Green Fintech Insights | Gregor Vulturius

June 18, 2020 | Jim Ottewill

Gregor Vulturius of the Stockholm Sustainable Finance Centre was our latest Green Fintech Insights guest on Twitter

The SSFC is a collaboration between the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) and aims to transform the world of sustainable finance.

Gregor is in charge of operations and engagement at the SSFC as well as leading SEI’s EU policy engagement.

Read our interview with Gregor on his work in sustainable finance, the initiative and the challenges we face on our way to a greener future.

Why was the Stockholm Sustainable Finance Centre (SSFC)? 

The SSFC was launched in November 2017 by Isabella Lövin, Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Per Bolund, Sweden’s Minister for Financial Markets.

The vision is to support the financial system to become sustainable, in both developed and developing markets. We do this by informing policy making, finding innovative solutions, developing tools, through research and capacity building.  

Who are the SSFC’s stakeholders?

SSFC key stakeholders include Swedish and EU policy makers, regulators, development finance institutions, central and private banks, institutional investors, asset managers, the science community, civil society, and the media. 

SSFC has an advisory board of high-level executives from banks, pension funds, and experts on sustainable finance. Board members include Magnus Billing, CEO of Alecta, Sweden’s largest pension fund, Marika Håkansson (pictured below), CEO of Swedish development finance institution Swedfund and Lars Strannegård, the President of the Stockholm School of Economics.

What are the three main activities the SSFC focuses on to support its stakeholders? 

The SSFC focuses on three main activities: Education and training helps capacity building targeting private and public finance institutions in collaboration with the SEE Education program.

Research and innovation activities are demand-driven and aim to support the finance sector in understanding how to scale sustainable finance quicker and effectively. We also look to explore better management of physical and transition risk related to climate change. 

Engagement and policy activities focus on supporting policy makers, regulators, the private sector, and civil society in developing, evaluating and improving policies to green the financial system and to deliver on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.  

Can you give us an example of the projects in each of these three areas? 

The SSFC organises the Green Bonds and Sustainable Finance Executive Program with support from the International Finance Corporation and International Capital Market Association.

The program targets banks from emerging countries and aims to enhance their capacity and efficiency in issuing green bonds as well as focusing on combining strategic and operational tools. 

The SSFC also supports the SEI in its role as host of the secretariat of the UN Leadership Group on Industry Transitions. To that end, SSFC is contributing insights and capacity building activities to help decision makers understand how to finance the decarbonisation of heavy industry. 

Where can fintech have the biggest impact in shaping sustainable finance? 

It can make the environmental impact of finance and opportunities more transparent.

Examples include Trase: this maps direct and indirect finance of tropical deforestation and crowdsourcing platform Trine: this supports retail investments in solar power in Africa. 

Can you name any fintech projects you have been involved with as the SSFC?

In 2019, SSFC supported the development and launch of the Green Assets Wallet – the world’s first blockchain based platform for easy validation and impact reporting of green bonds.

We are also currently working with partners on a checklist for transition finance at company-level. 

What are the three main challenges the financial services industry faces in greening finance?

  • Acknowledging the disruptive impact of physical risk and transition risk on asset value.
  • Managing the non-diversifiable risk of climate change on the global financial system. 
  • Rapidly reallocating capital flows for transition to a resilient, sustainable, and just economy.  

What is the biggest public market catalyst for green financial instrument transition – regulation or innovation?

Innovation is needed – but a market-based approach is not enough to halt finance for carbon-emitting industries, scale investments to decarbonise the economy and restore ecosystems.

Global carbon-price, the phase out of fossil-fuel subsidies and public investments are all necessary to slow global warming. 

Where do you see the most promising private market stakeholder activity taking place in sustainable finance? 

The growth of the green bond market has been impressive – now the same must happen with loans. Banks, investors, and asset managers are also increasingly putting pressure on companies to adopt science-based climate targets. This will encourage bolder action by policy makers and regulators. 

If the fintech community wants to support the SSFC, how can they do this and how can they get in touch? 

We aspire to conduct demand-driven research, innovation and capacity building and we are keen to learn about the community’s specific needs.

If you are interested in talking or working with us, please get in touch with me directly via email or Twitter.

Visit stockholmsustainablefinance.com for more information.

Details of the latest Twitter Q&A from Redsand Ventures will be announced soon.

Follow Redsand Ventures on Twitter for more updates.

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