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Institute for Sustainable Finance launched

  • Executive Director Sean Cleary addresses the crowd during the official launch of the Institute for Sustainable Finance (ISF).
    Executive Director Sean Cleary addresses the crowd during the official launch of the Institute for Sustainable Finance (ISF).
  • ISF board member Pamela Steer talks to event keynote speaker and fellow board member Andy Chisholm (Com'81).
    ISF board member Pamela Steer talks to event keynote speaker and fellow board member Andy Chisholm (Com'81).
  • Smith Master of Finance alumni Emiko Savic and Ayo Olatunji talk with Smith professor and ISF Research Director Ryan Riordan.
    Smith Master of Finance alumni Emiko Savic and Ayo Olatunji talk with Smith professor and ISF Research Director Ryan Riordan.
  • ISF Research Director and Smith Professor Ryan Riordan reveals his 'green' side at the ISF launch event.
    ISF Research Director and Smith Professor Ryan Riordan reveals his 'green' side at the ISF launch event.
  • Guests take part in networking at the launch of the Institute for Sustainable Finance.
    Guests take part in networking at the launch of the Institute for Sustainable Finance.

Marking its official launch on Tuesday, the Institute for Sustainable Finance announced the establishment of the Canadian Sustainable Finance Network (CSFN), an independent and diverse alliance of academics, researchers and educators who will address the most pressing questions of this field, and our time.  

Climate-proofing Canada’s economy’
Housed at Smith School of Business, the Institute for Sustainable Finance is the first of its kind in Canada. With the official launch of institute on Tuesday, Queen’s Chancellor Jim Leech and ISF Executive Director Sean Cleary had their opinion piece ‘Climate-proofing Canada’s economy’ published in the Globe and Mail.

By developing the CSFN the Institute for Sustainable Finance is building upon its mandate to align mainstream financial markets with Canada’s transition to a prosperous sustainable economy.

“The Institute for Sustainable Finance aims to create the most credible and robust body of sustainable finance knowledge in the country,” says institute executive director, Sean Cleary, BMO Professor of Finance and Founding Director of the Master of Finance program at Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. “Establishing the CSFN as a critical resource for Canadian leaders is one way we can help guide the massive transition to a sustainable economy.”

The 44 members from 16 universities of the CSFN, which include Queen’s University, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, Concordia University, University of Victoria, and University of Manitoba, will serve as an engine and collaboration platform for academia, industry and government to move sustainable finance forward in Canada. Its initiatives include expanding research partnerships and joint funding opportunities, creating a repository of education resources and growing program offerings, and collaborating with like-minded organizations such as the Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investments (GRASFI). 

“Climate change is becoming a mainstream policy issue, and increasingly understood to have potentially serious financial consequences as well as being the source of significant opportunity. As a result, it is becoming an increasing focus for the global financial system, given the multi-faceted role finance plays in allocating capital and managing risk within key sectors of the economy,” says Andy Chisholm, a member of the institute’s advisory board and a member of the Canadian Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance. 

“Canada needs to keep up, and where appropriate, take a leadership role if we are to stay globally competitive,” he adds. “The longer we delay the more risk we take on and the more opportunity we forego or cede to others in a low-carbon transition. Universities have an important role to play and will be most effective in this space if they are encouraged to build off of and leverage each other’s strengths and advances. That is why this collaborative cross-country network is critical.” 

In addition to launching the CSFN, the Institute for Sustainable Finance has undertaken education initiatives to foster a deeper base of knowledge and expertise in Canada. In addition to the development of traditional academic courses, the institute and Queen’s Executive Education are launching programs for business professionals. The first program on Sustainable Investing will run April 15-17, 2020 in Toronto with more to follow. These efforts align with the Institute’s overall goal to significantly boost Canada’s capacity – in both the long and the short-term – to implement sustainable finance approaches that will enable the country to thrive through a low-carbon transition. 

“Working collaboratively on sustainable finance solutions, our world-class Canadian talent will help shape the financial system Canada’s future needs,” says Dr. Cleary. 

The Institute for Sustainable Finance is based at Smith School of Business, Queen’s University and is supported by the Ivey Foundation, the McConnell Foundation and the McCall MacBain Foundation. 

For a full list of Canadian Sustainable Finance Network members and to learn more about the Institute for Sustainable Finance, visit: isfcanada.org