilogy of blog articles based on the question, "Does Sustainable Investing Work?"

The key discussion points are:

  • The origins of this project: a review of the academic literature to determine which sustainable investing practices can result in real-world outcomes, or have “impact”.
  • How we came up with the 3-stage rocket analogy: linking to the idea that sustainable investing practices should have direct (stage 1), indirect (stage 2) and system-level (stage 3) effects.
  • What evidence we found in the literature of these effects occurring.
  • What the evidence suggests in terms of best practice for engagement: “limitations aware engagement” that takes into account the “zone of discretion”.
  • Based on the evidence, which three areas investors seeking to have real-world impact should be focusing on: public policy advocacy, engagement, and private markets & blended finance. 
  • Why we can’t expect academic research to provide definitive views on the efficacy of all sustainable investing practices, and why we therefore should always apply common sense and personal judgment to develop theories of change that also describe the contribution investors can make.

Can sustainable investing have meaningful impact, and, if so, on what and in what circumstances? 

Harald Walkate & Tom Gosling share their views over the course of three blog articles with the aim of provoking reaction, criticism, alternative views and support. Please join us in this debate.

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